Can A Rottweiler Kill A Coyote?


Rottweiler and coyote

In America, coyote attacks on pets and people are becoming increasingly more frequent. It’s not just rural places and the areas on the outskirts of suburbia that are affected, either. Coyotes are also living in built-up cities.

In the past, dog owners going for a walk with their pets only to worry about coming across the occasional stray dog. Now they have to worry about crossing paths with wild predators.

All of a sudden, you have to start thinking about how well your dog can defend itself (and you!) against a coyote attack.

Rottweilers are larger and more powerful than coyotes and are physically capable of killing a single coyote. However, if a single Rottweiler is attacked by a pair or pack of coyotes, the coyotes will have the advantage. As wild animals, coyotes also have stronger survival and hunting instincts.

Urban sprawl displaces packs of coyotes from their territories or brings populated areas right up to coyotes’ proverbial front doors.

Instead of being pushed into smaller and smaller natural habitats, coyotes are adapting to life in urbanized areas. As coyotes interact more with people and domesticated pets, the likelihood of attacks rises.

Furthermore, coyotes seem to follow a pattern of becoming bolder around humans and their domestic animals until they reach the point of attacking during daylight hours.

The attacks start to take on the appearance of targeted hunts in parks, yards, and high-traffic walking, jogging, and hiking pathways instead of chance encounters.

It makes logical sense that a Chihuahua or a Yorkshire Terrier would not fare well in a fight with a coyote. But are larger dogs, like Rottweilers, at risk, or are the coyotes the ones in trouble should they encounter a Rottweiler? Let’s take a look.  

How Do Rottweilers And Coyotes Compare In Size And Power?

According to the American Kennel Club, Rottweiler males weigh an average of 95-145 pounds and stand 24-27 inches tall. The females are not that much smaller, weighing, on average, 80-100 pounds and standing 22-25 inches tall. This then is no small dog!

In comparison, a coyote is just slightly shorter than a Rottweiler, standing at the height of 23 inches. However, they weigh less than half that of an average Rottweiler, about 20-50 pounds.

Rottweilers are not just big; they are powerfully built. These dogs have an indent on the top of their heads. This indent is created by the development of muscles on either side of the skull, so even a Rottweiler’s head is muscular!

A Rottweiler’s massive head and jaw can exert a bite force of around 328 pounds. This will do severe damage to any coyote—if they can catch it. Coyotes may only have a bite force of 88 pounds, but they are quick and agile, especially in comparison to the bulky Rottweiler.

Based on size and power, yes, a Rottweiler can physically kill a coyote. However, there are other factors that will influence the outcome of an altercation between these two canines.

Coyotes Live And Hunt In Packs

coyote pack

The scales are tilted in favor of a Rottweiler in a one-on-one encounter with a coyote. However, coyotes live in large families and often hunt in pairs or small groups.

If a Rottweiler were to encounter more than one coyote, it will probably not get a chance to kill one of them, and indeed, may end up being fatally wounded itself.

Coyotes are wild animals with wild animal instincts. If a Rottweiler is in its yard and a single coyote wanders past, the coyote will probably not risk its life by coming into the yard and confronting the powerful dog.

On the other hand, if the coyotes are out deliberately hunting or patrolling their territory in pairs or groups, they may decide to attack a single Rottweiler. The coyotes’ motivation for this may be food, either the dog itself or another food source like trash cans, chicken coops, or bowls of pet food.

Another motivation is territorialism. If the coyotes’ territory is near to a home, then a massive Rottweiler, even one confined within a yard, can be seen as a potential threat, and the coyotes will decide to attack to remove the threat.

Another situation in which a Rottweiler can find itself confronting more than one coyote is when out on walks with the owner. If the dog and its owner accidentally enter a coyote family’s territory, they may be attacked.

During coyote mating and breeding seasons, a breeding pair will stay together and guard their pups, which can trigger further aggression when imposed upon. They may also be looking out for food to supply their growing family and will take a chance with a Rottweiler if other food is scarce.

Adaptation Can Affect The Outcome Of An Encounter Between A Rottweiler And A Coyote

While Rottweilers are more powerful, coyotes are agile and quick, and they have better-developed hunting and survival instincts.

