English bulldogs are short, stocky, powerhouses that are known for their squished faces and loving personalities. As a “bully “breed, English bulldogs, have a reputation. People might assume because of their breeding that they’re aggressive and always bite. But, this usually isn’t the case. Plus, English bulldogs don’t even have a very strong bite when compared to many other dogs.
So, what is an English bulldog’s bite force?
It’s estimated that the average bite force of an English bulldog is 210 pounds per square inch (psi). When compared with an American bulldog’s bite force at 305 psi, English bullies have a pretty weak bite. Bite force varies greatly among individuals, but you won’t find English bulldogs at the top of bite force lists.
This article will give you all of the information you need about the bite force of an English bulldog. Please keep reading to find out exactly how we determine bite force in dogs, and how bite force can change within breeds.
What Is An English Bulldog Bite Force In PSI?
As mentioned above, it’s estimated that an English bulldog’s bite force is around 210 psi. On our list of bite forces for 68 dogs, English bulldogs only rank 39. That puts them in the lower half of dog breeds as far as bite force goes.
Above English bulldogs are big fighters like American bulldogs, Great Pyrenees, and Boxers, as well as huskies and even Great Danes. English bulldogs still outbite dogs like shelties, corgis, and golden retrievers.
But, how do we know that English bulldogs bite this hard?
How Is Bite Force Measured In Dogs?
It’s important to understand how bite force is measured in dogs because the methods aren’t perfect. That means that most of the numbers we have for these dogs are just good guesses. Let’s talk a little bit about each method used to measure bite, force and why none of them are 100% accurate for all areas of the mouth.
Using Geometry And Skull Size
One method for assessing bite force involves a set of mathematical equations. These equations account for variables such as the size of the dog’s skull, bone density, jaw shape, and tooth dimensions. All of these measurements are used to estimate the maximum bite pressure a dog’s jaws could exert.
Nevertheless, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever observe a bulldog or any other dog using their jaws at absolute maximum pressure. This sort of force would likely result in severe jaw injuries and makes these equations theoretical at best.
Even with the limitations, these equations still have value. You’ll notice that on most bite force lists, larger dogs with bigger jaws tend to rank higher than smaller dogs.
Using Electric Stimulation
Another primarily theoretical approach used to gauge a dog’s bite force involves the use of electric muscle stimulation. Before we get into the methods, it’s important to let you know that all of the dogs selected for this study were scheduled for euthanasia due to pre-existing conditions and did not continue to live after the experiment.
In this particular study, a group of dogs was administered anesthesia that induced a surgical state of unconsciousness. While anesthetized, electrodes were attached to these dogs’ jaw muscles. These electrodes were used to prompt involuntary jaw contractions which caused the dogs to bite down on a meter with maximum force while asleep.
This study still had limitations and the electrodes could only produce a maximum force measurement.
Using A Dummy And A Pressure Meter
The most practical insight into bite force measurements is likely from a study featured in National Geographic.
In this study, dogs were trained to bite into a jacket sleeve equipped with a force meter. No real human arms were at risk during this experiment. Once a dog bit down on the sleeve, a measurement was taken.
This type of study is highly valued in estimating bite force because it’s performed with real, awake dogs. The only limitation of the National Geographic method is that there was no way to tell which part of the mouth was exerting pressure. This could have caused a big variation in results as molars can exert more force than incisors.
What’s The Difference Between PSI And Newtons?
In our article, we always try to keep things engaging and shy away from scientific jargon as much as possible! Even so, it’s crucial to grasp the distinction between psi and Netons (N) when discussing bite force measurements.
This understanding is so important because you may encounter bite force data expressed in either of these units and both are fundamentally different. In some cases, units may even be used to manipulate or misrepresent a dog’s bite force, as is sometimes seen with breeds like Pitbulls.
Psi or pounds per square inch is a means of quantifying pressure within the non-metric system. This unit will be more familiar to American readers and represents the amount of pressure in pounds applied to a single square inch of surface. When a human chews food normally, they exert somewhere around 68 psi.
Newtons provide us with a slightly more intricate approach to measuring bite force and are used in most of the rest of the world. To keep it simple, 1 N corresponds to the amount of pressure required to move 1 kilogram of something within a specific time and distance. So N factors in time and velocity.
It’s crucial to never confuse Psi and N because they result in vastly different numbers. For example, 500psi equals about 3,500,000 N. Remember to double-check units when examining biet force numbers!
Why Bulldogs Might Have A Weaker Bite Force
Historically, it’s been agreed upon that bulldogs have a strong bite. However, real data seems to disagree with that.
Many people seem to believe that English bulldogs were bred as protection or guardian dogs. English bulldogs were actually bred to participate in bull baiting. Bullbaiting was a sport that originated in the United Kingdom sometime before the 13th century in which dogs harassed tethered bulls.
English bulldogs were victorious in this sport when they were able to grab the bull by the nose and pin it down. People would place bets and wagers on which bulldog would win. Because of this breeding, bulldogs received an aggressive reputation. In reality, bulldogs tend to be calm and relaxed.
Though English bulldogs are descendants of the Mastiff, they were never bred as attack or guardian dogs. English bulldogs are generally too friendly to be considered guardian dogs. And since they weren’t bred to scare off and fight attackers, they don’t have the strongest bite.
