Interspecies Conflict/Domestic vs. Wild


Hello, BK. How are you? I was interested in knowing who you'd think would win these fights? I add one dog every fight.

1) German Shepherd vs. African Wild Dog
2) Rottweiler vs. Brown Hyena
3) 1 German Shepherd + 1 Rottweiler vs Spotted Hyena
4) 2 German Shepherds + 1 Rottweiler vs Leopard
5) 2 German Shepherds + 2 Rottweiler vs Gorilla
6) 5 APBT vs lioness
7) 6 APBT vs black bear
8) 7 Caucasian Ovcharkas vs lion
9) 4 Tosas + 4 Caucasian Ovcharkas vs Kodiak bear
10) 3 Tosas + 3 APBT + 3 Caucasian Ovcharkas vs Bison

Hello Hesham.  Doing OK here.  Hope everything is good with you.

1) German Shepherd vs. African Wild Dog: The German Shepherd will weigh almost 15% more than the African wild dog, but the African wild dog will be almost 15% taller than the German Shepherd at the shoulder.  German Shepherds are confident dogs with a high degree of intelligence and trainability.  They are sometimes used by the police and the military.  The African wild dog is a nimble predator that typically operates in a pack to fight or hunt.  They can bring down larger herbivores (wildebeest, warthogs, etc.) by using teamwork, exceptional stamina, and very impressive jaw strength.  African wild dogs occasionally interact with other African predators (hyenas, leopards).  How well the German Shepherd will perform in this matchup depends somewhat on its level of training.  One trained to attack upon command may initially overwhelm an African wild dog that isn't comfortable in a solo conflict, but the wild dog is simply equipped better for this fight due to its greater jaw strength and experience in confrontations with wild animals.  A trained German Shepherd can make it close, but the edge goes to the African wild dog.

2) Rottweiler vs. Brown Hyena: A Rottweiler can weigh approximately 10-20% more than a brown hyena, but the brown hyena will be taller at the shoulder (about 15% more).  The Rottweiler is a brave, intelligent dog with a broad head and a stocky, powerful body.  It has been used by the police and the military (just like the German Shepherd), and makes a very good guardian.  Brown hyenas are primarily scavengers, and their jaws can apply a great deal of force to crush bones.  They can be aggressive and confrontational as well.  A trained Rottweiler will be a tough challenge for a brown hyena, but a bite-for-bite affair will favor the brown hyena.  A good deal of training is typically needed for a dog to close the gap between "domestic" and "wild", and on most occasions the Rottweiler will fall short against this dangerous foe.  Edge to brown hyena.

3) 1 German Shepherd + 1 Rottweiler vs Spotted Hyena: The spotted hyena will weigh over 70% more than the German Shepherd and 20% more than the Rottweiler.  Spotted hyenas are, on average, the 2nd largest terrestrial predator in Africa (after the lion).  They are rugged, battle-tested predators with large, pear-shaped heads and tremendous bite forces.  Spotted hyenas occasionally scavenge, but they are accomplished hunters as well.  A clan of hyenas can cooperate to bring down large prey items (even as large as buffalo).  They have very good stamina, and are extremely durable.  Spotted hyenas often engage in conflicts with other dangerous predators (including lions, leopards, and African wild dogs).  It's unlikely that 2 domestic dog breeds, especially 2 different breeds, will form any type of strategy when battling another animal.  As opposed to the orchestrated teamwork that would be employed by a pair of wolves, African wild dogs, or other wild canid tandem, the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler would likely rush in immediately to land bites without attempting to use their numbers advantage.  The domestic dogs will each have better lateral quickness, but that won't be much of advantage if they immediately initiate contact and latch on.  A bite from the spotted hyena can be devastating to either dog, and the hyena's toughness (many have survived lion and leopard attacks) will make it difficult for the 2 domestic dogs to dish out as much damage as they will need to.  The German Shepherd and the Rottweiler have the physical attributes to win, but they won't have the know-how without specialized training.  Edge to spotted hyena.

4) 2 German Shepherds + 1 Rottweiler vs Leopard: A large tom leopard can weigh over 50% more than a Rottweiler and more than both German Shepherds combined.  Leopards are solitary hunters, and one won't readily engage in a dangerous conflict unless its absolutely necessary to its survival.  These big cats are equipped to fight, however, as they possess solid weaponry (sharp claws, formidable jaws) and physical assets (speed, agility, athleticism, killing know-how) to be effective in a conflict.  Leopards are also very powerful cats with muscular neck and shoulder areas (they can haul heavy prey items up a tree).  Even though these 3 dogs won't form a strategy like a trio of wolves will, they will easily be able to chase the leopard away.  If the leopard is forced to fight, it can seriously injure the dogs with its claws (on front or back paws) or teeth, and may gain the upper hand if it can incapacitate one of the dogs early on.  With 3 dogs attacking it at once, the leopard may be panicky and unable to battle as effectively as it's capable of doing.  The German Shepherds and the Rottweiler will have a huge edge in stamina, and that may be the biggest factor in a serious battle.  Both can win, but the dogs have the edge here.

