Pit Bull vs. Wolf: Which Bite is Stronger?

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Written by Eliana Riley

Updated: June 9, 2023

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Introduction

While pit bulls may seem intimidating, they are friendly, playful dogs that get along well with humans. However, some pit bulls can be aggressive, and their bite packs a powerful punch. Likewise, wolves have a strong bite used to kill prey or in defense. While both mammals can surely be menacing, humans are more of a threat to pit bulls and wolves than they are to humans. Discover which animal has a stronger bite and find out more about their behavior and temperament.

Background on Pit Bulls

The pit bull also goes by the common names American Pit Bull Terrier or simply Pit Bull Terrier. The dog originated in the United Kingdom, as it was bred as a fighting dog. Historically, bulldog and terrier breeds were used for hunting or controlling livestock. Now, the pit bull is deemed a separate breed, recognized by the United Kennel Club as the American Pit Bull Terrier. On the other hand, the American Kennel Club does not recognize the pit bull as a separate breed.

The pit bull began as a fighting dog, meaning that it would face up against other dogs in competitions. Thus, the pit bull can be a highly aggressive breed, especially toward other dogs. Toward humans, though, the pit bull has been trained not to show aggression, as trainers found that aggression toward humans made control of the pit bull a difficult task. Therefore, pit bulls or other breeds that showed aggression toward humans were not considered fighting dogs nor used in breeding fighting dogs.

While dogfighting is illegal across several countries, some owners have chosen to instill intense aggression into their pit bulls. These irresponsible owners are part of the reason why pit bulls are often represented by a bad image in the media and have a generally negative reputation. Many attacks on humans by pit bulls have been recorded and, as a result, have made the image of the pit bull appear as an aggressive, formidable beast. In most cases, though, pit bulls are not aggressive with responsible, well-tempered owners that treat their dogs with respect and train them correctly.

Gray and white American bully pocket on grass

Pit bulls were originally bred as fighting dogs, but now they are kept as pets or guard dogs.

©Rock City Kennels / CC BY 2.0 – Original / License

Pit Bull Appearance

This dog breed has a short coat that may appear in various colors, such as brown, white, black, gray, and more. Pit bulls are medium-sized dogs and are extremely muscular. Many describe the pit bull as athletic, bulky, and strong. The dog’s body is typically longer than its height, and the legs of the pit bull usually measure around half of its height. Both the head and the ears of the breed are medium-sized on average. Overall, pit bulls are strongly built, and while they may appear formidable, the breed is rather friendly with humans.

Pit Bull Temperament

Pit bulls are highly intelligent dogs, meaning that they can follow directions and act obediently. However, the breed is also stubborn and may give owners some trouble, even into adulthood. Furthermore, pit bulls are playful and extremely athletic. They enjoy plenty of physical activity. The dog is also protective; it is likely to show aggression toward other dogs when it desires to defend its owner.

Although the pit bull thrives as a family pet, it can also be trained as a guard dog or watchdog. Historically, pit bulls had been used to herd cattle and defend livestock. Thus, the pit bull can act as a working dog as well as a pet. Being defensive and loyal, though, the pit bull may show aggression toward people that it is unfamiliar with. Therefore, owners should train their pit bull responsibly so that it does not engage in dangerous or threatening behavior toward others.

Red Nose Pit Bull Looking Up

Many people believe that pit bulls are dangerous and aggressive, but the breed makes a great family dog, often described as friendly, playful, and obedient.

©David Cohen 156/Shutterstock.com

Background on Wolves

Two main types of wolves exist throughout the world. First, the gray wolf, also called the timber wolf, is native to much of the Northern Hemisphere. On the other hand, the Ethiopian wolf, also called the Abyssinian wolf, resides in the country of Ethiopia. Now, though, many define the Ethiopian wolf as a jackal. A jackal is a mammal related to species like foxes, coyotes, wolves, and dogs.