The anatomy of the bulldog also suggests a weak bite force. Bulldogs tend to have an underbite. Underbites are adorable, but they don’t do much for bite strength. That’s because bulldogs aren’t able to properly close their jaws around whatever they’re biting if they have a pronounced underbite.
Bulldogs also have very short and stout jaws. If you take the bite force equation factors into play, a short snout doesn’t usually equal a strong bite. Usually, strong bite forces belong to dogs with long and narrow snouts like Great Pyrenees and German Shepherds.
Even though bulldogs, don’t have the strongest bite of all the dogs, they’ll still do significant damage if they get ahold of something.
How Can Bite Force Vary Among Bulldogs?
We’ve already mentioned that bite force can vary even within one breed!
A good example of this is Rottweilers. European rottweilers are larger and stronger than American rottweilers and probably have a significantly stronger bite. As we know, English bulldogs have a ton of in-breed variation. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that can greatly influence bite force.
It’s common for male English bulldogs to be larger than female bulldogs.
Adult males typically have a 10-pound advantage over females. This difference in size will make a difference in bite force. Male dogs are likely to have slightly bigger teeth and jaws, and stronger bones and muscles.
Larger dogs just have more to bite down with and male bulldogs will usually have a higher bite pressure than females.
Another potentially obvious factor that affects bite pressure is age.
Because English bulldogs are medium-sized dogs, they aren’t fully mature until about 12-18 months of age. Up until that point, a bulldog won’t be able to bite down as hard. Puppies can’t bite as well because their tissues are still developing. Their muscles aren’t defined and their adult teeth may have just erupted.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are geriatric dogs. Once a dog becomes geriatric, bite force will start to slowly decline. This is mainly due to tissue degeneration that leads to weaker bones, teeth, and muscles.
Adult bulldogs will definitely have the highest bite force of any age group (though pesky puppies are probably more likely to bite).
Skull Shape And Size
We’ve brought up skull shape and size a couple of times in this article already. However, the variation among English bulldogs in skull shape and size can make a difference in bite force.
This all goes back to the idea that bite force can be measured with geometry. You can think of the jaw as a lever. A lever has ideal dimensions to optimize pressure, and so does a jaw. A square jaw can handle more pressure on the front than a narrow jaw. But, if a dog’s jaw is too square, or even squished with an underbite, it will start to negatively affect bite pressure.
Basically, English bulldogs with bigger square-shaped heads will have stronger bites than English bulldogs with small heads or underbites.
The last major factor that affects bite force within a dog breed is tooth condition.
Two of the same size dogs can have incredibly different bite forces depending on their teeth. Tooth health is not only important for a strong bite, but also allows dogs to enjoy their favorite treats and bones.
Dental disease is surprisingly common in dogs. Dogs can sustain all sorts of dental injuries while chewing on hard objects or toys. You may not even realize that a dog has fractured a tooth until you take it in for a routine examination at the vet. A fractured tooth would be painful and would decrease bite force.
Older dogs have plenty of other issues with their teeth that can affect bite force. Missing or infected teeth can cause issues and can keep a dog from biting down as hard as it might want to.
Are Bulldogs Dangerous?
All of this talk about biting makes it sound like English bulldogs bite everyone and everything they see. Bulldogs have a bad reputation, and that’s probably to do with the fact that they look a lot like pit bulls. Even so, bulldogs aren’t inherently dangerous dogs.
Bulldogs aren’t considered to be guardians or attack dogs. They don’t have the natural instinct to defend their families and aren’t generally aggressive towards humans. It’s important to understand that aggression isn’t breed-specific. The answer of whether or not a bulldog is dangerous will usually come down to the individual themselves.
Luckily, with proper training, most bulldogs end up being amazing family pets, and not dangerous at all.
Can You Train A Bulldog Not To Bite?
If you’re worried about your bulldog, biting down on someone, you can take steps to prevent that.
Training a bulldog puppy not to bite is pretty simple. Puppie’s brains are always growing and developing, which makes them easy to train. If you have an English bulldog puppy that’s biting a lot at a young age you have plenty of time to change that behavior.
Work on socializing your puppy to make sure that they’re used to seeing new people and animals. Then, you can stop your puppy from biting by following simple steps in the video below.
Teaching An Older Dog Not To Bite
If you have an older bulldog, and you want to make sure you can control them if they ever bite something, you’ll need to train one simple trick. Practice teaching your dog how to “take” and “drop.” You can do this in just a few steps and eventually use it in case your dog ever chomps on anything.
If you feel like training your dog, how to drop, it is a little out of your league, we recommend hiring a dog trainer. Just like any other dog, bulldogs can be difficult to discipline, and you might need a professional to teach you the best way to deal with your furry friend. Even though English bulldogs don’t have the strongest bites, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have your dog under control when you go out in public.
English bulldogs only have a bite force of about 210 psi. That bite force can vary depending on how big or old your bulldog is. Either way, 210 psi is still an amount of force that could seriously injure someone.
Making sure that your bulldog is trained and socialized should prevent any accidents in the future, and will allow you to show everyone just how sweet your dog is.