How Strong Are American Pitbulls?

Pound for pound American Pitbull is one the strongest dogs for its size. A 60 pound Pitbull is stronger than a 180-pound man in top form.

But that does not mean that Pitbulls are mean machines with a taste for blood; in reality, American Pitbulls are very kind, generous, gentle, and loving dogs. They love to cuddle up and please their owner.

American Pitbull are not aggressive by nature, but incompetent owners neglect them so much they develop social anxiety and attack any stranger that goes near them. And thanks to their strong muscles, they can rip apart almost anyone.

Let’s get into the details of the actual strength of American Pitbulls.

How Strong Are American Pit Bulls?

American Pitbulls are very strong, inheriting the physique and strength of their ancestors that were used in bull-baiting and dog fighting. There is no official way to measure the strength of a dog.

Thus you cannot compare American Pitbull with other dog breeds by looking at them. In addition, dogs of the same breed have various physical features, and some have different areas of expertise and capability.

For instance, Labradors are service dogs, whereas German Shepherds are used in search and rescue missions.

There are two ways you can get an idea of how strong any dog is:

  • Bite force
  • Weight Pulling

1. American Pitbull: Bite Force

The research done on the bite force of American Pitbull is limited, but it is enough for us to get a good idea of how strong these dogs are.

The methods used are only sometimes foolproof. Most studies use one of four methods, including geometrical analysis, electrodes, and transducers.

Geometrical Analysis

The geometrical Analysis method is the least accurate because it uses scientific theory to determine the maximum potential force a dog’s jaws could hypothetically apply.

The whole theory is based on bone structure and no other physical study. That said, no living creature will ever apply maximum pressure when biting because doing so can cause a fractured jaw, broken teeth, or torn muscle tissue.

Treat Wrapped Transducer

Treat Wrapped Transducer method of study uses transducers (pressure sensors) covered in treats to measure the bite force of dogs.

Instead of measuring a defensive bite, this study measures a Pitbul’s casual chewing bite force. The results of this study tell an inaccurate bite force estimate on the lower end of the scale.

Electrode Method

In the electrode method, researchers will place the Pitbull under anesthesia and attach electrodes to stimulate jaw movements. Since the dogs aren’t conscious during the measurements, they can’t control their bite force to keep their oral health safe as they did in normal circumstances.

It becomes safe to assume that the results of this study are significantly higher than under natural circumstances.

Provocative Method

The provocative method uses bite-force meters strategically placed on a protective sleeve, provoking the Pitbull to bite the sleeve in defense. The results from this method are more likely to be accurate than the three methods above.

After several accurate measurements in scientific studies, the Pitbull breed has an average bit force of 235 pounds per square inch (PSI).

The bite force of APBT is no more or no less than other dog breeds of the same size and weight, but it is significantly less than larger dog breeds such as the Mastiff and the Rottweiler.

Some significant dog biteforces are as follows:

Dog Bred Bite Strength (psi)
Kangal 734
English Mastiff 556
Rottweiler 328
American Bulldog 305
German Shepherd 238

As you can see, American Pitbull is nowhere near the strongest bite force; this title goes to the Kangal, which has a bite force of 734 PSI.

2. American Pitbulls: Weight Pulling

In the 1970s, the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) introduced a dog weight-pulling championship competition to replace dog fighting. The activity doesn’t harm the dogs and allows them to release any pent-up energy.

After all, it is a known fact that dogs love having a job because it gives them a purpose or a way to please their owners. Pitbull and their sub-breeds are perfect for weight-pulling competitions. Almost all of the participant breeds are pitbull-type breeds.

The Unified Weight Pull Federation’s website has 60+ American Bullies, 40+ Staffordshire Bull Terriers, 30+ American Staffordshire Terriers, 50+ “Working Pit” bulldogs, and a staggering 600+ American Pitbull Terriers.

The American Pulling Association lists 32 Staffordshire Terriers and 270 American Pitbull Terriers as national champions from different years and categories.

In this sport, specially trained, harness-wearing dogs pull carts full of a certain weight, and the dog to pull the weight fastest over a given length is the winner. More weight is added to the winner’s cart.

The record for most weight-pull by a Pitbull is 5022 pounds by a dog named Gaiter Red in 1995.

Factors Affecting Strength in Dogs

The key factors that affect the strength of dogs, especially Pitbulls, are as follows:


A dog’s size is the best way to know how strong a dog is and how dangerous the bite will be. Although American Pitbulls are not the largest dog breed like St. Bernards, they still fall under the medium-sized dog breed category.

American Pitbull has the strongest bite amongst all the dogs of the medium-size category. The reason behind this is the skeletal and muscular structure of American Pitbulls.

American Pitbulls weigh 30 to 90 pounds and not only have the strongest bite but are also the strongest dog in this category. Being the strongest dog for a medium-sized dog breed, Pitbulls reportedly killed 284 people in 13 years.

So the bigger the size, the stronger the dog.

Head and Jaw Size

The shape and size of the head and jaw play a very significant role in the overall strength of a dog.

A scientific journal regarding research on animal behavior states that dogs with broader heads, known as brachycephalic, are significantly stronger than dogs with narrow heads or scientifically known as dolichocephalic, regardless of body mass.

According to Continental Kennel Club, American Pit Bull Terriers have slightly brachycephalic cranium shapes. American Pitbull Terrier is likely much stronger than dogs with narrow craniums.

So, despite a medium size, American Pitbull and other Pitbull-type sub-breeds are extremely powerful dogs.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Question

Can a Pitbull Bite Break Bones?

Yes, if a Pitbull bites the hand, elbow, or arm of a child or an adult with full force, there is a chance he can break bones. Usually, Pitbulls do not attack someone unless provoked or ordered by the owner.

What is the Pulling Force of A Pitbull?

On average, a Pitbull can 700 to 1000 pounds, and the average bite force of an American Pitbull Terrier is 235 pounds per square inch (PSI). It is one of the strongest bite forces and pull forces.

Are Pit Bulls One of The Strongest Dogs?

American Pitbull terrier is one of the strongest dogs based on their bite force and the amount of weight they can pull. The strongest dogs are the biggest, but American Pitbull is the strongest medium-sized dog.

What Happens if A Pitbull Bites You?

Seek medical help immediately and wash the wound with water, as dog bites can cause serious infections that can be fatal. Afterward, contact the police and animal control to report the incident to ensure the dog was vaccinated for rabies and that the Pitbull is not a threat to society.

If the dog’s owner fails to do so, the Pitbull will be placed under quarantine and possibly shipped to a rescue shelter.

How Do You Get a Pitbull to Release Its Bite?

If a Pitbull or any other dog attacks you, it is best to remain calm and show him you are the boss through your body language. Grab him by the tail and pull up and backward with one of your hands.

If the dog is still biting despite pulling his tail, you should grab him by his legs and flip him over. The dog will instantly release his bite and calm down.


American Pitbulls have a long history of blood sports, and the memory still haunts them.

American Pitbulls were initially bred to be strong and fierce, but with the change of time, they have become great family dogs that love to cuddle up with their owners and make you happy.

Beneath their strong muscular body is a great heart that loves everyone. So even if a Pitbull is strong, you shouldn’t worry about it as he will never attack you unless you provoke them.

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