If there is one topic that every dog owner is interested in, it is a bite force. How strong is the Rottweiler bite force versus the bite force of other protection dog breeds such as the German Shepherd or the Doberman?
As it turns out, there is a lot of wrong information floating around the web and some of it has made its way into popular culture. This has resulted in labeling many dog breeds as more dangerous or vicious than they really are.
However, the Rottweiler bite force is definitely not something you want to mess around with, either. In this article, we decode the myths and present the facts about the Rottweiler bite force.
Rottweiler Bite Force
Just how strong is the Rottweiler bite force in reality? It isn’t 2,000 pounds, that is for sure.
To understand the actual bite strength of a Rottweiler dog, it can help to know that traditionally, bite force is measured in psi or pounds per square inch.
Animal Planet assessed dog breeds across a spectrum and arrived at an average bite force of 320 psi.
As we will discuss in more detail, the reigning popular theory that has the strongest likelihood of being factually correct is that the Rottweiler dog has an average bite force of 328 psi, which means the Rottweiler has an above-average bite force for a dog.
How Strong Is the Rottweiler Bite Force?
As this informative short YouTube video highlights, while the Rottweiler dog has a very strong bite force, there are some animals that have an even stronger bite force.
For example, compare the Rottweiler estimated average bite force, which you just learned is around 328 psi, with the estimated average bite force of the Orca (killer) whale, which is 19,000 psi.
That is quite a difference!
How Is Bite Force Accurately Measured?
The research into canine bite force to date has historically used two different types of measurement: pounds (newtons) and psi (pounds per square inch).
And as you are about to see, the type of measurement tool used as well as the method of measurement used can wind up producing very different and even conflicting results.
Newtons (pounds) as a measure of bite force
The first type of measurement we will look at is pounds or newtons. So what is a newton, exactly?
One newton is equal to 0.22 pounds of bite force. So let’s say a Rottweiler’s bite force was measured and the dog scored at 2,000 newtons. This works out to about 450 pounds of bite force when measured in psi.
Psi (pounds per square inch) as a measure of bite force
The measurement of pounds per square inch looks at how much force a dog’s bite exerts on a specific area of the surface.
The use of psi was popularized by a doctor named Dr. Brady Barr who had a show on the National Geographic channel called Dangerous Encounters.
To do his research, Dr. Barr donned a measurement sleeve and had dogs bite him. The device then measured the bite force. It was in this study that Dr. Barr measured the precise bite force for the Rottweiler at 328 psi.
Clearly, this is a different measurement than either 2,000 newtons or 450 psi. It is also much more accurate than either of the former two measurements because it was done using a natural method to measure bite force.
The Problem With Previous Rottweiler Bite Force Research
According to Psychology Today and canine expert Stanley Coren, Ph.D., much of the popular folklore surrounding dog bite strength is flat-out wrong.
As you just learned in the previous section here, the most common myth that continues to circulate is that the Rottweiler has a bite force strength of 2,000 pounds. Now you know that this measurement actually works out to be about 450 psi.
While neither number is fully accurate, at least we are getting a little bit closer to what is accurate in terms of Rottweiler bite force.
However, while it is important to arrive at an accurate bite force assessment, it is equally important to arrive at that assessment in a natural way.
The way that the majority of bite force research has been conducted to date has been done in a very unnatural way.
Here is an example. The researchers that delivered the assessment of 2,000 newtons of bite force did so using sedated dogs who then had their jaw muscles electronically activated. This is very unnatural!
Another facet of the research that is rarely mentioned is that the researchers also measured canine jaw strength at many different places in the dog’s jaw.
In doing this, the researchers discovered that a dog’s bite strength would be much stronger if the dog bites down in the back of the jaw verses in the front of the jaw.
Here is an example using a German Shepherd dog from the study: when the German Shepherd bit down using their front teeth, the bite force measured was 170 pounds. When the same German Shepherd bit down using their back teeth, the bite force measured was 568 pounds.
So this is a huge difference in bite strength from the very same dog.
You could easily claim that the German Shepherd has a bite force of 170 psi and also claim that the German Shepherd has a bite force of 568 psi and both statements would technically be correct, but neither would be totally correct.
To make matters even less accurate, the researchers also did data calculations based on the shape, size, and configuration of different animals’ heads and jaws and made assessments that way.
The only normal way to measure how strong an animal’s bite might be is to let that animal bite something and then measure how much force the animal used to bite it.
This type of formal measurement using a natural method was not done formally until Dr. Barr’s research on National Geographic.
Do All Rottweiler Dogs Have the Exact Same Bite Force?
Yet another facet of measuring bite force strength that is commonly disregarded is that Rottweiler dogs can be quite different in size and strength.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), which publishes the formal breed standard for the Rottweiler dog, an adult Rottweiler can weigh between 80 and 135 pounds and stand 22 to 27 inches tall.
Can you imagine how different the bite force might be for a dog that stands 22 inches tall and weighs 80 pounds versus a dog that stands 27 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds?
This is why it is dangerous to try to standardize bite force for the Rottweiler dog breed or any dog breed.
As well, there are two different main Rottweiler breed lines, the American and the German, as well as a third emerging breed line, the Serbian.
The breed standards for these dogs have different criteria in terms of the Rottweiler’s overall size and height as well as for the confirmation (appearance) of the Rottweiler’s head and jaw.
Some Rottweiler breed standards favor a bigger head and wider jaw than do other Rottweiler breed standards.
This is important to know because researchers have now confirmed that a dog with a larger head and wider jaw is likely to deliver more bite force.
So a Rottweiler with a bigger head and a larger jaw might possibly deliver a stronger bite force than a Rottweiler with a thinner, smaller head, and jaw.
When you add all this up, what you get is that no one truly knows exactly how strong a Rottweiler’s bite force truly can be.
What We Do Know About the Rottweiler Bite Force
None of this is shared with the intention to make you discount just how strong and powerful a Rottweiler bite force can be.
These dogs are very strong and powerful. The Rottweiler is a very popular choice for purebred protection and guarding canine. Rottweilers can make excellent police and military dogs, private security, and family guard dogs.
Rottweilers also have strong chase (prey drive) instincts and need lots of early and ongoing socialization and training to learn to accurately distinguish between a friend and a potential threat.
What we can estimate based on the research that has been done on the Rottweiler bite force is that a Rottweiler’s bite may range from 170 psi to 450 psi.
How strong the bite force actually is will vary based on the age and size of the dog, the item being bitten, the intention behind the bite (playing or aggression), and the shape and size of the head and jaw.
By providing your Rottweiler puppy with plenty of socialization to other people and animals right from puppyhood, you teach your dog how to identify positive, neutral, and threatening situations and respond accordingly.
When combined with positive obedience training, the end result is a happy, friendly, and loving Rottweiler who is a great pet.