5) 2 German Shepherds + 2 Rottweilers vs Gorilla: A large silverback gorilla can weigh 5 times as much as a German Shepherd and 3 1/2 times as much as a Rottweiler.  A gorilla is a large ape with long arms (spanning over 2.5m) and dangerous bite (5cm canines; high bite force).  It is brutally strong, and usually battles other gorillas (when bluffing doesn't work) by pulling, biting, and applying blunt force with its arms.  As intimidating as a gorilla appears, it is usually a peaceful, non-confrontational animal that doesn't have a great deal of experience battling animals other than other gorillas (they are occasionally preyed upon by leopards).  A large gorilla can easily kill a single German Shepherd or a Rottweiler with little trouble, but dealing with a quartet of these dogs will likely confuse and panic the ape.  It will fight to the death to defend itself or its family, but it won't be able to effectively deal with all 4 dogs at once.  It isn't without hope, but it won't be favored against this many opponents if they have a decent level of training.  The gorilla is physically capable of performing the actions necessary to dispatch all 4 dogs; it just won't have the know-how.  Edge to the German Shepherds and Rottweilers.

6) 5 APBT vs lioness: A maximum-sized lioness can weigh as much as 6 American Pit Bull Terriers and measure twice as tall at the shoulder.  The American Pit Bull Terrier (if game-bred) is the king of canine combatants on a pound-for-pound basis.  It is very strong, muscular, athletic, durable, and relentless.  The APBT (again, if game-bred) will battle without abatement to the end and this is something that can wear larger opponents down over the course of a fight.  The APBT will typically rush in immediately to latch on with its jaws (although it can release to land multiple bites), and make violent movements with its body to induce tissue damage and blood loss.  A lioness is a practiced hunter that occasionally brings down (often with the help of other lionesses in the pride) large animals like zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo.  It also battles spotted hyenas from time-to-time, and a large lioness can typically hold her own against 3 of them.  The strength, speed, agility, athleticism, fighting experience, and weaponry make the lioness a formidable combatant.  The APBTs will not form a strategy to divide the lioness' focus; they will rush in immediately and attempt to attach their jaws to an anterior portion of the felid's body.  The raking claws of the lioness can create large apertures in the hides of the dogs, and the force of her paw swipes can be detrimental to the dogs as well.  The lioness' ability to kill each dog quickly and the dog's lack of strategy will be advantages for the lioness, but the APBT's superior stamina and greater numbers will be theirs.  About a year ago I answered a question matching a 250lb (113kg) jaguar against 5 APBTs ("cat vs dog" 10/18/14) and slightly favored the 5 APBTs.  The lioness here will be 60% heavier than that jaguar and more experienced at taking on multiple opponents.  Edge to lioness.

7) 6 APBT vs black bear: A very large American black bear can weigh between 8-10 times as much as an American Pit Bull Terrier and measure almost twice as tall (about 80-90% more) at the shoulder.  Black bears aren't as formidable pound-for-pound as brown bears (less powerful builds; typically not as combative), but are still very dangerous adversaries for anything they view as a threat.  The American black bear does possess the typical ursid attributes (strength, great stamina, strong jaws, sharp claws, effective forelimb usage, etc.), and they have occasionally injured and killed hunting dogs that have attempted to "tree" them.  The APBT terriers will immediately rush in and attempt to seize an anterior portion of the bear's body in their jaws.  Unfortunately for them, this is the "business end" of the bear.  The bear can bite any dog close to its mouth or deliver a powerful paw swipe to any that have grabbed onto its snout.  The bear's great stamina will enable it to battle strongly for quite some time, and it will have a decent chance to systematically remove and dispatch each dog as long as its injuries aren't too great.  Because the APBTs will be hanging onto the bear, they probably won't be able use their bodies to pull and tear with their jaws without basing themselves on the ground.  The bear will be in trouble if it panics and stops defending itself effectively, but it will make solid headway with the dogs if it's determined to do so.  Over 2 years ago I answered a question matching 12 APBTs against a 1,000lb (454kg) Kodiak bear ("varied" 8/4/13) in which I slightly favored the bear.  This was based primarily on the fact that the APBTs won't form a strategy like wolves or other wild dogs will, and this will leave them vulnerable to a counter-attack.  The saying "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" is certainly true when there's a group of animals that are practiced at working together (wolves, African wild dogs, dholes, lions, etc.), but not so much with a group of animals that aren't practiced at working together.  Edge to the American black bear, but if an Asiatic black bear (about 6 1/2 times the weight of each dog) is used, the APBTs will probably have the slight edge.

