Few people consider the German Shepherd bite force when looking for a pet. Probably no one ponders this aspect since all they want is a pet, best friend, or a working dog.
But it might be prudent to think about this animal’s bite force in terms of safety, especially if looking for a family pet.
As much as any German Shepherd lover will tell you that this animal is not dangerous, this breed makes news headlines for human attacks.
Some of these attacks are fatal, and some require medical attention because of this breed’s powerful bite force.
How strong is the bite force of a German Shepherd and is this a truly dangerous breed of dog?
Understanding a Dog’s Bite Force
One way to understand the bite force is to measure this force and compare it to others.
Scientists estimate the bite force of animals with different instruments. Bite force instruments can be mechanical, electrical, digital, or a combination of all three.
Bite force instruments include piezoelectric sensors, pressure-sensitive films, and strain gauges. A standard measuring tool is the Gnathodynamometer.
Bite force measurements are recorded in terms of Newtons (N), kilograms (kg), or pounds (lbs.).
Human bite forces differ from dogs and cats in that their jaws move differently, resulting in various measuring methods.
Humans move their jaws vertically and laterally, whereas dogs primarily use a vertical jaw motion.
Despite these variations, it is possible to measure most animals’ PSI.
The PSI measurement refers to how many pounds of pressure are applied per square inch when an animal closes its jaws.
How much pressure an animal exerts will vary depending on why it is closing its jaws. PSI is the generic abbreviation for pounds per square inch.
When an animal eats food, it will apply enough pressure to break food down into smaller pieces for chewing before swallowing.
An animal will apply intense pressure in the wild when biting its prey and tearing it apart for consumption.
Likewise, an animal will apply less jaw pressure when picking up its young to move them to a different location.
Jaw or bite pressure also alters over time, as this force will change with age and the condition of the animal’s teeth and general health.
It is convenient to understand the German Shepherd bite force to discuss why it bites and compare it to other animals.
Drawing comparisons between this breed’s bite force, different dog breeds, and other animals places this power in perspective.
The German Shepherd Bite Force
If a dog like the German Shepherd bites down on something or someone, it will exert various pressure levels.
There are six aspects of how German Shepherd dogs bite down on something or someone:
- The German Shepherd puppy will constantly nip and bite on things, especially when it is teething. Generally, this bite force is light, and the animal uses it to relieve teething discomfort. Nips will often be weak and will not penetrate the skin but may leave a mark. Adult German Shepherds may use light nipping as a warning, and the pressure they exert is low.
- Another biting behavior of the German Shepherd will involve increasing pressure that leaves deeper bite marks without puncturing the skin.
- A third biting level will leave teeth marks and bruising as they exert further pressure, leaving a puncture wound in the skin.
- When you or something else threatens this breed, they will exert extra pressure, grab you and shake their heads to cause more damage. When the dog exerts a more substantial degree of force at this point, the damage they cause will require medical intervention. You could sustain torn skin or broken bones that will require surgery because the German Shepherd’s bite force is powerful enough to break bones when it becomes this aggressive.
- Lastly, the German Shepherd’s bite force can be strong enough to cause fatality. Even when this animal’s bite force doesn’t need to be strong enough to break bones, a jaw grabs around the throat of its victim can cause death.
The PSI of people, dogs, alligators, sharks, lions, and other creatures vary depending on the shape of the skull, jaw, and muscles.
There are apparent differences if you think about the shape of the dog’s head in relation to humans, lions, sharks, or alligators. These variations account for the animal’s PSI fluctuations (mammal, fish, or reptile).
Placing a selection of these animals alongside each other offers an understanding of the intensity of jaw power across species.
What is the PSI of the German Shepherd’s bite force, and how does it compare to other species and other dog breeds?
#1 German Shepherd bite force
The PSI of the German Shepherd is around 238. This pound-force can go up to 800 PSI, which likely relies on the dog’s condition, age, and reason for biting.
The PSI’s top-end probably measures a large specimen under extremely aggressive or threatening circumstances.
#2 Human PSI
A human’s PSI can reach up to 700 when grinding their teeth. This high pressure is abnormal and does not reflect the typical human PSI.
In a resting state, a person’s PSI is usually around 145 to 188 but has been known to reach 275 PSI.
