Pitbulls are one of the most fun-loving, playful, and intelligent dog breeds. Their energy and puppy-like demeanor, even as adults, make them so much fun to be around.
Whether they’re jumping up and down when you walk in the door, gazing lovingly at you, cuddling in your lap, or wagging their tail with intensity, Pitbulls know exactly how to make it known you are loved.
Over time, though, Pitbulls have gained a bad reputation because of misconceptions about their demeanor. Some believe that Pitbulls are naturally aggressive or possess an alpha personality.
There’s no solid proof to reprove or justify those claims.
But have you wondered just how strong a pitbull’s bite force is? Let’s look at the average bite force of our best friend and why its reputation is exaggerated.
How Strong is a Pittbull’s Bite?
The American Pit Bull Terrier, a breed that descended from bulldogs and terriers, has a bite force of 235 pounds per square inch (PSI). Compare that to a human bite of only 120 pounds PSI.
While a pitbull's bite force is indeed impressive, it is consistent with other dog breeds with the same weight/size class. And is a lower bite force compared to larger dog breeds in testing.
The bite force is generated by the jaw adductor muscles and the teeth, or temporomandibular joints (TMJs). An average dog's bite force ranges from 230 to 250 psi.
In comparison, German Shepherds, known for their courage and guarding instincts, have a bite force of about 238-291 PSI.
How to measure a dog’s bite force
The dog bite force is a tricky thing to measure accurately. This is because many factors can affect a dog’s bite strength at a given time.
Their skull shape and size, the condition of their teeth and jaws, the situation and motivation, and the dog’s body weight are all external and internal factors that contribute to the actual strength of a pitbull’s bite.
The PSI of a pit bull bite
A dog’s bite force is commonly measured in PSI. The PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) will tell you the amount of pressure exerted on an area that measures one square inch.
PSI is the same measurement often used for daily tasks, including inflating car tires to determine proper air pressure. However, it is also used to estimate the force exerted by a dog’s jaws.
Dogs with a stronger bite force than a pitbull include the Kangal (743 PSI), Bandog (730 PSI), Cane Corso (700 PSI), Dogue de Bordeaux (556 PSI), and Tosa Inu (556 PSI).
But, can a pitbull's bite break bones of a fellow dog or a human? Let’s find out.
Can a pitbull’s bite break bones?
First, any medium-sized, muscular dog can damage the soft tissue of a fellow dog or human’s arm in a bite.
It’s a little easier for dogs the size of pit bulls or bigger to inflict a potentially fatal bite. However, one bite is rarely fatal unless inflicted on a small child or a senior citizen.
The bite force of a pitbull is strong enough to break bones, though it’s more likely to occur to smaller and weaker bones (child’s limbs, fingers, or hands).
And although the idea of being bitten by a pit bull (or any dog) is frightening, it should not stop anyone from enjoying the company of these beloved pets.
Keep in mind that any dog can be aggressive if abused or neglected. And the pitbull’s bite force is part of the dog’s defensive instinct. It is reserved for moments where the dog is actively threatened, provoked, or they’re in pain.
Furthermore, Pitbulls love children. They are protective and playful. So, if you decide to raise a pit bull, it’s best to start with obedience and socialization training early.
Doing so can help them become an obedient, faithful, and loving companion. Using positive reinforcement helps too.
Avoid turning a relaxing dog walk into a battle. Use a high-quality anti-pull Y harness for your pitbull. Fur parents love it for its gentle control.
Why are pit bulls said to be aggressive?
Their bad reputation is rooted in their history of being bred for bull-baiting and dog fighting. In the early 1800s in the UK, pit bulls were bred from the Old English Bulldogs. The same breed is involved in the blood sport of bullbaiting.
Bullbaiting involved a bulldog fighting (or even killing) a bull. These matches were once held for entertainment. In 1835, the British Parliament enacted a law that prohibited baiting some animals, like the bull and bear.
Later, the public focused on “ratting.” Such an activity involved pitting dogs against rats. Hence, the birth of the name “Pit” Bull. It was after WWII when pit bulls were seen more as regular dogs.
How to Make a Pitbull Release its Bite
Most dog breeds snap erratically with a fellow dog or a human they have an issue with, meaning they bite and release it repeatedly. That’s not the same with Pitbulls because they bite and hold.
If your dog has gripped onto a surface or worse, a fellow dog or a person, splashing them with a big bucket of water or a hose is usually effective in releasing their bite.
Likewise, you could grab the dog by its hind legs to remove its balance and center of gravity. Avoid pull-gripping both dogs apart by force as it’ll cause more damage.
You can also use a break stick or twist the dog’s collar to release the bite. A pitbull break stick is a tool inserted into a dog's mouth to open its jaw and release its grip. The break stick reflexively forces the canine to let go of whatever is in its mouth.
