Picture this: a tiny Chihuahua, fitting snugly within the crook of an arm, snarling with all its might. if you’ve ever spent time on the internet, you’ve probably seen this imagery before. But, has a Chihuahua ever killed someone? 

Yes, our diminutive friends, the Chihuahuas, have a bit of a reputation for being nippy. They are the unwitting stars of countless Internet memes that capture their feisty, teeth-baring moments.

But, one question has probably crossed your mind – has a Chihuahua ever killed a person? Here’s what the data says.

Is The Bite Force of a Chihuahua 3,900 PSI?

Well, we certainly did wonder! And being the curious souls that we are, we put on our detective hats and delved into the topic. Today, we’re excited to present our findings.

When it comes to the ferocity of a Chihuahua’s bite force, things can get a bit… controversial. A fact that’s been bandied about on the internet reports that a Chihuahua’s bite force in pounds is a staggering 3,900 PSI (pounds per square inch). Now, that’s quite a mouthful! 

It’s important to note, though, that this 3,900 PSI measurement isn’t accepted. There’s quite a bit of debate about the accuracy of this number. Some experts argue that it might be an overestimation, while others believe it could be a misinterpretation.

  • Is this PSI figure an overestimation? Some animal behaviorists and veterinary experts question the 3,900 PSI figure, suggesting that this bite force might be too high for such a small breed.
  • Or could it be a data misinterpretation? Other experts argue that the number might have been misconstrued or misinterpreted. They point out that the bite force of a Chihuahua is unlikely to outmatch that of larger, more muscular dogs.

While it’s tempting to believe that our tiny canine friends pack such a powerful punch (or bite!), it’s essential to approach these figures with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, the world of doggy data is as diverse and complex as the breeds themselves!

Has a Chihuahua ever killed someone? Illustrated by a white pup
Has a Chihuahua ever killed someone? Illustrated by a white pup

Testing a Dog’s Bite Force

According to scientists and researchers, testing how hard Chihuahuas and dogs can bite is notoriously unreliable due to the variables involved.

Professor Stanley Coren wrote the most interesting of those in 2010. He wrote this article on the Psychology Today website, explaining how hard it was to measure dog bite force accurately.

The example Coren gave was that of a lion. Online reports state that lions have a bite force of 600 PSI. Can you honestly believe that Chihuahua bite force is 3,900 PSI – it makes no sense and sounds completely false.

No researcher or scientist has ever tried to measure how strong the bite of a Chihuahua is. But if they were to, Coren writes that there is a more accurate way of measuring canine bite force strength, as quoted below.

“The size of the animal and the shape of its jaw predicted bite strength. The larger the dog and the dog’s head, and the wider the jaw, the higher the bite force turned out to be. The dog breed with the largest head and widest mouth is the Mastiff, so it is perhaps not surprising that it has been recently measured as having a bite strength of 552 pounds-just shy of the bite forces that the lion has. This force exceeds that of all breeds measured to date.”

We then found other accounts online on the research of bite forces in dogs. This quote below is from the InsideDogsWorld.com website:

“Two types of research have been carried out to measure the bite forces of dogs. The final results of the research were disclosed in Newtons. This actually made the highest numbers come out at 2,000 Newtons. And from there, a majority of the websites collected the number and wrongly interpreted it as the PSI. However, it is actually 450 pounds PSI.”

Remember, though, a dog’s biting potential doesn’t translate directly to aggression. A well-socialized, trained, and loved dog, regardless of breed, is a joy to be around. So, let’s dive in!

The 20 Dog Breeds with the Strongest Bites

Ever wondered about the might behind your pooch’s bite? Well, you’re in for a treat! We’ve compiled an intriguing list of the top 20 dog breeds with the most potent bite forces. 

From gentle giants to tiny terrors, this lineup might surprise you. So, buckle up as we sink our teeth into the world of canine bite power! 

  • Kangal Dog bite force pressure: 743 PSI
  • Bandog Dog bite force pressure: 730 PSI
  • Cane Corso bite force pressure: 700 PSI
  • Dogue De Bordeaux bite force pressure: 556 PSI
  • Tosa Inu bite force pressure: 556 PSI
  • English Mastiff bite force pressure: 552 PSI
  • Dogo Canario bite force pressure: 540 PSI
  • Dogo Argentino bite force pressure: 500 PSI
  • Leonberger bite force pressure: 399 PSI
  • Rottweiler bite force pressure: 328 PSI
  • American Bulldog bite force pressure: 305 PSI
  • German Shepherd bite force pressure: 238 PSI
  • Pit Bull bite force pressure: 235 PSI
  • Boxer bite force pressure: 230 PSI
  • Doberman bite force pressure: 229 PSI
  • Alano Espanol bite force pressure: 227 PSI
  • Dutch Shepherd bite force pressure: 224 PSI
  • Chow Chow bite force pressure: 220 PSI
  • English Bulldog bite force pressure: 210 PSI
  • Malinois bite force pressure: 195 PSI

Looking at some of the best breeds, you could never seriously expect to believe that a Chihuahua’s bite force would be more potent than any of the ones above – which look a lot more accurate as far as dogs go.

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The Real Bite Force of a Chihuahua

As we delve deeper into the world of Chihuahua behavior, we must take a more cautious approach when estimating their bite force.

Contrary to popular belief, and despite some questionable reports floating around on platforms like Reddit, the bite force of a Chihuahua is certainly not 3,900 PSI. 

