Monday, July 6, 2009

Does a Pit Bull Type Dog "REALLY" have a 2000 PSI Bite Force?

Last week I was a caller on one of Spider Jones radio shows on CFRB. I knew Spider was doing a show on breed specific legislation, commonly known as "BSL". I had kind of assisted on getting the show on air. Dawne Sweeny, from the DLCC was Spider's "go to person" on the subject and did an outstanding job representing, "The Dog Legislation Council of Canada" and spoke of her twenty years plus "hands on" experiance dealing with dogs and especially pit bull type dogs.

While waiting "for my turn on air" to speak on Canadian fatal dog attacks and hopefully fit in that I have had pit bulls in my life for about 20 years, a woman came on and said she had read many books about dogs and put herself up as a "kind" of expert. Even I was "biting" into her self proclaimed credentials when she did it! Yes, I am talking about spewing off a study about "pit bulls having a bite force of 2000 per square inch (PSI). You've heard it said before and sadly, I've heard it said... way to many times.

Now is this possible?

Firstly there has never been a fully documented completed study on the bite force per square inch of domestic dogs that can be found by credible professors. The statement this woman uttered has been totally unsubstantiated in scientific literature. One domestic dog study was tried but never got past the pilot stage due to the difficulty in getting "accurate" readings from the 22 dogs tested. It was called "Measurement of Bite Force in Dogs: A PILOT STUDY.

So, considering the above, let's compare one of the strongest PSI's ever recorded and do some comparisons. University of Florida zoologist Kent Vliet, has been quoted as saying. "Bite force is linked to the size of the animal" and it sounds like just old "common sense" to me.

Now here is some FACTS.

A alligator named Hercules was clocked at 2,125 PSI. It's bite was compared to a mid-size sedan falling on top of someone. Hercules weighed 665 pounds and was 12 and a 1/2 feet long.
Now to put things into prespective here; an "average" pit bull type dog weighs in around 65 pounds and is normally around 3 to 4 feet long without the tail.

Is anyone paying attention here?

Now let's compare Lions. On average, a male lion can reach 6 to 8 feet long and weighs anywhere from 270 to as high as 500 pounds. It is "estimated" that lions have a average bite force from approximately 600 to 950 PSI. Quick, let's go back to that average pit bull type dog weighing around 65 pounds and being in or around 3 to 4 feet in length. Now, let's put our "thinking caps" on.

Considering the above, how can anyone, with even a quarter of a "working brain", even remotely contrive that a average pit bull type dog's bite is 3000 PSI or even 2000 or even 1000 PSI?


Attached is a video showing three larger canine breeds being tested for bite force. This bite force competition was between a German Shepherd, a Rottweiler and a Pit bull type dog. Each dog was tested twice with the highest of the bite force used. The final results of this particular test will probably amaze many. The shepherd came out with 238 PSI, the rottweiler 328 and the pit bull? It's average was actually the lowest of the three dogs with 235 PSI.

It is really time to dispel the many myths of pit bull bites. ( I'll go into the "locking jaws" myth at another time). Sometimes people just need to use plain good old common sense. Next time you hear someone repeating this myth, force them to really think about what they are saying and use the comparables given.

If we can't educate them, the least we can do is embarress 'em.

Pit Bulls and Locking Jaws! Real or Myth?

I am losing count of the number of times I have heard people say, or sadly repeat, that some dog types have "locking jaws" so decided to go on a fact finding mission to see if animals, any animals, have the ability to lock their jaws.

Onto the internet I go. What comes up? Many links about pit bulls. Being the astute reseacher, I have become, I delve deeper and actually "look" at the links.

Lo and behold, I find not a single credible source documenting pit bull type dogs as having locking jaws. Good thing I learned to "click", as there was a time when I blindly repeated what I was told by others.

I had heard pit bulls had locking jaws and at one time, caught myself going as far as to describe how their skulls were different from "other" dogs. Not a single soul called me out or YEARS, therefore, I babbled on unchecked. God only knows how much damage I did. It seems that stupid really is as stupid does.

Finally getting my act together, I researched skulls of dogs finding there are some slight structual variations from breed to breed. But alas, nothing about pit bull type dogs having "unique" locking jaws. The myths regarding these dogs, can be quite bizarre and are usually perpetulated by media looking to sensationalize for the sake of readership.

Surely their must be ONE animal with jaws that lock? Back to square I go and rummage through different links and sites looking for something credible. One can find the "term" locking jaws but in reality there are NO jaws that have a locking and therefore an unlocking mechanism. If one thinks about it, and if Darwin is to be believed, a animal would have starved while attempting this particular metamorphosis.

However, I did come across this professionial link which is detailed, informative and indeed closer to reality regarding bite force.

Lock jaw however is a reality, does exist and can develop into a serious "condition", called tetanus. Tetanus occurs in any human or animal and can lead to death.