What Is The Bite Force Of A Wolf?

Written by Emilio Brown
Updated: October 14, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/mtnmichelle
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Wolves can look very similar to your average husky, but they are much wilder. Wolves and dogs are closely related, sharing around 99% of their DNA. The different dog species we see today are descendants of the wolf. Most wolves of today can be found in Alaska, Canada, and Russia, and are still dangerous predators to come across. The bite force of a wolf is powerful but how powerful?

Wolves are generally larger than dogs and are much more powerful. In addition, they have a very strong bite force, but how strong is it? In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the bite from a wolf, and also how it can compare to a dog. Dogs have an average bite force of around 230 to 250 psi, now let’s learn about the bite force of a wolf. 

What Is A Wolf’s Bite Force?

tibetan mastiff vs wolf
A gray wolf running in the snow. These gray animals are pack animals, organized into distinctive hierarchies within their wolf packs.

Holly S Cannon/Shutterstock.com

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Wolves have a strong bite force of around 400 psi, which is stronger than most species of dogs. Some believe a wolf can bite with up to 1,000 psi, but testing animals for bite force can be difficult. A wolf’s bite varies because of its size, and whether the wolf was biting at its hardest. Wolves have a very strong bite force and also have extremely sharp teeth. Their teeth and bite help them hunt their prey and rip into the animals they kill. Wolves’ jaws are strong enough to crush bones. 

The bite of a wolf may not seem strong, since some animals like bears have a force of over 1,000 psi, but their bite is still impressive. Humans only have a bite force of around 120 psi, and a small dog like a chihuahua can only produce a bite force of around 100 psi. Like most animals the larger the wolf the stronger its bite force will be. Neck muscles are one of the main components to bite force, and why animals like gorillas are able to produce so much force. 

Modern wolves have a strong bite force, but the extinct dire wolves were said to have a bite force as much as 30% stronger than the modern wolves. Wolves and dogs are quite similar but there are breeds of dogs that can bite harder than a wolf. A Wolf bite force may not be the strongest, but it is still deadly. 

Wolf Bite vs Dog Bite  

Wolves and dogs are closely related, and some dogs like the Siberian husky closely resemble a Wolf. The Wolf has a strong bite force even for a dog. The Kangle is the breed with the strongest bite force at 743 psi, which is the strongest of all dogs. The Wolf has one of the strongest bite forces when compared with most dogs but some breeds that are larger are able to produce much more force than a wolf. Each dog breeds bite force will vary since each dog is different, but their bite force is an average estimate for the species. 

Here are some dog breeds and their bite force:

A wolf’s bite is powerful, but its teeth are also why wolves are dangerous. Their teeth are designed for their carnivore’s lifestyle, and help hunt and eat the variety of animals near them.

The Teeth Of A Wolf 

Wolf Teeth - Wolf Skull
Skull of a wolf

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A wolf will usually gain their full set of teeth by the time they are 7 months old, which helps them in their carnivorous lifestyle. As adults wolves have 42 teeth, each with its own purpose. 12 incisors are on the bottom and top of a wolf’s jaw used to groom themselves and feed on the meals they catch. Canines are the largest teeth of the wolf and help grab onto prey when they are hunting. Molars and premolars are also a part of the wolf’s 42 teeth helping them grind up and slice through food. Wolves who are older will lose teeth and grind their teeth down to nubs since they are used so often. 

What Do Wolves Use Their Bite For?

Wolf Teeth - Wolf Displaying Teeth
Wolf snarling

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Wolves have a strong bite that helps them defend themselves, or kill animals for food. When a wolf is threatening you it will flash its teeth and give off an aggressive growl. Wolves use their bite as the main defense, but they also live together in packs to keep each other safe. A wolf lives and hunts with its pack, attacking animals from different angles when trying to catch them. 

2 to 36 members of wolves live in a pack, and their bite is what they use to hunt. Wolves feed on various species and in a group can take down large animals. Deer, moose, elk, rabbits, foxes, and other available prey in their area are what wolves eat. 

Types Of Wolves

Mackenzie Wolf
When hunting in a pack, the Mackenzie Wolf is strong enough to take down animals as large as bison.

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In North America, the gray and red wolf are the two types of wolves that historically inhabited wide areas. However, wolves have lost a large majority of their habitat due to humans. Wolves (Canis lupus) are not endangered but have lost a large portion of their population. Red wolves on the other hand, are critically endangered and fewer than 100 individuals are believed to live in the wild today in small habitats mostly clustered in North Carolina.

Here are some sub-species of wolfs:

  • Great Plains wolf
  • Northwestern wolf
  • Tudnra wolf
  • Steppe wolf
  • Mongolian wolf
  • Labbrador wolf
  • Mackenzie river wolf 

It is estimated that there are around 200,000 to 250,000 wolves left in the world. Gray wolves have the strongest bite of them all, but extinct wolf species may have been even stronger.

Types of Wild Dogs
Grey wolf from the Wapiti Lake Pack getting ready to cross the road in Yellowstone National Park.
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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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