When discerning what breed of dog has the strongest bite, it's important to keep in mind that you cannot answer this question definitively across the board. The strength of a dog's bite varies within the same breed and among differing breeds; and bite strength may also fluctuate due to an individual dog's temperament and the circumstances in which biting occurs.
18 Dog Breeds With the Strongest Bite Force
Several domesticated breeds you will see below are thought to have the strongest jaw due to their large size. They're also well-known for their bite. You'll know them when you see them. 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. The following list is compiled from strongest to weakest bite force; however, keep in mind bite force may not be fully accurate, as it depends on multiple factors.
A rare dog breed not often seen in the U.S. is the Kangal Dog, which ranks at #1 on the bite force list. These dogs originated in Turkey as livestock guardians. They have the highest bite force measurement, coming in at 743 psi. While the Kangal Dog is sometimes referred to as a sheep dog, it is actually a flock guardian who often resides with a flock of sheep to actively fend off predators of all sizes.
Traditionally used in Turkey to guard against wolves, bears, and jackals, the Kangal Dog has been exported to African countries in recent years due to its intimidating size and effectiveness as a guardian, where they successfully protect local herds from lions, cheetahs, and similar indigenous big cats. The Kangal Dog has also been utilized to protect endangered species from dangerous predators.
Another of the mastiff breeds, the Cane Corso is a large dog with a muscular and powerful frame. The Corso's ancestors date back to ancient Rome, and the breed's name translates to 'bodyguard dog' in Latin. The Cane Corso was initially bred in Italy to protect farms and their livestock. These dogs have a bite force measured at 700 psi. They're understandably intimidating, weighing in at over 100 pounds.
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. The Dogue de Bordeaux ('Mastiff of Bordeaux') is a robust mastiff-like guard dog and the oldest of the French dog breeds, dating back to when France wasn't even a country. These powerful guardians are known for being devoted, affectionate, and protective.
The Tosa Inu, also known as the Japanese Mastiff, hails from Japan and is the largest Japanese dog breed. This breed's bite force was in a similar range as other mastiffs, coming in at 556 psi. Tosas are docile, obedient and loyal guard dogs.
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. The Mastiff is known for its friendly and loving temperament, and is distinguished by its gigantic size, massive head, short coat, and black mask. These dogs have a long history dating back to the early 1800s, but the modern breed was developed in the 1880s. Following a period of significant decline, the Mastiff has regained popularity around the world. The Mastiff has influenced the development of a number other dog breeds, some of which are referred to as mastiff-type dogs or, more confusingly, simply as "mastiffs." It is the largest living canine, weighing up to 40 pounds more than the wolf in most cases.
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. The Perro de Presa Canario is a strong and well-balanced dog. This breed is known for their calm temperament and confident personality. They are dedicated, obedient, and submissive with family members, but often distrustful of strangers. The primary function of this breed was and still is to guard and herd animals.
The Dogo Argentino is a pack-hunting dog designed to go after big game like wild boar and puma. They are well-known for their power, intelligence, and speed. A good nose, excellent lung capacity, and a powerful, yet agile, muscular body are all required for the Dogo to detect, chase, and catch dangerous game. 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.
This massive dog had a bite force measured at 399 psi. These dogs are known as gentle giants despite their size and strength. Leos were intended to be companions first and foremost. They show intellect and great judgment as watchdogs and all-around workers. On farms, pastures, and waterfronts, leos have long been used as versatile working dogs. They have a surprising amount of agility and are great swimmers.
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. The Rottweiler is a sturdy working breed with great strength that descends from the Roman armies' mastiffs. When involved with a family, the Rottie is a compassionate playmate and guardian who observes the outside world with a confident, happy demeanor.
The American Bulldog is sometimes considered in the same group of dogs labeled as 'pit bulls,' though breeders and owners may disagree. This powerful dog has a bite force measured at 305 psi. Historically, they were bred to be farmworkers' working dogs. The bulldog is thought to have arrived in America in the 17th century. They arrived in the United States with immigrants who brought their working bulldogs with them in the 1800s. This all-around working dog was used by small farmers and ranchers for a variety of tasks, including farm guardians, stock dogs, and catch dogs.
Although the German Shepherd was originally bred as a herding dog, this breed has been revered 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. There are many reasons why German Shepherds are considered canine kings, but their defining characteristic is character. Their loyalty, courage, confidence, the capacity to understand commands for a variety of duties, and their readiness to lay down their lives in defense of loved ones are among the qualities GSDs are known for. German Shepherds are loyal guards as well as gentle family companions.
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 they can also be affectionate family dogs. Originally bred to "bait" bulls, American Pit Bull Terriers evolved into all-around farm dogs, and eventually moved into the house to become "nanny dogs" due to their gentle demeanor around children.
Boxers are a popular family dog with an exuberant personality. These muscular and athletic dogs have a psi of 230. For a long time, the Boxer has been one of America's most popular dog breeds due to their fun-loving nature. Their calm demeanor and protective temperament have given them a reputation as a wonderful family dog. They take their roles as family guardians and watchdogs very seriously, and they will tackle threats head on.
The Doberman is a German dog breed that was established in the late 1800s. Manchester Terrier, German Pinscher, Beauceron, Rottweiler, and Weimaraner are all mixed together in this breed. During World War II, they were popular as military dogs, although that spot has now been taken primarily by the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois. The bite force of the Doberman was found to be 228 psi. The Doberman is a highly energetic dog that can be aggressive with strangers if not properly socialized and trained.
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. They're known for their high energy levels, likely because their initial duties involved keeping flocks of sheep in a specific spot.
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. Well-socialized Chows are rarely ferocious or difficult to handle, and are often known as being friendly and elegant. They are reserved among outsiders but devoted to their close ones. Chows are calm and versatile, and unlike many other breeds here, will happily take to city life.
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. The Bulldog has been England's national symbol throughout history. The breed is the mascot of a variety of sports teams in the United States, including those representing Yale University. Handsome Dan, Yale's Bulldog mascot, is claimed to be the first animal mascot in all of athletics.
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.
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 a high level of 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. In other words, bite force shouldn't be considered as being completely accurate, due to those factors.
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.
In the Wild
Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic shared his results from the study outlined above, Dangerous Encounters, to see if the domesticated dog or the wild wolf 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 Bite
It's difficult to say which dog breed has the strongest bite, because there are so many factors to consider. The Kangal appears to have the strongest bite of all the dogs that have been professionally examined and recorded. It's crucial to keep in mind, too, that this will vary from bite to bite and from animal to animal. Although scientists can calculate an average bite force for each breed, the average will vary from study to study.