- One key giveaway for canines worthy of making it onto this list is a broad skull.
- The top spot goes to a rather surprising candidate, the gentle shepherd dog, the Kangal Shepherd. Its bite force of 743 pounds per square inch (PSI) is almost three times stronger than the average for canines (250 PSI).
- However, no canine makes it onto the top 10 list of the most fearsome biters, which starts out with the grizzly at the very bottom with a 975 PSI.
First, the dog breed with the strongest bite force isn’t the American pit bull terrier, to many people’s surprise. Indeed, the pitbull is not even in the top 10, and neither are the German Shepherd or the Doberman all thought to be dogs with serious bites. Even the bite force of wolves, at around 400 pounds per square inch of force (PSI) isn’t the strongest. What dogs with strong bites do have in common are muscular jaws and tenacity.
They tend to have broad heads that let a person see how big their jaw muscles actually are and how they attach to the skull. Still, even the most powerful of these dogs can’t snap the human femur in two. That requires about 1700 PSI, and no dog’s bite force is that high. The dog breeds are listed from least strong (of the group) to strongest bites.
First, honorable mention:
Here’s the bite force of a few dogs not in the top 10:
- German Shepherd: The bite force of the attractive, powerful and intelligent German shepherd is as much as 238 PSI.
- American pitbull: This dog with the undeserved reputation for viciousness delivers a bite that’s about 235 PSI.
- Doberman: The sleek and elegant Doberman has a bite force of around 229 PSI.
This dog breed has the same black and tan body pattern as the Doberman and like the Doberman originated in Germany and was bred to be a working dog. The Rottweiler stands about as high at the shoulder as the Doberman, between 23 and 27 inches but is a much more robust dog as it weighs between 90 and 110 pounds. Its broad skull anchors jaws that deliver 305 PSI, but the dog is powerful overall with strong hindquarters, a broad chest, and ribs that breeders refer to as “well sprung.” The dog is notoriously protective of its humans, but it is usually calm and biddable. As with the pitbull, the Rottweiler has a bad reputation due to bad training.
Go here to learn more about the Rottweiler.
The Siberian husky is a wolf-like dog bred in Russia to pull sleds. Its bite force is a remarkable 320 PSI even though it is not the biggest or heaviest of working dogs. A husky stands 20 to 23.5 inches high at the shoulder and weighs only between 35 and 60 pounds, but its use as a sled dog is a testament to its power. It has a distinctly lupine face, with a long muzzle, almond-shaped eyes that are sometimes blue and erect, triangular ears. Its tail is bushy, its legs are long, and its back is long and straight. A double coat protects it from Siberian winters. Groups of huskies, like wolf packs, like to howl together.
The husky is an energetic dog and needs lots of exercise, both mental and physical. Its coat makes it unsuitable for warm climates.
Read this for more about the husky.
People may be surprised that the friendly and somewhat cuddly Leonberger has a crushing bite of 399 PSI. It is a big dog, standing 26 to 31.5 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 75 and 110 pounds, with a long, somewhat rough coat, a bushy tail, a mane on its chest and neck, and feathering on its ears and the backs of its front legs. Descended from the bearlike Newfoundland among others, the dog does have a broad head and a wide, square muzzle. What’s fascinating about this dog is that it was developed in 19th century Germany to serve as the mascot for the town of Leonberg. However, one benefit from its Newfoundland roots is that it loves water and is used in many a water rescue, where the strength and tenacity of its jaws are helpful.
Read this for more information about the Leonberger.
The Boerboel is a type of mastiff developed in South Africa. Utilized as a guardian of people and property, it stands 24 to 28 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 120 and a whopping 200 pounds. It has the mastiff’s massive head, overhanging flews and worried look, drooping ears, powerful legs, and broad chest, and its bite force can be as high as 450 PSI. Though its ancestry is uncertain, it was only admitted to the American Kennel Club in 2015. Like the pitbull, a well-trained Boerboel can be very good with children and can stand some roughhousing. Still, it’s not the dog for people who’ve never owned a dog before, especially a dog that is big and powerful.
#7. Dogo Argentino
That this homely dog was developed in 1920s Argentina to hunt jaguars, pumas, and wild boars say much about it. The purebred dog is always white and has a coat so short that the color of its skin might be visible through it. Its front legs are long and straight, its back legs are powerful, and it has the wide skull and jaws of the mastiff. Those jaws deliver a bite force of about 500 PSI, and it is one reason that the Dogo Argentino is banned or restricted in several countries, including the United Kingdom. It is brave and protective of its family and is used in military and police work. It’s a rather big dog at 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and a weight between 80 and 100 pounds.
To learn more about the Dogo Argentino, go here.
#6. Presa Canario
This big mastiff was developed in the late 19th century on the Canary Islands, which belong to Spain to be a guardian and a herder of cattle and sheep. With a bite force of 540 PSI, it is also bred for dog-fighting, even though that’s now illegal in Spain. This courageous and determined dog almost went extinct in the 1960s.
The Presa Canario is a big, heavy, well-muscled dog that stands 22 to 26 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 88 to 143 pounds. It has the mastiff’s huge head and jaws, and its ears are usually cropped to make the dog look more menacing and to protect the ears from the cattle it herds. It has a short coat of coarse fur, a long, strong back, hindquarters that are a bit higher than its shoulders, and catlike feet.
