When it comes to dogs, there’s probably no more controversial breed than the pitbull. Often at the center of debate, the breed is known for its unique look, loyalty and strength. One thing people wonder is whether or not a pitbull’s jaw locks when it bites, making it impossible to remove the dog from its target. There’s a lot to know and understand about this breed and it’s infamous bite.
How Strong is a Pitbull’s Bite?
The strength of a bite is measured in pounds per square inch or PSI and called “bite force.” For reference, the average human bite force is 162 PSI. The animal considered to have the strongest bite force is the Nile crocodile at 3,700 PSI. While many might assume the pitbull is closer to a croc than themselves they would be wrong! A pitbull bite has a bite force is only about 235 PSI. Siberian Huskies, Rottweilers, and Akitas measure in at around 300-350 PSI and the Kangal has the strongest canine bite force at 743 PSI.
The Danger is in the Shaking
Pitbulls are terrier breed dogs. This category of breed is known for a tendency to hold onto and shake prey, not simply bite and release. This, and not the actual bite, is what makes a pitbull or other terrier bite so dangerous. These types of bites cause significant damage, especially if the bite has broken the skin. With the teeth in the skin, the shaking tears tissue and damages bone.
All dogs have the ability to do significant damage when shaking. That said, the shaking of prey is a natural instinct. Watch your dog with his toys and you’ll likely see this. If the dog has the front of its body bowed (called “the play bow”) it’s nothing to worry about. If the dog shakes the toy with an aggressive stance, keep an eye on it. While playful shaking is fine with the dog’s toys, do not allow them to shake anything else. If your dog grabs and shakes a shoe or pillow, immediately make them drop the item and give them a toy instead.
A Pitbull’s Jaws DOES NOT Lock
Don’t believe the myth: pitbull jaws do not lock when they bite. They are a breed that is known for stubbornness and this affects everything they do. In fact no breed of dog has any mechanism in their mouths that allows them to lock their jaws.
Pitbulls and other bulldogs were originally bred for bull baiting. This now-outlawed bloodsport pitted bulls against other animals. Bulls are large and strong. They buck wildly, so bulldogs were bred to be able to hang on.
After bull baiting stopped many kept pitbull and other bulldogs or crossbred them to retain some of their characteristics. These dogs are strong and can handle various difficult terrain. They are smart and don’t quit, making them great working dogs.
The pitbull is determined to do everything to completion, including bite. Thus, it can be very difficult to get a pitbull to stop. It’s important to train all dogs, no matter their breed, to obey your command to “stop” or “leave it” from puppyhood. Any determined dog that bites will be reticent to release.
How Do You Get A Pitbull To Release Its Bite?
Prevention is the key! Having a well-trained dog allows you to avoid most biting situations. If you are considering adopting a pitbull start with obedience and other types of training early and socialize your dog with lots of people and animals.
Of course sometimes things happen. There are a few methods to get a pitbull or any other dog to release a bite they’re being stubborn about. All of these put you at risk which is again why we suggest training your dog.
One method is to distract the dog by squirting it with a hose if one is available. Shocking the dog like this may take its attention away from its perceived prey and allow you to get it under control. Another option is wedging a breaking stick into the dog’s mouth. This requires putting your hand and arm near the aggressive dog’s mouth. Even if it’s your dog this could lead to injury.
Grabbing a dog’s tail will often get it to stop. You must continue to hold the dog’s tail if you take this approach so that the dog cannot turn around and bite you. You can also grab a dog by it’s back legs and swiftly flip it on its back but again, this does put you at risk.
Who’s a Good Boy?
With training and socialization, all dogs can be trained to release the rare bite. Pitbulls have about less the bite force as other breeds. Their tendency to hang on and shake is what makes their bite dangerous. Any dog breed is capable of biting and refusing to release so no matter what kind of dog you have, it’s important to start teaching them from puppyhood to only shake toys and to release upon your command. Always work with your veterinarian or a trainer to address potentially dangerous behaviors.
