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Have you, like me, watched your Rottweiler crunch down on a tug toy or a chew toy and wondered just how powerful those massive jaws really are? Luckily, science has some good answers for just how powerful a Rottweiler’s bite force really is.
What is a Rottweiler’s bite force? It is estimated that Rottweilers have 328 lbs of bite pressure, which is more than American pitbulls or German Shepherds. Bite force corresponds to a dog’s size and the size and shape of their head, so it makes sense that the Rottweiler has a powerful bite force.
Here’s what you need to know about how Rottweiler bite force is measured, why they have such a powerful bite, and how to responsibly raise a Rottweiler so that their bite force is never used inappropriately.
How is Bite Force Measured in Dogs?
There are a couple of ways to get an accurate measurement of bite force in dogs. The more measurements are considered, the more likely you will be to come up with an accurate result.
Examine the Skull
One way of gauging bite force in dogs is to compare the size and type of the skull. By taking exact digital photographs and comparing them, an accurate measure of differences can be found.
There are two locations that are primarily used in intense biting such as that used for killing and eating prey. Examining these two force points provide clues to how powerful a dog’s bite is by looking at the skull.
Bite a Sleeve
Another way of measuring bite force is to have the dog bite a sleeve which is equipped with a bite measuring device. This was the technique utilized by a National Geographic experiment that found Rottweilers to have the greatest bite force of any dog studied at 328 lbs of bite pressure.
Stimulate the Muscles
To look at how dogs actually use the muscles to inflict bite force, another study examined different bite forces by sedating dogs, automatically stimulating those muscles, and recording the bite force. This is thought to be a good way to rule out the possibility that dogs aren’t using their full bite strength, as may happen when they bite a sleeve.
Why do Rottweilers Have Such a Strong Bite Force?
When you consider the Rottweilers history, It should come as no surprise that they have an impressive bite force. Originally, Rottweilers were herding dogs, often working with very large herds of unruly cattle.
The Rottweiler’s job was to keep the herd together and with the Roman legions as they traveled across the world. They also needed to protect the herd against bandits, wolves, and all sorts of other predators. Rotties needed their powerful jaws to make obstinate bulls obey and fight back against fierce predators, human and animal.
Later, Rottweilers became home protectors and cart dogs. They went with early German farmers to bring livestock to market pr pull carts full of supplies. Whether they were driving livestock or pulling a load, it was a Rottweiler’s job to protect their charge from thieves. Powerful jaws were an impressive deterrent to the thieves and very effective when Rottweilers needed to fight to defend their owner’s property.
Rottweilers went on to become police dogs and personal protection dogs, as well as general all-purpose workers such a seeing eye dogs. They are still renowned for their carting abilities and are excellent herders.
Throughout their history, Rottweilers have needed to protect and guard. To do that, they needed the intimidating appearance portrayed by their large head and jaws and forward-facing eyes. They also needed a bite force intense enough to follow up with anyone who decided to take on a fight with them anyway.
Are All Rottweiler Bite Forces Identical?
Since a dog’s bite force corresponds to the head and jaw, not every Rottweiler will have exactly the same bite force. Here are a few of the factors that go into determining what a Rottweiler’s bite force is likely to be:
Male Rottweilers often have a stronger bite force than female Rottweilers, since they tend to be bigger. Rottweiler males also tend to have a larger and more square head than female Rottweilers, which also contributes to a greater bite force.
A Rottweiler may not be fully mature until three years of age. Until that time, they will continue to grow and develop muscle. Although a Rottweiler at about a year of age and about three years of age may not look very different, there is likely to be a noticeable increase in the size of the dog’s jaw over this time, so a Rottweiler that is at least three years of age will have a stronger jaw. As Rottweilers get older, they may lose muscle mass everywhere, including the jaw, so bite pressure may decrease in elderly Rottweilers.
Rottweilers are popular in countries across the world. They are still one of the most popular dogs in their native Germany, as well as being beloved in America. There are different standards that breeders work towards depending on what lines they’re working with and where they are being bred.
German Rottweilers tend to be bigger than American Rottweilers by a few pounds and inches. They have a huskier build and often have a larger head. Therefore, it is likely that German Rottweilers will tend to have a more significant bite pressure than American Rottweilers.
Does a Rottweilers Bite Force Make Them Dangerous?
The Rottweiler is a big, powerful dog with a significant bite force, but does that bite force make them more dangerous? The Rottweiler isn’t responsible for nearly as many fatal attacks on humans as the Pitbull, despite the fact that Rottweilers have a much greater bite pressure. Rottweilers were responsible for 45 fatal attacks on humans from 2005 to 2017 while pitbulls were responsible for 284.
What makes Rottweilers second on the list of most dangerous dog breeds after Pitbulls isn’t their bite force, but some of the characteristics that have made them such loyal and indisposable dogs for people throughout history:
Rottweilers are natural guardians. Throughout their history, they have protected people, property, and livestock from threats, both humans and animals. While Rottweilers sometimes get a reputation for being lazy, just because they’re catching a quick snooze doesn’t mean they’re not ready!
A Rottweiler that will fiercely defend its property or people without training is a normal Rottweiler. Therefore, it is essential for responsible Rottweiler owners to socialize Rottweilers early and train them constantly so that they understand the difference between a potential threat and your neighbor or the delivery man.
