I love my dogs. They are gentle and intelligent.
So imagine my surprise when my nine-year-old son came home from school and asked me if Rufus, our pittie, could take on a wolf and win in a fight! I was utterly shocked.
Apart from never having even considered my pitbull a fighter since he is so kindhearted, I didn’t think my son would even consider such a question.
However, after explaining that dogfighting was a bad thing and that we’d never do that with Rufus, I began to wonder.
Could my dear Rufus take on a wolf and win? So I spoke to some animal behaviorists and this is what I learned.
Could a Pitbull Take on a Wolf in a Fight?
If it came down to bite force, the wolf would win, yet a pitbull is an agile dog breed specifically bred for fighting, while a wolf’s bred for hunting. What would happen in a wolf versus pitbull fight would be determined more by the beast’s experience in fighting and a large helping of luck.
Attacking Power of Pitbulls
While my own pittie was never trained as an attack dog, and the only thing he’ll attack is his bowl of food, the breed has been genetically created as fighting machines.
Would a pitbull be a match for a wolf?
A pitbull has a biting power of 253 PSI, which isn’t all that impressive (a German shepherd has a biting power of 238 PSI and a Kangal has a biting force of 743 PSI).
The real damage-causing factor is the fact that Pitbulls have what is known as lockjaw. This is when their jaws latch onto their prey and they don’t, won’t, and often can’t release their grip.
A pitbull is a heavy breed of dog, and while its running speed is not all that impressive at 25-30 mph, they are agile fighters with surprising sprint speeds.
With their heavy neck and short powerful legs, a pitbull can easily close the distance on their leaner lupine cousins.
Pitbulls, while heavy dogs, aren’t nearly as heavy as a wolf. A pitbull weighs in at 35-66 pounds, which is a fairly heavy body mass for their much smaller bodies.
Most of the pitbull’s weight is muscle, but it is more compacted and would have a shorter reach in terms of stride.
While a pitbull lacks long body hair or fur to protect it, the pitbull has the best line of defense — a stubborn and tenacious offense.
Pitbulls gained popularity in dogfighting because they seem to lack the ability to feel pain. When they attack or get bloodlust, they can withstand a beating and severe wounds that would have made a lesser dog cower in pain.
If the pitbull is attacked and bitten by the wolf, chances are that they will not feel the wolf’s bite at all unless it severs a limb or rips out their throat.
Yes, this is a gory truth and made me look at our family pitbull with new (and slightly scared) eyes.
Fighting Power of Wolves
A wolf is genetically designed for speed and hunting. It is powerful, has a thick coat of fur to protect it, and has lightning reflexes.
Let’s consider the fighting power of a wolf.
A wolf has a normal biting power of 400 pounds per square inch (PSI), and in the case of a fight or to kill its prey, this can increase to 1,500 PSI.
You can imagine, a wolf would need the extra power to bite through the thick hide of a moose or break its prey’s neck. In a fight, this incredible power would certainly count in the wolf’s favor, right?
Wolves are incredibly fleet-footed, and they can run at 38 miles per hour over short distances, and they have lightning reflexes to avoid being gored by a moose that’s trying to defend itself.
A large factor that weighs in on the wolf’s favor is their size. A standard male wolf weighs between 66-177 pounds, making them a weighty opponent.
Despite their size, they are agile and possess that wild factor that a domesticated dog might not be able to overcome. They possess a killer instinct that is focused on victory with as little risk of injury as possible.
A wolf has a shaggy coat of fur, which makes it hard to get a good biting grip on them.
In a fight, their opponent will be left with a jaw full of fur instead of actually managing a death grip on the wolf, unless the wolf is unlucky and their attacker manages to get a hold of their legs or throat.
While you may think that the wolf would try to be the boss and assert itself as the “alpha wolf” over the pitbull, the truth is that wolves don’t have an alpha, and in a fight, the wolf will act in the name of self-preservation.
This is why fights among wolves are rare in the wild.
Frequently Asked Questions about Could a Pitbull Take on a Wolf in a Fight
When would a pitbull win a fight with a wolf?
If a wolf is old, sick, or injured, it will be easy prey to a pit bull. On the whole, in open country, a wolf would outrun and outbite a pit bull.
Can a wolf kill a pitbull?
While a wolf can kill a pit bull with its massive 1,500 PSI biting power, it would probably run from a fight unless the pitbull was threatening its pack or the wolf pups.
The Last Bite
A pit bull may be a ferocious dog, bred to fight and win, but if given enough space and a reason to fight, a wolf would outbite and outweigh the pitbull.
Hence, if you’re wondering if it’s safe to leave your baby with a pit bull, you should think twice — even if it’s your beloved pal.
This just convinced me to keep our (dearest couch potato) pitbull away from any stray wolves that may wander into the neighborhood.