8) 7 Caucasian Ovcharkas vs lion: An African lion can weigh 3 to 3 1/2 times as much as a large Caucasian Ovcharka and measure up to 60% taller at the shoulder.  The Caucasian Ovcharka is a large, powerful dog with a broad (but short) muzzle.  This thick-furred canine is used as a livestock guardian and has been used in Russian prisons.  Caucasian Ovcharkas can be combative & ferocious.  They are perfectly at home in deep snow.  Caucasian Ovcharkas will bravely confront any intruder (including wolves and bears) that threaten the ones they're trained to protect (the sheep, the shepherd, etc.).  Male lions are no stranger to combat.  They must protect the pride from other male lions to keep the territory and the females therein.  The lion is a muscular cat with large jaws and paws (armed with sharp claws).  Lions often encounter spotted hyenas (the most numerous large predator in Africa), and this often leads to violence.  A male lion can be more than a match for 5 spotted hyenas.  The Caucasian Ovcharka can weigh slightly more than a spotted hyena, but it isn't as tough or typically as battle-tested (although some Caucasian Ovcharkas have been trained to fight and one of these would give a spotted hyena a reasonably tough battle).  The Caucasian Ovcharkas don't have nearly the bite force of a spotted hyena, but they have greater lateral quickness and would be able to land quicker bites on the lion.  A lion can easily kill a single Ovcharka, but having 7 of them attacking at once will seriously challenge the lion's focus.  The Ovcharkas won't employ teamwork at the same level of a group of wolves or hyenas, but if they "bite and release" as opposed to "bite and hang on", this will give them a better chance to avoid the lion's counter-attack while inflicting damage themselves.  If the 7 Caucasian Ovcharkas are trained specifically to attack as a group and employ some sort of strategy (maybe not as good as what a wolf pack will do, but something better than a free-for-all attack with no strategy), they will have a good chance to drive the lion away (which may occur in a realistic scenario anyway) or even subdue it. If they attack as 7 individuals with no game plan, they will not have as much success and likely lose.  Close to 50/50 overall; depends on the training level of the Caucasian Ovcharkas.    

9) 4 Tosas + 4 Caucasian Ovcharkas vs Kodiak bear: A Kodiak bear can weigh about as much as all 8 dogs combined.  Tosas and Caucasian Ovcharkas are 2 of the top domestic canine combatants at absolute weights.  Tosas can be very skilled at fighting, and are sometimes trained for this purpose.  They can be trained to merely "wrestle" in a contest (and they're very good at this), but will bite in a serious conflict.  Kodiak bears are immensely strong, have powerful jaws, and muscular limbs armed with long claws.  Bears can grab, swipe, and bite in a conflict.  Their endurance and durability make them difficult adversaries in a fight.  A swipe from a Kodiak bear's paw can easily kill any of the dogs, and its course hair offers some protection from bites.  The habitats of Kodiak bears and wolves overlap, so some bears probably have some experience dealing with wolf packs.  Wolves usually won't "force the issue" with a big brown bear due to its immense strength and weaponry, and these 8 domestic dogs might not use the same level of caution.  As with the Ovcharkas vs lion matchup, the degree of training the dogs have will be a factor.  Even if the dogs succeed, there will be casualties among them.  The Tosas and the Ovcharkas will probably drive the bear away in a realistic scenario, but will put themselves at great risk if they persist with their assault.  Close to 50/50; edge to Kodiak bear; depends on level of training of the dogs.

10) 3 Tosas + 3 APBT + 3 Caucasian Ovcharkas vs Bison: An American bison is North America's largest land animal, and it can weigh over 30 times as much as an American Pit Bull Terrier and 12-15 times as much as either of the other dog breeds.  The American bison is a very difficult prey target for a large wolf pack, and wolves typically need to tire the massive bovid out by chasing it (which wolves seldom do) or wait until it's hampered by deep snow to have any chance at all to subdue it.  A bison has a huge shoulder area and thick curved horns that jut out from the side of its head.  It will typically ram heads with other male bison in conflicts, but will occasionally hook with its horns.  Wolves that attack bison are in great danger of getting kicked or trampled, which is why wolf packs tend to avoid this giant.  The 3 APBTs will immediately rush in and latch on to an anterior portion of the bison, and that will initially be little more than a nuisance to the bovid.  The other dogs won't have the same level of experience as a wolf pack will, and will place themselves in perilous situations when trying to land bites on the bison.  The weight of the 9 dogs combined will be similar to the weight of 9 grey wolves, but they won't be anywhere close to attaining the same level of attacking ability and strategy as the wild canids will.  A bison is practiced at dealing with attacking wolves, but Tosas, Ovcharkas, and APBT's aren't practiced at bringing down large, dangerous herbivores like bison.  To copy the statement from the gorilla matchup, the dogs will be physically capable of performing the actions necessary to dispatch the bison; they just won't have the know-how.  Edge to bison (American or European).

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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