Thank you for writing a TRUTHFUL
article on pitbulls.
Patricia Duval says
If people were educated on the breed they would know that they do not lock their jaws and they are loving and loyal dogs. So People need to be educated on the breed and stop giving them a bad name
nathaniel todaro says
Thank you for this article
I have owned these dogs for 30 years and the truth is there is no such thing as a bad pitbull. There is only bad pitbull owners. These dogs are very loving and loyal dogs that will do anything to protect and love there owner. And anyone who owns this breed should do the same for their dog. Don’t sick them on things it’s not kool or badass to do this it’s ignorants. Of the breed these dogs are very loyal and more love you show them the more love and protection you get back no need to make them mean they will protect anything they consider there own. In short love them and they will love you so don’t put them in a bad situation and you won’t have a bad situation period.
Jill Tench says
Nathaniel thank you for your post it is so true as I have also been a owner of pits and German rottweilers for 30 years they are the best and loyal dogs it’s the stupid people that know nothing about them except to get them to look badass it makes me so mad they are the ones that give them a bad name and reputation it’s because of them we have breed specific laws its bs !
They will do whatever they can to get into bed with us too. Of course not in a violent way. My pits want to sleep in the largest Tempur-pedic dog bed which happens to be my king size bed but they don’t understand that obviously they just want to sleep with mom and dad or their PACK leaders as some would say lol. This is one of the most expressive and loving dogs I’ve ever had!! My Saint Bernard is more stubborn and reluctant to give up then my Pit Bull
Bernadette - CALIFORNIA says
I grew up with numerous family pets; everything from chickens to hamsters, rabbits, goats, dogs.. You name it, we had it living on a good sized land. Our dogs always seemed crazy, having issues but none were Pitties. As an adult, I wanted my own dog and decided on a Pit. Being first time Pit companion, I did all the research, read all the books from behavior to training to first aid. I found the most beautiful 10 weeks old pup at the shelter. Someone decided to abandon her and leave on a random street where animal control picked her up. I found her in quarantine for medical reasons but she showed her willingness to fight to live. Now, 10 years later, this one dog has completely changed my life. She’s loving, loyal and I can trust her 100%.
She grew up not only with my daughter but also 4 cats and random little animals my daughter would foster. She’s super sweet with amazing disposition but also very protective when needed. She will place her body across my legs and growl until the threat is gone.
With this breed, it seems you either love them or absolutely hate them, no in between.. But those who hate them are the uneducated or mis-educated and for that reason, thousands of these wonderful dogs get euthanized every day. And let’s not forget about the fuck ups who turn these dogs’ loyalty into a weapon. A gun by itself doesn’t kill anyone but the person behind it does. I feel that there should be some type of screening of anyone who wants one of these powerful dogs and should go for any breed that is big, powerful and willing to do anything to please.
