Chihuahua Bite Force PSI, Statistics & Fatalities

The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the United States but doesn’t seem to let its size stop it.

A highly protective companion, you must have come across a Chihuahua taking a fighting stance and baring its teeth at a stranger.

While it looks cute, protectiveness in a dog breed is a double-edged sword.

You never know when it turns to aggression.

As an owner of this pup, you may like to know how strong a Chihuahua bite force PSI measurement is, just in case your adorable pooch is guilty of biting someone.

And is it possible that a friendly cuddle Chihuahua can turn aggressive?

With these questions in mind, we put up this guide.

We shall determine the correct bite force of the Chihuahua and other important information. 

How Strong is a Chihuahua Bite Force?

There isn’t a standard examination on the Chihuahua bite force, but some reports online have set the bite force of this dog breed to be up to 3,900 PSI!

If that is accurate, then the Chihuahua might be more dangerous than we realize.

This data has been met with a lot of skepticism, for good reasons. 

When you compare the suggested bite force of the Chihuahua with other bigger dog breeds and animals, you’d be doubtful too.

The Kangal is said to have the strongest bite force amongst dogs and its PSI is at 743.

The American Pit Bull Terrier which is feared has a bite force of 235 PSI.

The Grizzly Bear has a bite force of 1,200 PSI and the Mako shark is at 3,000 PSI.

If the previously mentioned data on the Chihuahua is correct, then its bite force should be more than a shark.

You don’t need Hollywood to tell you that can’t be possible.

Experts say the same thing.

Stanley Coren PhD., for example, has stated that the bite forces of dogs are sometimes inaccurate. 1

As a psychologist, he used to accept the vet’s opinions on bite forces till he began his research.

That led him to conclude that there are some misinterpretations on dogs’ bite force. That is most likely what occurred with the Chihuahua. 

According to Coren, these errors occur because researchers “are not reporting their results in pounds of force, but rather in a force-measure called Newtons.” 2

Coren cited as an example an experimental work done by Jennifer Lynn Ellis and her team of Guelph University, Canada.

The bite force was measured in Newtons and published as such. Yet, websites reported their results as pounds.

So, a 2,000 Newton bite force was reported as 2,000 pounds.

This was most likely the error made on the reported Chihuahua’s bite force.

So, What is the Correct Chihuahua Bite Force?

A Chihuahua Biting Her Owner's Finger

Since no direct study has been done to determine the Chihuahua bite force in pounds, it is difficult to state what its actual PSI measure might be.

However, with its head size and a comparison with other dog breeds, one can make a calculated guess. 

Below is a table that shows some of the dog breeds with the strongest bite force measured in PSI (pounds per square inch).

A casual glance at these dogs and you’d see that they have bigger head sizes, stronger jaws, and sharper teeth than the Chihuahua.

Dog BreedsBite Force in PSI
Kangal Dog743
Bandog Dog730
Cane Corso700
Dogue de Bordeaux556
Tosa Inu556
English Mastiff552
Dogo Canario540
Dogo Argentino500
American Bulldog305
German Shepherd238
Pit Bull235
Alano Español227
Dutch Shepherd224
Chow Chow220
English Bulldog210

No one can justifiably conclude that the Chihuahua has a stronger bite force than any of these dog breeds listed above.

For its size, a more realistic Chihuahua bite force should be between 100 to 180 PSI.

While this is still under speculation, it fits better than the obviously wrongly reported 3,900 PSI. 

Some studies seem to have reached this conclusion.

Using the strength of the teeth and the Chihuahua’s jaw muscles, it was easier to conclude that the bite force would average at 140 PSI. 

This puts the Chihuahua bite force at almost the same place as that of the human bite force, which is set at 162 PSI.

So, if an insane person can injure with a bite, what about Chihuahuas?

Are Chihuahuas Known to be Dangerous?

Chihuahua Dog with a Danger Banner on White Background

The bite force of a Chihuahua in PSI will not cause as much damage as a Pit Bull or a shark, but it can leave a mark.

Chihuahuas are fast, intelligent, and have sharp teeth. All these combined can make an encounter with one of these little dogs turn out wrong.

That being said, the Chihuahua is not known to be a dangerous dog breed, or even inherently aggressive.

While it can be defensive, owners know that it is a loving and loyal pet that hardly shows signs of aggression.

The bite reports on this breed are usually from stray, unneutered male Chihuahuas with no atom of training.

Chihuahua Bite Statistics

While the well-trained Chihuahua isn’t aggressive, the bite statistics are surprising.

According to research done in 2009 on bites, it was discovered that out of the 188 dog breeds used, the Chihuahua is the 4th dog breed that has harmed children and can cause significant damages. 3

It is also more likely to bite a veterinarian than other breeds employed in that study. 

In 2016, a study that involved 4,000 opinions from dog owners found the Chihuahua to be the most aggressive, especially when facing a larger dog. 4

This is usually to defend itself as it is a ‘big dog in a small dog’, but it also proves that the Chihuahua should not be underestimated.

