Which are the dog breeds with the strongest bite? Can this even be measured?
Csupor Erik, 2023. September 15 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary
An old and recurring debate among dog owners is which breed of dog has the highest bite force. Is this even measurable and has anyone ever measured these values? If so, what do the results show?
There are many species in the world of similar size and likely bite strength, with very few differences between them. Moreover, the bite strength of the vast majority of breeds has never been measured in an acceptable and well-documented way. These types of measurements are mainly found in the Anglo-Saxon culture and in the eastern half of the world and, consequently, show the measured results of the more familiar varieties.
Before we start such a list, there is one concept we should clarify. What is the mysterious PSI in which the bite force is usually given. As these measurements are mainly made in the Anglo-Saxon countries, PSI stands for the value in those countries’ units of measurement, which is the Pound per Square Inch. If you want to convert these values to the metric figures used in our country, i.e. kg/cm², you have to divide the PSI value by 00.7.
10. Sheepdogs from the German Lowlands
Sheepdogs from the German Lowlands, such as the Belgian Shepherd and the Dutch Shepherd, have in the past been used to protect and, to a lesser extent, herd flocks. Today, they are known as highly agile and active service dogs of outstanding intelligence. Because of their excellent health and agility, more and more armed forces are switching to keeping, training and using these excellent breeds, which also have excellent catching skills. It is no coincidence that they are number 10 on the list. Their credibly measured bite force typically ranges from 200-220 PSI.
9. Medium German working dogs
Medium-sized German working dogs, such as the German Shepherd and Dobermann, were typically developed in the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, almost always for guarding and protection purposes. Almost all of them can be said to be consciously designed and consciously shaped breeds, ‘on paper’ so to speak, which today excel as excellent service dogs. Their average measured bite force ranges from 240-250 PSI.
8. Larger bull or bull terrier type dogs
The majority of these breeds and their ancestors originated in 19th century England, where they were bred primarily for dogfighting. Here, of course, we are not thinking of the diminutive Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but rather of the American Pit Bull Terriers, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Bulldogs, and the English Bull Terriers, which were already definitive in America. These breeds have enormous catching power and bite force for their size, averaging around 300 PSI according to authoritative measurements.
7. Large German working dogs
There are mainly two breeds that fall into this category, the Rottweiler and the Giant Schnauzer, which are very similar in their bite. Both breeds have an ancient history, but their final form was also consciously developed in the early 20th century. Their average bite force ranges from 330-350 PSI according to certified measurements.
6. Saint Bernard/Leonberger
These two huge giants, similar in character in many ways, are not only similar in character, but also in measured bite force, which is thought to be around 380-390 PSI, according to authoritative sources. The similarity is not coincidental, since the Leonbergers, for example, were consciously bred by the Saint Bernard, from whom they inherited their large stature.
5. Czechoslovakian Vlcak
Bite force measurements of one of the world’s most interesting dog breeds, genetically closest to the European grey wolf, typically show values of around 400-410 PSI. This is perhaps no coincidence, as the breed was first developed in the 1950s by Czech kinologists crossing German Shepherds with wolves. In addition to their stamina and health, it is thought that their bite strength was directly inherited from their wolf ancestors.
4. Dogo Argentino
This beautiful, large-bodied, snow-white giant is not only an excellent working dog, but also a fearsomely efficient hunter, his Brazilian breeders have specifically adapted his nature to Brazilian hunting habits. These were no easy task, as they had to hunt in packs against wild boars and predatory big cats, which required above-average catching and biting power. Their bite force is estimated to be around 500 PSI based on measurements.
3. Large breeds of mastiffs
English Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Bullmastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff and Tosa Inu, who hasn’t heard of these giants, most of which are descendants of ancient molossians. Because of their huge heads and wide jaws, their bite force is above average, with almost all of them averaging between 540 and 570 PSI in existing and available measurements. This is of course not a reflection on the working ability of these breeds, as most of them are nowadays more peaceful and friendly family dogs.
2. Cane Corso
In the case of the Cane Corso, the author of this article feels a bit “in the dark”, because he does not see any reasonable explanation why the Cane Corso is so far ahead of most of the other large-bodied mastiffs in the rankings. The bite force of this excellent and agile Italian mastiff is almost all measured to be between 600-700 PSI. In any case, if so many sources claim this, why would we claim anything else: the cane corso is second on this list.
Without exception, in a similar aggregation of all measured results, the Turkish Kangal is in first place. Over 700 PSI with astonishing values. Here, in addition to the undoubted excellence of kangal, it is also worth wondering how much successful Turkish marketing may have played a role in this result.
In the humble opinion of the author of this article, the kangal should be accompanied by the largest herding dogs (or breeds called herding dogs), e.g.
the Caucasian Shepherd
, the Central Asian Shepherd, or even
the Hungarian komondor
, for which there is no authoritative source of measurement results. However, as their evolution and uses are very similar to those of kangaloos, let’s be bold and put them in the same bracket.