Bernadette - CALIFORNIA says
Another think… Learn the actual definition and differences of what APBT and what Pit Bull mean. APBT is the actual breed and Pit Bull is an umbrella that covers common characteristics of multiple dogs… Most of the population can’t tell the difference between a Dogo Argentino, Kane Corso, American Bulldog and plenty of others that show a big head, muscular body, etc. Their all Pits according to the all knowing society
I absolutely love pitbulls and specially red-nosed they are so beautiful pitbulls are not a breed for everyone you need to do your research about these dogs they are very loyal and very sweet and kind, but they need to be socialized because they do have a tendency to be aggressive they are also very sensitive dogs and if you do anything to hurt their feelings they will shy way from you I would recommend that you get a pit bull terrier from a puppy so that you will fully know and understand him instead of getting an already fully grown one because they may have adopted some bad habits that you do not know about and they could wind up hurting you other than that they are my favorite breed and they always be very courageous very sweet
John H Base says
I’m a blue nose pit owner an he weighs tipping the scale at 85lbs.my dog of nine years now is loyal as they come for my family.ide had heart surgery when he was in his prime of fours years an he was on a walk with me one night an a golden retriever charge at me to be consoled but to dogs that’s an aggression.so when the dog went to leap on me my pit thought he was attacking me an took him down.luckly I was able to stop him from killing the golden an when I broke him away the golden ran home.had it not been for a bottle of water to pour down his nose I probably would’ve never got him to release..I tooky dog straight home an I went to the neighbors to ck on the golden an luckly he was fine.just alittle scared..so ever sense then I e not been able to break him from wanting to attack other animals except for the deer and turkeys they litterally walk right up to him an he does nothing.nut if a cat
Dog ,coon,etc.hes on a hunt.so my advise is always have a bottle of water if your going to own a pit an pour it down there nose.they will let ho an no harm done.goodday I hope this helps
Jill Tench says
I have owned pitbulls and German rotties for 30 years and never once had a incident with my dogs except for last summer when UK got another rottie pup he was 4 months my daughter she is 12 we were walking him and 2 houses away a kid about 8 years old comes out of his house with a pit on a leash I told my daughter to turn around I had a bad feeling as they were coming towards us and sure enough the kid lost hold so I was able to grab that dogs leash and he only was able t she nip my pup I dragged the dog back to his house pounded on the door and told the dad the kid shouldn’t be walking the dog when he can’t control him I’m so sick of people buying pit bulls just to act cool when hey know nothing about them it makes me sick because when trained right they are the best dogs my rotties a brother and sister I had saved me from being robbed at our gas station .I always get in arguments with people when they say my pit has a stronger bite and their jaws lock no a rottweiler has a stronger bite then a pit. I so agree with Nathaniel they are the best dogs both breeds are when trained !
Rick Gibson says
I have a 2 year old pitbull, she’s my service dog and I don’t allow anyone to touch her unless they ask. Yes I have trained her myself just like I did my Rottweiler and German Shepherd. It’s all in how the owner works with the dogs. pearl sleep’s in our bedroom and rides in my car, she’s a very over protected dog. My grandkids places with her doing Xmas time that their mother had to get one he’s 2 years old. Any dog will take care of it master and home.
I am new to owning a pit. Actually she’s half American Pit Bull Terrier and Corgi. We got her when she was just 4 weeks old. She is now 4 months old. I also have 2 Pomeranians and a Miniture Pincher. She is a great dog. She is no different than any other young pup. She loves everyone. She especially loves one of my poms and the pincher. She listens well and has been very easy to train. Not aggressive in anyway. Since she’s the lowest on the totem pole, she knows her place among the pack. As with any dog you must care for and love them like your human children and you will have a great friend and pet.
Deanna Johnson says
My all time favorite breed is pitbulls (Blues Nose) the most loving kind loving …and always wanting to be a lap dog but as most know your legs will go numb ..As it was said before bad owners the were the ones that give our baby a bad rap they are strong willed ..and the most loving dog I ever owned thank you for the info Deanna
Interesting that they can kill more children and adults than any other breed , and not lock their jaws. FASCINATING.
They are 6% of the dog population and are the perpetrators of 66% of attacks.
The owners ALWAYS SAY ; “she was such a sweet good calm tempered dog .” But the people are still dead or maimed.
These animals are DANGEROUS AND UNPREDICTABLE AND SHOULD BE MUZZLED.
You should be muzzled. You know nothing bout them. End of story. They’re not bad dogs. People raise them wrong. Same as people….you raise em wrong & they turn into bad people.
accept reality you pitnutterfuck
What reality? Everything that person said is bs lie. How about you shitty haters of pitbulls accept reality. There is no proof that Pitbulls can kill more then other animals. Some breeds are misidentified as Pitbulls, so I wouldn’t trust the stats.
A response to your user name. You give a what. You care enough to comment on here even though you don’t own a pitbull.
Also there are many Pitbulls who never maul or kill even after death.
Also learn what a pitbull actually is
What I said to Ted about staffies.
