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The Ultimate Showdown: Wolf Bite Force vs. Other Animals

Who has never heard about the fearsome reputation of the wolf? From Europe to the Americas, the wolf has been the focus of fear, oral legends, and folklore, all for a good reason. Among those reasons is the fearsome bite of the wolf.

Wolves have a strong bite force, estimated at 400-500 pounds per square inch, with the potential to reach 1,200 pounds. Their enhanced physical capabilities, including strong jaw muscles and sharp fangs, make them successful hunters in the wild. Attacks on humans are unusual since wolves are not naturally hostile.

This enormous amount of bite force is carried around by an agile and stealthy frame, powerful claws, and the necessary tools to track, hunt, capture, and kill its prey. So, as we can see, there are valid reasons for the fear these canids caused back during simpler times.

Wolf Bite Force Measured in Different Units

wolf bites through a bone

Wolf Bite Force in Psi (pounds per square inch)

As stated above, the wolf has the strongest bite of all the canids that can measure between 400 and 1,200 psi. To get a good example of what this kind of pressure might look like, it is said that a wolf can chew through the femur of a moose in up to eight bites within five seconds!

Another way to help us gauge what 1,200 psi would mean is to compare it to the German Shepherd. Their bite force is typically no more than 240 psi- five times less powerful than a wolf.

A Wolf’s Bite Force Measured in Newtons

First off- What’s a “Newton?”

A Newton is a measurement or a “unit of force” based on the meter/kilogram per second system. One Newton is the equivalent of about .2248 psi.

So, 1200psi= 8,273,709 Newtons per metre squared (N/m2)

People who are unaware of the differences between the two units of measurement confuse them, resulting in mistaken information.

For example, if you were to search the web for the bite force of a Chihuahua, you would find people quoting sources that mistook newtons for psi. This resulted in a wild claim that the Chihuahua had the strongest bite of all canids, measuring at 3,900 psi (200 psi stronger than a saltwater crocodile!).

This is why I’m bringing it up and why it’s important to be cognizant of the two types of measurements.

Wolf Bite Force in Kg

In kilograms, the bite force of a wolf is about 85 kilograms per square centimeter. In this measurement style, 1 psi is about .0703 of a kilogram.

Wolf Bite Force Comparison

Wolf Bite Vs. Lion Bite

wolf and lion on dark background

A popular question you’ll find people asking is: Can a wolf kill a lion?

Though wolves are proficient hunters equipped with all the tools of the trade, a lion is too large and powerful for a single wolf to manage.

Though the wolf wouldn’t fare well in a one-on-one setting, it still has the stronger bite between the two.

The bite force of a lion is about 650 psi, just about half that of a wolf.

Though the lion is larger and more powerful (with a much larger head), it all comes down to structural or muscular differences.

Wolf vs. Pitbull Bite Force

wolf and pitbull on dark background

The Pitbull has had a fearsome reputation for quite some time- but it pales compared to the wolf. When it comes to pound-per-pound strength, the wolf takes it in almost every sense.

The bite force of the Pitbull is around 300 psi, 1/4th as strong as the wolf.

Wolf Bite Force vs. Kangal

wolf and kangal side by side photo

The Kangal is a dog breed often pitted against the wolf to fend for them from livestock or other property. Can a Kangal kill a wolf? In Turkey, they’ve been known to, but often in numbers.

However, most of the time, the wolves would rather not bother with the threat and use more patience or a better long-game strategy to surpass a group of Kangals.

That said, the bite force of a Kangal is about 750 psi, bearing the strongest set of choppers in the domesticated dog breed category. Still not as powerful as the wolf’s bite, but a formidable foe nonetheless.

How Strong Is a Wolf Bite Compared to a Dog?

wolf attacking a dog

Though these are both canids, a wolf bite will differ from a dog’s. One reason is that wolves have the power in their jaws to better carry through with a bite, whereas dogs with lesser force in their bite would have to take another bite.

Wolves are in it to win, take down, and kill their prey (unless they are fighting amongst themselves). Dogs, particularly domesticated dogs, will bite for other reasons, all of which would have little or nothing to do with a full belly.

If a dog gets its canines into you, even a large, powerful type, it’ll grab, shake, but eventually let go. It will likely make a mess of the appendage- sometimes enough to bear an amputation (if the attack doesn’t kill the person).

On the other hand, a wolf will likely bite down, shake and/or pull, and remove the appendage itself. Just try to compare your arm or leg to a femur of a moose (which is huge). If a wolf can chew through a moose femur in about 5 seconds, what would it do to an arm or leg of a human?

Though some dogs could rip off limbs with their jaws, they don’t, as a rule. They’d let go and re-grip wherever else they could grab in the heat of the moment.

Wolves take down their prey by crippling limbs through their bite and would be more purposeful with their actions than dogs. A dog would go for what it thinks will work but will likely not be as precise in an attack.

Final Thoughts

2 wolves fighting

There are several good reasons so few canines would dare to go toe to toe with a wolf, especially the larger and more powerful Timber Wolves.

When it comes to hunting prowess, using strategy in packs, tenacity, and a frighteningly strong set of jaws, the wolf, the original article, has few natural rivals.



  1. U.S. Department of the Interior. (n.d.). Yellowstone Wolf Facts (U.S. National Park Service). National Parks Service. Retrieved May 1, 2023, from https://www.nps.gov/articles/yellowstone-wolf-facts.htm
  2. Wolf. (2023, April 24). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf

About the author: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.