#3 Lions, Jaguar, and Tiger PSI
Surprisingly, the King of the Jungle only has a PSI of 650. This relatively low bite force is attributable to hunting in pride, and teamwork requires less pressure to bring their prey down.
In contrast, the jaguar has a powerful bite of 1,500 PSI which is much stronger than that of the Bengal Tiger, which measures 1,050 PSI.
#4 Wolf and hyena PSI
The wolf’s PSI is approximately 400 but can elevate to 1,200 when hunting or protecting itself.
Similarly, the spotted hyena has a bite force of 1,100, both of which are much higher than the German Shepherd.
#5 Saltwater Crocodile and the Great White Shark PSI
A saltwater croc has a bite force of 3,700 PSI which is marginally less than a great white shark of 4,000 PSI.
However, some research indicates that the croc’s bite force is the most powerful on earth, reaching 5,000 PSI at times.
These animals’ PSI levels help place the German Shepherd’s bite force in greater perspective. Not that this level matters if you are on the receiving end of a German Shepherd attack.
As much as this breed has a reputation for being a one-person dog and being dangerous due to its intelligence, its bite force is far from the strongest of the various dog breeds.
Let’s look at how the German Shepherd’s bite force compares to other dog breeds to place this issue in perspective.
- Kangal Dog – 743 PSI
- Cane Corso – 700 PSI
- Tosa Inu – 556 PSI
- English Mastiff – 552 PSI
- Dogo Canario – 540 PSI
- Dogo Argentino – 500 PSI
- Leonberger – 399 PSI
- American Bulldog – 350 PSI
- Rottweiler -328 PSI
- German Shepherd – 238 PSI
- Great Dane – 238 PSI
- American Pit Bull Terrier – 235 PSI
- Doberman – 229 PSI
- Dutch Shepherd – 224 PSI
- Malinois – 195 PSI
As you can see, the German Shepherd has a strong bite, but not nearly as powerful as its wild counterparts or other wild animal species. It also does not have the strongest bite of the dog breeds.
The PSI of these animals varies, depending on where you look. However, it seems fair to state that these figures offer a reasonable reflection of these animals’ PSI.
Are German Shepherds Dangerous?
When you examine the German Shepherd’s PSI concerning other famous dog breeds, its biting power is comparable.
However, its bite force pales in comparison to the strongest bite force larger dogs such as the Kangal, English Mastiff, and others.
When you compare the German Shepherd to breeds like the Rottweiler, Pit Bull and Dobermann, and other Shepherd breeds, their bite force is similar.
Many attacks on humans are made by breeds other than the German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd’s attack volume falls far behind the Rottweiler and the Pit Bull in the U.S.
From 1979 to 1986, the German Shepherd was responsible for 19 fatalities, while the Rottweiler killed 29 people and the PitBull, 60.
In the same period, dog bites caused 585,000 injuries severe enough to require medical attention.
Four million seven hundred thousand people reported being bitten by a dog in 1994, and 800,000 of these people needed medical attention.
Once you appreciate the variations between dog breeds and other animals’ biting power, it is easier to determine their threat.
However, animals’ powerful biting force is only one aspect of the risk they pose. Other risks involve how you raise a pet, environmental issues that can stimulate a dangerous reaction, and an animal’s genetic makeup.
In comparison to other dog breeds, the German Shepherd is not a dangerous dog. However, the fact that people have died from German Shepherd bite force remains a concern.
The ultimate way to ensure your German Shepherd is less risky is to raise it well and to put it through intensive training to make it responsive to commands.
The German Shepherd dog is an intelligent dog bred for herding. It needs mental stimulation and plenty of exercise, as well as socialization.
The GSD is a popular dog. Due to their size, bite force, and ability to be trained they are often employed as police dogs, guard dogs, or for search and rescue.
When you can control this breed, the German Shepherd bite force becomes less risky.
The German Shepherd’s bite force is powerful and dangerous. How dangerous this breed is, relies heavily on how you raise it and how much training it undergoes.
Anyone who wants a German Shepherd must appreciate that this is a large dog and an intelligent breed that needs a lot of attention.
The better a dog owner raises this animal, the easier it is to control, and the safer it will be to own as a family dog. With proper training the German Shepherd dog is a gentle giant and reliable.