American Staffordshire Terrier Bite Force: What You Should Know

The bite force of an American Staffordshire Terrier is roughly 235 pounds per square inch (psi).

The power behind the American Staffordshire terrier bite force is among dog lovers’ most debated topics.

Is it as formidable as popular lore would have us believe? Or is it another case of misunderstanding and prejudice against a breed historically maligned?

In this article, I seek to unveil the truth about the American Staffordshire Terrier’s bite force.

We will dive into the science behind bite force, compare it across different dog breeds, and explore how the Amstaff’s physical characteristics contribute to their bite strength. 

We will debunk misconceptions and present a balanced perspective on this much-discussed canine attribute.

As we journey through these lines, I aim to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the American Staffordshire Terrier, popularly called Amstaff. One that transcends their perceived bite and delves into their true nature.

What Is A Bite Force: Understanding The Science Behind Bite Force

Simply put, a bite force measures the pressure exerted by a dog’s jaw when it bites down.

Think of it as the dog version of a human handshake – though not something you’d want to receive from a canine! 

The bite force is scientifically measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. Imagine a 1-inch square; the PSI tells us how much force is applied to that square inch.

It’s like when you tried to carry ten grocery bags in one go to avoid a second trip. The weight you felt on your hand? That’s an example of pressure or force per unit area. 

Measuring bite force in dogs isn’t as straightforward as slapping a pressure gauge on their chompers. Instead, scientists use specialized equipment that can safely and humanely measure the force of a dog’s bite.

So, when we talk about an American Staffordshire Terrier’s bite force, we’re referring to how much pressure its jaws can exert when biting down, measured in PSI.

It’s an essential factor when considering the breed’s physical characteristics, but remember, it’s one piece of the puzzle and should never be equated with aggression.

Comparison of bite force across different breeds of dogs

For a better understanding of the American Staffordshire Terrier’s bite force, comparing it with other breeds is helpful.

The table below provides a glimpse into the range of bite force you’ll find among various breeds.

Keep in mind this measure does not indicate any level of aggressiveness but rather the raw power these breeds can exert when they do bite. 

Dog BreedBite Force (P.S.I.)
American Bandogge730
Cane Corso700
Bordeaux Dogue556
Tosa Inu556
English Mastiff556
Dogo/Presa Canario540
Argentine Dogo500
Akita Inu350-400
Staffordshire Bull Terrier328
American Bully315
Bull Terrier269
German Shepherd238
American Staffordshire Terrier235
American Pit Bull Terrier235
Labrador Retriever230
Rhodesian Ridgeback224
  • Kangal – 743 P.S.I.
  • American Bandogge – 730 P.S.I.
  • Cane Corso – 700 P.S.I.
  • Bordeaux Dogue – 556 P.S.I.
  • Tosa Inu – 556 P.S.I.
  • English Mastiff – 556 P.S.I.
  • Dogo/Presa Canario – 540 P.S.I.
  • Argentine Dogo – 500 P.S.I
  • Leonberger – 399 P.S.I.
  • Akita Inu – 350-400 P.S.I.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 328 PSI
  • Rottweiler – 328 PSI
  • American Bully – 315 P.S.I.
  • Bullmastiff – 305 P.S.I.
  • Bull Terrier – 269 P.S.I.
  • German Shepherd – 238 P.S.I.
  • American Staffordshire Terrier – 235 P.S.I.
  • American Pit Bull Terrier – 235 P.S.I.
  • Boxer – 230 P.S.I.
    Labrador Retriever – 230 P.S.I.
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback – 224 P.S.I.

Debunking Common Myths Surrounding Bite Force

When understanding the bite force of the American Staffordshire Terrier, a cloud of misconceptions often overshadows the facts.

Let’s shine a light on the truth, shall we? 

Myth 1: The American Staffordshire Terrier has the strongest bite force of all dog breeds 

While it’s true that the American Staffordshire Terrier has a powerful jaw, they don’t top the charts. According to studies, breeds like the Kangal and the Mastiff boast a higher bite force.

Myth 2: A dog’s bite force is directly related to its level of aggression 

This statement is unfounded. The strength of a dog’s bite force is more closely related to size and physical characteristics rather than temperament or aggression.

Myth 3: The American Staffordshire Terrier’s bite is ‘lock-jawed.’ 

No scientific evidence supports the notion of a ‘lock-jaw’ in any breed. While American Staffordshire Terriers have strong jaws, they do not lock.

