An 11-year old boy is in Brazil's media spotlight after sinking his teeth into the neck of a dog that attacked him.

Local newspapers reported on Thursday that Gabriel Almeida was playing in his uncle's backyard in the city of Belo Horizonte when a pit bull named Tita lunged at him and bit him in the left arm.

Almeida grabbed the dog by the neck and bit back — biting so hard that he lost a canine tooth.

Almeida tells the O Globo newspaper: "It is better to lose a tooth than one's life."

Stonemasons working nearby chased the dog away before it could attack again.

The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper says the boy received four stitches at a local hospital while the dog was taken to a pound and may be sacrificed.