Although they have tiny bodies…
Chihuahuas can bare their teeth, snap, and make you run for your life.
Do you ever wonder how powerful those small mouths are?
Read on to learn and discover:
- How strong can Chihuahuas bite.
- If they could tear off an eyelid or even a finger.
- Whether they’re capable of killing a person or not.
- Which is more aggressive between them and Pit Bulls.
- And many more…
Table of contents
What is the bite force of a Chihuahua?
The bite force of a Chihuahua was estimated to be around 100 to 180 PSI. This is sufficient to inflict injuries on humans such as bruises, scratches, bleeding, cuts, or scraped skin. However, it’s not as powerful and dangerous as the bites of larger dogs who have wider jaws and bigger heads.
Chihuahua bite pressure
There’s no specific study made to determine the bite force of Chihuahuas.
And it won’t also help to get bitten now for research purposes.
But as I’ve done more digging into the topic…
I’ve found articles that estimated it from 100 to 180 PSI. Which is more feasible than other reports saying it’s over 3,000 PSI.
“Why’s that impossible?”
This is because saltwater crocodiles have a force of 3,700 PSI.
So if it’s true, Chis are only a shy of 700 compared to these enormous creatures.
Mind you, these are animals with a 30 in (76 cm) skull. And a 38.7 in (98.3 cm) long lower jawbone.
They’re also known for their strong jaws. Anyone who’ll come near them can be crushed in an instant.
So it’s unlikely for a small dog, like a Chihuahua, to have a pressure close to theirs.
This might mislead most people while searching on the Internet. Creating more fear towards one of the misunderstood dog breeds.
But wait, before I go further into this, you may ask,
“How is a dog’s bite force measured?”
It’s a combination of the strength of their teeth and jaw muscles:
- Mandible – Lower jaw
- Maxilla – Upper jaw
This is measured in PSI or pounds per square inch. It’s one of the units used to gauge bite pressure along with Newton (N).
An electronic device is used to measure this. And the animal is made to bite it which then records the pressure.
How strong are other creatures’ jaws?
We, humans, are said to have about 120 PSI bite force. While the strongest jaws of all are Nile crocodiles with 5,000 PSI.
So based on all the info I’ve stated…
Could it be that the bigger the creature, the more powerful their jaws are?
The answer is yes.
But, what we’re going to look at are the size and shape of their heads.
This is proven by a study in 2009.
Researchers discovered that the larger the skull, the higher the bite force is.
Chihuahuas have smaller heads. So, therefore, their bite force wouldn’t really go as much as a Rottweiler with 328 PSI.
What dog has the strongest PSI bite? Top 25 dog bite forces
We’ve learned about the bite pressure of Chihuahuas.
But how strong or weak is it compared to other dogs?
Let’s find out.
I’ve gathered data from different studies and articles and came up with this long list.
|Breed||Bite Force (in PSI or pounds per square inch)|
|Kangal Shepherd dog||743|
|Dogue De Bordeaux||556|
|Perro de Presa Canario||540|
|African Wild Dog||317|
|American Pit Bull Terrier||235|
Based on the figures above, Kangal Shepherd dogs have the most powerful bite in doggy land with 743 PSI.
It’s around 300 PSI lower than the jaw strength of other animals. Such as lions, tigers, and hyenas who have around 1,000 PSI.
But it’s still outstanding. As they’re only followed by American Bandogges and Cane Corsos who are the other 2 breeds having a 700 or more.
These top 3 dogs all have large bodies and heads. With an average length of 30 in (75 cm) and a weight of 128 lbs (58 kg).
So this proves the research mentioned previously that their head and build are major factors in their bite force.
But you might ask,
“Why are Great Danes, who are giants, in the middle of the list?”
Well, they may have big bodies, but their ‘gameness’ isn’t that strong. Meaning, they have a lesser interest in attacking or fighting.
Plus, they have narrower heads and jaws compared to others like Mastiffs.
Chihuahua bite statistics
Chihuahuas might not have a powerful jaw like the others. But they can surely bite, especially when provoked.
It’s been said that every year, dog bites have a huge impact on 1.5% of the US population.
But how much do they contribute to the total cases?
Bite incidents in children
The Coalition for Living Safely made a study in 2009 regarding dog bites.
