The purpose of this review is to characterize the public health problem of dog bites in New York City. Dog bites represent a major source of morbidity, mortality, disability, and health care cost in the United States. The most severe injuries are frequently referred to the plastic surgeon. The authors have recently treated several severe cases of unprovoked dog attacks in children. To characterize the dog bite problem in New York City, data were obtained for 1998 from the New York City Department of Health. During that year, 6568 bites were reported by the mandated physician reporters in the five boroughs of New York City. The upper extremities, lower extremities, and face were predominantly affected. The peak incidence occurred during the summer months and in children ages 7 to 9 years old. Preventive measures are discussed.