Can a Dog Kill a Coyote? [Setting the Record Straight]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

I’m guessing you’re here probably because you stumbled upon some coyotes on your recent outdoor ventures, or perhaps heard the eerie howl of one nearby while you were chilling with your furry friend in your backyard.

It’s led you to wonder – ‘Can a dog kill a coyote?’

I get it. You love your pet and their safety is your priority.

So, let’s get right to it, as I share some insights about dogs vs coyotes and the facts you should know.

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What Dogs Can Kill a Coyote? 15 Breeds That Can Do The Job

A dog can certainly kill a coyote, but victory heavily relies on its size and strength.

Coyotes usually frequent neighborhoods where they can find prey.

Unfortunately for dogs, they’re one of the coyotes’ favorite prey.

I’ve seen quite a lot of news relating to coyotes’ attacks on dogs and the number of times when dogs get killed is heart-wrenching.

Smaller and medium-sized dogs almost always come out dead after getting in a fight with a coyote.

Only larger breeds of dogs are the most successful when it comes to killing a coyote.

I’ve listed some dogs that can absolutely kill a coyote when needed, or at the very least offer you superior protection.

1. Cane Corso

cane corso can kill a coyote

Cane Corso is one of the most dominating dog breeds you’ll ever come across. They were originally bred in Italy and were used as guard dogs.

Hence, their heightened senses guard themselves and those around them against danger have long been ingrained in their genetics.

They are very good at hunting and guarding, and they’ll stand a fair chance with coyotes.

Full-grown Cane Corso usually stands at 23.5 to 27.5 inches and weighs between 90 to 120 pounds. With that stat, they have a high chance of killing a coyote.

2. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd can kill a coyote

I think Anatolian Shepherd is the dog breed that was actually bred to kill predators like coyotes.

They were first bred in Turkey, and farmers used them to protect their livestock, like chickens and sheep.

Anatolian Shepherd knows when and who to attack since they can sense any predator threatening the safety they’re keeping.

They can reach a height of 27 to 32 inches and can weigh 80 to 150 pounds. That’s fairly intimidating, if I may say so.

Anatolian Shepherd can surely stand a fight against a coyote with a high likelihood of killing it.

3. Tosa Inu

Tosa Inu was bred in Japan with a kinda sad history since they were intentionally bred to use for dog fighting.

But that history made Tosa Inu well capable of taking down a coyote during a fight!

Their strength and temperament will surely work to their advantage when confronted with coyotes.

Tosa Inu may only stand at 21 to 23 inches, but they weigh 100 to 200 pounds with a very strong bite force, so they have a high chance of killing a coyote too.

4. Kangal

Bred to look after human families and livestock, you can say that Kangal will do everything in his might to keep predators like coyotes away.

Although they are a very protective breed of dog, but they aren’t aggressive toward people.

They’ll only show full-on aggression once they can feel threats.

Kangal showcases their commanding presence by standing tall at 28 to 32 inches while weighing 90 to 145 pounds.

Together with their protective demeanor and physical appearance, Kangal has a high chance of killing a coyote.

5. Pyrenean Mastiff

Don’t be fooled by the adorable face of this cuddly bear-like dog.

Pyrenean Mastiffs are very protective dogs who won’t hesitate to attack once threatened.

Their senses are quite superb, and they can easily detect sudden and suspicious movements coming their way.

Though heavy and large at 130 to 200 pounds and 24 to 31 inches tall, Pyrenean Mastiffs will have no problem clumping their strong bite force against any attacking coyote.

Pyrenean Mastiffs have a high chance of killing a coyote since they’re not only big but also bred to protect humans and livestock from predators.

6. Great Pyrenees

Pyrenees mountain dog can kill a coyote

Great Pyrenees are good friends with humans since farmers have domesticated and used them as livestock guards. 

Although affectionate toward people, the Pyrenees Mountain Dog will not hesitate to attack any predators in sight.

In fact, these dogs are pretty much willing to chase mountain lions away just to keep their livestock safe.

