Strongest Dog Breeds in the World
Every dog breed has a significant cuddle factor and can make a great family pet, but some exhibit greater strength than others. It can be in their bite force (or PSI, pounds per square inch), their weight, or a mix of both.
The strongest dog breeds put their great power to use in a variety of fascinating ways. Meet the canine companions whose bite is definitely worse than their bark.
Weight: 44–66 pounds
Bottom line: The Malinois, also known as a Belgian shepherd, is an intelligent and hard-working dog, but not for inexperienced owners. This dog is not suitable for homes with small children, as they can display aggressiveness.
This breed needs a skilled owner, who knows how to socialize and train them from an early age. They are instinctively protective toward their family and do not need extra training in that regard.
Malinois are used by law enforcement and military organizations around the world due to their intelligence, agility, and power.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Weight: 79–110 pounds
Bottom line: A breed of Swiss mountain dog, these large working dogs are calm and friendly, but don't let their jovial character fool you. They do exhibit great strength that should not be taken for granted.
Underneath their flowing, tricolored fur, they are all muscle. They are known to haul up to 1,000 pounds. If you chose to own one, make sure to give them plenty of space and exercise.
Bernese Mountain Dog in Action
Weight: 40–55 pounds
Bottom line: English bulldogs were originally used in bullbaiting — a practice in which dogs attacked a bull that was tied to a stake.
They were expected to grab the animal's nose and hold on. To stay alive, their bite evolved to lock on to the bull, and they became ferocious and nearly insensitive to pain.
While bullbaiting has been illegal since the 1830s, and bulldogs have become lovable couch potatoes, their bite can still inflict injury.
English Bulldog in Action
Weight: 44–71 pounds
Bottom line: Chows are known to be aloof and extremely hard to train. However, with patience and positive reinforcement, they do make great family dogs.
Potential owners should be aware that chows play bite or nip, which is particularly common during puppyhood.
They do grow to have significant jaw strength, so it is important not to anger them or bring them around strangers until they are fully trained.
Weight: 120-155 pounds
Bottom line: While the wolfhound does have a strong bite, he is not an aggressive dog. In fact, wolfhounds are known as "gentle giants" because they are friendly toward strangers and, as a result, make terrible guard dogs.
What makes them strong is their sheer size. Their name, in part, derives from their wolf-hunting abilities. They were also bred to hunt deer, wild boar and the enormous Irish elk.
Any dog that can take down these animals is a force of nature.
Irish Wolfhound in Action
Weight: 71–86 pounds
Bottom line: The ridgeback looks menacing, as he rarely barks but has a commanding presence. The hairs on his back also stand up, hence the "ridgeback" moniker.
He was bred to hunt and protect his owners. Since being a guardian is inherent in the breed, there is no need for further protection training.
This strong, muscular dog should be trained and socialized early on.
Rhodesian Ridgeback in Action
Weight: 66–67 pounds
Bottom line: Much like their German kin, Dutch shepherds are used in police, military, counterterrorism, and search and rescue operations due to their intelligence and strength.
While they are not the biggest breed, they are extremely fast and have jaw power comparable to any other breed used in this manner.
With the proper training, this working-class dog can be a loving family member that is gentle with small children and other animals.
Weight: 55–88 pounds
Bottom line: Also known as the Spanish Bulldog, the Alano Español is a rare breed that was used for working, hunting, and guarding. They were bullbaiting dogs and have a powerful bite as a result of that tradition.
Since they were developed for rural activities, they will get bored and destructive without anything to do. They need consistent mental stimulation and exercise.
Alano Español in Action
Weight: 55-79 pounds
Bottom line: One of the popular breeds for pet owners, the lab is a lovable, eager to please family companion.
Labs were bred as sporting dogs who retrieved game. They are highly intelligent and energetic.
But they don't do well in apartment settings, since they need plenty of outdoor space to shed their energy.
Labrador Retriever in Action
Weight: 120–180 pounds
Bottom line: These friendly dogs are known to be big love bugs, but they are a powerhouse in the canine world.
They were originally bred to save mountaineers stranded in the Swiss Alps. Only a dog of great strength and endurance could perform such a feat.
While they do have a high PSI, they're not big biters. But their size alone makes them a force to contend with.
Saint Bernard in Action
American Pit Bull
Weight: 30–60 pounds
Bottom line: The pit bull has a long, notorious reputation for having a strong bite force and aggression issues, but they are not the top dog in that regard.
However, they do have one of the strongest bites in the medium-sized dog category. When they bite down, they are known to hold and shake whatever they have in their mouths, which maximizes the damage to whatever they're holding.
