How Much Bite Force Does A Pit Bull Have?

how much bite force does a pit bull have
Image by Lilla Kalocsai from Pixabay

Pit Bulls around the world today are believed to be the most dangerous species of dogs and, in fact, breed-specific legislation in many states ban the ownership of pit bulls. This hatred for pit bull can be traced to its characteristics, one of which is its aggressive nature. This aggressive nature has contributed to the pit bull’s bite force which scares away a lot of people. However, there are some controversies about the pit bull that cloud people’s minds away from the real thing. This article shall examine the myths surrounding a pit bull’s bite force, the truth, some other myths and generally, the strength of a pit bull.

But before we go to the question for the day — how much bite force does a pit bull have? — let’s bust some myths.

The Truth About A Pit Bull’s Bite Force

The myth about the bite force of pit bulls is centered around the belief that they have locking jaws and more biting power than other breeds. Locking jaws? No, that’s ridiculous. No dog breed has locking jaws. In fact, the jaws of a pit bull function exactly the way all other dogs’ jaws do. 

Also, pit bulls do not have more bite pressure than other dog breeds. They are surrounded by rumors to have the ability to bite with extreme force but there are no specific facts to support this. 

Based on the experiment carried out by Dr. Braddy Barr of National Geographic, it was discovered that these domestic canines often have an average bite force of 320 pounds. 

He went on to test three dog breeds, a Rottweiler, an American pit bull and a German shepherd. From the results of his experiment, the Rottweiler had the toughest bite force with about 328 pounds of force, the German shepherd was next with 238 pounds of force and then the pit bull followed with a bite force of 235 pounds. 

Now, while a pit bull does not have a special in-built locking mechanism, it is still referred to as very dangerous because it holds its bite for a very long time before letting go and it is difficult to open its jaws. The reason for this traces back to how the ancient pit bulls were trained. 

Most cases of pit bull bites you hear around are always characterized by one thing, that the pit bulls were not willing to let go. This could honestly be terrifying and it will most definitely chase people away from playing with a pit bull. 

More so, a pit bull has the ability to run very fast, as fast as 45 miles per hour. In such a situation, running away from it does not entirely guarantee your safety. This is why owners of pit bulls have to exercise a great level of control over them. 

The Teeth Of A Pit Bull

A pit bull is commonly described as an animal armed to the teeth but it does not have locking jaws like many people believe. Based on several studies that have been conducted on the structure of the skulls and teeth of pit bulls, it has been discovered that in proportion to size and functional morphology, the jaw structure of pit bulls is not different from that of any other dog breed. 

How Do You Make A Pit Bull Let Go Of A Bite?

To be honest, this one takes extreme efforts to achieve. The measures you would apply to other dog breeds like hitting, kicking or spraying the eyes with pepper do not work on a pit bull. 

There have been many cases of pit bulls that never let go of bites until they are shot. Even after being shot dead, some still cling on to the bite and don’t open their jaws. You can have a pit bull hanging from your leg for over an hour until someone who can open its jaws or put it down comes around. This is pretty scary. 

If you get bitten by a pit bull, these are some measures you can take to make it let go of the bite:

  1. One of the best options is to insert a break stick between its teeth. To make this work, you have to force it in and pull the teeth apart. Don’t try this with your bare hands if you don’t want to lose a hand. While this may work, it might also be entirely impossible because of the pressure of the bite. More so, getting the stick there does not mean the pit bull can’t shake it off and hold on to the bite. So, after inserting the break stick, you should try to hold it in place.

Here’s a video of how to insert a break stick into the mouth of a pit bull.

  1. If you have tried all possible means to make the pit bull let go and it is still adamant, you might have to take extreme measures and shoot the pit bull. A pit bull is capable of killing another dog and even human beings so, you cannot take any chances. 

Other Myths About The Pit Bull

1. Pit Bulls’ Bites Are More Fatal Than Those Of Other Breeds

In the United States, about 4.5 million dog bites are reported annually as estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, only about 20 to 30 bites are always fatal. The common breeds that were involved in most of the fatal bites included Pit bulls, Rottweilers and German shepherds.  

However, according to the report by the American Veterinarian Medical Association’s examination of the bites, a dog’s breed could only be identified in 45 incidents and of the 45, more than 20 different breeds caused the attack. It was impossible to calculate the bite rates. The reason for the myth that pit bull bites are usually more fatal can be said to have ensued from the long time it takes for pit bulls to let go of bites. 

2. You Cannot Train Pit Bulls

Interestingly, as opposed to this myth, pit bulls are one of the very obedient and well-disciplined dog breeds. They are best known and respected for their agility, strength, ability to track and ability to defend their owners from attacks. However, just like every other dog breed, it is not every pit bull that comes naturally obedient and easily trainable.