They’re quite large too, growing to as tall as 25 to 32 inches and may weigh 85 to 160 pounds.

If they can chase mountain lions off, they can surely kill a coyote too.

7. Komondor (Hungarian sheepdog)

komondor dog can kill a coyote

Komondor is a large breed of dog with a unique corded coat. This particular coat defends them from most predatory attacks on their bodies.

They are bred to guard livestock too, so they have a good protective instinct. They are famous for their tenacity in not backing down in a fight against predators.

25 to 30 inches tall while weighing 80 to 120 pounds, Komondor has a high chance of killing a coyote that threatens their safety.

8. Sarplaninac

Large, watchful, and very active, the Sarplaninac is capable of taking down any predators, from bears to coyotes.

They were bred as livestock guardians for centuries.

Hence you can only imagine how capable these dogs can be of protecting themselves from coyote attacks.

Sarplaninac stands 24 to 25 inches tall and can weigh from 75 to 140 pounds.

9. Kuvasz

Kuvasz is a beautiful breed of dog with their pristine white coat and imposing demeanor. They give off this regal look that’s quite unusual for farm dogs. 

Yes! Kuvasz are farm dogs that were bred to be guardian dogs to protect cattle and sheep.

But these days, you can already see them inside rich family homes as pets.

Nonetheless, they can still act bravely to protect humans and animals alike from predatory attacks.

Kuvasz can grow as tall as 26 to 30 inches and can get heavy at 70 to 115 pounds. Tall but leaner than other dogs, Kuvasz can stand a high chance of killing a coyote.

10. Dogo Argentino

dogo argentino can kill a coyote

Dogo Argentino is a large breed of dog popular for its muscular body. They were first bred to hunt predators like puma, bears, and boars.

This breed has a very strong predator instinct, and in fact, most hunters in always praise Dogo Argentino for being able to take down big game animals.

These dogs have an instinct to never back down when another threatens to harm their safety, having the determination to always protect what they consider as their own.

Their height range from 24 to 26.5 inches, and they can gain weight up to 88 to 110 pounds.

Dogo Argentino’s muscular body built allows them to stand their ground when confronted by a coyote.

11. Irish Wolfhound

Bred in Irish Wolfhound, this dog had long appeared in different myths.

Often they’re portrayed as scary canines because of their large stature and ruffled coat.

However, these days, Irish Wolfhounds have been domesticated, and you can see them as sweet and loyal family dogs.

But don’t be fooled. They might be more adorable and calmer now, but when threatened, they’ll surely fight back, especially to protect their loved ones.

They can get very tall at around 30 to 33.5 inches. And with weight ranging from 100 to 130 pounds, they clearly have a high chance of killing a coyote.

12. Pitbull (American Staffordshire Terrier)

Pitbull, or the American Staffordshire Terrier, has a long-standing reputation for being aggressive.

Upon seeing Pitbulls, most people would quickly label them as scary.

But that’s just a typical mistake people make.

Pitbulls are really quite funny and loyal dogs, and they are very intelligent too.

Truth is, they only get very aggressive when their safety and those they love are threatened.

Pitbulls are quite short compared to the other dogs on this list since they can only grow as tall as 17 to 19 inches. Their weight is also just around 40 to 80 pounds.

However, they’re known to have fought crocodiles and other predators, so I bet they can kill coyotes too.

13. Rottweiler

Like Pitbull, Rottweiler has gained quite a reputation for being aggressive too. They are big and muscular, so they’re often seen as intimidating.

With a powerful body and bite force, you can only imagine how they can kill a coyote.

Dog owners domesticate Rottweilers to protect their homes and families. They’re not much of a cuddly pet, but they’re very good at guarding their human families.

When Rottweiler perceives a threat, that threat should already expect a huge and messy fight because Rottweiler doesn’t back down.

With 24 to 27 inches in height and 95 to 130 pounds in weight, Rottweilers stood a high chance of killing a coyote.

