What Dog Breeds Have the Strongest Bite?

Our personal injury firm has handled countless dog bite cases over the years. This has given us first-hand experience with just how much damage the more powerful dog breeds can inflict in just a few seconds. Our experience getting compensation for dog bite injuries has also allowed our attorneys to develop specialized knowledge about which types of dogs have the strongest bite force, making them capable of causing the most harm when they bite.

Although our lawyers are based in Maryland, we handle and accept dog bite cases involving severe injuries nationwide through a network of local partner firms.

What is Bite Force?

Bite force is simply a way of measuring or quantifying the maximum amount of crushing pressure exerted when a dog’s jaw muscles (or any other animal with jaws) bite down. Bite force is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), which indicates the pressure exerted by an animal’s jaws when biting. The Kangal, which we discuss below, is renowned for having one of the most powerful bite forces among dog breeds. It is estimated to have a bite force of around 700 to 750 PSI, making it the strongest bite in the canine world.

Putting this in context, a human’s bite force is about 120-140 PSI, and a German Shepherd’s is around 238 PSI, a pit bull has 240-330 PSI. So 700 is just a ton of force.

Bite force strength depends on several factors, the most significant being the size of the jaw bone and the strength of the jaw muscles. Both of these factors are a product of evolution in various species. Certain animal species, such as predators, evolved to have stronger jaw muscles and biting force because it was advantageous to their survival. Some plant eaters also evolved to have strong biting force for the same reason. For example, Panda Bears developed powerful jaws to enable them to survive by eating bamboo.

As we explain below, bite force is not the only variable that drives the severity of dog bite.

Animals with the Strongest Bite Force

Before we get into the bite force of various dog breeds, let’s quickly look at the strongest bite forces across the animal kingdom. The animals with the strongest biting force are crocodiles and alligators. The Nile Crocodile ranks at the top of the list with a bite force of 5,000 psi (double that of its cousin, the American Alligator).  For context, that is approximately 5- to 100 times more force than a Chihuahua. After crocodiles and alligators, the next strongest bite force belongs to the Hippopotamus (1,800 psi), followed by the Jaguar (1,500).

Bite Force in Dog Breeds

Dogs are unique in the animal world because their physical characteristics combine natural evolution (which gave us the wolf) and human tampering with the evolutionary process (which gave us hundreds of different breeds). The common genetic ancestor of all dog breeds is the wolf. Wolves evolved to have a powerful biting force because it enabled them to crush and consume the large-pack animals they hunted.

From the starting point of the wolf, humans have developed various dog breeds with unique physical characteristics. Bite force in dog breeds correlates to the size and shape of the dog’s head (craniofacial morphology), jaw bone, and the strength of the jaw muscles. Bigger dogs, with large jaws and heads, generally have stronger bite force.

Dog Breeds With the Strongest Bite Force

The list below ranks common dog breeds with the strongest known bite force. We have only included in this list dog breeds that are common in the United States. This list does not include many exotic breeds that are very rarely seen in the U.S. (such as the Tosa Inu).

#1 Kangal (740 PSI)

The Kangal is a large dog bred in the Anatolian mountains of Turkey to protect sheep from predators such as wolves, bears, and jackals. Their bite force is essential to their ability to protect and defend. The Kangal is not huge – a Kangal typically weighs between 100 to 130 pounds. But it is all muscle.

Most people assume the Cane Corso bite force is the strongest.  It is not.  The Kangal rules.  The strength of the Kangal’s bite is due to a combination of size, strength, and the shape of its head and jaw. The Kangal’s jaw is really a force. It is large and powerful, with well-developed muscles that allow it to exert significant force when biting. The Kangal is universally recognized as having the most powerful bite of any dog breed.  Thankfully, Kangals are known to be gentle and affectionate with their families.

#2  Mastiff (700 PSI)

There are many different breeds of Mastiff, which we have combined for the purposes of this list. The Italian Mastiff and the French Mastiff are recognized as having the strongest bite forces. Mastiffs are descendants of large war dogs originally used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.  The Mastiff bite force is the highest in some studies.

#3 Cane Corso (700 PSI)

The Cane Corso is a large breed of dog that originated in Italy. They were initially bred for various jobs that required strength and agility, such as guarding property, livestock, and families. Over time, they’ve also been used in hunting big game like wild boar. It is the 40th most popular dog breed in the U.S. Again, it is assumed the the Cane Corso bite force is the strongest.  But it is in third.

Cane Corsos are powerful dogs known for their muscular build and large size. Adult males typically weigh between 99 and 110 pounds (45–50 kg), while females usually weigh between 88 and 99 pounds (40–45 kg). Their bite force is estimated at around 700 PSI (pound-force per square inch).

