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How Strong Is a Chihuahua’s Bite Force? (PSI Measure & Facts)

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by Dogster Team

chihuahua biting a hand

How Strong Is a Chihuahua’s Bite Force? (PSI Measure & Facts)

The Chihuahua is one of the smallest breeds, and they’re also one of the most popular. This dog has plenty of personality and can be quite loving. However, they also have a strong will and can be aggressive at times, leading many potential owners to wonder how strong a Chihuahua’s bite force is.

Keep reading as we take a closer look at the power of this canine’s bite and if they present any danger to humans.

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Chihuahua Bite Force PSI

aggressive chihuahua
Image By: Piotr Wawrzyniuk, Shutterstock

Unfortunately, there have been very few scientific studies on the bite force of specific dog breeds. One official study focused on police dogs—specifically German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois Dogs—in which the trained police dogs bit down on their trainers’ sleeves, which were fitted with three force sensors. The bite force was measured in Newtons (N). The German Shepherds’ median bite force was recorded as 360.4 N, and the Malinois’ was 247.0 N. 

National Geographic’s Dr. Brady Barr has studied animal bites, testing humans, domestic dogs, and wild animals alike. Based on the research by Dr. Barr, a Pit Bull has a jaw power of around 242 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is one of the only numbers we have to make a comparison with a Chihuahua.

Several references have been made to this small breed’s bite force being as high as around 3,900 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is astronomically high for such an animal. While this number has been widely reported, we can find no official studies to support it, and many of the bite force figures reported on multiple sites are exaggerated or completely false.

For the Chihuahua, the number is more likely to be close to 100–180 PSI, which seems to make sense when compared to a Pit Bull. Experts base this lower figure on complex math in a study that considers the shape and size of the skull and several other factors to determine an estimated bite force. While these experts did not measure the Chihuahua breed directly, they discuss that the size and shape of the head are essential factors concerning bite force. Based on average measurements, the Chihuahua’s head is too small to create a bite force of much more than 100 or 200 pounds per square inch.

Why Is a 3,900 PSI Bite Force Likely Too High for a Chihuahua?

The size and shape of the Chihuahua head are all wrong for numbers higher than 100 or 200 pounds, according to a study on dog bite force and head shape. Comparison is the best way to put this number into perspective:

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    • Most experts agree that the Kangal has the strongest bite. However, whilst there are multiple sources reporting that the Kangal has a bite force of 743 PSI, we have found no scientific source of this figure.
    • Many people fear the American Pit Bull Terrier because of their powerful bite. However, tests estimate the breed’s bite force to be around 242 PSI.

    Neither the Pit Bull nor the Chihuahua is on the top 10 list with the Kangal. Other breeds that have an exceptionally strong bite force include the American Bandogge, Cane Corso, English Mastiff, Dogo Argentino, and Wolfdog. They all have a bite force between 400 and 800 PSI—just a fraction of the Chihuahua’s rumored bite force.

Other Interesting Bite Force Facts

  • In 2020, a small team tested the bite force of a Mako Shark; the most powerful bite was 3,000 pounds (about half the weight of an elephant).
  • The Saltwater crocodile has a bite force of 3,700 pounds (about twice the weight of a Clydesdale horse).
  • The Grizzly Bear bites down with about 1,200 pounds of pressure.

Are Chihuahuas Dangerous?

Even though Chihuahuas don’t bite down with the extreme force reported on the internet, they can still cause damage with those sharp little teeth. Despite their small size, or perhaps because of it, Chihuahuas are considered to be more likely than many other dog breeds to bite if they feel threatened or intimidated, but their bites rarely result in significant injury.

However, we want to point out that Chihuahuas are far from dangerous. Many people will confirm that they make fantastic pets and loyal companions—ones that might be opinionated and demanding but rarely aggressive. A search of the internet only turns up one report of Chihuahuas being particularly dangerous, and those were a stray pack of dogs that were not spayed or neutered, which can make male dogs more aggressive.

Chihuahua with a snarling face
Image By: otsphoto, Shutterstock

How Can You Keep Your Chihuahua From Becoming Aggressive?

Having your pet spayed or neutered once they have reached sexual maturity (after the first heat for females and between 6–12 months for male Chihuahuas) can help reduce or prevent much of the friction and conflict between dogs and humans. It also provides your pet with several other health benefits, including a longer lifespan and a lower risk of cancer.

Spend more time with your pet. Chihuahuas like to be with their owners at all times and want to be the center of attention. Hopefully, you considered this at length before purchasing your dog, as leaving them alone too long can promote all kinds of bad behavior, from tearing up the furniture to exhibiting aggression toward people.

Socialize your puppy as soon as possible. Make sure your Chihuahua gets used to all your daily activities and the people you associate with while they’re still a puppy. If you like to be social, make sure your dog is used to the commotion, or they can become wary of strangers and may even become aggressive toward them.

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Summary

Although a Chihuahua’s bite can be surprisingly strong for such a tiny dog, it usually their speed and sharp teeth that do the most damage, rather than the force of their bite. The recipient of a bite can be quite surprised by the damage that they receive, leading them to believe that there is more force behind it than there is. While many rumors claim that the bite force of the Chihuahua is about 3,900 PSI, it’s much more likely to be closer to 100 PSI.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Jozef Klopacka, Shutterstock

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