An 8-year-old Christchurch boy was tossed in the air during a horror mauling at the weekend by his family's rottweilers.

The boy is in hospital with head and face injuries after the savage attack witnessed by his sister about 8am on Saturday.

The dogs have been taken away by city council animal control officers.

The boy had "significant" head, face, and leg injuries, said Inspector Derek Erasmus.


"It was a vicious attack. There are reports the dogs had been throwing the boy in the air."

Police say it's not yet clear whether the attack happened at the boy's Linwood home, or nearby, and how it was stopped.

A police investigation has been launched to see whether any criminal charges will follow.

A spokeswoman for Canterbury District Health Board refused to give a condition update today, saying the boy's family had asked for "complete privacy''.

The attack comes after Chloe Jane Mathewson, 31, was mauled to death by two large rottweilers in Redvale near Auckland in March.

It's believed there have been six recorded fatal dog attacks in New Zealand.