They are a muscular and powerful breed, but as with any dog, it all comes down to training and socialization. They can also make wonderful family companions.
American Pit Bull in Action
Weight: 75–85 pounds
Bottom line: Malamutes and huskies are close cousins, but the Malamute is much larger and stronger than his kin.
They are working dogs that can pull up to 3,300 pounds, which makes them excellent sled dogs.
They can make great pets for the right owner. However, as they are working dogs, they need a lot of mental and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
Alaskan Malamute in Action
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Weight: 24–37 pounds
Bottom line: They are smaller in size, but Staffies do pack a wallop with their bite force.
Despite their strength, both they and the pit bull have earned a reputation for being dangerous, with some cities placing limits on ownership.
As with every dog, it comes down to the proper training. Staffies are smart, loving dogs that are loyal to their chosen family.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier in Action
Weight: 99–200 pounds
Bottom line: One of the biggest dogs is also one of the most gentle.
Danes are loyal and friendly with people and animals alike. Even among small children, they tend to display great patience.
Nevertheless, their size and strength will intimidate any potential threat.
Weight: 49–88 pounds
Bottom line: One of the top breeds used in law enforcement and the military, the German shepherd's bite force is strong enough to break human bones.
Their strength is also in their fearlessness and self-confidence, which makes them great family protectors.
They respond well to training and are ideal for active households.
German Shepherd in Action
Weight: 80–120 pounds
Bottom line: Bred for sledding and carting, the Pyrenees can move large loads over long distances.
While they do have a great bite force, their temperament is mostly steady, and they make a loyal, reliable addition to any family.
They are instinctively protective of their chosen people and do not need extra protection training.
Great Pyrenees in Action
Weight: 99–150 pounds
Bottom line: Newfies were once used to pull fishermen's nets out of the water and haul wood. They are also instinctively strong swimmers.
Training is essential for the Newfie due to his size. Luckily, he's intelligent and picks up cues quickly.
He's loyal, but has a slightly aloof personality, which makes him a great family protector.
Newfoundland in Action
Weight: 71–99 pounds
Bottom line: While rumors abound that the Dobie has a bite force of 600 PSI, it is much lower. Despite this, it is high among all dog breeds.
Bred primarily as guard dogs, Dobermans are highly intelligent and powerful, which makes them a favorite of law enforcement and the military. They also make great family pets, but need socialization to be comfortable around strangers and other animals.
Doberman experts advise against protection training. Protection is instinctive to the breed and adding this type of training can cause over-guarding and aggression.
Weight: 60–130 pounds
Bottom line: At 305 PSI, American bulldogs have a much higher bite force than their British cousins.
They are usually playful and affectionate, but you don't want to be on the receiving end of that kind of bite so make sure they have the proper training.
American bullies make wonderful family pets, but they need experienced owners with plenty of energy to match their own.
American Bulldog in Action
African Wild Dog
Weight: 49 pounds
Bottom line: You'll never own an African wild dog, but that's OK. Like wolves and wolf hybrids, they are not meant to be pets.
They live in southern and eastern Africa and roam in nomadic packs, with 20 to 30 members. While other predators are known for their speed (not that they're slouches in that department — they can run up to 40 mph), they are known for "exhaustive predation," which means they will chase prey over long distances to exhaustion.
This is how they are able to successfully hunt bigger animals, like impalas, gazelles and kudus.
African Wild Dog in Action
Weight: 35–60 pounds
Bottom line: This wolf-like dog is a working dog used in cold climates and was bred to pull sleds, which it does to this day. While it's not the biggest or weightiest dog, it does have a high bite force.
This energetic dog is generally friendly and makes a wonderful family companion. However, it needs lots of physical and mental exercise to blow off steam.
Huskies have a thick coat and don't do well in warm climates.
Weight: 77–130 pounds
Bottom line: Believed to be descended from ancient Roman drover dogs, Rottweilers were used as working and herd animals. They pulled carts, guarded homes, and controlled larger animals.
Rotties have muscular bodies and massive heads that account for their strong bite force. To put things in perspective, their bite force is half that of a shark, which makes them powerful protectors.
Rottweiler in Action
Weight: 51–86 pounds
Bottom line: Confident, loyal, but sometimes unpredictable, Akitas are happy to be the only animal in the family, and can be aggressive toward other animals and strangers. Although he is far from the biggest dog, he sturdy and strong.
The Akita is known to be territorial about his home, which makes him an excellent watchdog. Training and socialization is an absolute must for these animals.