Out of the 129 breeds with bite reports, Chihuahuas (Smooth-coated) placed 4th with 4.2%.
And it’s about dogs who have the most incidents involving children.
The common reasons for being bitten are:
- Provoking a dog.
- Result of ‘play bites.’
- Being left alone with one.
See the complete table below:
|Breeds with bite incidents involving children||Percentage of total|
“So are they usually aggressive towards children?”
This will vary per dog as they have different personalities and upbringing.
But, they can be territorial, especially to their owners. So they may fight for your attention if there are small kids nearby.
Also, being one of the tiniest dog breeds, children might mishandle them. Not to mention that most kids don’t have enough knowledge on how to properly hold one.
So like any other dog, if they’re uncomfortable, they can snap and growl. And they could also bite if it’s too much.
Want to know more? Read these next: Are Chihuahuas Good With Kids? 7 Dangers + 5 Tips & Do Chihuahuas Like To Be Held? 5 Things You Should Know
Bite incidents in veterinary clinics
In this category, Chihuahuas top the list. While Australian Shepherds and Siberian Huskies are runner-ups.
According to the same survey, Chis are prone to bite veterinarians. As well as groomers during a visit.
The reasons for this weren’t stated. But it can be connected to their fearful nature.
So going to unfamiliar places, as well as seeing new faces, might trigger their aggression.
Reading tip: Why do Chihuahuas shake so much?
Bite incidents in California
I’ve also found statistics in some states in the U.S.
According to their report in 2014, there were more than 50,000 victims of animal bites in 2011. And from 2006 to 2010, domesticated dogs contributed to 77% of the cases.
They’ve listed down the top 3 breeds who have bit the most people. And Chihuahuas were in 3rd place having 11% of the total number.
|Breeds with the most bite incidents in California (as of 2014)||Percentage of total|
Bite incidents in Denver
Here’s a more recent survey in 2019.
There were around 518 reported dog bites in Denver, Colorado. And 18 cases or 3% of it came from Chihuahuas (Short-hair).
|Breeds with the most bite incidents in Denver (as of 2019)||Percentage of total|
|Australian Cattle Dogs||5%|
They also labeled each case according to its severity. From Level 1 being the lowest and Level 5 as the highest.
And Chihuahuas placed 6th in Level 2 with 11 cases (5%). Then 10th in Level 3 having 5 incidents (3%).
To understand this better, experts explain it as:
Level 1: The dog was aggressive but with no skin contact.
Level 2: Having direct contact with the skin but still without cuts or wounds.
Level 3: There are about 1 to 4 skin penetrations. But the bites aren’t deeper than the teeth of the dog (half-length).
Level 4: Same with Level 3, but there’s at least 1 bite that’s deeper than the canine’s teeth. Also, there are bruises and wounds around the punctures.
Level 5: Having more than 4 bites and attacks. The dog already poses a high risk to people and other animals.
To sum it up…
Chihuahuas are mostly within the top 5 dog breeds in the surveys.
This shows that there’s still a high possibility of being bitten by them when not careful. Or if they were brought up with no socialization. As well as lack of bite inhibition.
But, the severity of their bites is only at Level 3 at most – with a few punctures and bleeding.
Chihuahua bite force: 5 mind-blowing facts
#1: Has anyone been killed by a Chihuahua?
There are no media reports of people dying due to a Chihuahua attack.
But looking at DogsBite.org’s data, there’s 1 recorded death in the U.S. caused by a Chi from 2005 to 2017.
|Year/s||Death/s due to Chihuahua|
However, the exact year and other details of the case are unknown.
So I’ve looked more into it. And then I saw their other report in 2016.
According to it, there’s 1 fatality by an alleged Chihuahua mix.
A 58-year-old man was found dead on an avenue in California. But, it wasn’t clear if the Chi had really caused it.
This is because there were 4 more other dogs in the area – 3 Pitbull mixes and 1 small mixed breed.
Based on the year, this could be the case that’s included in the study mentioned earlier. And this accounts for only 0.2% of the total fatalities by dog bites within those years.
So what are the breeds that have caused most deaths in the U.S.?
Within those 12 years, the same data shows that there’s a total of 433 reported cases.
