Interspecies Conflict/wolf vs dog


hi there bk,i recently watched a documentary on the gray wolf so this question sparked my interest.a large alpha male wolf as big and formidable as it can get against the most formidable game bred fighting dog you can think of?now in my opinion dogs are overrated in the fighting department, so i'm saying the wolf should win easily no matter what the dog is, being a wild animal, a predator, bigger in general, a much stronger bite.etc. etc. thanks again bk i look forward to your well detailed and excellent answer as it always is:)

Hello Chris.

Grey wolves are, in some ways, physically superior to most domestic dogs.  They have stronger jaws (made for holding struggling prey items in place & crushing bone), greater lateral movement & agility, and high levels of stamina.  Wolves are sleek & muscular, and are capable of overcoming large, dangerous herbivores with strategy & teamwork (and sometimes solo).  The top weight for a healthy adult grey wolf is 130lb, although exceptions to this rule (albeit very unusual) have apparently existed.

There are many types of high-level fighting dogs, and in order for one to be able to overcome a wild grey wolf, it will need a combination of attributes.  Size & strength will be very important, but skill will be necessary as well to make the physical makeup meaningful.  Endurance & temperament will be paramount as well.  Some domestic dogs look nearly invincible based on visual inspection, but it's not solid reasoning to assume that every large, muscular-looking dog with a big head can automatically kick butt.  The English Mastiff is an enormous dog (much heavier than a wolf) with striking features, but doesn't have the stamina or tenacity needed to consistently compete with a grey wolf.  The American Pit Bull Terrier is probably the most formidable dog pound-for-pound among all domestic breeds (strength, athleticism, tenacity, durability, etc.), but typically weighs about half the weight of a grey wolf (which makes it too small to be favored against one).  A few dogs, however, have enough of these attributes mixed in to bring them in range of competing with a wolf.

The key element to focus on when discussing wolf vs domestic dog is what each animal is used to doing.  If a domestic dog is trained to be a fighter, it will be accustomed to battling another animal (one-on-one) and presumedly will be very good at it.  Grey wolves are adept at teamwork, and will combine their efforts to accomplish a goal.  Whether it is defending a kill from a brown bear or ganging up on a bull elk to secure a meal, wolves are accustomed to having help from fellow pack members in most situations.  This doesn't mean that a wolf is not a capable one-on-one fighter, but it won't be in its "comfort zone" if it takes on another animal face-to-face without backup.  A single wolf can attack a caribou from behind, bite at its back legs & hindquarters, and bring it down even if the cervid outweighs it by a great deal.  However, this is different than squaring off against another canid one-on-one.  If a grey wolf takes on a trained, domestic fighting dog, the wolf won't be in its true element as much as the domestic dog will (even if the wolf has greater overall physical attributes).

Tosas, also known as Japanese Mastiffs, are powerful dogs with great fighting instincts & skill.  The ones in Japan are typically close to the 80-120lb range, but ones in other countries can approach 200lb.  Tosas are the wrestlers of the dog world, using their supple bodies to force their opponents into bad positions where defending from bites isn't easy.  Gull Dongs & Bully Kuttas are highly-rated fighting dogs due to size, build, agility, & big bites, and can seriously outweigh a grey wolf.  Caucasian Ovcharkas can be huge as well, and can outweigh a wolf enough to enable its other assets to give it a decent chance in a confrontation.  Many other dogs that outweigh the wolf, if trained to fight, can compete against a grey wolf.  Among these include (but are not limited to) the Presa Canario, the Boerboel, the Kangal, the Central Asian Ovcharka, & the Fila Brasileiro (and certain combinations of breeds; the Bandog for example).  American Bulldogs are close to the weight of a grey wolf, but are almost as formidable (pound-for-pound) as the American Pit Bull Terrier.  This is one domestic dog that, despite being close to the grey wolf's size, has a good enough combination of the attributes mentioned earlier to be competitive with it on most occasions.

In summary, I do favor a small handful of fighting dogs over wolves one-on-one if the dog involved is a top-notch, prime specimen.  You can have a 200lb Bully Kutta that is a poor representation of the breed due to not being able to operate efficiently at that weight (170 would be a better weight for it most of the time), or a 120lb American Pit Bull Terrier that looks imposing, but may in fact be sluggish & non-committal in a fight due to its weight greatly exceeding a reasonable one for the breed.  An alpha grey wolf would send these dogs packing in a hurry.  The smaller Tosas are typically the better fighters (pound-for-pound) than the larger ones, so finding the right balance of Tosa to compete consistently with a grey wolf won't be as easy as it might seem.  It would be difficult to find a "sorry" version of a grey wolf in the wild because of their need to survive & how they have evolved to do so over the years, but there are many, many "sorry" versions of fighting dogs in regards to how well they would stack up against a prime, well-trained version.  If a Gull Dong, Tosa, Bully Kutta, Caucasian Ovcharka, Presa Canario, American Bulldog, Boerboel, or other high-level fighting dog is at the perfect weight for it & is a trained, prime specimen, I will favor it to defeat a grey wolf more times than not.  Keep in mind, though, if a grey wolf was somehow game-bred & trained to fight other canids at the same level as the elite domestic ones, it would likely have no equal in regards to one-on-one canine combat.

Great question.
Best regards.  

Interspecies Conflict

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Questions regarding animal conflicts within realistic or unrealistic settings are welcome; my strength lies in medium-to-large species. Small animals (including birds of prey), prehistoric animals, sea creatures, and domestic dog breeds are usually within my scope, but to a lesser degree. I can't confidently answer hypothetical questions about human vs animal, arachnids, insects, or amphibians, but I am willing to field them nonetheless.


From a young age, I have been interested in animals. Starting with the original Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and World Book Encyclopedias, I have seen many animal shows and documentaries and have read multiple books on the subject. I have a solid understanding of the physiology of many animals and interspecies conflict in general.

Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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