Pit Bull Bite Force: What is the Bite Force of a Pitbull Terrier?

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As a proud owner of a Pit Bull Terrier mix, I’ve come to appreciate the many qualities of this often misunderstood breed. With their rich and complex history, American Pit Bull Terriers have earned a controversial reputation, partly due to their powerful bite force.

So, what is the bite force of a Pitbull Terrier?

The bite force of an American Pit Bull Terrier ranges from 240 to 330 PSI, making it stronger than the average dog but not the strongest.

In this article, I’ll explore the Pit Bull bite force and how it compares to other animals. There are several different types of Pit Bulls, but for this article I will be focusing on the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Pit Bull Bite Force PSI

Pit Bulls biting a stick

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is a commonly used unit of pressure that quantifies the force applied over an area. It measures the force, in pounds, exerted on a single square inch of a surface. In the context of bite force, PSI is used to express the pressure a dog’s jaws can generate when biting down.

To better understand PSI, imagine a one-inch square area on the surface being bitten. The PSI value indicates how many pounds of force are being applied to that square inch. Higher PSI values indicate a stronger bite force, while lower values represent a weaker bite.

The bite force of an American Pit Bull Terrier falls between 240 and 330 PSI (pounds per square inch).

Because my Pit Bull is not purebred, she probably falls somewhere on the lower end of that range. But I can tell you that if she doesn’t want to let go of her rope toy, there is no way that I can get it away from her once she sinks her teeth in.

How is a Pit Bull’s Bite Force Measured?

There are 2 different bite force measurement methods to measure a dog’s bite force, including that of a Pit Bull.

Bite Force Sensors: One common method to measure a dog’s bite force is to use a bite force sensor or transducer. These devices are specifically designed to measure the pressure applied when a dog bites down.

Bite force sensors typically consist of a pressure-sensitive plate or a padded bar connected to an electronic measuring device that records the force exerted.

Simulation and Calculation: Another approach to estimating an animal’s bite force is through simulation and calculation. Researchers can study the size and structure of an animal’s jaw and skull, as well as the strength of their muscles, to create mathematical models that estimate the bite force.

Although it might be less accurate than direct measurements, it is how scientists were able to calculate the bite force of a Tyrannosaurus Rex (see comparison chart below).

Pit Bull Sagittal Crest and Jaw Muscles

A unique characteristic of Pit Bulls and some other dog breeds, is the presence of a ridge on the top of their skull. When I feel the top of my Pit Bull’s head, I can feel a ridge running down the middle of her skull.

This is called the sagittal crest, and it plays a crucial role in the functioning of a Pit Bull’s powerful jaw muscles.

The sagittal crest’s primary function is to provide attachment points for the temporalis muscle, one of the main chewing muscles in dogs. This muscle originates from the sagittal crest and connects to the lower jaw or mandible.

When the temporalis muscle contracts, it exerts a pulling force on the lower jaw, allowing the dog to bite down with great strength.

In addition to the temporalis muscle, Pit Bulls have several other powerful jaw muscles that contribute to their impressive bite force. The masseter muscle, for instance, is another significant chewing muscle that helps with jaw closure.

These strong jaw muscles, combined with the Pit Bull’s sturdy skull and jaw structure, contribute to the significant Pit Bull Terrier bite force.

Can a Pit Bull Bite Break Bones?

American Pit Bull Terrier

When discussing Pit Bull bite force, a common question that arises is whether their powerful jaws can break human bones. To answer this question, we need to consider the PSI required to break different bones and compare it to the Pit Bull’s bite force.

The human femur, or thigh bone, is the strongest bone in the body. On average, it takes about 1,700 PSI to break a human femur. Comparing this to the bite force of an American Pit Bull Terrier, which ranges from 240 to 330 PSI, it becomes clear that a Pit Bull’s bite is not strong enough to break the femur.

However, other bones in the human body may be more susceptible to breaking under less pressure. Some bones may break with as little as 25 PSI, depending on factors such as age, bone density, and the angle of force applied.

For example, a Pit Bull could easily break a human finger if it were to bite down with full force.

American Pit Bull Terrier Bite Force Comparison Chart

To better understand the bite force of a Pit Bull Terrier, it’s helpful to compare it with other dogs and animals. This comparison will provide a broader context for understanding the strength of a Pit Bull’s bite.

AnimalBite Force (PSI)
Great White Shark4,000
Saltwater Crocodile3,700
Polar Bear1,200
Turkish Kangal743
American Pit Bull Terrier240-330
Bull Terrier269-305
German Shepherd238-291
Bite force sources: countryliving.com, fieldandstream.com, labroots.com

From these comparisons, it’s clear that while the bite force of a Pit Bull Terrier is significant, it’s far from the strongest in the animal kingdom and doesn’t even top the canine bite force rankings.


In discussing the bite force of American Pit Bull Terriers, it’s important to debunk common misconceptions about their jaw strength. While Pit Bulls have a stronger bite force than some dog breeds, they are far from the most powerful, as demonstrated by the comparisons in this article.

Misunderstanding and exaggerating their bite force can contribute to the negative stigma surrounding these dogs, which often doesn’t do justice to their true nature.

I can attest that Pit Bulls have loving and loyal personalities when raised in a caring and responsible environment. They can be excellent family pets, providing companionship and protection to their human families.

I feel it’s important to point out these positive traits when discussing the breed and not solely focus on their physical capabilities.

Responsible Pit Bull ownership, including proper training and socialization, plays a vital role in ensuring that Pit Bulls and other dog breeds can thrive in a family setting.

Understanding the breed’s history, characteristics, and potential challenges allows owners to make informed decisions and provide the best possible care for their pets.

Kevin William

Kevin grew up with a female West Highland White Terrier named Murphy who was always by his side. Kevin currently lives in New York state with his family including a Labrabull (Labrador Retriever Pit Bull) named Lily.

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