14 Dog Breeds Blacklisted by Insurance Companies

While you might love your dog, the companies that carry the insurance for your house, apartment, or condominium might not. In fact, your dog’s breed might determine whether or not an insurance company is even willing to provide coverage for your home.

The motivation for denying insurance to households with certain breeds of dogs is based upon financial considerations. As one representative of Allstate Insurance told me, “We are in the business of evaluating risk, and based on what we know the dogs on our ‘uninsurable list’ pose a higher risk.” She went on to tell me that dog bites are a major financial burden for the insurance industry. “Dog bite related claims accounted for more than one third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2013. That amounted to about $490 million, with the average claim costing close to $30,000. But actual costs can be much higher. In 2011 A Washington State Superior Court jury awarded a $2.2 million verdict to a woman who was attacked by two neighborhood pitbulls near her home in Tacoma, Washington.

The dog breeds which can be found on these lists seem to be drawn from a series of research studies such as one commissioned by the U.S. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control that was published in 2000. It looked at the statistics on fatal dog bites (click here to read more about this). However, it seems as though any dog bite incident that receives wide media coverage can also land a dog breed on such a list. Thus the Presa Canario was a dog breed that few people had heard of prior to the media coverage of a 2001 incident in San Francisco. The media luridly described how a woman was viciously mauled to death by two of these big dogs in the hallway of her apartment building. As a result the owner of these dogs is now serving a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Although the Presa Canario remains a quite rare breed in North America, it now seems to appear on every prohibited dog breed list issued by the insurance companies.

Looking at the various uninsurable dog lists I found a reasonable amount of variability as to which breeds were to be allowed or disallowed. Still there were 14 breeds of dogs which appeared on virtually all of the lists that I consulted. Most of these blacklisted not only the specific breed but any mixed breed that presumably included a genetic relationship to one of the banned breeds. The 14 most often blacklisted dog breeds were

  • Pit Bull Terriers
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherds
  • Presa Canarios
  • Chows Chows
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Akitas
  • Wolf-hybrids
  • Mastiffs
  • Cane Corsos
  • Great Danes
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies