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Are Dogs Stronger Than Humans? – Dogs vs Humans

Dog owners watching their energetic pup tug on a rope toy or leap in the air to catch a Frisbee might wonder – are dogs stronger than humans? Their athleticism and powerful jaws can certainly give that impression! But when it comes down to measurable strength, how do humans and dogs really compare?

There are many factors that determine strength such as sheer muscle power, bite force, stamina, and agility. When examining these different attributes, we find that dogs have some impressive physical abilities that rival or even surpass our own in certain ways.

However, humans still dominate in overall total body strength due to our larger muscle mass and ability to target and train specific muscles. Dog and human strength each have their advantages that serve different evolutionary purposes.

Let’s take a detailed look at how human and canine strength stacks up.

Are Dogs Stronger Than Humans? – Dog Bite Strength

One area where dogs excel above humans is in the strength of their jaws and bite force. Let’s look at the bite strength of different dog breeds compared to humans:

Dog Breeds with the Strongest Bite Force

Kangal (Turkish dog)743
Cane Corso700
Dogue de Bordeaux556

Human Bite Strength

An average adult human clocks in with a bite force of 120-140 PSI.

The dog breeds topping the bite force charts have nearly double or more the biting power of an average person. For example, a Kangal has well over 500 PSI more bite force than humans.

This powerful bite force allows dogs to easily crush bones, chew through tough materials, and grasp and hold objects securely. In this measure of jaw and biting strength, dogs come out on top over humans thanks to their sharp teeth and muscular jaws.

Muscle Strength

When it comes to overall muscle strength in the entire body, humans gain the advantage. Let’s look at how dog and human muscles compare:

Dog Muscles

Dogs have approximately 320 pairs of muscles in their body. Their front legs are more muscular and stronger than their back legs.

Some of the most powerful muscles dogs use when playing, running, or working include:

  • Temporalis muscles – Give dogs their strong bite force by closing the jaw.
  • Longissimus dorsi – Provides extension and flexion of the back. Important for running and jumping.
  • Gluteal and thigh muscles – Drive hind leg motion like bounding, sprinting, and changing direction.

Human Muscles

Humans have over 600 muscles throughout their body. Like dogs, the upper body contains more musculature than the lower body.

The strongest muscle groups in humans are:

  • Gluteus maximus – The largest butt muscle, generates powerful hip and leg motion for sprinting, squatting, and climbing.
  • Quadriceps – Group of 4 thigh muscles responsible for extending the knee and other leg movements.
  • Biceps and triceps – Arm flexing and extending strength for lifting, pulling, and pushing.

Overall, humans have nearly twice the number of muscles compared to dogs. Our muscles surround the bones to provide strength, stability, and mobility.

Muscle Mass Comparison

Not only do humans have more muscles, but our muscles are significantly larger based on overall muscle mass:

  • Humans have an average skeletal muscle mass of 35-48% of total body weight.
  • Dogs have an average skeletal muscle mass of just 25-35% of total body weight.

More muscle mass equates to more potential strength output. Humans essentially have about 1.5 times more total musculature than dogs pound-for-pound.

This gives humans the advantage in overall strength such as lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling power. Our extra muscle, larger frames, and ability to isolate train muscle groups make us stronger in total body strength.

Strength and Agility Combo

While dogs may not have as much pure muscle power, they make up for it in certain areas with their speed and agility. Here are some examples where strength and agility combine:

Jumping Ability

The average dog can jump 5 times their height. So a dog that is 2 feet tall can leap 10 feet in a single bound!

The best human long jumpers can only jump about 1.5 times their height. A 6-foot-tall human would max out around a 9-foot jump.

Dogs have the edge when combining muscle strength with agility for impressive vertical jumps.

Acceleration Speed

Greyhounds are one of the fastest accelerating dogs, capable of going from 0 to 45 mph in just 30 feet.

The fastest human sprinters take 50-60 feet just to reach a top speed of 27 mph.

Dogs like Greyhounds combine sheer muscle strength with quick-twitch muscle fibers to rocket them forward.


A dog’s low center of gravity and four sturdy legs give them better balance compared to humans.

You won’t see a person balancing and walking across a thin rail or beam the way agility dogs can! Dogs’ athleticism and stability enable feats requiring balance.

While dogs may fall short in pure strength, when you add agility and speed, they can outperform humans in certain athletic feats. Their explosive strength makes up for reduced muscle mass.

Stamina Comparison

In addition to short-term strength and power, stamina is an important measure of fitness. Here is how human and canine endurance compare:

Dog Stamina

Sled dogs are some of the highest stamina dogs, capable of running 100+ miles per day during races. The average dog can generally run for 2-7 miles without tiring. They have a higher ratio of slow-twitch endurance muscle fibers.

Human Stamina

The most elite human marathon runners can complete 26.2 miles without stopping. But the average healthy person tires after just 1-2 miles of running. Humans tend to have more fast-twitch fibers built for power rather than endurance.

Overall, dogs have greater stamina and can run farther without tiring. Humans trade some of that endurance for pure strength and power instead.

Strength Training Differences

One final key difference is that humans have the ability to specifically strength-train certain muscle groups. Athletes use targeted exercise routines to increase muscle size and strength.

Dogs typically rely on everyday activities like walking, running, and playing to build their fitness. Their strength comes from their innate genetics, everyday exercise, and nutrition.

Thanks to strength training knowledge, humans can customize their workouts to become significantly stronger. This gives us another advantage in developing muscular strength beyond what our bodies naturally provide.


To summarize, dogs edge out humans when it comes to bite force, acceleration, agility, balance, and stamina. Their athleticism and explosive power allow them to jump higher, run faster, and outlast people.

However, humans surpass dogs in total muscle mass, overall body strength, and the ability to specifically train for increased strength. Our larger frames packed with more musculature make humans stronger in capacities like lifting, carrying, and pushing the weight.

So while dogs have some impressive physical abilities of their own, humans still come out on top for total body strength due to our larger muscle mass and strategic strength training. Each species has evolved strengths ideal for their needs.

Dogs amaze us with their speed, agility, and sturdiness. But know that you most likely outlift even the brawniest dog at the gym! Our strength just manifests itself differently than our canine companions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dogs have stronger legs than humans?

Overall, no. Humans have stronger lower bodies thanks to larger glute, quad, and hamstring muscles that power our bipedal movement. However, dogs do have greater leg power for explosive running and jumping vertically.

Can dogs run longer distances than humans?

Yes, dogs have greater endurance and can run farther without tiring compared to the average human. Elite sled dogs can run over 100 miles per day, whereas even fit humans max out around 20-30 miles. Dogs are built for stamina.

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