Despite their jaw strength, Cane Corsos are often described as even-tempered, loyal, and protective dogs. They are known to be very attached to their families and are often good with children. However, due to their size, strength, and protective nature, they require thorough socialization and consistent, positive training methods from an early age.

#4 Akita (400 PSI)

The Akita Inu is a large dog breed native to Japan. Akita’s were initially bred as hunting and fighting dogs and tend to be somewhat aggressive. The Akita’s size and jaw strength give a bite force that is much stronger than the typical dog breed.

The Akita is not a very common breed in the U.S., so you don’t see them involved in many dog bite cases simply for that reason.

#5 Rottweiler (330 PSI)

The Rottweiler is a giant, bulky working dog breed from Germany. Rottweilers are like the linebackers of the dog world and are one of the strongest breeds pound for pound. Not surprisingly, the Rottweiler has one of the strongest bite forces which comes from their large head and powerful jaw muscles.

In our experience, Rottweilers are not nearly as temperamental or aggressive as other breeds, but they can inflict a lot of damage when they do attack.

#6 Siberian Husky (320 PSI)

The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized working dog bred in the Siberia region of Russia. Huskies were bred to pull sleds, and they are generally known for their high energy and friendly temperament. The Husky has powerful jaws capable of exerting strong force but are not aggressive and rarely involved in attacks.

#7 Pit Bull (310 PSI)

The term Pit Bull is generally used to refer to American Bulldogs or Staffordshire Terriers, both of which are very similar breeds. Pit Bulls are medium-sized, very muscular dogs bred for fighting and hunting. Pit Bulls are incredibly temperamental, and many of them are highly aggressive. Pit Bulls account for more dog bite attacks than any other breed. The pit bull bite force is strong for a dog of their size – they are seventh after all, but their quickness and aggression make them so dangerous.

#8 German Shepard (250 PSI)

German Shepards are big herding dogs originally bred in Germany to guard and manage sheep and livestock. German Shepherds are known for their intelligence and physical prowess, including a powerful bite force. They are often used as police dogs. They can be temperamental and overly protective of their home and families, which sometimes causes them to attack.

#9 Labrador Retriever (230 PSI)

Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed in the U.S. today. They are medium-sized, muscular dogs bred for water work. You might be a little surprised to see this dog on this list. Their size and strength give them a solid bite force strength. But they are among the least dangerous breeds because of their gentle and friendly temperament. Like most retrievers, Labs are bred to softly hold things in their mouths rather than bite or attack. Labs underscore the idea that while the theoretical PSI might suggest a higher capability, actual bite force is typically less powerful.  For Labradors, their breeding history, purpose, and typical temperament explain why their bite force might appear less than one might expect from their PSI.

Bite Force Is Just Part of the Equation

Bite force is indeed a critical factor in determining the potential severity of a dog bite. That is why we are spending so much time on it.  But it is only one part of a broader equation when it comes to dog bite severity.  Here are several other factors that contribute to the severity of a dog bite:

  1. Tooth Shape and Sharpness: Different breeds have different tooth shapes, which can affect how the bite impacts the victim. Sharp, pointed teeth can puncture deeply, while broader, flatter teeth might cause more of a crushing injury.
  2. Jaw Structure: The mechanical advantage provided by the jaw structure, not just the force itself, also plays a significant role. For example, dogs with short, broad (brachycephalic) jaws could produce stronger bites compared to those with longer, narrower (dolichocephalic) jaws. This difference is tied to the mechanical advantages of different jaw leverages. So how the jaws move and the leverage they will apply influence the type of injury inflicted.
  3. Location of the Bite: Bites to more vulnerable parts of the body, such as the face, neck, or hands, can be more severe than bites to fleshier areas like the thighs or upper arms.
  4. Duration and Intensity of the Attack: A bite that is sustained or accompanied by multiple bites can cause more extensive injury than a single, quick bite. The behavior of the dog during the bite (e.g., shaking its head) can exacerbate the injury. This often boils down to the dog’s intent. Defensive bites might be quicker and less severe, whereas an aggressive bite might be deeper and more determined.
  5. Infection Risk: Dog saliva contains bacteria, and the risk of infection following a bite can significantly complicate injuries. The severity of a bite is not only determined by the initial trauma but also by complications like infection.

Contact Our Dog Lawyers Today

Our firm handles severe injury dog bite cases involving serious injuries nationwide. Call our personal injury lawyers at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation if you or your child have been injured from a dog bite.

Contact Information