Finding the Strongest Dog Bite in 10 Breeds

Black French bull dog with a red rubber bone in its mouth
The Frenchie doesn't make the list of top 10 dog breeds with the strongest bite, but it might crack the top 10 for cutest. Fernando Trabanco Fotografía / Getty Images

Although dogs are some of our closest companions, they pack a pretty powerful bite force. The average dog has an impressive bite force of 235 pounds per square inch (PSI). But which breed will deliver the strongest dog bite of them all?

What Determines a Dog's Bite Force?

Like all other animals that bite, a dog's bite force is determined primarily by its size. So a large dog like a Labrador Retriever will have a greater bite strength than a little Chihuahua, no matter how angry the Chihuahua is.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology examined the relationship between bite force and jaw shape in domestic dogs and found that, while size is still the biggest predictor of bite force, morphology plays a role, too.

Large brachycephalic dogs — those with shortened snouts, like the Rottweilers, pit bulls and bulldogs — tend to have a biting advantage over the longer-snouted and smaller breeds. The study's authors believe the advantage could come down to the tasks the dogs were bred for:

"Most of the large brachycephalic dogs are historically dedicated to the protection of humans (such as the rottweiler), whereas small brachycephalic dogs are dedicated to companionship, and mesocephalic or dolichocephalic dogs are dedicated to herding or hunting. For skills such as protection or attacking, breeders try to improve biting or gripping ability. Thus, it is not surprising to observe relatively higher bite forces in large brachycephalic dogs that were bred for defence/attack rather than dogs bred for herding or hunting."

The authors also point out that bite force varies significantly among individuals of the same dog breed. Of the 10 Beagle specimens studied, bite force ranged from 559 to 1018 Newtons on the same tooth.

Central Asian Shepherd Dog
Central Asian Shepherd Dog. Sherret / Shutterstock

10. Central Asian Shepherd Dog: 500 PSI

The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is one of the world's oldest dogs, with a history that spans 5,000 years. Unlike other dogs on this list, which were bred specifically for tasks like herding, hunting and fighting, this particular breed developed through natural selection.

That doesn't mean they don't make great guard dogs. These protective dogs travel alongside nomadic tribes, protecting the people and livestock they live with. The breed stands 27.5 inches (69.9 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs 110 pounds (49.9 kg).

Perro de Presa Canario
Perro de Presa Canario. TamaraLSanchez / Shutterstock

9. Perro de Presa Canario: 540 PSI

The Perro de Presa Canario ("Canary dog of prey") is a mollosser, a group of short-snouted dogs including the English Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Dogue de Bordeaux, Tibetan Mastiff and Tosa Inu.

Bred as guard dogs to protect livestock and property, mollossers' large size and short snouts give them the strongest bite force of any group of dogs. The Perro de Presa Canario was used in dog fights until the practice was made illegal in the Canary Islands in the 1940s.

Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiff. Tatyana Kuznetsova / Shutterstock

8. Tibetan Mastiff: 550 PSI

With its huge size (males are at least 26 inches [66 cm] to the shoulder and weigh up to 150 pounds [68 kg]) and fluffy mane, the Tibetan Mastiff looks more like a lion than a dog.

The Tibetan Mastiff's history is murky. According to the American Tibetan Mastiff Association, it may have descended from an ancient Chinese dog, and its isolation in the Himalayan mountains may have contributed to its unique features. The Tibetan mastiff traveled with Tibetan sheepherders to protect sheep (and humans) from wolves and snow leopards.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Shepherd Dog. Tatianasoba / Shutterstock

7. Caucasian Shepherd Dog: 550 PSI

Measuring up to 30 inches (76.2 cm) from paw to shoulder and weighing up to 170 pounds (77.1 kg), this large Eastern European shepherd dog has guarded livestock and humans from predators like coyotes and wolves for centuries. The American Kennel Club recognizes two breed standards: the heavier, long-haired Mountain type and the shorter-coated Steppe type.

English Mastiff
English Mastiff. Monica Arauz / Shutterstock

6. English Mastiff: 552 PSI

The largest of the mastiff breeds, the English Mastiff measures at least 30 inches (76.2 cm) at the shoulder and weighs up to 230 pounds (104 kg).

According to the American Kennel Club, the English Mastiff dates back to at least 55 B.C.E., when the dogs apparently impressed Julius Caesar in his invasion of Britain. In Medieval England, English mastiffs were used as war dogs, big game hunters and guard dogs.

Today, the English mastiff is known as a "gentle giant." Despite their size (and strong bite force), many people believe English mastiffs make great family pets with proper training.

5. Black Russian Terrier: 556 PSI

Not technically a terrier, the Black Russian's impressive bite force is due to its large size: up to 30 inches (76.2 cm) at the shoulder and 130 pounds (60 kg).

Black Russian Terrier
Black Russian Terrier. Daryl Solomon / Getty Images

The black Russian terrier's origin story reads like a superhero comic.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Russian government commissioned breeders at its Red Star kennel to create a war dog more cold-hardy than the German shepherd.

After World War II, the kennel was able to import the Rottweiler and Giant Schnauzer from East Germany.

Those two dogs, plus the Airedale Terrier (also not a true terrier) and the Newfoundland, form the foundation of the breed.

Tosa Inu
Tosa Inu. Anita Kot / Getty Images

4. Tosa: 556 PSI

Also known as the Tosa Inu and the Japanese Fighting Dog, this large (21.5 to 23.5 inches [54.6 cm] tall and up to 200 pounds [90.7 kg]) short-haired dog was originally bred as fighting dogs. The Tosa is a hybrid of the Japanese Shikoku and Western breeds including Bulldogs, Mastiffs, German Pointers and Great Danes.

Dogue de Bordeaux
Dogue de Bordeaux. Little Brown Rabbit Photography / Getty Images

3. Dogue de Bordeaux: 556 PSI

The Dogue de Bordeaux ("dog of Bordeaux"), also known as the French Mastiff, isn't just large breed (up to 27 inches [68.6 cm] tall and 110 pounds [49.9 kg]). It also has the largest head (proportionally) of any canine, according to the American Kennel Club.

A large head means a big mouth, and a big mouth means stronger bite force. Originally bred for fighting, a Dogue de Bordeaux also makes an excellent guard dog or livestock drover.

The breed gained international recognition with the release of the film "Turner & Hooch" (1989), featuring a detective (Tom Hanks) who adopts a Dogue de Bordeaux after the dog owner's murder.

Cane Corso
Cane Corso. Predrag Vuckovic / Getty Images

2. Cane Corso: 700 PSI

This ancient Roman dog's name translates roughly to "bodyguard dog." At 28 inches (71.1 cm) tall and over 100 pounds (45.4 kg), this molloser makes for an impressive bodyguard. Like the other breeds on this list, the Cane Corso is a working dog typically traditionally used for guarding farms.

Its thick, coarse coat is completely waterproof.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Ozgur Donmaz / Getty Images

1. Anatolian Shepherd Dog: 743 PSI

This ancient Turkish breed was developed to protect sheep during hot summers and freezing winters. Today, Anatolian Shepherds continue to work on farms and ranches.

The breed became popular in the United States in the 1970s with the passage of the Endangered Species Act, which required ranchers protect their livestock without killing endangered wolves.

Anatolian Shepherds, which can reach 29 inches (73.7 cm) and weigh up to 150 pounds (68 kg), were the perfect solution for intimidating wolves without killing them. Their large size explains why they have the highest bite force of any breed of dog.

Original article: Finding the Strongest Dog Bite in 10 Breeds

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