Rottweilers naturally have a prey drive. Historically, this prey drive has driven the Rottweiler’s herding instincts. However, without training, prey drive can come out in inappropriate ways and one of the most common is in the case of small dogs.
This is much more likely when Rottweilers haven’t been properly socialized. A Rottweiler who has never seen a child may see their fast movements and high-pitched sounds as being prey-like, leading to an attack. It is essential that Rottweilers are very carefully socialized with small children and animals throughout their life.
Bold, Brave Dogs
Rottweilers have needed boldness and bravery throughout their history to take on fights they may not win for the sake of their people. Without training, that boldness and bravery can come out inappropriately.
Rottweilers that are kept separated from their people and don’t learn to love and respect human beings may behave without fear or love towards people, resulting in dangerous aggressive behavior.
The three previous characteristics of Rottweilers don’t make them more dangerous dogs in the hands of the right owners. In fact, bravery, focused herding instinct, and protection instincts make Rottweilers into superb farm dogs, wonderful police dogs, devoted seeing eye dogs, and of course loving family pets. The Rottweiler’s bravery has given the breed the courage to protect children from wild animals, save people trapped in dangerous situations, and do many more wonderful things.
However, in the hands of somebody who does not understand a Rottweiler’s instincts, power, and how a dog with a bite force like the Rottweiler can rapidly inflict damage, this dog can become dangerous. When they are deliberately neglected and abused, Rottweilers can be truly terrifying dogs.
It is very likely that most of the situations in which Rottweilers have seriously hurt people, as with most breeds, are due to the people they have them, not the breed. Too many people think of Rottweilers as junk yard guardians, backyard protectors, or ornaments to keep on the end of a chain or in the kennel.
People who choose this breed as a status symbol or to serve the function of protection without training don’t give these dogs the guidance and love that they need. As a result, they can grow into very dangerous animals.
How to Bite Train a Rottweiler
Rottweilers are excellent police, military, and home protection dogs. If you want a dog with the loyalty and bravery to defend your family at all odds and the weight and bite force to back it up, this is a good breed for you.
Very few people would consider taking on a Rottweiler, but if you want a dog for protection as well as a deterrent, this is a superb breed. Here are some tips on bite-training a Rottweiler:
Teach Take It and Drop It
You can start training your Rottweiler the essential skills they’ll need to do good bite work when they are still very young puppies. The most important part of bite work is teaching your dog to bite on command and let go on command.
It can be very hard for a dog to listen to commands when they are emotionally keyed up and excited, so training your Rottweiler the self-control it needs to play these games effectively will continuously equip them to have the necessary self-control for bite work throughout their life.
Here’s how to teach take it and drop it:
- Give your Rottweiler a toy and encourage them to play with it. When they take it in their mouth, say, “Take it”.
- Offer another desirable toy or a treat and as soon as your dog opens their mouth to take the new treat, thereby dropping what they have, say, “Drop it”.
- Repeat these exercises until your dog is taking and dropping things without hesitation.
- Begin saying the command to, “Drop it,” a moment before you offer the more desirable toy or treat. The goal is to get your dog to drop it just because you say the command, before they see what you have for them.
- Keep increasing how valuable the item that your dog has is, how excited they are when they have it, and how long you wait after saying, “drop it,” to give them something more desirable. In time, your dog will always drop and take things as commanded without you having to give them a reason why, no matter how excited they are.
Stay and Release
When your dog knows how to take and drop things reliably on command, you can begin increasing the stakes to the kind of intensity they will need to do bite work. Teach your dog to stay by giving them a reward anytime they remain stationary until they are remaining stationary in anticipation of a reward. Then attach the command word, “Stay,” and gradually increase the amount of time you ask your Rottweiler to stay while you take steps away from them before giving them their reward.
Once your dog knows how to stay, ask them to stay, walk away to a slight distance, hold a long rope toy (this one is Amazon my go-to and it’s pretty much bombproof) so that they can easily grip it without making contact with your hands, and give a release command while shaking the toy enticingly. When your Rottie gets the toy, give them a great tug game before asking them to drop the toy and playing again.
Your dog will soon learn to love this game and eagerly wait in anticipation of being released to go get the toy. In time, your dog will show more aggressive signs during this play like growling before and during the attack. Keep working on your take and release commands to make sure you still have control.
Get Professional Help
Bite training your Rottweiler isn’t something you want to do wrong. Teaching a Rottweiler that it is ever appropriate to bite a human being, even a sleeve, is a serious undertaking. Before you take the final steps to training a Rottweiler to begin sleeve work, enroll in a bitework class or hire a private trainer.
Even people who claim to know what they’re doing and have full body sleeves can get some nasty bites working with Rottweilers:
Be Responsible With Your Rottweiler’s Bite Force
There is no question that the Rottweiler is an intensely powerful dog. With one of the highest bite forces measured, this is a dog that should not be trifled with. As long as you raise, train, and socialize your Rottweiler responsibly, their bite force will only ever be a deterrent to criminals and a potential protector of your home and family. However, if you don’t give your dog the proper guidance and handle them appropriately, their bite force could potentially be very dangerous.