Your facts are bs. There is no proof that Pitbulls kill more or can kill more. And there are breeds that are misidentified as pitbulls, so half of them aren’t pitbulls attacks. Get educated by using reliable sources instead of unreliable ones like dog bites.
Why are these haters here when they don’t own a pit? You guys could have ignore it. This is why I pitbull crazy haters. Going into things that they could just ignore. Like why come here. If you don’t own a pit, then ignore this article.
And there are millions of them who never maul or kill a child even after death. Also https://nedhardy.com/2021/05/20/pitbull-aggression-pit-bull-attacks/
Read this https://www.therealpitbull.com/facts/
They aren’t even staffies because the English ones have a smile on their face and the American ones look like the American bully, but taller and leaner.
James wilifred says
I think your mum got fucked by one, hence why u hate them.
All dogs are loyal and loving.
They just need love and responsible owner!!!
Love the APBT
I have always had pitbulls, there the greatest most loyal dogs in the world. I live i north bay ontario i am in search of a pitbull if anyone has 1 i live in the country lots of property a river flows through my yard. Please contact by my email if u can [email protected]
who cares whether the jaw actually locks or not, matter of fact is they won’t let go
You train them to let go. Pitbull nut haters always make up lies.
I agree with Ted. Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous. There is something inbred in these dogs that make them unpredictable and vicious. I am so f’ing tired of hearing “it’s the owner”. My friends have spent nearly two thousand dollars in the last year on training programs and have worked countless hours on their own with their pit mix dog.
I just came back from the emergency vet hospital after this friend’s pit attacked, bit, shook and refused to release my very gentle 20 pound dog as a result of an unprovoked attack.
It took 3 adults to get that pit bull to release. I personally had a choke hold around it’s neck and was doing my best to strangle it. My wife was trying to get the mouth open, and my friend was striking it. The attack last about 20 seconds although it seemed like a terrifying hour.
This is my 4th experience with unprovoked attack by a pit in the last 30 years. I had to shoot and kill one pit that attacked me. A few years later I was attacked while jogging. I was then attacked (hand grabbed and bit) while walking past a family with 2 pits on a hiking trail. And now, a pit mix grabbed my gentle loving dog by the neck and shook him. This pit and my dog have two prior meets and they played well together.
I’ve read all your responses about your ownership and theories about pit bulls and find them naive and protective of this violent unpredictable breed. These dogs should be banned in the US.
You cannot train a rattlesnake to be nice even if you raised it from birth.
No Pitbulls aren’t inherently dangerous. Sure they can be dangerous, but they aren’t.
You can train a pitbull unlike a rattle snake. Pitbulls aren’t bred for human aggression and they are domestic animals. Anyone who said that you can’t train a pitbull is a brain dead idiot and hasn’t own one. You have to do it properly and it takes time.
Also some breeds are misidentified as Pitbulls. You had bad experiences with that breed. Okay that means they were with the wrong person since that Pitbulls don’t usually have HA genes in them. Educate yourself on reliable sources over unreliable sources like dog bite. Also most Pitbulls I met are no problem.
And you comparing a snake to a pitbull is really dumb. One is a wild animal and one (the pit) is a pet. You have no right to talk about pitbulls can’t be be train when you never own one. And too bad if you are sick of hearing it’s the deed. Because most of the time it the owners fault if a pitbull is human aggressive (sometimes it’s the breeder fault). Your friend should have done research on that one dog or either that he was lie too. Pitbulls aren’t usually bred for human aggression and most don’t have HA genes in them. Also either your friend pitbull is crazy or they didn’t train them correctly. Plus was it even a pitbull because some breeds have been called Pitbulls/pit mix even though they aren’t. I know millions of Pitbulls who have been train and never cause problem even after death. Using your experience to ban is like me saying YouTube search Pitbulls saving lives to keep them. Also some other breeds breeds can do serious damage. One husky tore a limb off. So why just pit? This is why I hate pit haters. Breedist.