14. Alabai (Central Asian Shepherd)

The Alabai, or Central Asian Shepherd, has a long history of being used as a guardian dog. Farmers have used these dogs as guards for their livestock for centuries.

Hence, Alabai has the instinct to protect what they consider their own and attack what they perceive as a threat.

24 to 28 inches tall and weighing 88 to 125 pounds, Alabai has a high likelihood of killing a coyote once compelled.

15. Akbash

Some people mistake Akbash for Labradors because they have uncanny similarities. But these two dogs are completely different from one another.

Akbash is not meant for cuddling and playing. They are used as guardian dogs who can easily chase off predators lurking around their livestock.

They have strong senses and are very intelligent dogs too! But since Akbash is an ancient breed of dog, they’re quite rare to find.

Akbash can be as tall as 27 to 34 inches, and they can weigh around 75 to 140 pounds. DSo yes, they have a high chance of killing a coyote.

What Time of Year Are Coyotes Most Active?

Contrary to popular belief, coyotes are actually not nocturnal. Surprised?

Don’t be!

Although coyotes are seen around sunset and nighttime, they can still prowl around during daytime.

But when it comes to seasonal activities, coyotes are most active from January to March.

That’s the mating season for them, so they’re constantly roaming around.

Mating season forces coyotes to become more aggressive, especially toward large breeds of dogs, since they perceive them as a threat.

Winter is also a dangerous time in places where coyotes frequent since these predators are constantly out and about looking for food.

Food sources during winter are scarce, and smaller and medium-sized dogs are always viewed as prey for coyotes.

Are Coyotes Afraid of Big Dogs?

Coyotes aren’t afraid of big dogs.

There have been a lot of coyotes attacking dogs, even of the larger size. When coyotes perceive a dog as a threat, they’ll attack no matter how big that dog is.

However, coyotes attacking bigger dogs are lower than their attacks on smaller breeds of dogs. 

This might be because, most of the time, coyotes only attack big dogs they perceive as a threat.

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Do Barking Dogs Scare Coyotes?

Barking dogs can scare coyotes away, especially if coyotes see that there’s a human in sight as well.

But coyotes can be unpredictable. Hence there are times when barking doesn’t work to scare them away.

Sometimes, coyotes perceive the barking of dogs as an invitation to fight. And when this happens, a violent and possibly bloody confrontation between the two canines may happen.

Why Would a Coyote Attack a Dog?

A coyote would attack a dog for various reasons and depending on the dog’s size.

Large breeds of dogs are attacked by coyotes because coyotes see them as a threat to their safety.

Smaller and medium-sized breeds of dogs are attacked by coyotes since coyotes view them as mere prey that they can feed on. 

How to Protect a Dog Against a Coyote?

Avoid walking your dog during dawn or dusk when coyotes are most involved

Coyotes are most active during dawn and dusk, and walking your dog around these times will heighten the risk of your dog getting attacked.

It’s best to walk your dog during the daytime, especially if you live in areas where sightings of coyotes are high.

Securely fence your yard

Make sure that your yard is surrounded by six sturdy foot fences. Coyotes can jump very high, so a tall fence is needed.

Coyotes may also dig the ground below your fence, so it’s best if you’ve buried the fence at least a foot below.

Supervise your dog when outdoors

Don’t leave your dog when outdoors, especially when it’s already dark outside. Keep an eye on him all the time since coyotes are sneaky predators.

Coyotes may also go away once they see that there’s a human close by. Most of the time, coyotes don’t like being confronted by humans AND dogs.

Install motion-activated lights or sprinklers

Coyotes can be very wary of sudden and abrupt movements. 

When confronted by a sudden light, coyotes may take time to readjust their bearings. And sprinklers can get them wet, which they dislike.

Installing motion-activated lights or sprinklers will easily scare coyotes away since both can take coyotes by surprise.

Consider using a coyote repellent

If your neighborhood attracts so many coyotes, I think it’s best to use an actual coyote repellent.