And the top 20 dogs that were said to be responsible for those are as follows:
|Breed||Death/s||Percentage of total|
|Heeler/Australian Cattle Dogs||4||0.9%|
|Perro de Presa Canarios||2||0.5%|
Take note that statistics about dog bites can also be inaccurate.
First, all of this info mostly came from social media, blog posts, and news outlets. So there could be more cases that aren’t reported.
Second, there might be an error about the exact breed who caused it. Some can be a mix and other people may not know these details.
Also, there are ‘umbrella terms’ such as Huskies and Pit Bulls. Most people can be confused and consider each of these breeds as only one type of dog.
But Huskies could be:
- White Huskies.
- Siberian Huskies.
- Alaskan Malamutes.
- American Klee Klais.
- American Eskimo Dogs.
- And 17 more…
While Pit Bulls have 5 different breeds under it, such as:
- American Bullies.
- American Bulldogs.
- American Pit Bull Terriers.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
- American Staffordshire Terriers.
But can a Chihuahua kill a human?
Based on their built and bite force, it’s an unlikely scenario.
But it could be a different issue when a person was to be attacked by a large group of savage Chihuahuas – which I must say is farfetched.
This may only happen if the person is unconscious. And the Chi chews their neck where the carotid arteries are – the major blood vessels.
Although their bites aren’t deadly, they can still cause bruises, cuts, and abrasions.
In 2016, a woman in London sued a Chihuahua named Chelsea along with her parent.
The dog was said to leap and bit the lady when she went out of control. And this happened in the complainant’s house.
Another recent incident happened in England.
Buddy, the Chi, was also reported to face a trial because of attacking a woman.
According to the statement, the Avon lady was delivering some items. Then the dog chased her around and kept biting her legs.
His parent also faces charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.
“What can happen to them?”
Since the complainant was injured, the owner may go to jail for up to 5 years. And also, the judge has the power to order the dog to be killed.
#2: Can a Chihuahua bite off a finger?
Chihuahuas may tend to bite the hands and legs more. And research says that they’re less likely to nip the arms.
So, is it possible for them to bite off our fingers?
If it’s a grown adult’s hand, biting off a whole finger is improbable. And they may only cause a deep cut or scraped skin.
However, if it belongs to a toddler, the injury can be more severe.
The closest they can get to this is biting off its tip. But this could only be done if they put their mind and whole force into it.
To start off, Chihuahuas don’t have the jaw strength to easily break our bones.
But larger dogs with bite force equal to or more than 200 PSI definitely can. And there are many reports about it.
(Warning: The following stories contain graphic content.)
Incident #1: A Malamute-Wolf mix was reported to bite off and swallow an 11-year-old’s finger. The father of the child shot the dog to retrieve the chewed part inside their stomach.
However, due to severe nerve damage, reattaching his finger was impossible.
Incident #2: In London, a delivery driver lost the tip of her middle finger after being attacked by a dog. She told the news that she was inserting a card through the door when it happened.
The dog responsible for this was believed to be a Mastiff type.
#3: Do Chihuahuas bite more than Pit Bulls?
When people hear of Pit Bulls, the first things that may come to their minds are ‘dangerous’ and ‘deadly.’
They indeed have fatal bites. And this is due to their big bodies and strong jaws.
But, did you know that they have a better temperament than Chihuahuas?
Yup. A survey of 4,000 dog parents was done to know how aggressive their furry friends are.
And the results?
Chis was found to be the most aggressive out of the 35 breeds. And they’re also the fiercest in the face of other canines.
“How’s that possible?”
This is because smaller dogs may tend to snap and bite more.
Some people call it the ‘Napoleon complex’ or the ‘small dog syndrome.’
It’s a defense against larger animals. And if this isn’t corrected, they’ll continue misbehaving.
But, is it really the case for them?
A study reveals that tinier doggos indeed have more tendencies to:
- Beg for food.
- Seek attention.
- Mark territories by urine.
- Have owner-directed aggression.
Chihuahuas, in particular, are prone to be very territorial. As well as being overprotective of their humans.
Inside their compact bodies are big hearts that are loyal to their parents. So they may also follow wherever you go.
You probably have seen one or a photo on the Internet where they show their teeth. While their little nose is all scrunched up.
They make that face when they’re about to attack. And it also comes with a growl.
