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Which Dog Breed Has the Strongest Jaw?

Mychelle Blake
Closeup of dog jaw

When discussing which dog breed has the strongest jaw, it is important to keep in mind that this cannot be answered definitively. The strength of a dog's bite will vary from breed to breed, animal to animal, and even circumstance to circumstance.

Bite Force

Bite force is the scientific term for the measurement of the amount of pressure in a dog's bite. Obviously, the greater the pressure a dog can exert, the more potential for damage there is to someone (or something) that is bitten. There are several factors that determine bite force, but scientists agree that the size of a dog's head has a lot to do with the amount of pressure it can exert with its jaws. A human averages 120 pounds per square inch of bite force.

Bite Strength Measurement Challenges

The strength of the bite of a breed can't be measured with any accuracy because you can't teach a dog to bite with a consistent amount of force each time. The bite will be different each time it is measured, and each dog will have a slightly different measurement. The strength of the bite will also vary depending on where in the dog's mouth the bite is happening, such as toward the front or in the back. It is important to keep in mind that when the bite force of a breed or even an individual dog is discussed, it can only be taken generally.

Measuring Dog Breeds' Bite Strength

Most of the data related to a breed's average dog bite strength are from three sources:

  • The research led by Dr. Donna Lindner published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry in 1995.
  • The work of Dr. Brady Barr who measured bite force for dogs and other animals as part of his television show Dangerous Encounters on the Nat Geo Wild channel in 2005. Dr. Brady only measured three dogs, the American Pit Bull Terrier, German Shepherd and Rottweiler.
  • The research led by Dr. Jennifer Ellis, which was published in the Journal of Anatomy in 2008.

18 Dog Breeds With the Most Jaw Strength

The top five domesticated breeds thought to have the strongest jaw are all large dogs known for their bite. Many of these breeds have reputations for being "dangerous dogs" and are likely to be more intimidating than others, though all of these breeds have positive qualities as well.

American Pit Bull Terrier

The bite of an American Pit Bull Terrier was measured at 235 pounds of pressure per square inch (or psi) by Dr. Barr. This breed is known for being strong and has a reputation for aggression but can also be an affectionate family dog.

Two Pit Bull Terriers

German Shepherd

Although the German Shepherd was originally bred as a herding dog, it has been used as guard dogs and police dogs with good reason. This is a powerful and intelligent breed. The German Shepherd's bite measured 238 psi by Dr. Barr, just slightly above the American Pit Bull Terrier.

German Shepherd Dog

Rottweiler

The Rottweiler, or Rottie as it is often called, is known for a huge head and large jaws. This makes them popular for use as working and guard dogs. The Rottweiler bit with 328 psi in Dr. Barr's tests.

Rottweilers in a field

Doberman

The Doberman is a highly energetic dog that can be aggressive with strangers if not properly socialized and trained. These dogs were once popular for work with the police and military. The bite force of the Doberman was found to be 228 psi.

Doberman Pinscher

Belgian Malinois

Another breed that is found often as a working dog with the military and police is the Belgian Malinois. Dubbed the "malinator" by their owners, this dog is known for having a strong bite as part of its work, as well as in Schutzhund trials. Surprisingly the Malinois' bite force was measured at only 195 psi.

Belgian Malinois

Dutch Shepherd

This breed had a psi of 224 which was not too far off from a similar breed, the German Shepherd. Though not common in the U.S., the Dutch Shepherd is a popular breed for use with police and military work as well as search and rescue and herding.

Dutch Shepherd

American Bulldog

The American Bulldog is sometimes considered part of the group of dogs known as pit bulls, though breeders and owners may disagree. This powerful dog had a bite force measured at 305 psi.

American Bulldog

English Bulldog

These dogs are known for their impressively large head despite their smaller bodies compared to other dogs on this list. The English Bulldog was found to have a bite strength of 210 psi.

English Bulldog

Chow Chow

A breed known for being wary with strangers, the Chow Chow had a bite force measurement of 220 psi. The Chow Chow was bred as a working dog as well as a guard dog for the palaces of ancient Chinese emperors.

Black Chow Chow

Boxer

Boxers are a popular family dog with an exuberant personality. These muscular and athletic dogs have a psi of 230.

Boxer dog

English Mastiff

Many breeders and dog owners believe the Mastiff has the strongest jaw, no doubt due to their overall size and big head. The English Mastiff was found to have a psi of 552.

English Mastiff

Cane Corso

Another of the mastiff breeds, the Cane Corso is a large dog with a muscular and powerful frame. The Cane Corso was developed in Italy to protect farms and their livestock. These dogs had a bite force measured at 700 psi.

Cane Corso puppy

Dogue de Bordeaux

Also known as the French Mastiff, the Dogue de Bordeaux had a similar measurement as its English Mastiff counterpart. The Dogue de Bordeaux's bite force strength came in at 556 psi.

Dogue de Bordeaux aka French Mastiff

Dogo Argentino

This breed may not be as familiar to dog owners in the U.S. but it looks very similar to a powerful, white pit bull type dog. Their bite strength was measured at 500 psi.

Dogo Argentino

Presa Canario

The Presa Canario, or Dogo Canario, is another mastiff breed that originated in the Canary Islands. Their bite strength was similarly high compared with other mastiffs with a rate of 540 psi.

Presa Canario

Tosa Inu

The final mastiff breed on this list, the Tosa Inu hails from Japan. This breed's bite force was in a similar range as other mastiffs, coming in at 556 psi.

Drooling Tosa Inu petted by woman

Leonberger

This massive dog had a bite force measured at 399 psi. These dogs are known as gentle giants despite their size and strength.

Leonberger

Kangal Dog

Another rare breed not often seen in the U.S. is the Kangal Dog. These dogs originated in Turkey as livestock guardians. They have the highest bite force measurement, coming in at 743 psi.

Anatolian Kangal Sheepdog

In the Wild

Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic did several tests of bite force with numerous animals, including dogs and wolves, to see which had the strongest jaws and the worst bite. Not surprisingly, the wolf was the canine with the most powerful bite, measuring 406 pounds of pressure.

The Strongest Canine Jaw

To answer the question regarding which dog breed has the strongest jaw is difficult because there are so many variables. Of the dogs that have been scientifically tested and recorded, the Kangal appears to have the strongest bite. However, it's important to remember that this will vary from bite to bite and animal to animal.

Which Dog Breed Has the Strongest Jaw?