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Recently, huskies have become very well-loved pet dogs. In 2022, huskies nearly made the top 20 for the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds. The reason for this popularity? Not only are huskies beautiful, but they are also incredibly intelligent and playful.
Huskies look a lot like wolves, and it makes you wonder if they have any similarities. For example, how does a huskie’s bite compare to a wolf’s bite?
What is a husky’s bite force?
The estimated average bite force for a husky is 320 pounds per square inch (psi). That means that huskies have a very strong bite and are only outranked by dog breeds like Mastiffs and Cane Corsos. It’s no surprise that huskies have strong bites since they are often considered one of the strongest dog breeds.
Let’s discuss how we know what a huskie’s bite force is and how it can vary amongst individuals.
What Is A Husky Bite Force In PSI?
As we mentioned above, the estimate for average husky bite force is 320 psi.
On our compilation of 68 dog breed’s bite forces, Siberian huskies come in at #25. These dogs have a relatively strong bite even compared to breeds like the boxer and Great Danes, but are by no means at the top. Even a fluffy mountain dog like a Great Pyrenees has a stronger bite (coming in at 500 psi) than these wolf descendants.
So how exactly do we know that a huskie’s bite force is 320 psi? And what does that even mean?
How Is Bite Force Measured in Dogs?
Measuring bite force in dogs is no simple task. The easiest way to do it might be to let a few dogs bite you and then decide which one hurts the most. Kidding!
In reality, bite force is measured through three main methods. Since none of these methods are 100% accurate, the bite force estimate is a combination of the answers from the methods below.
Using Geometry And Skull Size
The first and most classical way that bite force is measured is through mathematical calculations.
These calculations use geometry to measure how much bite force a dog should exert based on its tooth and skull size, bone density, and the angle of its jaw. The calculation pops out a number that represents the maximum amount of force a dog can apply with its jaws.
Even though this equation seems pretty foolproof, it’s not realistic. In the real world, dogs don’t right with maximum pressure. If a husky used maximum pressure to bite, they would likely injure their jaw and teeth through the force exerted. Even so, you’ll notice that skull size and shape definitely correlate with a stronger bite.
Using Electric Stimulation
Another method for measuring bite pressure was conducted through a scientific study using electric stimulation.
Before we get into it, let me assure you that no dogs were harmed during this study. All of the dogs selected for this study were already going to be euthanized due to pre-existing conditions. The dogs weren’t able to feel any pain from the stimulation due to the deep plane of anesthesia that they were in.
In this study, dogs were put under anesthesia, and electrodes were placed on their jaw muscles. Electricity was used to stimulate their jaw muscles and caused them to contract and bite down.
Again, this study had its limits because the electric stimulation represented a maximum number for pressure exertion. There was no representation of how hard a dog would realistically bite were they not under anesthesia.
Using A Dummy And A Pressure Meter
The last method used to measure bite force is probably the most realistic, and was conducted by National Geographic.
Surprisingly, National Geographic has done plenty of studies on different animals and their bite forces. And all of these studies, National Geographic constructed a dummy arm that had a pressure meter inside of it. Dogs were encouraged and trained to bite this jacket sleeve, and the force of the bite was measured.
Even this experiment had limitations because there was no way to tell what part of the mouth was biting down on the pressure meter. If a dog bit down with the front of their mouth, it would be a lot less pressure than if they were biting down with their molars.
Despite this limitation, the study showed a more realistic picture of what bite force would be for a dog. Instead of only giving an estimate of the maximum bite force, this study measured a real live bite.
What’s The Difference Between PSI And Newtons?
If you do a lot of research into bite force, you’ll notice that there are two different units used to measure pressure. Pounds per square inch (psi) and Newtons (N) are both used to convey the force exerted. The problem with having two separate units is that information can be purposely misrepresented to make it seem like a dog is more aggressive or dangerous than it actually is.
American readers will probably be more familiar with psi. Psi is the non-metric way to measure force and is fairly simple. It just tells you how much pressure in pounds is being applied to one square inch of material. One way to understand psi is to imagine the pressure of your jaw while chewing. Typically a human jaw exerts 70 psi while eating.
Pretty much anyone reading this from outside of the US is probably more familiar with Newtons. The metric system uses Newton to measure force. 1 N equals the amount of force needed to move, 1 kg of mass, and a set amount of time to a set distance. Newtons put both time and velocity into the force equation.
Newtons and psi should never be confused because they are very different numbers. To give you an idea of force of 500 psi equals about 3,500,000 N! Don’t forget to double-check units as you’re learning more about Husky bite force.
Why Might Huskys Have Such A Strong Bite Force?
If we take a quick look at the Husky history, we can understand why they’re so strong.
Siberian huskies were originally bred as working dogs that pulled sleighs for the Chukchi people. Not only were huskies bred to be very cold resistant but they were also selected for their incredible strength. Many huskies are able to pull anywhere from 90 – 130 pounds. Because of their natural strength, it’s no surprise that huskies have a strong bite.
Huskies also love to gnaw at and chew on things. It’s one of the traits that make them a bad dog for apartments as they’ve been known to chew through doors and drywall. Their jaws and teeth are incredibly strong and have no trouble chewing through hard substances.
