How Hard Does A German Shepherd Bite? Examining Powerful GSD Bite Force
Camille Bataille
Author: Camille Bataille
Camille, a dedicated veterinary professional, has a profound commitment to providing expert care, especially for German Shepherds.
Published date: August 3, 2021
Updated date: May 10, 2023
This article was reviewed and fact checked If you have found any errors, please contact us!

How Hard Does A German Shepherd Bite? Examining Powerful GSD Bite Force

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The term “bite force” refers to how powerful an animal’s bite is. It measures the strength of the animal’s jaws, and provides an indication of how much damage it can do.

The bite force of many different animals has been measured, including crocodiles, hyenas, hippos, and dogs.

When an animal bites, it’s usually doing it for one of two reasons. It’s either protecting itself or its family, or it’s hunting.

German shepherds don’t need to hunt for their food since they typically live with people. They bite as a protective measure, which may be triggered by fear or aggression.

German shepherds are used for many things, including companionship and family protection, but they’re often trained as police dogs.

Criminals will normally give up rather than risk being bitten, as a German shepherd’s bite force is 238 PSI (pounds per square inch). That’s strong enough to break bones!

german shepherd bite force

What Makes The German Shepherd Bite So Powerful?

Early in the development of the German shepherd breed, the dogs were crossed with wolves. Unfortunately, the resulting dogs were unmanageable and unreliable.

However, the wolf blood has remained in the breed, albeit to a lesser extent, which has resulted in some favorable traits.

In fact, among domesticated dogs only the Rottweiler has a more powerful bite than the German shepherd.

The Shepherd gets a lot of this bite power from the shape of its muzzle, a characteristic inherited from its wolf ancestry.

What Else Does Police Work Involve?

Police dogs do more than just bite people on command. 

They aid in finding suspects hiding where the police can’t find them and can sniff out drugs, weapons, and other contraband hidden in vehicles or tossed away by fleeing criminals.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, other important skills are taught to police dogs including tracking, search and rescue, and cadaver search. 

They’re also taught to either bark or bite when they find a suspect, depending on the command given by the handler.

German Shepherds are the perfect K-9 cops, as they’re highly intelligent, trainable, and able to do things that humans simply can’t do.

Despite being trained to attack when needed, the National Police Dog Foundation reports that it’s common for police dogs to live with their handlers as family pets when not on duty.

How Does a German Shepherd’s Bite Compare to other Animals?

GSDs aren’t the only animals that have powerful bites. 

While the German shepherd has one of the most powerful bites of all dog breeds, dog bites actually don’t even rank in the top 10 most powerful bites.

The animals with the strongest bite force are the hyena, at number 10, with a bite force of 1100 PSI, equal to nearly five times that of a German Shepherd. 

At number 9 is the grizzly bear, at 1160 PSI, and in the eighth spot is the polar bear, with a 1200 PSI bite.

In the seventh, sixth, fifth, and fourth spots are the gorilla, the bull shark, the jaguar, and the hippopotamus.

These animals have bite forces ranging up to as high as 1800 PSI.

The top three spots go to the champion biters. In third place is the American alligator, with a bite force of 2125 PSI. 

The second spot goes to the saltwater crocodile, with a bone-crunching bite force of 3700 PSI.

The strongest bite force in the world belongs to the Nile crocodile, with 5000 PSI, about 21 times that of the German shepherd.

Knowing an animal’s bite force provides an idea of how powerful its jaws are, and how much damage it can do. 

Animals that consume bones, such as hyenas and crocodiles, can be expected to have extremely strong jaws. 

Even those that bite aggressively or defensively, such as the hippopotamus or the gorilla, can be very powerful biters as well.

German shepherd

Bite Force: German Shepherd vs Wolf

German shepherds and wolves are somewhat similar in size, though the actual size of the wolf can vary by species and subspecies.

It can be difficult to accurately measure the bite force of wild animals. 

In tests filmed for National Geographic using captive gray wolves, their bite force was measured at 406 PSI.

What Are Some Of The Considerations When Measuring Bite Force?

When measuring the bite force of any animal, it should be noted that it isn’t going to bite with the same force every time, so the measurement will vary from one bite to the next.

If an animal is frightened and feels it’s defending itself, it’s likely to bite much harder than if it’s just attempting to scare away a potential threat.

What’s the Point of Measuring the Bite Force of an Animal?

Part of the reason for learning an animal’s bite force is to understand how an animal functions, and how hard it’s likely to bite in comparison to other animals.

According to Frontiers in Veterinary Science, knowing the normal bite force of an animal can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of various tooth, skull, and jaw problems.

Understanding the bite force of different dog breeds can also help to determine its effectiveness as a protection dog, as well as its suitability as a police dog. 

While bite force is only one of many considerations, it’s helpful to have a way to compare different breeds that may otherwise be very similar.

Even without having the technical details of a bite, such as the PSI involved, simply knowing that a dog can bite hard enough to break bones is useful.

Criminals are likely to surrender rather than risk being bitten, and handlers have a clear understanding of just how much damage their dogs can do if allowed to.

How hard does a German Shepherd Bite

german shepherd bite force

Our YouTube Video: How Hard Does A German Shepherd Bite?

FAQ:

1. What is bite force and how is it measured?

Answer: Bite force refers to the strength of an animal’s jaws and how powerful its bite is. It’s measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and provides an indication of how much damage an animal can do. The bite force of many different animals, including crocodiles, hyenas, hippos, and dogs, has been measured.

2. Why do animals bite?

Answer: Animals usually bite for one of two reasons – to protect themselves or their family, or to hunt. German shepherds, for example, bite as a protective measure that may be triggered by fear or aggression.

3. How powerful is a German shepherd’s bite force?

Answer: A German shepherd’s bite force is 238 PSI, which is strong enough to break bones. Early in the development of the German shepherd breed, the dogs were crossed with wolves, which has resulted in inherited traits, particularly in the shape of its muzzle, that contribute to their powerful bite.

4. What other skills do police dogs have besides biting?

Answer: Police dogs have many skills, including finding suspects in hiding, sniffing out drugs and weapons, tracking, search and rescue, cadaver search, and responding to different commands from their handlers.

5. What is the importance of measuring an animal’s bite force?

Answer: Knowing an animal’s bite force helps us understand how powerful its jaws are and how much damage it can do, which can aid in diagnosis and treatment of various tooth, skull, and jaw problems. Understanding the bite force of different dog breeds can also help to determine their effectiveness as protection or police dogs.

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