However, most of the dog breeds studied alongside the Chihuahua were less aggressive, and the Chihuahua only ranked medium in aggression.

The Chihuahua is also ranked as one dog breed that is known to bite the most. 5

It even tops the list, coming above the English Bulldog, Pit Bull, German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, Bull Terrier, and some others.

However, it doesn’t figure among the dogs with the most dangerous bite force, proving what we said earlier about the 3,900 PSI result being a mistake.

Thus, while the Chihuahua’s bite may not leave lasting damages, caution must be taken, especially when it meets a stranger, a dog at the park, or children.

You wouldn’t want your pet chasing visitors away. 

As a Chihuahua dog owner, do not be tempted to overindulge this breed on account of its size.

As we’ve seen, these little dogs act bigger than their sizes and can be menacing if neglected.

Train your Chihuahua as you would a big dog to prevent it from biting someone.

Not that the bite is fatal, or can it?

Has the Chihuahua Killed Anyone?

It doesn’t seem likely that a small dog can kill someone with its bite. Injuries and pain are more understandable, but death?

Unfortunately, statistics say otherwise.

Though the Chihuahua doesn’t rank high amongst dog breeds that have caused the most deaths (that’s a list for Pit Bulls and Rottweilers), it was recorded to have killed someone in 2018. 6

While this isn’t enough to engender an outcry and a Chihuahua ban, it does show that this breed should not be underestimated.

If it gets its teeth on a sensitive area of a person, it may lead to intensive care and even death.

You must know how to curb aggressive tendencies in your Chihuahua to keep people around safe.

How do I Stop my Chihuahua from Getting Aggressive?

Crazy and Aggressive Chihuahua Dog

Besides good obedience training, there are other ways you can prevent your Chihuahua from developing any aggressiveness.

As you now know, an aggressive Chihuahua is more likely to bite and there’s a slim chance of it being fatal.

With that in mind, here are some tips to preventing aggression in Chihuahuas:

1. Neuter or spay your Chihuahua at a young age

The unneutered male Chihuahua is more likely to be aggressive and to show male dominance by biting.

The unspayed female might also have this problem.

Neutering and spaying reduce gender-related aggression.

This procedure is also necessary for birth control and can reduce the risk of cancer in dogs.

Consult your vet before making this decision, however. The veterinarian will also explain how to take care of your dog after it.

2. Do not leave your pup alone for long

Leaving your Chihuahua alone for long periods can cause it to develop bad behaviors.

Some dogs don’t like being left alone, and they have different ways of portraying anxiety.

For the Chihuahua, that includes aggression and destroying furniture.

If you can’t give the Chihuahua enough attention, consider a different breed. 

3. Start socializing at an early age

The Chihuahua tends to be wary of strangers and might attack a visitor who tries to touch it. Proper socialization helps reduce this.

4. They don’t like rough play

Don’t have this breed in a home with kids who rough handle dogs. It is unsuitable for a house with toddlers.

Only have a Chihuahua when your kids are old enough to know how to respect a dog breed.

5. Watch out for signs of aggression

If your dog has already begun displaying signs of aggression, contact a professional trainer to help get it back to normal.

Also, ensure it is not being snappy because of an injury or some other pain like a toothache.

Is the Chihuahua’s bite more than the Pitbull?

Regardless of the rumor that the Chihuahua has a bite force of 3,900 PSI, the Pit Bull’s bite is stronger than the Chihuahua and leaves more damage.

Can a Chihuahua bite off a finger?

The Chihuahua bite force is strong enough to injure someone and even leave the person in a critical case.

It may not completely rip off a finger, but it won’t be a good idea for you to put your finger close to its teeth.

Are Chihuahua bites dangerous? 

The Chihuahua is small, but it has sharp teeth. Though it isn’t feared like the Pit Bull or the Rottweiler, its bite can be dangerous, especially if it reaches an artery.

To Wrap Up 

The Chihuahua is a popular toy companion for good reasons. Its loyalty and affection endear it to many pet parents.

However, it has its downsides which manifest in overprotectiveness.

If you don’t take that into account, the Chihuahua can turn into a biting freak and pose risk to people around. 

Though the Chihuahua bite force is limited, coupled with the fact that it is a small dog, still, its bite can cause shocking damage.

So you should train, socialize and get it neutered (or spayed) to curb signs of aggression.

If you come across a stray Chihuahua in your neighborhood, call your local animal control or the nearest animal shelter.

You May Also Like:
How Strong Is A Pitbull? Pitbull Bite Force, Facts

[1] Wikipedia: Stanley Coren
[2] Psychology Today: Dog Bite Force: Myths, Misinterpretations, and Realities
[3] dvm360: Study: Chihuahuas bite vets most; Lhaso Apsos inflict worst injuries
[4] 2016 US Dog Bite Fatalities
[5] CanineJournal: Dog Bite Statistics (How Likely Are You To Get Bit?)
[6] 2018 US Dog Bite Fatalities

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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