Wolf urine is a very effective coyote repellent since even coyotes— predators themselves, are scared of getting confronted by wolves.

When coyotes smell wolf urine around your house, they’ll think that a wolf resides there with you and won’t come back again.

You can also consider installing bright moving lights in your backyard since coyotes have very sensitive eyes.

Let’s just say that a sudden bright light pointed at coyotes makes them extremely disoriented.

I’ll also recommend firecrackers since coyotes are scared of sudden and loud sounds too. However, it’ll be stressful for your dog as well.

What Should You Do if You Spot a Coyote Near Your Property?

Sometimes, a coyote is just passing through your home and doesn’t really bring any harm.

Just get inside your home until you see the coyote has gone on his way away from your yard.

But make sure that you bring all of your pets inside your home since coyotes may see them as their food or enemy.

Coyotes are carnivorous, and they’ll surely not hesitate to feed on your small size pets when they’re hungry.

If the coyote is close by, you can bang pans, blow car horns, and even turn the radio up. Loud noises can scare coyotes away.

What to Do if a Coyote Attacks Your Dog?

If your dog is attacked and bit by a coyote, you should rush him to the nearest vet as soon as possible. 

Coyotes carry several transmitted diseases like rabies, parvovirus, and distemper. All these can be deadly to your poor dog.

The vet can quickly perform tests and surgeries if needed, and your dog can be closely monitored there.

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Why Are Coyotes Dangerous for Any Dog?

Aside from the fact that coyotes view dogs as either prey or enemy, coyotes bring several diseases that can be transmitted to your dog.

Being in close range of coyotes threatens your dog with becoming a carnivore snack. 

And if the coyote doesn’t attack your dog, diseases like hepatitis, mange, and other parasites can easily be transmitted.

What Kind of Dogs Do Coyotes Usually Attack?

Coyotes will usually attack smaller dog breeds

They are easy prey to the hungry and fast coyotes, and they rarely ever stand a chance to fight back.

But large breeds of dogs, like Golden Retrievers and Labradors, have also been attacked from time to time. 

These breeds are not really into fighting. Hence coyotes can easily take them down.

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Dog Kill Coyotes?

Coyotes are predators that bring harm to your dog. But it doesn’t mean that you should let your dog kill coyotes.

Killing coyotes can be just as dangerous to your dog. You see, letting your dog get in a fight with a coyote means that your dog has to get close to the coyote. 

That close distance is a potential risk of getting transmitted diseases that the coyote carries.

Killing coyotes won’t be easy for your dog either. He’ll get bitten, scratched, and injured as well, which can be fatal.

At the end of the day, despite the predatory behavior of coyotes toward dogs, coyotes are needed for ecological balance.

They are needed to maintain pests and rodent populations, and killing them will disrupt that balance.

Avoidance is a better option for us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a dog defend itself against a coyote?

A dog can defend itself against a coyote. But the dog must be of a large breed to defend himself from the quick and wild coyote.

Can a coyote hurt a dog?

A coyote can hurt a dog and can even inflict severe wounds that can be fatal. Most of the time, small breeds of dogs become a mere snack for coyotes too.

Can one single dog keep coyotes away?

A single dog can keep coyotes away, but he must be big and trained to guard livestock or property. Having a big dog isn’t enough since coyotes are cunning and swift.

Can you shoot a coyote if it attacks your dog?

Some states in the US let dog owners shoot coyotes if it attacks their dogs. They can also shoot coyotes that are causing harm and damage to their properties. It’s best to check if you’re living in an area where there are no firearm restrictions.

Do coyotes attack during the day or night?

Coyotes attack during the day and night. But they are most active during dawn and dusk since the surroundings are quiet.

In Conclusion: Can a Dog Kill a Coyote?

In the end, it’s more important for us to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our canine companions when coyotes are around.

I would rather prevent encounters than test the myth, don’t you think?

Stay vigilant and prepared, and cultivate a safe environment for your four-legged friend!

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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