Another effective way to make the pitbull release its bite and unlock its jaw is by grabbing its tail and pulling it backward. If a pitbull attacks you, you can release its bite by moving your hand or leg inside the pitbull’s mouth rather than pulling it.
But please remember, pit bulls are not dangerous. Anytime any dog bites, it’s because there’s a trigger.
Well-trained Pitbulls are friendly, energetic, loyal, and sweet dogs. So, do not be discouraged by the acts of negligent pet parents who encourage negative behavior.
If you have human kids at home, just ensure they are taught how to properly treat Pitbulls or animals in general.
Do pit bulls lock their jaws when they bite?
No, Pitbulls do not “lock” their jaws when they bite. Their jaws are just like the jaws of other breeds, which has been proven in studies on different dog breeds.
Instead of a locking jaw, Pitbulls possess tenacity, determination, and strength. It’s their willpower that keeps them hanging on when they bite.
Keep in mind that a “locking jaw” is different from the condition called a “lockjaw.” A locking jaw means it is difficult to loosen its grip once the dog bites an object.
On the other hand, a lockjaw is a rare medical condition and may be caused by an illness, neurological disorder, or tetanus.
Any dog breed with a lockjaw cannot completely open or close its mouth. An affected dog may find it difficult to pick up a ball or yawn because it cannot open its mouth wide enough.
To care for a dog with jaw problems, a responsible owner should seek veterinary help. The veterinarian typically recommends a blood test to see if there are bacteria in your pet’s bloodstream. Your pet may have to stay in the clinic if the condition is severe because they will need help eating.
Go the extra mile and show the world how much you love your furry best friend. Consider getting a matching human and dog outfit.
How to Stop a Pitbull From Biting
Preventing dog bites is important because even the most sociable dog may bite or snap when afraid or injured.
Fortunately, you can stop your pitbull from biting. As a dog owner, take responsibility for training your pet. This will be the first line of defense in preventing a pitbull from biting.
Here are other ways to stop or prevent a pitbull from biting:
Give your pet training (best when they are still puppies/ under six months of age). A light assertive touch on your dog’s neck can be an excellent way to teach that biting is unacceptable.
Introduce toys, treats, and pit bull sticks as something acceptable for them to chew on.
Socialize your pit bull. Allow it to interact with different people, including disabled people, children, and older people, under positive and calm circumstances.
Pay attention to your pitbull and know when things could lead to aggression. Remove your dog before a situation can get out of hand.
Regularly expose your dog to situations like loud noises, bicycles, large machines, or anything else that may spark fear. But as much as possible, keep these experiences positive.
Don’t discipline your pitbull using aggressive, physical, or violent punishment. Positive reinforcement, like food treats, favorite games or toys, praise, and petting, are better options to reward good dog behavior instead.
Keep dog vaccinations current and visit your veterinarian routinely to avoid the risk of exposure or transmission to other dogs, or at least reduce the effects when exposed to the disease.
How to Prevent Jaw Injuries in Dogs
The common causes of jaw injuries in dogs are trauma from accidents (being struck by a vehicle or physical altercations with other canines) and periodontal disease.
So, to prevent jaw injuries in dogs, you have to prevent the common causes. Here are some tips to prevent a dog fight.
Spray or neuter your dog;
Avoid dog parks if your pitbull has a possessive demeanor;
Feed multiple dogs separately;
Keep dogs on a leash when outside;
Give all dogs some alone time;
Choose the opposite sex of the existing dog when adding a new canine to the family; and;
Remember: Never use your body to stop a dog fight. You can be easily bitten if you separate two fighting dogs with your body, as drive and instinct could take over.
Falling from a great height and slipping on hard floors are other causes of jaw fractures in dogs.
To prevent such accidents, it’s best to give your pup a foot trim for a better grip or fix the cracks in their paws.
You can also use a ramp to help them get up and down household or outdoor furniture. Give them enough time to get familiar with the object, or use treats to lure your pooch up and down the ramp.
Canine Education Is the Key to Your Pitbull’s Well-Being
Pit bulls combine the strength of the bulldog side of their ancestry and the determination and speed of the terrier side. As responsible owners, we should ensure to redirect those characteristics in healthy ways.
For example, pits are excellent jumpers. So, create something in your house for them to jump over or consider an agility class.
Give them a job to do, and they will use their innate determination. And don't forget they are strong. So, they need to exercise or let them carry a backpack as they go for a walk.
As a pit bull owner, you are responsible for ensuring they behave well in public. That way, you and your dog can alter the negative perception of their breed.
Pitbulls are impressively happy, playful, courageous, loyal, and friendly dogs who love people.
Once you’ve become a fur parent of a pit bull, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one. They will be with you through thick and thin and give you their absolute all.
While these pets should never have to use their bites, knowing their bite force will help you understand how strong they can be.
Remember that proper training will help prevent unfortunate incidents. It will be a true investment in your pooch’s future!