Okay but there are thousands of Pitbulls that have been train and they turn out well. So either you’re friend did it wrong or something was wrong with that pitbull. There are many Pitbulls who never cause trouble even after death. So why put them in one box?
How about you learn what a pitbull actually is https://www.therealpitbull.com/facts/
Also there are lots of people who successfully train their pits and they never harm even after death. Your experience doesn’t mean all Pitbulls are the same.
English staffies have a smile on their face. The American staffies have pointy ears. They look like the American bully but not wide and short.
James wilifred says
Hope your dog died! 😂
Pitbulls are lovely.
“Pitbulls have about less the bite force as other breeds.” Other than this illiterate sentence, I’m glad this article was posted. I love pits 🥰🥰
They are so lovey and attack when they feel threatened, just like any other animal, humans included. It just depends on how they are raised. Poodles are more likely to bite a human than any other dog, and smaller dogs tend to be ankle biters. If you are scared of dogs then stay away, but the only breed I’ve ever felt comfortable around were pits. If they bite you either their trainer did something wrong, or you did. Imagine if I hated someone just for the color of their skin, that’s exactly what people do to pits. Humans are the most dangerous animal on the planet and if you think different, maybe you deserve to be bit.
Bear (Ned-Hardy) says
Traditional American Pitbulls are not the only dogs that holds and shakes, the same is true for other Bull-Terrier type dogs such as the American Staffordshire an even the smaller Staffordshire Bullterrier.
In my personal experience, some of the suggestions on how to make the dog release are ineffective and does not work on a determined dog.
My dog was attacked by am unleashed, uncollared Staffordshire Bullterrier a few years ago and as he held my dog by the neck, shaking him, his owner tried lifting him up by the back legs and it did nothing but spur the dog on even more and hurt my dog further.
Because I have a smaller dog, I had researched what to do if an event like that would occur and I am very thankful that I did.
What I learned is that you take your leash, wrap it around the upper part of the attacking dogs neck where the trachea is, then tighten your leash around its neck until the dog starts gagging/coughing. He will have no choice but to release since gagging/coughing is an involuntary response which leads to a release. Once that happens, you need to remove the attacking dog to a safe distance from the other dog, and not relese the “chokehold” until that occurs.
In my situation, the attacking dog had no aggression towards humans so doing this was without much effort, if the dog is human-aggressive, you might need to keep holding until the owner can get the dog under control.
I do not believe my dog would have survived if I had not come across that video teaching this method, and I believe it is a good thing to know just in case such an unfortunate situation ever occurs. You can try doing this to yourself and see what kind of reaction it triggers, for me that sais enough about its efficiency.
As for people who own Pitbulls and other hold-and-shake type dogs. I understand that you love your dog and feel like the world is giving them uncalled for hate because of their breed. And I understand your sentiment that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.
I ask you to please understand from the perspective of someone who has had their dog, or themselves be attacked by this type of dog that it is an extremely scary and traumatical experience.
Understand that there are a LOT of unfit owners, and people who get this type of dog for all the wrong reasons.
These dogs are very high energy, and an unsettling amount of people get this breed without being able to provide enough stimulation for their energy levels.
An understimulated dog can easily engage in agressive behaviour our of boredom/frustration. And when it comes to the type of dog that is prome to hold and shake, the results can easily be very damaging.
So when people are reluctant to let their dog near your dog, please understand that this is nothing personal, but it is about self-preservation because these people do not know what type of owner you are.
Any dog can bite, but with other breeds, the experience has generally been that it is just to separate the two dogs and nothing too bad comes out of it save an expensive vet bill.
So please be aware that even though you personally know your dog as the most loving and loyal dog ever, and even though you personally raise your dog properly and provide them enough physical and mental stimulation to keep them from being a frustrated dog, other people who do not know you don’t know this, and people rightfully care more about their own safety than your feelings.
With that said, I just think it is important to have conversation about this without getting upset at each other and trying to understand the other persons perspective.