What’s The Bite Force of a Mastiff & Does It Hurt?


The Mastiff, often referred to as the English Mastiff, is one of the largest and most ancient of all dog breeds. Known for their gentle temperament, they are sometimes dubbed “gentle giants.” But, with their massive size, they also have an impressive bite force. In this article, we delve into the specifics of the Mastiff’s bite force and its potential implications.

The Science Behind the Bite: Mastiff’s Jaw Strength

Mastiffs are equipped with a robust and broad jaw. Their jaws are not just for show; they’re a testament to the strength they possess. When discussing bite force, we measure it in pounds per square inch (PSI). The average human bite force is around 120-140 PSI. In contrast, the Mastiff boasts a staggering bite force that ranges from 500 to 550 PSI, making it one of the strongest bite forces in the canine world.

Historical Roles and Evolution of the Mastiff’s Bite

Historically, Mastiffs were used for guarding, war, and even combat against large predators. This history required a dog with not only a powerful physique but also a bite that could deter any potential threat. Over centuries, the Mastiff evolved to have both the strength and bite force suitable for these roles, making them formidable protectors.

Does a Mastiff’s Bite Hurt?

Given the impressive PSI of a Mastiff’s bite, it’s evident that a bite from one of these dogs can inflict severe damage. If a Mastiff were to bite with full force, it would undoubtedly hurt and could cause serious injuries. However, it’s essential to remember that Mastiffs, when trained and socialized correctly, are known to be calm and gentle dogs. They typically don’t display aggressive behavior unless they feel threatened or are provoked.

Mastiff Temperament: Are They Prone to Biting?

Despite their imposing size and powerful bite, Mastiffs are generally known for their gentle and affectionate nature, especially with their families. They are patient, loving, and often great with children. However, like all dogs, they need proper training and socialization from a young age to ensure that they grow up to be well-rounded adults. Without this, any dog, regardless of breed, can develop behavioral issues, including unwanted biting.

Safety Precautions: Preventing Bites from a Mastiff

  1. Training & Socialization: Early training and socialization are crucial. Mastiffs should be introduced to various environments, people, and other animals to ensure they are well-adjusted and confident.
  2. Understanding their Body Language: Being able to read your Mastiff’s body language can help you understand when they are uncomfortable or stressed, allowing you to intervene before a situation escalates.
  3. Supervised Interactions: Given their size, even play bites can be strong. Ensure that all interactions, especially with children or strangers, are supervised.
  4. Regular Health Checks: Sometimes, aggression or biting can result from an underlying health issue. Regular check-ups with a vet can help in identifying and addressing any potential problems.


Mastiffs are incredible dogs, blending strength with a gentle nature. While they possess one of the most potent bite forces in the canine world, they are not inherently aggressive or prone to biting. Proper understanding, training, and care can ensure that you enjoy a harmonious relationship with your Mastiff without fearing their bite. Always remember to treat these gentle giants with the love, respect, and understanding they deserve.


Frequently Asked Questions About Mastiff Bites

1. Why does my Mastiff puppy bite so much?

Mastiff puppies, like all puppies, go through a teething phase which can make them want to chew on everything, including hands. This behavior is a natural part of their development. To curb unwanted biting, provide them with appropriate chew toys and engage in positive reinforcement training.

2. Are Mastiffs naturally aggressive or prone to biting?

Mastiffs are not naturally aggressive. In fact, they’re known for their gentle and affectionate demeanor, especially with their families. However, like any dog breed, if not trained and socialized properly from a young age, they can develop behavioral issues.

3. How can I train my Mastiff to stop biting?

Training a Mastiff to stop biting involves consistent positive reinforcement techniques. Redirect their biting to appropriate chew toys, praise them when they make the right choice, and consider enrolling them in a professional obedience class for structured training.

4. My Mastiff bit someone. What should I do now?

First, ensure the person who was bitten receives appropriate medical attention. Next, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to address and correct the behavior. It’s essential to understand the circumstances that led to the biting to prevent future incidents.

5. Are Mastiffs protective and does that make them more likely to bite?

Mastiffs are indeed protective, especially of their families. This protective nature can make them more reactive in certain situations. However, with proper training and socialization, they can differentiate between actual threats and non-threatening situations.

6. Is the bite force of a Mastiff strong enough to break bones?

While the Mastiff has one of the strongest bite forces among dog breeds, whether it can break bones depends on various factors, including the age and health of the person bitten. Nonetheless, their bite is potent and can cause severe injuries.

7. My Mastiff growls when I try to take away his toy. Is this a sign he will bite?

Growling can be a warning sign that your Mastiff is uncomfortable with something. If he growls when you take away his toy, it might indicate resource guarding. It’s crucial to address this behavior through training to prevent escalation to biting.

8. How can I prevent my Mastiff from becoming aggressive or biting?

Early socialization, consistent training, understanding their body language, and ensuring they are mentally and physically stimulated can significantly reduce the risk of aggressive behavior. A well-adjusted Mastiff is less likely to resort to biting.

9. Are male Mastiffs more likely to bite than females?

There isn’t definitive evidence to suggest that male Mastiffs are more prone to biting than females. Both genders, if not trained and socialized properly, can develop unwanted behaviors. It’s always about the individual dog and its upbringing.

10. Do Mastiffs bite their owners?

While rare, any dog, including Mastiffs, can bite under certain circumstances. This can be due to fear, pain, or if they feel threatened. It’s essential always to approach any dog, even your own, in a calm and respectful manner. Proper training and understanding your Mastiff’s temperament and triggers can significantly reduce the risk of biting incidents.


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