You can watch this video of this well-trained pit bull listening to its owner’s instructions

3. Pit Bulls Don’t Get Along With Other Animals

Again, we should understand that there are different types of pit bulls and it is not possible for all of them to act and react the same way. So, while some pit bulls may love and live happily with other animals, some others may not. It all depends on training and how a dog owner makes the pit bull relate with other dogs. 

4. Pit Bulls Are More Aggressive Than Most Dogs

Aggression is not a characteristic restricted to pit bulls, it depends on the dog itself irrespective of its breed. Also, the aggression of a dog depends on the kind of environment it is raised in and even the owner. 

The American Temperament Test Society carried out an evaluation of dog breeds’ temperament based on the dog’s stability, shyness, friendliness, aggressiveness and readiness to defend its owner. From this test, the American pit bull terrier and American Staffordshire terrier had high percentages. 

Therefore, the owners of pit bulls referred to as “dangerous” or “aggressive” might just also have reputations for being dangerous. In fact, based on a 2006 study that was published in the journal of interpersonal violence, owners of dogs referred to as “high-risk dogs” were very likely to have the ability to commit violent crimes. But, in the case of dog-to-dog aggression, it applies to all dog breeds.

Why Pit Bulls Are Considered The Most Dangerous Dog Breed

In the United States, the pit bull has been responsible for 82% of deaths from dog attacks according to This, undoubtedly, will constitute fear and contribute to the already existing resentments towards the pit bull. This is why you should make efforts to recognize a pit bull and never approach one unless it has a leash and you know it well. Click here to read What Is A Pitbull? — if you need help identifying one

No matter your intentions, whether you want to talk to it or touch it, it can decide to defend or attack at any time. 

The origin of pit bulls also has a lot to say about why they are considered the most dangerous set of dogs. Many years ago, pit bulls were trained to fight and attack other dogs and those genes have passed down to the set of pit bulls we now have today. 

Also, pit bulls were used then at the war fronts. Therefore, they had to be agile and capable of being violent. The pit bull is a breed between the bulldog and a terrier. Its strength can be said to be from the bull dog while its aggression can be attributed to the terrier. 

Why Pit Bulls Cannot Make Good Guard Dogs

Normally, you would assume that, based on the features of a pit bull and its ability to defend its owner, it is the best option to consider if you want a guard dog. However, such is not the case. A lot of people prefer using German shepherds and Rottweilers as guard dogs because they are bigger then pit bulls. 

More so, the characteristics a lot of people look out for in a guard dog are whether, it is easy to train, big enough to scare people away, obedient, smart, fast and strong. Well, a pit bull may not be able to pass all these tests because it is not as big and scary as some other dog breeds. 

If you are still willing to make a pit bull your guard dog, you would only have to take your time to train it properly. The reason it is not all that safe is because it is prone to unprovoked aggression and it does not recover on time. So, as much as you want to protect your family and your house, having a dog like a pit bull might wreak more havoc than you can control. 

Why Pit Bulls Are Used As Police Dogs

One of the requirements to be a Police dog is to have the ability to be well-behaved and be patient enough to undergo training. These requirements are very similar to the features of a pit bull. They are trustworthy and very loyal to their owners after being properly trained. 

Aside from the ability to run fast, be agile and loyal to people, pit bulls are also notorious for their ability to jump very high. This is important for you to know in order to take precautions when you are exposed to the threat of being attacked by one. For jumping in free air, the pit bull can jump without any form of assistance at about 6.5 feet or 2 meters high. If it runs vertically up a wall or a fence, it can jump as high as 10 feet or 3 meters. 

It is crystal clear that the pit bull is quite athletic, so, it will be better for you not to look for its trouble. 

Precautions To Take If You Are a Pit Bull Owner

1. Respect Leash Laws

Using a dog leash is very essential when you and your dog want to take a walk. When your pit bull has a leash on, it will help you navigate and be in control in situations where your dog might want to get into a fight with another dog.

2. Pay Attention To Aggression

Observe if your pit bull shows any sign of aggression towards a human. It is a warning sign you should address before things get out of hand. If after you have taken the necessary measures and the dog still shows traits of aggression towards people, safeguard the dog from the public or else you will be liable for any harm caused. 

3. License

Make sure you are licensed to own a pit bull before you parade one around. This is to avoid problems for you in case your dog attacks or makes attempts to attack someone.

4. Be Up-To-Date About Breed Specific Legislation

Have a vast knowledge of breed-specific legislation. Know where you are allowed to own a pit bull and where you are not allowed to in order to avoid embarrassment for you and your dog. 

5. Train! Train! Train!

Make sure you train your dog to be disciplined and obedient to you. If not, your dog could break loose from you and even end up attacking you. Spend time with your dog to bond and ensure its loyalty to you. Try to socialize your dog with other dogs and people too. 

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