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 good reason. Among those reasons is the fearsome bite of the wolf.
On average, a wolf’s bite force is around 1,200 pounds per square inch (PSI). With this kind of pressure, they can chomp through bones with ease and bears the distinction of having the strongest jaws in the Canine classification.
This enormous amount of bite force is carried around by an agile and stealthy frame, powerful claws, and all of 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.
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Wolf Bite Force Measured in Different Units
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 800 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 to us is to compare it to the German Shepherd. Their bite force is typically no more than 240 psi- five times less powerful than that of 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 to about .2248 psi.
So, 1200psi= 8,273,709 Newtons per metre squared (N/m2)
At times, 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 will 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 in 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 style of measurement, 1 psi is about .0703 of a kilogram.
Wolf Bite Force Comparison
Wolf Bite Vs Lion Bite
A popular question that you’ll find people asking is: Can a wolf can kill a lion? Though wolves are proficient hunters and are equipped with all the tools of the trade, a lion is simply too large and powerful for a single wolf to manage.
Though in a one-on-one setting the wolf wouldn’t fare well, it still has the stronger bite between the two. The bite force of a lion is about 650 psi, just about half that of the wolf.
Though the lion is larger and overall, more powerful (with a much larger head), it all comes down to skeletal or muscular differences in structure.
A Wolf Bite Vs Pitbull
The Pitbull has had a fearsome reputation for quite some time- but it pales in comparison to that of 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 that of the wolf.
Wolf Bite Force Vs Kangal
The Kangal is a dog breed that is often pitted against the wolf as a means to fend them from livestock or other property. Can a Kangal kill a wolf? Well, 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.
Bite of a Wolf Compared to A Dog
Though these are both canids, a bite from a wolf will differ from that of dogs. One reason is that wolves have the power in their jaws to better carry through with a bite where dogs with lesser force in their bite would have to take another bite.
Wolves are in it to win it, to take down and kill their prey (unless fighting amongst themselves). Dogs, particularly those of a domesticated type, 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 out of the appendage- at times enough to bear an amputation (if the attack doesn’t kill the person).
A wolf on the other hand 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 would be capable of ripping 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 a dog would be. A dog would go for what it thinks will work, but will likely not be as precise in an attack.
There are several good reasons why there are so few canines that would dare to go toe to toe with a wolf, especially the larger and more powerful Timber Wolves.
When it comes to hunting prowess, the use of strategy in packs, tenacity, and a frighteningly strong set of jaws, the wolf, who is the original article, has few natural rivals.