A Rottweiler has been living as a domesticated pet for all its life. Its ancestors going all the way back to the Roman Empire were also domesticated (to a certain extent).

Coyotes are definitely still wild animals and are descended from wild animals. This has the potential to give them an edge in an encounter with a Rottweiler, even if it’s one-on-one.

A Rottweiler who has had a couple of non-fatal encounters with coyotes (non-fatal on their side, anyway) might be able to learn and adapt to become better at defending itself against these predators.

Would A Rottweiler Protect Itself And Its Owner From A Coyote?

Rottweilers are naturally protective. They were bred as cattle drovers, herding and protecting the cattle and human herders. When the necessity for cattle dogs decreased, Rottweilers moved on to personal protection roles and police work.

Ultimately, their protective instincts are deeply ingrained in a Rottweiler’s DNA. Even without formal training, they will protect and herd people and livestock.

Barring the individual exceptions, most Rottweilers will fiercely defend you from any threat, even if this threat is a pack of coyotes encountered on your daily walk.

If a coyote comes into your yard, your Rottweiler will defend its family and territory without hesitation. Their aim in doing so is unlikely to be chasing the coyote off; they will attack to kill.

A coyote knows this all too well; it knows when it’s outmatched and will most often turn and run when confronted by a Rottweiler.

Just watch the amazing video below to see an example of a Rottweiler defending its owner and chasing away a coyote:

Rottweilers have a tendency to be aggressive towards other dogs, and this will extend to coyotes. So, even if they don’t have to defend you, they may choose to engage a coyote rather than back away. This may be enough to send a single coyote running, but it a pair or group can readily take up the challenge presented.

How To Protect Your Rottweiler From A Coyote

Even though your Rottweiler will defend itself and its family (to the death if necessary), every dog owner has a responsibility to protect their canine friend just as devotedly.

In a fight with a coyote, you might not be much help, but there are steps you can take to minimize an encounter. Remember, even if your Rottweiler kills the coyote, they are probably going to get injured to some extent.

If you live in an area densely populated by coyotes and there is a chance of encountering one of these predators on your daily walk, you need to be prepared before you go out.

  • Train your dog to obey your commands. This means that if you see a coyote, you can stop your Rottweiler from trying to engage it. Walking away is a better option.
  • Keep your Rottweiler on a leash (not an extendable leash).
  • Carry a walking stick.
  • Bring a noisemaker or even mace.
  • Avoid walking at dusk, dawn, and at night.

If you are concerned about your dog in your yard:

  • Build a six-foot-tall wall or fence with a roll bar across the top.
  • Remove all possible food attractions from the yard (unsealed trash cans, bowls of pet food, etc.).
  • Remove all possible rodent-attracting food sources from your yard, including bird feeders. Rodents will attract coyotes.
  • Keep a watch on your Rottweiler during the day and keep them inside when you are out or asleep.

Another option at your disposal is a coyote deterrent. Using a simple flashing light deterrent such as this one from Nite Guard can prevent an encounter between your Rottweiler and a coyote in the first place.

Final Thoughts

In a chance encounter with a single coyote, a Rottweiler is likely to out-power a coyote and is physically capable of killing the coyote with strong jaws.

A Rottweiler’s bite force is 328 pounds! Rottweilers are also highly protective and territorial dogs, readily engaging in defensive and offensive behavior in an effort to guard their family and property.

If a pair or group of coyotes encounter or confront a single Rottweiler, their numbers, hunting skill, and survival instincts can make them more than a match for the Rottweiler.

We assume that in asking this question, you are interested in the welfare of your pet Rottweiler, or you are looking for a good personal protection dog, and you live in an area heavily populated by coyotes.

Rottweilers should never be bred or kept for fighting, and this cruelty should not be encouraged in any way.

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds and a variety of other large and medium breed dogs for over 20 years now - Labradors, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Pit Bull Terriers - just to name a few. Myself, along with my team of highly experienced canine professionals, strive to bring you the best and most useful information to help you raise your dog the right way. Read my story here.

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