Read this to learn more about the Presa Canario.
Developed in Great Britain, the mastiff has been around since 1,000 BC, and dogs very much like it were used in the gladiatorial games in ancient Rome. They were famous for their bravery and determination in war and were used to bait bears and fight other massive dogs. The heaviest and longest dog in the world was a mastiff named Zorba, who stood 37 inches high at the shoulder, was over 8 feet long from nose to tail, and weighed 345 pounds. However, most mastiffs stand 27.5 to 30 inches and weigh between 175 and 190 pounds.
The mastiff has a square head and prominent flews and a black mask. Their wrinkled foreheads wrinkle up some more when they’re paying attention. Their ears hang though they are high set on the skull, and the tail, which tapers to a point, is high set on the rump. Though it looks fearsome and does have a bite force of 552 PSI, the mastiff is docile, loyal, and protective.
Learn more about the mastiff here.
#4. Tosa Inu
This dog was developed in 19th century Japan to fight, and to that end, it has the bowling ball head and powerful jaws of a pit bull, even though its muzzle is a bit longer. Its coat is close-lying, probably to prevent an opponent from grabbing it, and it has exceptionally strong teeth. Though it stands 24.5 to 25.5 inches high at the shoulder, the Tosa Inu often weighs 200 pounds, much of it muscle. This dog, which has a bite force of 556 PSI, can become rather aggressive without a firm hand and is banned in several countries.
#3. Dogue de Bordeaux
This unfortunate-looking dog with its enormous head, sad face, undershot jaw, and thick neck was developed in France as long ago as the 4th century AD. Used as a guardian, a hunter, and a baiter of bulls, it is descended from mastiffs. The Dogue de Bordeaux stands 23 to 27 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 80 and 100 pounds. The massive skull supports jaws that can deliver 556 PSI of force. Maybe because of this, the dog is fearless and utterly devoted to its humans.
To learn more about the Dogue de Bordeaux, read this.
#2. Cane Corso
The notorious Cane Corso can have a bite force up to 700 PSI, which is greater than the bite force of a lion. Like many of the dogs on the list, it is descended from mastiff-like canines that lived in ancient Rome and were used to fight gladiators and wild beasts. Later, the Cane Corso was used to herd cattle and hunt large game. Now, it’s a guardian and a loyal and docile pet.
The dog has the usual mastiff head, muzzle, and flews, though its forehead doesn’t wrinkle as much. It stands between 18 and 27.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 88 and 110 pounds. As with other mastiffs, the coat is short, but it’s also dense and can be black, shades of gray, fawn, or brindled. Interestingly, the lifespan of the dog seems to depend on the color of its coat. Black brindle dogs live the longest at a little over 10 years, while dogs that are neither gray, fawn, solid black, or brindle live a little over eight years.
Read this to learn more about the Cane Corso.
#1. Kangal Shepherd Dog
This dog presents with the strongest bite of all the canines on the list. It can deliver 743 PSI of force, which surprises people because it looks not much like a mastiff. The Kangal Shepherd is a herding dog, with a lovely double coat of fawn or sable, a long tail that curls at the end, long legs and back, tucked-in ears, and a peaceable look.
It is good with children, intelligent and sensitive. Most of all, the Kangal lives to protect, whether it’s people or livestock. It has little problem fending off wolves, bears, and big cats, even though it only stands between 25 and 31 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 88 and 110 pounds.
Animals With a Strong Bite Force
The bite force of any animal is dependent on certain jaw muscles as well as jawbones and teeth. It can also depend on the size of its prey. Because the bite force in a muscle depends on how big it can stretch, the size of the meal is also a big factor. The bite force, measured in pounds per square inch, is basically the pressure from one pound-force applied to an area of one square inch.
With that said, here are some other animals with extraordinary psi bite force:
- American alligator: 2125 PSI
- Hippopotamus: 1820 PSI
- Jaguar: 1500 PSI
- Bull shark: 1,350 PSI
- Gorilla: 1,300 PSI
- Polar bear: 1200 PSI
- Grizzly bear: 1160 PSI
- Hyena: 1100 PSI.
Summary of Dog Breeds With the Strongest Bite Force
Here’s a recap of the breeds of dogs that have bites with the highest PSI.
|Rank||Dog Breed||PSI||Height at Shoulder (inches); Weight (lbs)|
|1||Kangal Shepherd Dog||743 PSI||25-31 in; 88-110 lbs|
|2||Cane Corso||700 PSI||18-27.5 in; 88-110 lbs|
|3||Dogue de Bordeaux||556 PSI||23-27 in; 80-100 lbs|
|4||Tosa Inu||556 PSI||24.5-25.5 in; 200 lbs|
|5||Mastiff||552 PSI||27.5-30 in; 175-190 lbs|
|6||Presa Canario||540 PSI||22-26 in; 88-143 lbs|
|7||Dogo Argentino||500 PSI||24-27 in; 80-100 lbs|
|8||Boerboel||450 PSI||24-28 in; 120-200 lbs|
|9||Leonberger||399 PSI||26-31.5 in; 75-110 lbs|
|10||Husky||320 PSI||20-23.5 in; 35-60 lbs|
|11||Rottweiler||305 PSI||23-27 in; 90-110 lbs|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Astakhova
Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?
How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.