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Do English Bulldogs have Lockjaw?

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

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Despite what you may have been told, no dog has the ability to lock their jaw, so no, English Bulldogs do not have Lockjaw.

The ability for an English Bulldog to lock its jaw during an attack, or any dog breed, is simply confused with the strength that they have in their jaws when biting - which will make it near impossible to pry open its mouth once it has bit.

Rather than being a means of a dog locking its jaw when attacking, lockjaw is actually a medical condition which can be extremely painful for dogs.

What is lockjaw in dogs?

Lockjaw is a medical condition in dogs where by the muscles in the dogs jaw have seized up, making it extremely hard and painful for the dog to open its mouth.

The condition is extremely uncomfortable for dogs, and depending on the cause of the lockjaw you may notice some swelling. In some severe cases, the dog may become unable to eat which will lead to further complications.

Illness, arthritis, tetanus and neurological disorders are a few of the most common reasons that an English Bulldog may end up suffering from Lockjaw.

To treat lockjaw, your vet will first need to understand the cause. If the lockjaw is the cause of an illness then simply curing that illness should resolve your dogs lockjaw, however some cases may need surgery in order to rectify lockjaw. The surgery will see the will see the jaw bone being re-sectioned so that your dog will gain full mobility of its jaw once again.

Adult English Bulldogs are more prone to lockjaw than younger bulldogs.

What are the symptoms that your English Bulldog has lockjaw?

There are several different symptoms that your English Bulldog has lockjaw, the main being jaw discomfort. If your English Bulldog does have jaw discomfort, or any of the problems listed below, then we recommend getting your dog checkout out by its vet.

  • Abnormal facial expression

  • Paralysis of facial expression

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Dehydration

  • Salivation

  • Inability or difficulty with opening the jaw

  • Inability to close the jaw

  • Masticatory muscle atrophy (may display as weakness when chewing or biting)

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Jawbone shift (may only be evident upon veterinarian examination)

The strength of an English Bulldogs jaw

Bulldogs were given their name as they were originally bred to bait bulls. Bulldogs were once prized fighting dogs, known for their strong bite, endurance and aggression.

English Bulldogs have incredibly strong jaws and a powerful bite. If they do attack, their bite can be extremely damaging due to the strength of their jaws.

Can an English Bulldog be aggressive?

By nature, English Bulldogs are not an aggressive dog breed. However, as with all dogs, it does mainly depend on how the dog is raised.

English Bulldogs are known to be slightly more aggressive towards other animals, including dogs and cats - however ensuring you socialise your English Bulldog as a puppy can help with this.

What are common dog breeds associated with lockjaw?

There are several dog breeds which are associated with having lockjaw, however we know that the typical meaning of lackjaw is a myth and these dogs are just dog breeds who have strong jaws and a powerful bite.

The common dog breeds associated with lockjaw are Bulldogs, Pitbulls, Bull Terriers and Rottweilers.

What dog breed has the strongest bite?

The dog breed with the strongest bite is the Mastiff, with a reported bite force of 552 pounds.

In second place is the Rottweiler, third place is the American Bulldog, forth place is the German Shepard and Pitbulls come in fifth place.


The typical understanding of lockjaw in dogs is a myth, and no dog breeds have the ability to simply lock their jaws during an attack.

Lockjaw is actually a medical condition that in severe cases can be extremely painful and lead to several other problems for your dog.

If you are questioning buying an English Bulldog because you are worried that it has the ability to lock its jaw, then you shouldn't, as they can't. English Bulldogs are affectionate, loving animals which make brilliant family pets and as long as they are raised correctly they should not be a threat to you, or your home.

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