Dog bites are very painful and potentially serious injuries. They cause physical trauma and nerve damage and can become infected. Medical statistics show that around one person out of every five that are bitten by a dog needs to have medical attention. As dogs are our closest companion (over a third of US households own a dog), many humans are at risk of an injury inflicted by man’s best friend. Any dog can bite you but most choose not to!
Not all dog bites are the same. If you are familiar with several different types of dogs, you will know that some have a more powerful bite than others. The dogs with powerful bites are often descended from breeds that were used for hunting, herding and personal protection. They were prized for their powerful jaws and fierce grip.
There is no consensus on how to measure a dog’s bite but most experts agree on which breeds are generally the most powerful. Here are the top 10 dogs with the strongest bite that you may want to be wary of!
1. The Kangal
Originating from Turkey, the Kangal dogs were bred to protect flocks of sheep from wolves and bears so they needed a powerful bite! These days, they are prized as guard dogs as they are fiercely protective of their owners and do not take kindly to strangers. They can make great family pets and can be very gentle with children. The trick is to socialize them with other pets and with other people (outside the family) from a young age. They make an important contribution to the police force and armed services in many countries.
The Kangal breed has a lot more to offer than just a very powerful bite. They are perfectly capable of bringing down any medium-sized predator using their agility and powerful musculature. Their strong jaws can deliver a seriously powerful clench and it’s bad news for the intruder that comes up against one of these on patrol! The Kangal is generally regarded as having the most powerful canine bite in the world.
2. English Mastiff
The origins of the English Mastiff’s powerful bite can be found in their ancestry as war dogs. This breed is descended from the ferocious and fearsome “Molossus” that were fighting dogs many centuries ago. This is in marked contrast to the gentle and placid nature of today’s English Mastiffs. The powerful bite, however, remains and is strong enough to break any human bone, should they wish to.
The lovely English Mastiff will watch over you and your children with dedication and care. They are one of the largest breeds of dogs around and can be a little lazy at times. They don’t need a great deal of stimulation because they are so laid back and like nothing more than chilling out with their humans at home. When it comes to feeding, however, be prepared for a big dogfood bill!
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The wolfdog is a hybrid breed obtained by crossing a domestic dog (usually a German Shepherd, a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Malamute) with one of the wolf species, commonly the gray wolf or the eastern timber wolf. There are thought to be around 10,000 wolfdogs in the USA right now. In any breeding situation, it is not possible to predict what the offspring will look like and Wolfdogs show a wide variety of appearances. Some look just like domestic dogs but others look just like wolves.
They are essentially half wild animal and so their temperaments can be very unpredictable. As a result, they can be more dangerous than a regular domestic dog. Their pack mentality is usually very strong and they can be fiercely loyal to their humans. As you would expect from an animal that is used to surviving in the wild, they are physically strong and agile and have that characteristically powerful bite.
The Rottweiler breed is stocky, solid and covered in powerful muscles. They originated in Germany when German Shepherds were crossed with drover dogs and Mastiffs that had been introduced by the Romans. Humans have traditionally taken advantage of their powerful build and used them for herding and guarding cattle and for pulling carts and wagons. Early in the 19th century, the breed practically disappeared as they were no longer required for these jobs. Thankfully, they were rescued from the brink of extinction and are now popular family pets and service dogs.
A Rottweiler is one of the dogs that you don’t want to get bitten by thanks to their strong jaws, broad muzzle, and razor scissor-like bite. Yet, these dogs have a sweet and loyal nature and make fantastic human companions provided they are socialized from a young age. Their ancestral instincts for guarding and protecting make them natural guard dogs. They do need good socialization and obedience training or they will try to dominate you.
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5. American Bull Dog
American Bull Dogs have a characteristic appearance with a strong neck and large head. They are also powerfully built and muscular. They were originally bred from the Old English Bulldog by working-class immigrants to North America who needed dogs to work on their farms. They selectively bred the dogs to obtain animals that were loyal, agile and intelligent. American Bull Dogs were used extensively for hunting pigs and their strong jaws were perfect for hunting them down.
Sadly, this characteristic also made them popular in the barbaric sport of bull baiting a few centuries ago. At the end of World War II, there were hardly any of them left but now they are a popular family pet. They adapt well to living in a family home and form strong bonds with their human companions. The breed is very loyal but can react badly to strangers and will not hesitate to tackle an intruder to your home.
