More than 100 victims of dog bites are admitted to hospital each week, a rise of 66 per cent in a decade.
Latest figures show that 5,221 people were treated during 2008-09 after dog attacks in England - up from 3,137 ten years earlier.
The total includes 1,250 children, including many babies and toddlers.
However, as the data does not include victims seen in A&E who are not admitted, the true figure will be much higher.
The NHS statistics were revealed only two weeks after four-year-old John-Paul Massey was savaged to death by an illegal pit-bull terrier and amid growing concern that some breeds are being bought not as pets, but as 'badges of honour'.
Other figures show the number convicted of breaking the Dangerous Dogs Act has more than trebled in a decade.
In 1997, 237 dog owners were found guilty. By 2007, the figure had soared to 777 - an increase of more than 220 per cent.
The 1991 Act bans four breeds - pit bulls, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro - but critics, including the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, say it is flawed and needs to be redrawn.
Animal charities say the act ignores other breeds which can be just as dangerous and means that responsibly-raised dogs from banned breeds are unfairly targeted.
Andy Robbins, of the RSPCA, said: 'By specifically targeting four types of dog, it is almost as if the law is saying all dogs are fine apart from any animal of those four types which will be dangerous.
'We would like to see the law target the minority owners who are using their dog for the wrong means.
'Typically, lads mixed up in gangs are using stereotypically muscular, macho breeds of dog to make themselves look tough and boost their own ego rather than have the company of a pet.'
Steve Goody, of the Blue Cross animal welfare charity, said the soaring number of hospital admissions could be traced back to 'the high number of dogs on the streets being used for the wrong sort of purposes by the wrong sort of people'.
LibDem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'We have to tackle the culture of some individuals using dogs as a badge of honour or fashion accessory.'
Ministers yesterday pledged to learn lessons from the investigation into the death of John-Paul Massey at his grandmother's house in Liverpool last month.
The youngster died of horrific injuries after he was shaken like a 'rag doll' by a pit bull owned by his uncle.
He is the fifth child to be killed by a dog in three years.
Police have launched a criminal investigation after revealing the dog, who was shot dead by officers, was an illegal breed.
Jane Kennedy, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, called for a 'detailed report' from Merseyside Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission 'so that we can fully understand how the complaints made to the police were not followed through and that the Government can respond where possible'.
She asked Home Office Minister David Hanson: 'If it appears that the administrative burdens of the Dangerous Dogs Act contributed in any way, however small, to the tragic death of four-year-old John-Paul Massey will you agree to review it?'
Mr Hanson said: 'I think you raise an important issue. This was a very tragic death. The Home Secretary is in discussions with Defra about what steps, if any, we need to take to make sure we prevent this type of incident occurring again. We will certainly look at this and make sure we do all we can to stop the use of dangerous dogs in this way.'