Can A German Shepherd Kill A Coyote

Can A German Shepherd Kill A Coyote?

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The German Shepherd is a big and powerful breed of dog that is known to be a fierce protector of its owner or family. They are extremely loyal and won’t hesitate to step into harms way when the time comes. There are many stories of German Shepherds putting their lives on the line for human or animal. But what happens when an intruder, like a coyote, enters their property and they must defend the land. Can a German Shepherd kill a Coyote?

Yes, technically a German Shepherd can kill a coyote. But a Coyote can also kill a German Shepherd. It depends on several factors including the situation, the number of Coyotes, the experience and the size. But it isn’t very likely to happen due to a number of factors. Most of the time a Coyote isn’t going to attack a German Shepherd for no reason. 1 on 1 a large German Shepherd will most likely survive in a fight against a single coyote. However if there is more than one Coyote, the German Shepherd will have a harder time defending itself.

German Shepherd vs Coyote

To understand how each of these animals would react in a fight, we need to step back into their histories and look at where they come from and how they developed. Both can be very aggressive under certain circumstances and both have the ability to kill each other.

German Shepherd History

German Shepherd History:

German Shepherds are large dogs that were originally herding dogs used to protect flocks of sheep from any outside threats. This means that they are natural guardians and can usually handle any type of predator coming on to the land to attack one of their sheep.

They are extremely smart, agile and fast making them very good at their job. In 1899, an ex-cavalry military captain started developing the breed and purchased what would later become the very first German Shepherd Dog that was registered.

He then worked at perfecting the breed and made it his goal to develop the German Shepherd into what he thought a working dog should be. Since then, the German Shepherd has been known for its athleticism, intelligence and hard working nature.

The German Shepherd does have somewhat of a reputation for being aggressive and can 100% handle themselves in a fight with another animal. There are several instances of German Shepherds stepping into the line of fire to protect another animal or human from a threat.

Coyote History

Coyote History:

The coyote, or prairie wolf, is a canine with a close resemblance to a medium sized dog or a small wolf. They can be found scavenging for food in different parts of North America and Central America.

Coyotes are considered top carnivores and like to hunt mainly in pairs when searching for food. They mainly target smaller animals such as birds, rabbits, rodents and snakes. However they have been known to hunt deer in large packs and livestock on farms.

Ranchers frequently have to hunt Coyotes to defend their farms and have killed approximately 20 million Coyotes in the 20th century alone. Despite this, their numbers have continued to grow thanks to their tenacity and ability to adapt to their environment.

They are a vital piece of the food chain puzzle and necessary for controlling the population of smaller animals.

Depending on the size of the Coyote, they can make a powerful adversary to other dogs and even large dog breeds such as the German Shepherd. They are also known to lure animals into traps consisting of a large pack of Coyotes.

German Shepherd and Coyote Size and Speed Comparison

The size of a German Shepherd and the size of a Coyote can vary greatly depending on the specific animal. The German Shepherd is typically bigger than an average size Coyote. However Coyotes are a little faster and have better stamina being in the wild.

German ShepherdCoyote
Height22-26 inches21-24 inches
Weight65-90 pounds15-50 pounds
Speed30 mph43 mph
Bite Strength238 psi153 psi
Killer InstinctIntenseExtreme


A full grown adult male German Shepherd has the slight advantage in height. It is usually a few inches taller than a Coyote coming in at a little over 2 feet at the shoulders. Coyotes are close and only a few inches shorter in most cases at right around 2 feet tall.


When it comes to weight, the full grown adult male German Shepherd has a pretty significant advantage. It can weigh up to 90 lbs which is a good 40 pounds heavier than a full grown Coyote which can get up to 50 pounds. This can be a major factor when it comes to a fight between the two animals.

That being said, there are reported cases of Coyotes weighing between 50 and 70 pounds in New England states like New York. This puts them closer in size to the German Shepherd.


German Shepherd vs Coyote Speed

Both animals are fast when it comes to speed and you don’t want to be chased by either.

I was once chased by a German Shepherd at one of my Grandmother’s neighbors’ house and it was scary to say the least. It chased me all the way up the driveway but fortunately I made it into the garage and then into the house.

Speed wise, the Coyote can outrun a German Shepherd by up to 13 mph. It can run between 35 and 43 mph which is extremely fast. The German Shepherd can run up to 30mph.


Both animals have good stamina but Coyotes take the lead in this category. Coyotes are scavengers and have excellent endurance. They are used to hunting for food in the wild although typically it is small rodents. They usually cover 2-3 miles in a single day looking for their next meal.

