What Are The Strongest Dog Breeds?

When it comes to discussing the strongest dogs breeds across the world, some people approach it quite simplistically but I believe there are many different factors to consider. Are we talking about all-out brute strength and size (which seems to be how most articles cover this subject) or should it be comparable to their weight?

Should endurance be taken into consideration or are we only looking for out-of-the-block powerhouses? 


As you may already know, I own ex-racing Greyhounds. These athletic Ferraris of the canine world have amazing, aerodynamic bodies built for speed.

Their stealthy frames have huge muscular chests and hind legs to accelerate to speeds of 45mph in just a few seconds. Their muscle to fat ratio is much higher than any other dog. Does this make them the strongest dog breed in the world?

Well when it comes to powering acceleration, you probably can’t get any stronger than a greyhound. However, the record speeds that they can achieve in the blink of an eye don’t last long and they need recovery time afterwards.

These dogs are not built for endurance or weight-bearing. In fact, as well as being known for their speed, they are infamous for being couch potatoes.

When there isn’t a rabbit or squirrel involved you can forget these dogs wanting to do anything that slightly resembles hard work. 


Staffordshire Bull Terriers

If we are looking at sheer muscle mass, then no dog can beat the small but mighty Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Every inch of a Staffy is muscular, from their broad heads and chiselled jawline to their rock-solid legs.

This breed looks like it has been in the gym 24-7 with its bulky physique and burly stance. It has great power for its medium size and rivels breeds much larger than itself when it comes to strength. 

The most notable strength comes in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s jaws. They can apply an incredible 175-200lbs of pressure per square inch when they clampdown.

Does their muscle mass and superior jaws make them the strongest dog in the world? When it comes to bite power, you can’t get stronger than the Staffy – it surpasses all other dogs of its size and is only beaten by a handful of larger breeds (with larger jaws).

However, you are highly unlikely to be bitten by one of them. Nowadays, far from the fighting pens they were originally bred for, they are sweet-natured, family-oriented softies. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback

When we consider what dog breeds have been bred for, the Rhodesian Ridgeback undeniable wins a place in this discussion. There is no way a list of the strongest dog breeds could not contain the breed that protects their owners from lions!

That’s right – they were a family guard system when Lions approached the home. These large breed dogs have a distinctive stripe of backwards-growing hair that forms a type of ridge along the spine.

They are fast, powerful and formidable dogs with an iron will. Any dog that can stand up to a lion has to be strong of mind. 

The Rhodesian ridgebacks are also referred to as the African Lion Hunters, as not only would they protect against lions but they would accompany hunters to track and help bring down a lion. The dogs were used as a distraction, allowing the hunters to get a clear shot.

They basically played cat and mouse or rather cat and dog with lions. If you are looking for the world’s most fearless dog, you can’t get braver than the Rhodesian Ridgeback and that makes them super strong in my eyes.

However, even though they are bold and gutsy when it comes to lions, the ridgebacks are extremely affectionate and gentle with those they trust.

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a small Japanese breed that fought its way back from the brink of extinction in the mid-1900s. Not only did it survive Japan’s wartime deprivations but it went on to become the country’s most popular doggy companion.

The Shiba is the oldest known breed originating from Japan. They are identified as a basal breed, which means they predate modern recognised dog breeds.

The Shiba was bred for hunting through the dense undergrowth of Japan’s mountainous terrain. The Shiba Inu is a perfect example of endurance.

In both survival and when it comes to working. They are quick and alert with compact, well-developed muscular frames, ideal for navigating the inhospitable land to find and flush out prey.

With very little health issues to note and a strong, pure bloodline, the Shiba has endured through the centuries and come out on top. If we are talking about the survival of the fittest, you can’t get a stronger candidate than the Shibu Inu.

It is no surprise that this breed tends to be bold and spirited and needs a firm but fair approach when it comes to ownership. 

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd (or GSDs) are one of the most popular dogs around today. Not only are they strong and powerful but they are extremely intelligent and easily trained.

Probably not commonly known, the German Shepherd was originally bred for herding – hence the Shepherd name – but because of their trainability and bravery they are now the number one breed for police forces, security agencies and law enforcement.

This dog tops many of the Strongest Dog Breed lists for so many reasons. This breed grows into sturdy, muscular adults and can weigh up to 90lbs.

Whilst that is not the heaviest of dogs, they are weighty for their size and most of that comes from their well-built, athletic frames. The German Shepherd is naturally courageous and this makes them strong-willed.

Their strong personalities need as much training as their strong bodies to stop them becoming unsociable and hostile. However, when brought up with a family or given the training they need this breed is a wonderful member of the home.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is striking in appearance and alongside the smaller Siberian Huskey, closely resembles that of their ancestor, the wolf. Bred to haul heavy loads across long distances in harsh conditions, the Malamute was built for stamina.