As we reveal these myths for what they are, it becomes clear that the story around the American Staffordshire Terrier’s bite force is often misinterpreted. So, let’s push past the myths and dive into the real facts, shall we?

The American Staffordshire Terrier Bite Force: A Closer Look

To fully comprehend the mechanics behind the American Staffordshire Terrier’s bite force, we must first examine their physical traits, particularly their jaw structure.

Physical Characteristics of AST:

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a muscular, robust breed, characterized by a stocky build and a deep, broad head. Their head is typically medium length, accentuated by a broad skull and pronounced cheek muscles. These dogs possess a strong, well-defined jaw structure that stands out, with a deep, moderately wide stop between the brow and the bridge of the nose. Their jaws are robust and terminate in a close scissors bite, with the upper teeth neatly overlapping the lower ones.

These attributes combine to give the Amstaff a distinctly powerful appearance, hinting at this breed’s physical capabilities. Yet, it’s important to remember that these traits do not automatically correlate with aggression or a propensity to bite.

How These Physical Traits Contribute to Their Bite Force:

The jaw structure of the American Staffordshire Terrier plays a significant role in their bite force. A dog’s bite force is primarily determined by the size of its head and the muscle structure in its jaws, areas where the Amstaff is naturally endowed.

The pronounced cheek muscles of the Amstaff, combined with their broad, powerful jaws, allow them to exert a higher degree of force when they bite. This doesn’t mean they have the highest bite force among all breeds, but their well-developed musculature and strong jaws contribute to an above-average bite force compared to smaller, less muscular breeds.

Moreover, the scissor’s bite—an inherent trait of the breed—enables them to hold onto their target with tenacity, potentially amplifying their bite’s perceived force.

However, the relationship between physical traits and bite force isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. While these characteristics certainly contribute to the Amstaff’s bite force, various other factors, such as the dog’s age, size, health, and diet, can also play a substantial role, a topic we will explore later in this article.

Factors Influencing Bite Force in American Staffordshire Terriers 

So, you’re curious about the factors that influence the bite force of an American Staffordshire Terrier? It may surprise you, but there’s more to it than just the breed’s physical characteristics. 

Age, Size, and Sex 

Regarding bite force, age, size, and sex play a significant role. Let’s dive in, shall we? 

  • Age: As a pup grows older, its jaw muscles develop, leading to an increased bite force. However, this force may decrease in their golden years due to natural weakening.
  • Size: Larger dogs generally have a more substantial bite force. American Staffordshire Terriers are medium to large-sized breeds, contributing to their substantial jaw strength.
  • Sex: Male dogs typically have slightly stronger bite forces than females due to their larger size and muscle mass.

Health and Diet 

What a dog eats, and its overall health status can also impact its bite force. Intriguing, right? Let’s break it down. 

  • Health: Just like humans, dogs with excellent overall health tend to have stronger muscles, which include jaw muscles. Dental health is also critical, as tooth decay or gum disease can affect a dog’s willingness to bite or its bite strength.
  • Diet: A balanced diet rich in proteins contributes to muscle growth and strength, including jaw muscles. Dogs fed an appropriate diet will naturally have a healthier, stronger bite.

Training and Socialization 

Lastly, let’s not overlook the part that training and socialization play. It’s not all about muscle! 

  • Training: Dogs trained to bite (as in certain types of work or sports) may develop a stronger bite force due to the specific strengthening of their jaw muscles.
  • Socialization: Poorly socialized Dogs may be more likely to bite due to fear or aggression. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean their bite force is stronger. It’s more about the frequency of biting behavior rather than the force behind it.

So, there you have it. The bite force of an American Staffordshire Terrier is not just a product of its breed but a combination of factors that can vary significantly from one dog to another. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Does Bite Force Translate to Aggression? Exploring the Link

One of the most common misconceptions about American Staffordshire Terriers and any dog breed known for its strong jaw is the assumption that high bite force automatically translates into aggression. Fueled by misinformation and breed-specific stereotypes, this notion is far from accurate.

Understanding the Difference Between Bite Force and Aggression

Bite force is a measure of the pressure exerted by a dog’s bite. It’s a physical attribute largely dependent on the breed’s genetics, size, and overall health.

Conversely, aggression is a behavioral trait influenced primarily by factors such as the dog’s temperament, training, socialization, and environmental stimuli.

A dog with a high bite force is not inherently more aggressive than a dog with a lower bite force—it can exert more pressure when it does bite.