Their bite force is likely lower compared to larger dog breeds, given their petite size and different jaw structure.

It’s easy to be misled by exaggerated numbers, but let’s remember: Chihuahuas, while spirited and full of spunk, are not exactly heavyweight champion material.

Their bite, though possibly surprising for their size, is far from matching the force of, let’s say, a Rottweiler or a Mastiff.

So, the most realistic estimation of a Chihuahua’s bite force, backed by many owners and experts, lies in the 100–180 PSI range. 

Has a Chihuahua ever killed anyone? Illustrated by a brown Chi tugging on a rope
Has a Chihuahua ever killed anyone? Illustrated by a brown Chi tugging on a rope

Chihuahua Attacks and Fatalities

So, what do the numbers reveal? Are Chihuahuas as bitey as their reputation suggests? And, most importantly, has a Chihuahua ever killed someone

The first part of our research uncovered a 2009 study by the Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs and the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association. Here, they compared Chihuahua bite statistics against over 180 dog breeds, and here are two interesting takeaways from the research:

  • Chihuahuas bite vets more than any other dog breed
  • Chihuahua ranks 4th in the breeds that have bitten children

We also found more research on Dognition. Their 2016 study said that after questioning 4,000 dog owners, Chihuahuas came out as being the most aggressive breed.

Then, we headed over to called DogBites.org, which records annual statistics on dog bites and attacks in the USA, including fatalities. Here’s data on deaths due to dog bites recorded over 12 years (2005 to 2017) – the top breeds leading to human fatality:

  • Pit Bull: 6%
  • Rottweiler: 4%
  • German Shepherd: 6%
  • Mixed Breed: 9%
  • American Bulldog: 5%
  • Mastiff / Bull Mastiff: 2%
  • Husky: 3%

While Chihuahuas are not listed on this roster of breeds, it’s important to understand that any dog, regardless of its size or breed, can cause harm if they don’t have the necessary dog training or isn’t cared for.

Chihuahuas, despite their small size, can certainly pack a punch. However, it’s a far cry from the bite forces of the larger, more powerful breeds listed here.

Remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

Has a Chihuahua Ever Killed Someone?

We then looked deeper into the statistics and found that there was a record of a Chihuahua killing a person, with two human deaths recorded between 2005 and 2018 in the USA.

The 2018 fatality also noted that two Pitbulls were involved as well. The person killed lived with the three dogs, and there’s no proof the Chihuahua was responsible due to no eyewitness accounts. 

Other reports where a Chihuahua killed someone are almost non-existent. However, there was a case where a Chihuahua was placed on death row for savaging a woman during a rampage.

“An out-of-control Chihuahua is facing a death sentence after it allegedly savaged a woman during a rampage through her home. The eight-inch-long dog, called Chelsea, is said to have leapt up to bite Andrea McGann in a home in Twickenham, London. Wimbledon Magistrates Court heard Chelsea has been taken into custody and faces a potential destruction order after Fox was charged with being a person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and causing injury.”

The woman was lucky, as the Chihuahua’s bite force wasn’t hard enough to kill, but it was still scary enough to get the police involved.

Has a Chihuahua ever killed someone? Illustrated by a white Chihuauha bite
Has a Chihuahua ever killed someone? Illustrated by a white Chihuahua bite

Owners’ Influence on Chihuahua Aggression

Believe it or not, Chihuahua’s aggression and bite force are very much influenced by their owners. The way you raise and interact with your tiny canine can significantly shape their behavior, underlining the old adage that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. 

Let’s break this down a bit further: 

  • Socialization: Chihuahuas who are properly socialized from a young age are less likely to be overly aggressive. Exposing your pup to a variety of people, places, and experiences can help them feel more comfortable in different situations, reducing the likelihood of a fear-induced bite.
  • Training: Consistent, positive reinforcement training can help control a Chihuahua’s aggressive tendencies. Remember, your furry friend is eager to please, so rewarding good behavior is key.
  • Environment: Chihuahuas, like any dog, can become more aggressive in stressful or uncomfortable environments. A calm, stable home can help mitigate this.

“The way an owner raises, trains, and interacts with their Chihuahua significantly influences the dog’s behavior, including their aggression and bite force.”

In terms of bite force, while Chihuahuas do have a strong bite for their size, it’s nowhere near the power needed to kill a human. A bite from a Chihuahua can certainly be painful and possibly cause injury, but the severity of these injuries is often influenced more by the circumstances of the bite than the bite force itself. 

As you can see, Chihuahuas have a much lower bite force compared to larger breeds. It’s worth noting that a bite from any dog, regardless of size, can cause injury and should always be treated with care.

Wrapping Up 

In reflecting on our journey through Chihuahua territory, let’s recap some of the key takeaways: 

  • Chihuahuas have a significant bite for their size, but it’s not nearly as powerful as that of larger dog breeds. A Chihuahua bite might be uncomfortable, and may even draw blood, but it’s not typically a life-threatening event.
  • The likelihood of a Chihuahua inflicting a fatal wound is exceedingly rare. Sure, it’s possible in the most extreme and unusual circumstances, but even then, it’s less likely than winning the lottery or being struck by lightning.

So, while these tiny canine companions are known to have a bit of an attitude and some tenacity, we can put the notion of deadly Chihuahuas to bed. Owning a Chihuahua, like owning any pet, comes with responsibility and potential risks, but a fatal encounter is not a realistic concern. 

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