These Arctic sledging dogs have fit, strong bodies with heavy bones, deep chests and broad shoulders. They are capable of dragging huge amounts of weight through deep snowy terrain for months on end.

They truly rule when it comes to working dogs. However, this breed also holds the impressive title of strongest pulling strength.

When measuring the speed of pull of an object divided by the body mass of the dog, the Alaskan Malamute reigns supreme. Weighing in around 100lbs and standing 25 inches at the shoulder, the large Malamute has an impressive two-inch double coat to protect it from both the heat of the sun and the cold of the snow.

They have a large plumed tail which can be wrapped over their eyes and snout when sleeping out in the elements. And not forgetting facial markings that look distinctively similar to that of a wolf. 

These worker dogs thrive in environments that give them space to burn energy. When they do not have an outlet for their exuberant nature they can become frustrated and destructive.

They are not good apartment dogs and do not do well when left alone for long periods. However, they are friendly social dogs that rarely become aggressive and make great family pets when they are in environments that suit their needs. 

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is an Italian dog breed that was originally bred for guarding property and hunting large wild game such as boar, as well as helping out around the farms herding pigs and cattle. With a slightly lighter frame than it’s cousin, the Mastiff, the Cane Corso is a formidable-looking dog with a steely stare.

Their short coats make their muscular physique notable and panther-like. They have broad heads which make them look boisterous, which is exactly what they are and they need to be trained correctly.

These beautiful brutes are not advisable for first-time owners with little experience with dogs. The Cane Corso is as strong-willed as it is a powerhouse.

They can be charming, loving dogs that are loyal and protective, but they need a firm hand when it comes to training and establishing parental control. With some weighing in at 120lbs, they are a bulky bundle of high energy.

Couple this with their high intelligence and bossy nature makes them a force to be reckoned with. 


The Mastiff family are by far the top contenders when it comes to looking at the Strongest Dog Breeds. It would be hard for most other breeds to match the strength of these incredible dogs. Weighing in at an average of 200lbs of muscle and heavy bones.

The sheer size of them puts them in pole position when it comes to measuring strength. There are commonly two ways to measure a dog’s strength.

One is their bite force, which measures the pressure present when a dog clamps their jaws down. If a dog has a bite force of 150lbs for example, it would be the equivalent of placing the weight of your average household washing machine on their top jaw and then closing it on your arm! Ouch!

Bite Force Quotient is a dog’s bite force divided by its body mass, which as mentioned is topped by the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. However, the larger the jaw the stronger the bite force in total.

Research conducted by Jennifer Lynn Ellis of Guelph University in Canada showed that the Mastiff with its widest mouth had a staggering bite force of 552lbs! This is just short of the bite force of a White Shark at 600lbs and a Lion at 650lbs. That’s strong! 

The second measurement of a dog’s strength is their pulling strength, which is the speed at which a dog can pull a volume of weight. I have already mentioned that the Alaskan Malamute holds the title for pulling strength comparable to weight but once again if we are to look at the overall pulling strength the Mastiff wins out.

Their sturdy frames and determined characters make them excellent load pullers. In 2017, Noble the English Mastiff pulled an incredible 14,500lbs, beating his previous record of 13,120lbs a few years prior! 

The Mastiffs are not only super strong, they are intelligent and intuitive making them highly trainable. These big dogs have even bigger hearts.

They are loyal, loving and protective family pets who enjoy big cuddles and plenty of playtime. And boy do they need playtime!

The mastiff’s energy matches its size and it’s advisable to ensure that this breed gets a good outlet to release all that energy. Mastiffs, like other dogs, can get bored and frustrated without an active and lively lifestyle, but their size means they can cause plenty of destruction in their wake if they are restricted most of the day.

I hope my slightly different take on the Strongest Dog Breeds got you thinking about how we look at strength across various breeds. All dogs have their strengths and my greatest piece of advice if you are looking for a dog, is to find one that best suits your lifestyle and how much time you can commit to training it. 

If you have any questions about the information provided above please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly on email: emma@fourlonglegs.com or via the contact form.


I always like to hear from my readers and will post questions and answers that could be helpful to everyone. 

2 thoughts on “What Are The Strongest Dog Breeds?”

  1. Great article. We have a mix dog from a shelter and we’re trying to work out what she is. At the moment, we’re thinking Mastiff and Border Collie. But after reading this, we feel there might be some Cane Corso in her too.
    Peadar and Malina

  2. Stronger than most of these dogs is the …. Rottweiler


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