Myth Buster: Pit Bulls have the most dangerous dog bite
Because of abuse at the hands of some owners, pit bulls have developed the reputation of being one of the most dangerous dog breeds. It has been rumored that they have the strongest dog bite and have lockjaw—a unique jaw structure that allows them to grab and clamp their jaw with no release trigger. It has left people biased against the breed, and has created a fear that pit bulls are one of the worst animals in the world to encounter.
The bad rap comes from the stories on the news about dogfights. According to the ASPCA, the breed was originally bred to bait bulls, hence the name, but when baiting was outlawed in the 1800s, some were mixed with smaller, more athletic terriers to be able to fight each other. The bait dogs were designed to bite and pull livestock to their designated pens, or corrals. When they added speed to the instinctive strength and aggression of the dog, they understandably became a force to be reckoned with.
That being said, almost all breeds of dogs today are being bred as household pets. This means their “natural tendencies” to be bait dogs, or fighting dogs, has all but disappeared. Animals can be bred for physical as well as behavioral tendencies and although most breeds are no longer bred for fighting, there are some pit bull owners that still encourage this trait.
That being said, what are the odds that a dog will exert so much force that their jaw will lock? Is it reasonable to avoid specific breeds of dog? What breeds should you be wary of?
After seeing clients and St. Louis neighbors become anxious with a wide discrepancy of information, Finney Law Office, LLC has decided to take on an additional role: investigating myths and debunking unclear information. Here, we have taken on hours of research and are putting dog bites into the global perspective.
While it’s clear that our lawyers/myth busters do not condone dog bites, we are digging into larger research about breeds—dogs or other—with the most dangerous bites. We are constantly working with clients suffering from dog bite injuries that have created life-long trauma.
Debunked: Pit bulls do not have the strongest dog bite or lock jaw.
Dr. Brady Barr and Joe Camp answered the question, “which dog has the strongest dog bite?” in 2005 when they created digital dog bite meters. The meters determined the force in pounds per square inch, or PSI. It is essential to know that human bites average around 120 PSI—a large male can exert about 150 PSI.
Pit bulls are eighth on list, meaning they rank relatively low in comparison to other breeds. Pit bull bites average around 235 PSI. While it is still higher than the bite of a human and can do extreme damage, it is only 71 percent of what a Rottweiler can exert. Rottweiler breed dogs are ranked fourth on the list with a dog bite of 328 PSI.
Dogs that have more bite strength than pit bulls are as follows:
- German Shepherd: 238 PSI.
- American Bull Dog: 305 PSI.
- African Wild Dog: 317 PSI.
- Rottweiler: 328 PSI.
- Wolfdog: 406 PSI.
- Mastiff: 558 PSI.
- Kangal (Turkish dog): 743 PSI
- BONUS: Hyena: 1,000 PSI
Do you see any larger dogs that aren’t on the list? Great Danes, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Huskies, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and other popular breeds were left off the list. However, that doesn’t mean that they are completely safe; any dog can bite under certain circumstances, especially without training, socialization, and supervision.
The most dangerous animal bites are alligators with 2,125 PSI and crocodiles with 3,700 PSI. They exert more power than lions, bears, and hippopotamuses. Be careful on your summer trips down South!
All dogs, like people, are individuals. With proper treatment and care, pit bulls are as loving and affectionate as the rest of the species. Judging a dog by its DNA is similar to racism or sexism in humans. There are plenty of gentle pit bulls. Any dog can show signs of aggression that is not based on their genetic coding, but instead, because of a lack of socialization, or being purposely provoked.
A dog that is not socialized, or easily startled can be identified by a few telltale mannerisms. When a dog has her tail tucked between its legs and has pinned her ears back, it is probably anxious or scared. These actions make it look smaller and more submissive. Behavior may also include yawning, rolling to expose its stomach, or retreating. It will dodge eye contact. When it is given the option, it will flee. If it has no other choice, then it may snarl or bark. It is not likely that this timid dog will bite, but if it has no other alternative, it may instinctively snap at a threat. An aggressive dog will look a little bit different. It will make herself look bigger. While maintaining a menacing stare, the hair on its back will stand and the dog may slowly move toward the threat. Continued movement toward a dog displaying these characteristics may quickly result in a dog bite.
Pit bulls have a bad reputation—they are known for aggressiveness, dog fighting, and unproven rumors. While you should always take caution when you are interacting with dogs, keep in mind that pit bulls are not on the top of the strongest bite list, and can be loving and loyal with the proper training and care.
At Finney Law Office, LLC, our compassionate and assertive lawyers will represent you or your loved ones in any St. Louis dog bite accident . If you’d like to further discuss the specifics of your circumstance, please don’t hesitate to call us. We offer free consultations to determine whether your case should be legally handled, so there is no risk in asking your questions.