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How Strong is a Golden Retriever’s Bite? (Measured in PSI)

Golden retriever puppy playing and bite owner hand

While we think of golden retrievers as sweet and loving dogs, they can still bite for certain reasons. Their bite is surprisingly strong. The bite force is measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch. The bite force of a golden retriever is estimated to be around 190 PSI, which ranks as the 30th strongest bite force in dogs.

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Comparison of Dog’s Bite Force

Let’s put the force of a golden retriever bite into perspective. The estimated 190 PSI of a golden retriever bite is the full force of an aggressive bite. A playful nip will not have this kind of force.

The bite force of a human is between 100 and 150 PSI, whereas a canine holds a bite force potential of up to 230 PSI.

We stated above that the golden retriever ranks 30th for bite strength of different dog breeds. As a comparison, the Kangal, who ranks number one, has a bite force of 743 PSI. The dogs ranked as having the highest bite forces are virtually unheard of in North America. This is because they are dog breeds that were originally bred as working or fighting dogs that aren’t commonly kept as pets.

Bite strengths of some familiar dog breeds are:
  • Rottweiler – 328 PSI
  • Siberian Husky – 320 PSI
  • German Shepherd – 238 PSI
  • American Pit Bull – 235 PSI
  • Labrador Retriever – 230 PSI

Why Do Golden Retrievers Bite?

Golden retrievers aren’t aggressive dogs. The majority of the time, an adult golden will only bite out of fear. This is the most common provocation behind any dog bite. Dogs who are scared or anxious will do anything to protect themselves and remove the perceived threat. The higher the level of fear, the more likely a bite will occur. It will also determine how hard the dog will bite.

Adult golden retrievers can sometimes bite while playing, which is known as mouthing. This is primarily a learned response. Either the owner has encouraged mouthing behavior during play (albeit sometimes unintentionally), or the dog was not taught appropriate play behavior as a puppy. In this case, the bite is not aggressive in nature but meant in good fun. It’s similar to how dogs bite at each other while playing.

golden retriever outdoors
Image Credit: Chiemsee2016, Pixabay

The Different Bite Levels Of a Golden Retriever

There are six different levels of dog bites that can occur. The force of each bite level is dependent on the level of fear your golden retriever is experiencing, as well as the dog’s personality.

  • Level one – A level one bite is what is generally termed an “air snap.” The dog has no intention of biting the human, and the dog’s teeth don’t make any contact with the skin. It’s essentially a warning. The dog is saying he is uncomfortable with the current situation, and if it continues, he will bite.
  • Level two – As you move up in bite levels, the level of aggression is slightly amplified with each step. A level two dog bite occurs when the dog’s teeth contact skin but don’t leave a mark behind. As with a level one bite, this is considered a warning and meant to deter someone.
  • Level three – Once a dog bite hits level three, the dog has broken human skin. This level of the bite will leave marks and is a defensive bite.
  • Level four – Bruising will appear around the site of the bite puncture. The force of the bite is stronger, and the dog may shake his head from side to side.
  • Level five – A level five bite is one where the victim sustains significant damage. The bite force used is very strong, and most dogs who have bitten at this level are recommended for euthanasia, as they can be dangerous.
  • Level six – While this occurs very rarely, level six is reserved for dog attacks that result in the death of the victim, either animal or human.

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How To Stop A Golden Retriever From Biting

Knowing the cause of biting behavior is the key to stopping it. If you have a golden retriever who’s biting, we strongly recommend consulting a professional to deal with it immediately. That said, sometimes bites occur for a very obvious reason, or you don’t have access to a dog trainer, so we’ll give you some tips to stop your dog’s biting habit.

a smiling golden retriever
Image Credit: Lumi Studio, Shutterstock

1. Deterrence

This is simply using a firm voice to tell your dog “no.” This is often employed in puppies when teaching them to bite inhibition.

You can also use a water bottle to get your dog’s attention while reprimanding them.


2. Obedience training

Often, taking an obedience class will help if you are struggling to get your dog to listen to you. These classes help to socialize your dog in a positive environment and encourage good behavior around people and other dogs.

Obedience classes aren’t just for your dogs; they’re for you too. It can be helpful to learn new ways of interacting with your dog and gain your dog’s respect.

Dog trainer teaching a Golden retriever obedience
Image Credit: 16081684, Pixabay

3. Teach bite inhibition to golden retriever puppies

Bite inhibition is an important concept for puppies to learn. It’s normal for puppies to nip, but they must learn how to control the force of their bite. Mother dogs teach their pups this at a very young age by punishing them when they bite too hard. You can continue this teaching.

Anytime your puppy bites too hard, give a firm “no,” yelp, or spray them with a water bottle. This teaches them that the behavior is not acceptable.

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Summary

Dog bites can be frightening, even when the bite isn’t aggressive. As with any dog, Golden Retrievers need to be taught that biting is not okay in any circumstance. Hopefully, the contents of this article have helped you understand the force of a golden retriever bite, the reasons golden retrievers bite, and some tips to stop biting. If you have a dog who has bitten or is exhibiting dangerous biting behavior, we recommend consulting a professional dog trainer for assistance.


Featured Image Credit: Damix, Shutterstock

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