For huskies, bite force is something that is naturally strong due to their breeding and traits.
How Can Bite Force Vary Among Huskies?
Earlier, we mentioned that bite force can still vary greatly within breeds. One husky might have a dramatically stronger bite than another. There are a few main factors that affect bite pressure.
Let’s talk about what can change how hard a Husky can bite.
Huskies are a dog breed that displays sexual dimorphism. In this case, that means that female huskies are typically smaller than males. As medium-sized dogs, male huskies usually have about 10 pounds on their female counterparts.
This size difference can play a dramatic role in bite force. You’ve probably noticed that as we talk about bite force, larger dogs typically have stronger bites. Chiuauas just can’t have the same bite force as German shepherds. While size doesn’t explain all of this difference, it definitely plays a role. Bigger dogs have bigger jaws and teeth to distribute more force with.
Age is another factor that can greatly affect how hard a Husky can bite.
Healthy adult huskies will have the strongest bites of any age. That’s because their bones and muscles are in peak condition and can do a lot of damage.
Puppies and juvenile huskies aren’t able to bite as hard because their bodies are still growing and developing. Huskies aren’t considered adults until about 12 – 18 months of age. Until then, puppies won’t have a strong bite force.
Geriatric dogs also have less bite force than healthy adults. This is mainly due to the degeneration of their tissues as they age. Their muscles and joints won’t be working in the same way and their teeth may be damaged or missing. But, even with their disadvantages, an older Husky’s bite can still pack a punch!
Skull Shape And Size
Remember the mathematical equation we mentioned above for calculating bite force? Two of the main numbers in that equation are based on a dog’s skull shape and size.
In theory, there are ideal dimensions that would allow a dog to have the strongest bite force. Dogs with square jaws can handle more pressure and force than dogs with long angular jaws. Of course, dogs with bigger skulls have bigger jaw muscles to bite down with.
If a husky has an especially large head or jaw, expect their bite to be a little bit stronger than the average number.
The last factor that can determine a Husky’s bite force is their tooth condition.
In order for your Husky to enjoy chewing or biting anything their teeth have to be in good condition. Untreated dental disease is incredibly common in pets. Just like us, dogs get cavities, and tooth infections, and can even break their teeth. Having compromised teeth can lead to a huge decrease in bite pressure. On top of that, untreated dental disease can lead to many other problems for your furry friends!
If you’ve taken care of your husky’s teeth, they’ll probably still be able to bite down as hard as they’d like to, without any pain.
Are Huskies Dangerous?
Huskies aren’t generally considered to be dangerous dogs.
If anything, huskies can be incredibly dramatic and nervous. But, they’re not inclined towards aggression. This has a lot to do with their backgrounds as working sleigh dogs. Since they’re not guarding anyone or anything, they don’t have the instinct to protect and bite. If anything, they’ll nip playfully or to get your attention.
In a veterinary clinic setting, we expect huskies to be a little wild but usually don’t worry about them biting aggressively. But, that doesn’t mean that huskies won’t ever bite! And when a husky bites, the 320 psi delivered is not going to feel good.
Can You Train A Husky Not To Bite?
Just like any other dog, huskies will bite if they feel they need to. Whether they do this out of fear or aggression, it’s possible to train them to stop biting.
Huskies can be very stubborn and mischievous. This is probably because they’re a fairly intelligent dog breed. Luckily, that intelligence means that they’re pretty trainable. If your puppy husky is biting, it should be a pretty easy correction to make. Redirection is a great training tool to use with puppies. This involves giving your puppy a toy to bite instead of biting your hand!
If you’re new at teaching your puppy not to bite, check out the short video below for some great tips!
Teaching An Older Dog Not To Bite
Teaching an old dog new tricks can be difficult. It can be even harder to teach a dog that’s already learned to bite to stop biting. And, disciplining huskies is no easy task! But, since huskies have a pretty strong bite force, it’s something you’ll need to work on if you ever want to take them out of the house.
One useful command to teach your dog is “take/drop”. This is taught by repeating a few simple steps that we’ll list below.
- Give your dog a toy and once they take it in their mouth, say, “Take”!
- Next, bring out one of your dog’s favorite treats.
- When your dog drops their toy in favor of their treat, say “drop” and give them the treat.
- Keep repeating these steps until your dog realizes that “take” and “drop” equal a treat (this could take a while).
- Start to give the command for “drop” before bringing out the treat.
- The training is complete when your dog takes and drops on command without a treat being pulled out.
It’s essential that your bite-risk dog knows how to “drop” something so that if they ever do bite something or someone you can quickly get them to let go.
Always Be A Responsible Dog Owner
If you have a Husky that bites, it’s never a bad idea to seek professional help. Biting can be a really hard habit to break. Dog trainers are well-equipped to deal with biting and aggression and can help you and your dog feel comfortable in public. You should be able to feel 100% confident that your Husky won’t bite when you take them out on walks.
Owning a husky is a huge responsibility. These dogs are full of energy and have a pretty strong bite. If a husky ever decides to bite someone, they could seriously injure them. Try to keep in mind that large, healthy, adult huskies will have the strongest bites of all.
Hopefully, with the right training and socialization, you’ll be able to make sure that no one ever feels the 230 psi of pressure your huskie’s jaws can put out.