Long ago, the wolf was one of the most prevalent species on Earth. The animal had a distribution greater than any other land mammal, apart from the lion. Historically, wolves lived in a variety of habitats, and they were avid hunters. Over time, though, wolf populations began to decline due to environmental factors and due to human interference. Wolves were later used to breed numerous dog species.

While many ancient civilizations respected the wolf for its hunting skills and tough demeanor, human attitude toward the creature eventually grew sour. Many people believed the wolf to be a competitor, stealing large game from them. They also disliked how wolves attacked and killed livestock. Frustrated with the wolf’s habits, humans began hunting and killing the animal. In areas like the United States and Europe, wolf populations had been practically wiped out by the 20th century.

Wolf Appearance

Wolves have fur that may be brown, black, muted white, or reddish. However, most wolves are gray, and the legs of wolves typically appear white or white with hints of yellow coloration. Wolves whose fur is lighter are commonly found in colder areas, such as in the Arctic. The legs of the wolf are long, and its feet are large, allowing it to traverse the landscape with ease. In addition, wolves have large teeth and strong jaws.

Most wolves measure around 6.6 feet in length and weigh around 100 pounds. However, some wolves may be as little as 31 pounds, and some as heavy as 143 pounds. The size and weight of wolves correlate to their location on Earth. For instance, wolves of the greatest size can be encountered in northern Asia, Canada, and Alaska. On the other hand, smaller wolves reside in South Asia or the Middle East.

Grey wolf looks straight ahead

Wolves are incredible animals, but their populations are continually threatened by humans. Wolves are important in stabilizing ecosystems, so they should be protected.

©AB Photographie/Shutterstock.com

Wolf Behavior

Wolves are natural hunters that often attack and kill large prey, such as elk. The wolf is also a defensive creature and will attack when it feels threatened. Wolves travel in packs, which allows them to keep their families together, attack large prey as a unit, and defend their territory. Furthermore, wolves can communicate with one another in these packs. Some communication methods between wolf individuals in packs help relieve tension between members.

Wolves may utilize certain facial expressions to communicate. For instance, some facial patterns represent dominance, while others signify subordination. They also use their tails to communicate similar messages. If you’ve ever encountered a wolf, you might have heard a plethora of howls and barking noises. These vocal signals are used to communicate various meanings. For instance, howling may call individuals to return to the pack or may act as a warning. Growls usually represent aggression, and whines are considered a way of showing affection.

Pit Bull vs. Wolf: A Comparison

CharacteristicsPit BullsWolves
Weight24 to 80 pounds31 to 143 pounds
Length17 to 21 inches6.6 feet
TemperamentLoyal, smart, obedient, amiable, and toughIntelligent, adaptable, devoted, adventurous, and protective
ColorBrown, tan, black, white, gray, and redBrown, black, white, red, and gray
Friendly to other breeds or animalsNoNo
Friendly to humansYesNo
Wolf, Gray Wolf, Dog, Animal, Animals Hunting

Unlike pit bulls, wolves are not usually friendly with humans unless they have been trained.

©iStock.com/Cloudtail_the_Snow_Leopard

Which Animal’s Bite is Stronger: Pit Bull or Wolf?

Between the pit bull and the wolf, the wolf has a stronger bite. The bite force of a pit bull measures 235 PSI. The bite force of a wolf measures nearly 400 PSI. Therefore, the wolf has a stronger bite than the pit bull. Wolves have extremely strong jaws, which help them in attacking and killing prey.

In addition, the bite of a wolf is useful in defending themselves in the wild. If a wolf encounters a threat, it can use its strong bite to attack the threat. Furthermore, a wolf’s bite force may increase significantly when they are attacking prey or defending themselves. Therefore, wolves have a highly powerful bite that is much stronger than the bite force of most dog breeds.

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About the Author

Eliana Riley is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on geography, travel, and landmarks. Eliana is a second-year student at Miami University majoring in English Education and Spanish. A resident of Tennessee and Ohio, Eliana enjoys traveling to national and state parks, hiking, kayaking, and camping.

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