6. Doberman Pinscher
Don’t be fooled by the elegant, athletic appearance of the Doberman Pinscher, they have extremely powerful jaws! The breed is just over a century old and its original purpose was as a personal protection dog. To fulfill that role, Dobermans are highly intelligent and alert and exceptionally loyal. This makes them a very popular guard dog and human companion. With the right training, a Doberman will be very gentle with children and adults.
This is quite a high-maintenance breed in that they need a lot of vigorous exercises and mental stimulation to keep them happy. They are highly prized as military and police dogs where their powerful bite comes in very useful. They are also included in many search and rescue dog teams.
7. German Shepherd
The wonderfully athletic German Shepherd originated in Germany during the 1800s as a herding dog. As their name suggests, they worked on sheep farms protecting and moving sheep. Now, they are very well known as military, police and search and rescue dogs. They are large dogs with an alert appearance and big teeth! The German Shepherd’s personality is legendary, they are superbly obedient and long to serve their human companions. This makes them a firm favorite in the US where they have been one of the most popular breeds since the 1920s.
They require quite a lot of work where grooming is concerned and shed a lot. However, they are worth it! Their strong bite is highly valued in their work with the military and enforcement agencies and they make great guard dogs. However, they will be accepting of strangers as long as you socialize them from an early age.
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8. American Pit Bull
Sometimes called the ‘Yankee Terrier’, this dog has a mixed reputation. They are often confused with Pit Bull Terriers which are dogs of varying heritage combining Bulldog and Terrier breeds. This variety means that they can be extremely unpredictable and some are aggressive. A true American Pit Bull Terrier, however, is more likely to be docile as they have been bred to be family pets. The breed is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club or the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
The lineage of this breed can be traced back to the 1700s in England. Farmers needed a dog that had many characteristics of the traditional bulldog but that was more intelligent and more agile. They started to cross the bulldog (which in those days was leaner and taller than today’s English Bulldog) with some of the more aggressive Terrier breeds. The result was a ‘bull-and-terrier’ which was a strong and powerful dog that was also agile but could have a bit of an attitude problem!
They were soon brought into service by hunters who valued their very powerful jaws. This characteristic enabled the dogs to take down bear and wild boar when they needed to. The same traits made the dogs excellent for so-called blood sports such as bear baiting and bull baiting. When dog fighting in pits became popular in the US in the 1800’s the name ‘Pit Bull Terrier’ was adopted.
Today, enthusiasts of the American Pit Bull have tried to distance the breed from its rather unpleasant past. However, the powerful jaws remain and they have one of the strongest bites around.
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9. Chow Chow
The Chow Chow has a distinctive appearance and tends to be a “square,” shape with sturdy, short legs. They have a broad skull and powerful jaws. However, their most distinctive feature is inside their mouth because they have a blue-black tongue.
They are a truly ancient breed originating in China and are descendants of the Tibetan Mastiffs. They were used to hunt game birds in their homeland but were bought to the US in the late 1800s as companion dogs. The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1903. Despite their powerful appearance, the Chow Chow can be a sweet-natured dog around other animals and children. To achieve this, you need to socialize them from a very young age. They will often try to dominate you so it is important that you show them who is boss right from the start. A firm, consistent approach is needed. They also have a reputation for being a ‘one person’ dog and can be wary of, or aggressive towards, dogs that they do not know.
10. Belgian Malinois
Male Belgian Malinois can weigh up to 75 pounds (males) and are as long as they are high, giving them a square appearance. They have muscular legs and hold their heads very erect. Their mouths have very powerful jaws and teeth that meet in a level, scissor-like bite. Their bite is easily powerful enough to break a human bone. There is some uncertainty about their history but it is thought that they were originally herding dogs who helped shepherds care for flocks in Belgium. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1911 but were called Belgian Sheepdogs at that time.
In terms of personality, the Belgian Malinois is a serious working dog (in the police and military) who also likes to have fun. They can be very affectionate and are happy to play with kids. They will also instinctively want to protect them and have been known to herd small children when they are running around! They do have a high prey drive and that combined with that powerful bite means that they are often not safe around cats. They must be kept busy or they will become destructive and can do a lot of damage with those teeth. They can be shy, although not usually aggressive, with strangers but this can be overcome with socialization.
These dogs are certainly bred to be respected because of their ability to cause serious injuries but, with the correct training, most will be affectionate and loyal companions who have no intention of harming their human friends.
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