Weight: 70—100 pounds
Bottom line: Wolfdogs are not allowed in every state. If they are allowed, owners often need special permissions to keep them.
As a mix of a domestic canine and a wolf, these have a literal wild streak. They are high-maintenance and independent and, therefore, do not make good family pets.
People that do wish to own one should be experienced and skilled at keeping this particular breed. They should not be kept inside, as they do not do well with other canine breeds and can be very destructive.
Weight: 90–160 pounds
Bottom line: While the Leonberger is a massive working dog with plenty of strength behind him, he was bred specifically for companionship. He is a loyal and friendly family member and is quite responsive to training, which makes him a great support or service dog.
Leonbergers enjoy plenty of space and affection. They are rarely biters, which is good news, considering their high PSI.
Leonberger in Action
Weight: 88–120 pounds
Bottom line: A person considering an Argentino should have enough experience to handle such a powerful breed.
Fighting dogs and hunters by nature, Argentinos are extremely muscular and can easily capture and kill prey.
Despite this, they can be beloved family members, provided they have extensive socialization and training.
Dogo Argentino in Action
Weight: 79–130 lbs
Bottom line: The Tosa Inu is not for everyone. In fact, its sheer strength means it is for very few people, except those with experience in the breed.
The Tosa Inu was specifically created for dogfighting in Japan in the second half of the 19th century. It learned to fight in silence and is unmatched in both power and pain tolerance.
For these reasons, it is banned or limited in some countries. Only experienced owners need apply. This breed needs plenty of training, human companionship, and mental and physical challenges, as a bored Tosa Inu can easily destroy a home.
Weight: 83–130 pounds
Bottom line: This Spanish working breed is naturally dominant and will assert its aggression if not properly trained in obedience and socialization.
The Canario was originally used to defend livestock from wild dogs. Its strength is still very much a part of its personality, but it can be an exceptionally behaved pet with an experienced owner.
Care should be taken when it is around other dogs, small children or strangers.
Weight: 75–150 pounds
Bottom line: The Tibetan mastiff has equal strength in its bite and its body. It's a powerhouse of a dog that was originally used as a guard dog for livestock and property.
They do make great pets with the proper training and socialization. However, as they are instinctively guardians, people must be careful when introducing them to strangers.
Tibetan Mastiff in Action
Weight: 120–230 pounds
Bottom line: Luckily for us, the English mastiff is another mostly gentle giant, as its bite force and size are unmatched by most other dogs.
The English mastiff is loyal to its human owners, but does not do well with other dogs. Therefore, socialization is essential for a dog of this strength.
English Mastiff in Action
Dogue de Bourdeaux
Weight: 120-140 pounds
Bottom line: The dogue de Bourdeaux is a loyal and affectionate companion and attentive to every family member, but owning one requires both skill and experience.
As a powerful and intelligent guard dog, socialization is essential when they are still puppies, so they do not grow up to become either overly aggressive or shy.
Providing plenty of play and stimulation will keep the dogue de Bourdeaux from being destructive in the home.
Dogue de Bourdeaux in Action
Weight: 120–170 pounds
Bottom line: Bred to protect South African homesteads, these dogs have not changed much over hundreds of years.
Boerboels are true guard dogs and wield great strength thanks to their large heads, strong jaws and muscled bodies. They are up to virtually any task.
While they are generally calm and reserved, they shouldn't be provoked, as they will do anything to protect their loved ones.
Weight: 99–110 pounds
Bottom line: There are only two other dogs with a stronger bite force than the cane corso. This Italian breed was used as a "catch" dog — it would chase prey, catch it, and hold it until a hunter or tracker caught up with it.
Cane corsos do not bite unless they feel there is no other option. If an intruder enters, they will bark to give them fair warning.
After that, all bets are off.
Weight: 85–130 pounds
Bottom line: The bandogge (or bandog) is a mix of European working and guarding breeds and has been kept for hunting and fighting since the 1200s.
In the 1970s, John Swinford, an American veterinarian, wanted to standardize the breed and created what he felt was the ultimate protection dog by crossing an American pit bull with a Neapolitan mastiff. This massive, domineering breed has been a force to contend with ever since.
Bandogges can be gentle and loving to their families, but downright dangerous to strangers. While they do get along with kids and other dogs, training, socialization, and supervision is essential to having one in the home.
Weight: 88-130 pounds
Bottom line: The kangal has the strongest bite in the canine world. This Turkish livestock guardian dog will stand up to any threat as it has the confidence, speed and courage to do so.
Kangals prefer to intimidate but will attack when they feel they must. Luckily, they are not aggressive toward people, but are instinctively wary of other dogs they do not know.
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