It’s like a warning that they will come at you if you come any closer.
Also, some Chis are more fearful and anxious than others. And this could be a result of a lack of socialization. As well as overprotection.
Other parents didn’t let their Chihuahuas go out and meet some friends. As they’re worried that their tiny pooch will be injured in playing with other canines.
So whenever the Chi sees strangers – may it be people or Fidos, they’ll bark nonstop. And even lunge and snap at them.
But how about Pit Bulls?
Let me share their brief history.
These breeds came from an American Pit Bull Terrier. Which is a mix of an Old English Terrier and an Old English Bulldog.
The two kinds are known for their:
- Capability to finish a fight.
- Broad and muscular body.
So combined, this certain type of dog was bred to fight in the 19th century.
They were used in holding off bulls and fighting huge animals. As well as other canines (in a dog fight).
However, this was ages ago. Most Pitbull breeds aren’t even exposed to fight anymore. And they can make a good family dog if trained right.
“So what makes them aggressive?”
Their genes can be one factor. But how they were raised and their environment are more crucial.
Experts found that lack of training and neglect are its main causes.
Same with other breeds, if their bad behaviors aren’t corrected. And if they weren’t taken care of properly, they’ll have the tendency to bite more.
It’s just that they’re more capable of mauling a human. Compared to smaller Chihuahuas who could be as fierce when provoked.
So as a conclusion…
Chihuahuas are more aggressive than Pit Bull types.
It may not look like it as their bite incidents aren’t frequently reported as larger breeds. But they sure love to do it as a defense.
Also, they only cause minor injuries. Unlike Pit Bulls who can inflict serious damage and even deaths.
#4: Has a Chihuahua ever killed a baby?
Although Chihuahuas are known to be aggressive…
There’s no published report of fatal attacks on infants.
“But, is this possible?”
It could be. Chihuahuas’ teeth can pierce deep in a baby’s delicate skin and tiny body.
For minor cases, it’ll cause wounds or cuts. But if the baby isn’t brought immediately to the hospital, it may lead to blood loss.
You might also wonder: Can Chihuahuas and babies live together?
#5: Can Chihuahuas bite off an eyelid?
The skin that makes up the eyelids is the thinnest in the human body. It’s only about 0.02 in (0.5 mm) thick.
Due to this fact, it’s not impossible for Chihuahuas or any dogs to bite it off in an instant.
Although it’s rare, this can happen in real life.
A story of a 23-year-old woman who experienced this went viral in TikTok.
It’s said that she had her lashes done at a beautician’s house who has a Chi.
She told the Internet that everything was fine at the beginning. And she even petted the dog before the session.
After it’s done, she stood up. Then she noticed that the pooch was on the floor – looking at her.
She then lowered her head in an attempt to get closer. But in the blink of an eye, the dog jumped and bit her eyelid.
Almost the whole thing was torn off. And the doctors who did her reattachment surgery said it’s the first time they saw something like that.
So even though they have weaker jaws compared to larger breeds, they could still inflict injury. Especially when they bite small and thin parts of the body.
People also ask:
Do Chihuahuas have a strong bite?
Chihuahuas can’t bite as strong as bigger dogs. For example, Pit Bull types and Rottweilers. However, they’re capable of tearing off the skin and causing cuts in humans.
This is because it was explained earlier that the bite force of a canine is based on the size of its skull. The larger it is, the greater their jaw strength.
So, a tiny Chi has less force compared to a huge Mastiff or a massive Dogue de Bordeaux.
How painful is a Chihuahua bite?
A Chihuahua bite can be as painful as multiple bee stings. Because, unlike other dogs, they have tinier teeth. And these could pierce into your skin.
Although they can’t instantly break bones, they may tear off the skin easily when agitated.
This is because they have a little mouth that can bite into a portion of your hand or leg. And the pressure will be greater in a small area.
Imagine being bitten with the same force by a larger dog. Their teeth will cover a bigger part of your body instead. And the pressure will be distributed.
However, the pain may be even more if you’re bitten by a young Chihuahua.
Because puppies have 28 ‘baby teeth.’ And these are sharper than the permanent ones.
Their milk teeth will grow when they’re 4 months of age. Then these will start to fall out around 6 months old.
So even with just one light bite, they can cause scratches and bleeding.