In essence, a high bite force doesn’t make a dog more prone to aggression, any more than a fast sprinting speed makes a person more likely to run into traffic.

How the capacity is managed—through responsible ownership and appropriate training—truly matters.

How to Evaluate Bite Force in American Staffordshire Terriers

When understanding the bite force of an American Staffordshire Terrier, it’s not as cut-and-dry as you might think. The raw power behind a dog’s bite is not just a matter of jaw strength and tooth sharpness; it’s also about the breed’s physical characteristics, upbringing, and environment. Let’s dig in! 

Bite Force Measurement 

Measuring bite force in dogs is somewhat complex. It requires specialized equipment to accurately gauge the pounds per square inch (PSI) a dog’s bite can exert. Professionals use bite force meters that record the pressure when the dog bites down on a sensor. 

Physical Characteristics 

Size, weight, and skull shape significantly affect bite force. American Staffordshire Terriers, with their muscular bodies and broad skulls, naturally have a significant bite force. However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t automatically translate into aggression. 

Upbringing and Environment 

A dog’s upbringing and environment can also influence its bite force. Dogs that have been encouraged or trained to bite harder will naturally have a stronger bite force. Similarly, a dog growing up in a stressful environment may bite harder due to anxiety or fear. 

The Importance of Proper Training and Socialization for Bite Prevention

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – bite prevention. While the bite force of an American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) may capture headlines, this doesn’t mean that every AmStaff is bite-happy.

It’s a common misconception that these dogs are naturally aggressive, but behavior stems from upbringing and environment, like any breed.

The Role of Training:

“All dogs, regardless of breed, can be well-behaved if properly trained.”

  • A well-trained dog is less likely to bite. Training helps establish boundaries and reinforces good behavior. It also reduces fear and anxiety, which are common triggers for biting.
  • Training should begin early and be consistent. Even as puppies, AmStaffs are strong and energetic. It’s crucial to channel this energy in a positive direction.
  • Positive reinforcement is key. Rewarding good behavior is more effective than punishing bad behavior. It creates a positive association with doing the right thing.

The Impact of Socialization: 

  1. Introducing your AmStaff to a variety of people, environments, and other animals at a young age helps them to be more comfortable in different situations.
  2. Dogs that are not properly socialized are more likely to be fearful, and fear is a common cause of aggression in dogs.
  3. Regular play dates with other dogs walks in busy parks, and exposure to different sights and sounds contribute to a well-rounded dog.

Legal and Ethical Considerations for Owning a Powerful Breed

As an American Staffordshire Terrier owner, or any powerful breed for that matter, there’s more to consider than just the size of your dog’s bite. Ownership’s legal and ethical aspects are often overlooked, yet they play a crucial role in how we care for and raise these incredible animals. 

Legal Considerations: 

  • Local Laws: Some locales have strict breed-specific legislation (BSL) that restricts or even prohibits ownership of certain breeds, including the American Staffordshire Terrier. Always check your local laws before bringing home a new furry friend.
  • Liability: With a powerful breed comes great responsibility. You could be held legally responsible if your dog injures someone or damages property. It’s wise to consider liability insurance to protect yourself.
  • Identification: Many areas require dogs to be registered and microchipped. These identification measures can help reunite you with your pet if they ever get lost.

Ethical Considerations: 

  • Training: A well-trained dog is a happy dog. Our ethical duty as pet owners is to ensure our pets are well-socialized, trained, and safe to be around. This is especially true for powerful breeds, where a lack of training could result in harm.
  • Healthcare: Keeping your pet in good health isn’t just kindness; it’s an ethical responsibility. Regular vet check-ups, a nutritious diet, and plenty of exercises are crucial for a happy and healthy dog.
  • Adoption: Consider adopting instead of shopping for a new pet. Many American Staffordshire Terriers are in shelters, waiting for a loving home. Adopting can save a life and give a second chance to a dog who needs it.

There’s no denying that owning a powerful breed like the American Staffordshire Terrier has unique challenges. But carefully considering these legal and ethical aspects, you can ensure a happy, healthy, and harmonious relationship with your four-legged friend.


While the bite force of an American Staffordshire Terrier is indeed formidable, proper training and socialization are the keys to preventing bites. The power of their jaws should not be a source of fear but rather a testament to their strength – a strength that, with proper guidance, can be used for fantastic feats of athleticism rather than aggression.