How Heavy Is a Chihuahua Bite Force? (In PSI)

Chihuahua Bite Force. Photo of a Chihuahua biting a treat on his owner's hand.

If you’ve ever seen a Chihuahua play with their favorite rope toy or chomp on a rawhide bone, you might be wondering just how strong or heavy a Chihuahua bite force is. Consider this to be the answer to your question!

Initially, scientists decided that a Chihuahua’s bite force could be as high as 3900 PSI. This means that they would be capable of biting with the weight of 3900 lbs (1769 kg) per square inch of their bite.

However, modern scientists have concluded that a more accurate bite force number is a maximum of 180 PSI. This means 180 lbs (81.6 kg) at the most per square inch of their bite.

There are a lot of complex figures and mathematical principles that go into understanding the bite force in an animal’s bite.

How strong is a Chihuahua bite force? 

The bite force describes above as being a simple number. While this is the end result, it is a topic of great debate within the field of research amongst mathematicians and dog experts. 

Measured in Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI), this is a number that is the result of taking into consideration head and jaw size and muscle definition. These details are then factored in with testing to extrapolate a number. It sounds complicated, and it is.

A Chihuahua’s bite force started at the assumption of 3900 PSI, or 3900 lbs (1769 kg) of bite potential. It’s still unclear why this number was selected since, even to us right now, this number is drastically high. This will make sense when you read on and compare this PSI score to that of other animals!

Modern-day professionals agree that the head is too small since the head size determines the jaw size, to come close to rating at 3900 PSI. This has led to the tentative and much more accurate assumption for 100-180 PSI or 100-180 lbs (45-81.6kg) per square inch.

What does size matter?

The complex math includes accurate measurements of head and jaw size. Since a Chihuahua is amongst the smallest dogs out there, their equally small measurements have a maximum potential bite force directly to those measurements.

Simply: they can only bite to a particular strength because their heads are so tiny. It makes sense when you see it like that, but it makes many wonder where and how the 3900 PSI ever was considered seriously!

Chihuahua vs. other animals on bite force

This confusion gets even more so when you compare a Chihuahua’s bite force to that of other animals that have also been measured and rated according to the same mathematical equations. Take a look at these examples:

  • Pitbull: 235 PSI, or 235 lbs (106 kg) per square inch
  • Lion: 600 PSI, or 600 lbs (272 kg) per square inch
  • Shark: 3000 PSI, or 3000 lbs (1360 kg) per square inch
  • Crocodile: 3700 PSI, or 3700 lbs (1363 kg) per square inch
  • Human: 162 PSI, or 162 lbs (73 kg) per square inch

One of the most amazing things about seeing all of these listed like this is that a Chihuahua can be stronger than a human when you compare their bite forces exactly. It’s pretty impressive to consider the size difference between them and us. However, it also really calls out that original number as an outlier!

Is it common for Chihuahuas to bite?

All of this talk about the potential strength of a Chihuahua’s bite, especially when you see how strong it is compared to our potential, may have you feeling apprehensive about just how much you’re going to have to deal with this. It’s a great question, and an important one, when you want to be a responsible pet parent!

Chihuahuas are known for biting, which is why it’s crucial to help curb this behavior through spaying/neutering and dedicated obedience training and proper socialization during their young rears. The more you do to help them understand basic commands and quell their anxiety, the less likely they will bite.

Even though the bite isn’t as strong as initially thought, a bite from a Chihuahua is still no small thing, especially if they are prone to biting other pets or children.

Has a Chihuahua ever killed someone?

Since Chihuahuas can be prone to aggressive behavior and general aggression, this is indeed a very valid question. It’s okay if you’re a little terrified to hear the answer. Thankfully, the answer is that a Chihuahua has never killed someone outright through their bite force.

The closest a Chihuahua has come to killing someone was to biting down over an artery, and the person bled out as a result. The bite force isn’t what killed them but rather the location of the bite. 

Generally, experts agree that a Chihuahua’s worst injury related directly to their bite force could be the potential to bite off a finger. While that’s no small thing, of course, it is much easier to wrap your head around than the idea of your tiny Chihuahua killing you as “easily” as a crocodile would with its bite force!

Chihuahua bite statistics

It turns out that there is a lot of interest in the area around a Chihuahua’s bite force. However, seeing as it was once thought equal to that of a shark, it’s not much of a surprise as to why! Nonetheless, here are some statistics on a Chihuahua’s bite and its potential in real life.

Their bite itself can be very vicious. They are small but sharp, pointed teeth. This means that they can move them around a lot more when biting. Since they move quickly, they can do more damage easier, with less space and time than a larger dog.

Their agility and potential to bite in smaller spaces make them more dangerous than a larger dog with a stronger bite force. Speed and agility are both as important as the actual strength of the bite itself since they work together.

So, even though a Chihuahua can’t bite as hard as a Pit Bull, they should still be seen as a severe threat. In other words: don’t try to goad a Chihuahua into biting you because it “won’t do that much damage.” It will and is also cruel to the poor Chihuahua!

Interestingly, vets reported that they are more likely to be bitten by a Chihuahua than any other dog breed during an appointment. Many agree that it’s because Chihuahua is more anxious and protective than many other dog breeds, so they have a lower threshold to bite.

Similarly, Chihuahuas are ranked at #4 on the list of being most likely to bite children. While it’s reassuring to know that they aren’t at #1 for obvious reasons, it is something to think about.

Chihuahuas aren’t the best with children naturally. Pet parents will need to train both their dog and their children to interact safely and comfortably with each other. This ranking at #4 is just more incentive to focus on this when bringing a Chihuahua into a household with babies or children!

Even though they are amongst the smallest dog breeds out there, the experts generally regard Chihuahuas as aggressive. They are seen to be more aggressive than Pit Bulls and others that generally earn the reputation. Again, this goes back to the anxious tendencies since they act out to protect themselves from a perceived threat.

What all of these statistics tell us is that Chihuahuas, while not as strong as a crocodile, as it turns out, still have a strong bite force and the potential to do a lot of damage since their biting threshold is much lower than other dog breeds.

All in all

Experts in the field originally categorized a Chihuahua as having a strong and heavy bite force of 3900 PSI, or the potential to bite with 3900 lbs (1, 769 kg) of force per square inch of their bite. This number is now considered to be outdated, however, and experts a free that the real bite force of a Chihuahua, at the most, is 180 PSI, or 180 lbs (81.6 kg).

While this number is noticeably less, it is still something to take seriously when you are looking at keeping yourself safe from the potential bite of a Chihuahua! They may be small and weaker than previously thought, but they still can do actual harm.

A Chihuahua’s bite force is heavy when comparing their overall size to ours. Whether this relieves you or surprises you when you compare the traditional number with the modern number. It is a statistic to think about seriously next time you see them chewing heartily on that rope toy!

If you know a mathematician who will appreciate this, consider sharing it!

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