Patterdale Terrier Bite Force

Lots of people ask about the Patterdale terrier bite force – they are dogs that can be quite snappy. Although Patterdales are small, they do have a strong jaw and bite force as they are bred for hunting. So what is the Patterdale terrier bite force? And is it the most important thing to consider when thinking about Patterdale terrier aggression?

Why are Patterdale terrier bites dangerous?

Of course, the thing to be aware of is that a dog bite is more likely to be dangerous or get infected than a human bite because the teeth are sharper and there is more bacteria in their mouths. Patterdale terriers can be very reactive to fast movement. Particularly those without proper training or based on negative past experiences they may have had Patterdales can snap and sometimes without warning.

Patterdale Terrier Grooming
A happy and alert Patterdale terrier

What is Bite Force in a Dog and How is it Calculated?

Bite force in dogs refers to the amount of pressure or force exerted by a dog’s jaw when it bites. It is typically measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or newtons per square centimeter (N/cm²).

The bite force of a dog can vary depending on the size, breed, age, and health of the dog. For example, larger and more muscular breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Mastiffs are known to have a stronger bite force compared to smaller breeds like Chihuahuas or Pomeranians.

According to various studies, the bite force of a dog can range from around 150 PSI for smaller breeds to over 700 PSI for larger breeds. However, it’s important to note that bite force is not always indicative of a dog’s aggression or tendency to bite. Other factors such as socialization, training, and temperament also play a significant role in a dog’s behavior.

What is a Patterdale Terriers Bite Force?

The bite force of a Patterdale Terrier is not well-documented – there haven’t been too many studies specifically focusing on this breed. However, as a small breed, their bite force is generally lower compared to larger breeds.

Based on an estimation from their size and jaw strength, it’s likely that Patterdale Terrier bite force for a healthy adult dog would be around 150-200 PSI. This is in the same range as other small terrier breeds such as Jack Russells.

However, it’s important to remember that bite force is not always an accurate predictor of a dog’s behavior or aggression. Socialisation, training, and temperament are much more significant factors in a dog’s behaviour. Here is an example of a well exercised and relaxed Patterdale terrier:

Patterdale terrier weight
Gabriel – a relaxed and well exercised Patterdale Terrier enjoying a dip in the stream

Remember that Patterdale Terriers are bred to hunt!

It’s important to remember that if you get a dog such as a Patterdale terrier you are buying or adopting a natural hunter! Patterdales were originally bred for hunting in the Lake District (Cumbria). They are often used as working dogs on farms to clear vermin and have historically been used for fox hunting (although this is no illegal in England). It is therefore innate in this bread of dog that they have a strong and snappy jaw with their strong bite force and quick reactions.

Saying that, Patterdales are often very loving and loyal towards their owners and if well exercised and well looked after they can make good family pets.

Bite Force vs Temperament

As I have mentioned, it is important to note that bite force isn’t really the main factor in judging a dogs bite risk. For example, you could have a large dog with a very strong bite force that is extremely placid in nature and unlikely to harm. By contrast, you could also have a small dog such as a Jack Russell terrier or Patterdale Terrier that has a lower bite force but that is particularly aggressive. As well as bite force, you should also consider:

  • How well trained the dog is
  • Has the dog been well socialised with animals and humans?
  • Is there any past history of aggression
  • Behaviour around people, children and other dogs
  • Past experiences of the dog – for example, dogs that have been abused previously may show aggression through fear that this will happen again.
  • Is the dog well exercised? This sounds like a strange thing to consider regarding aggression, but very active dogs such as Patterdale terriers need a lot of exercise to calm them down and this can reduce snappy behaviour.

Dog Bites vs Dog Attacks

Of course there is a big difference between a dog bite that was a a quick snap and an actual dog attack where a dog will bite repeatedly or even latch on with the jaws and not release. The second of the two is obviously much worse and can lead to an extremely dangerous situation. Dogs that aggressively attack can even kill children or adults and in this situation are often sadly destroyed.

This unfortunately happened in 2015 when a Patterdale terrier called ‘Tricky’ attacked and killed a three week old baby boy (see this article in the Daily Mail).

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep your dog under control. If you experience two dogs fighting, the worst thing that you can do is put your hand in – you are likely to get bitten.

What to do if you have an aggressive Patterdale Terrier

If you have a dog that you believe will bite or attack then training and keeping everyone (including the dog) safe. Consider kind reward based training methods such as positive reinforcement dog training as they generally have been results.

Also consider muzzling your dog during training and exposure. Many people see muzzling as a punishment but it actually teaches your dog to be calm and secure as well as keeping other animals and people safe from being bitten. Combining muzzle training with positive reinforcement and using a long line is an excellent way to socialise and train your fearful or aggressive dog.

Build his confidence slowly by going out very early during quiet times first, then slowly introduce other well behaved dogs or ‘stooges’. You can use human stooges too – if your dog is particularly scared of men, bring in a strange man that you introduce calmly and slowly – make sure he is well padded with gloves and thinking trousers and the dog is muzzled during the training.

One of the best muzzles that I have found is the Baskerville basket muzzle available on Amazon. I use size 2 for my Patterdale terrier. They are comfortable for your dog and allow him to pant, receive treats and drink while he is wearing it.

muzzle for patterdale terrier

Further Reading

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