German Shepherds on the other hand are usually house pets and only travel when they go for a walk or play outside. Each dog’s stamina will vary depending on their training and environmental situation. Overall they do have good stamina and can walk 5-20 miles in some cases.

Bite Strength:

Both canines have powerful jaws and a strong bite but the German Shepherd is superior in this department. They have an extremely powerful bite which has 238 pounds per square inch of pressure. The Kangal Shepherd is the most powerful with a whopping 743 psi.

The Coyote still has a strong bite but comes in 85lbs short of its rival with a bite force of 153 pounds per square inch. Either one of their jaws is plenty powerful enough to latch on to the neck of their prey. But when it comes to a battle between these two adversaries, the German Shepherd is the clear winner.

Killer Instinct:

Coyotes win in this department with their natural instinct to hunt down and kill other animals for food. However, they don’t usually target larger animals like large dogs.

There are plenty of stories however of people losing small pets to Coyotes. You definitely don’t want to ever leave a smaller dog outside alone in a place where Coyotes are prevalent.

German Shepherds may not hunt for food for a living but they do still have a high prey drive. They are highly prone to chase other animals and will kill smaller animals such as rabbits and squirrels just like some other dogs will.

As a child, my dog Montana would leave the occasional dead squirrel on the door mat of the front porch for me to find. She would be lying next to it so proud of her kill.

This doesn’t mean that every dog is going to chase and kill small animals but certain dogs will need training to curb some of those primal instincts.

Real Stories of German Shepherd vs Coyote

Real Stories of German Shepherd vs Coyote

There are several stories of dogs being attacked by Coyotes. There are also stories of German Shepherds coming to the rescue of other animals. Each situation is different depending on many different elements. There are stories of German Shepherds killing Coyotes.

One rancher loves the German Shepard breed for their loyalty size and fight against all desert predators. He says every spring new coyotes try to move into his ranch and his German Shepards always bring 2 to 3 dead coyotes to his house.

Charles Reed from Quora

A lot of ranchers use dogs to protect their land from all types of predators including coyotes. An experienced well trained German Shepherd can definitely defend its property against other predators.

There are also stories of both animals scaring off the other animal in certain situations. Another owner spoke about one of two encounters that he witnessed with his two dogs and a Coyote.

One Coyote appeared, “yipped” and my Lab chased him into the chaparral. Lucky that I followed her, because there was a pack of Coyotes, about 6 that quickly surrounded her.

Once I arrived and screamed, they all took off and Nino, the Lab stayed with me. I’m convinced that they would have killed her. 6 vs. 1.

Christopher BenVau from Quora

Here is a video of a German Shepherd named Turbo that saved a small dog Pepe from being killed by Coyotes: Pepe received 37 stitches and 24 puncture wounds in the attack but amazingly survived thanks to Turbo.

What will determine who wins the fight between German Shepherd and Coyote?

Several factors will determine who will win a fight between these two aggressive defenders of their turf. But can a German Shepherd kill a coyote? It is very hard to say which one would win in a fight without knowing the exact circumstances of the fight.

Determining Elements:

  1. The size of both animals will have a great impact.
  2. The ages of each animal.
  3. How much experience each animal has fighting or training.
  4. The numbers of each animal. A wolf pack has a huge advantage.
  5. The setting whether it is in the streets, a yard or in the wild.
  6. Whether or not either animal is defending its young.
  7. How hungry a wolf is and what it is willing to do to get food.

How to Protect your German Shepherd from a Coyote?

There are some simple ways that you can decrease the likelihood of your German Shepherd withstanding an attack from a Coyote.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Build a minimum 8ft tall fence to ward off Coyotes and other potential wildlife.
  2. Don’t feed Coyotes or any wildlife on your property.
  3. Don’t walk your dog off-leash in any areas that Coyotes are prevalent.
  4. Keep your yard clean and don’t let it get overgrown so they have nowhere to hide.
  5. Lock up composting bins and don’t compost meat products to avoid the smell.
  6. Pick up your dog’s poop and don’t leave it in the yard.
  7. Stay on the trail or walkway and in well lit areas when walking your dog.

In Closing:

I really hope that this article gave you some new insight and answered the question “Can a German Shepherd kill a Coyote?” It will always depend on the situation and what is at stake for each animal. The are both excellent fighters and a well trained German Shepherd can definitely take on any Coyote under the right circumstances.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Have you ever witnessed an interaction or a fight between a German Shepherd and a Coyote? Who won the battle? Let us know below! We would love to hear about it!

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