Can A Wolf Kill A German Shepherd? Who Would Win

When two animals go head-to-head, varying factors influence which one has the upper hand…or paw. However, without considering more unpredictable factors, the best way to predict the victor is by looking at physiology. The wolf dominates in the case of a German Shepherd and a wolf. 


Let us compare some of the most significant physiological features of the German Shepherd and wolf to see why the wolf is the predicted victor in this matchup. 

We will look at things like:

  • Physiology.
  • Weight and Height.
  • Bite Force.




The Skull of the Wolf


When comparing the physical build of the wolf to that of the German Shepherd, one of the most crucial features to consider is the size of the skull.

The wolf has a more extensive skull measuring 8 ½” L x 5″ W x 5″ H (red wolf) and 11″ L x 6 ½” W x 6″ H (gray wolf.) The wolf also has a longer muzzle with much bigger teeth – the canine tooth alone measures 2.5” long (in both the red and grey wolf.)

The German Shepherd has a smaller, narrower skull measuring 9.9” L x 4.9” W x 5.1” H. The German Shepherd also has a shorter muzzle and smaller teeth – with a smaller canine tooth.

The wolf’s more considerable skull means allows the wolf to apply more pressure when bearing down on an opponent – this is particularly significant because, in confrontation, wolves attack the throat. An enormous skull also means stronger muscles in the neck, providing more force that the wolf can use to push back against an opponent in a fight.


The Paws of the Wolf


A lot of canine interaction – whether confrontation or play – involves pawing and a wolf’s paw is twice the size of a German Shepherd’s paw. Having such large feet allows the wolf to knock away and pin down the German Shepherd with less exertion and more force – once again, giving the wolf an advantage.

The wolf’s 1.18” long claws are also worth noting. These claws are longer than the German Shepherds and have a wider spread allowing the wolf to apply more force when clashing with, pawing, or holding down the German Shepherd.


Weight and Height


Of course, sheer size plays a significant role in any confrontation, and the wolf comes out on top here, too. The wolf stands between 26 and 33 inches tall, whereas the German Shepherd stands between 22 and 26 inches tall. The advantage in height means that the wolf can tower over the German Shepherd by as much as seven inches!

The wolf carries more weight, too. Weighing in at between 80 and 180lbs, the wolf has the advantage of pinning down opponents, pushing them off when pinned, and applying sheer force when colliding. The German Shepherd weighs between 65 and 90lbs – as much as half the weight of a wolf! 


The Bite Force of the Wolf


When it comes to bite force, the wolf comes out on top. The wolf can exert 400 psi or more with a single bite, whereas the German Shepherd can exert up to 238 psi with a single bite.

With a bite force almost twice that of the German Shepherd, the wolf can inflict more damage with a puncture wound and create more harm to tissue when gripping with the jaws and shaking the head.


External Influencing Factors


External influencing factors also impact the fight outcome between two animals, but these are more difficult to quantify. These factors include:

  • Existing injury.
  • Age.
  • Having a pack nearby.
  • Illness.
  • Familiarity with the territory.
  • Temperament.

Existing Injury


An existing or old injury can impact how well a wolf or German Shepherd performs if they go head-to-head. For example, a wolf previously caught in a trap may have a break or an open wound that has not yet healed. Any leg injury puts the wolf at a disadvantage by throwing off its balance, causing pain, and limiting the force with which it can fight back.




Age is another consideration when two animals go head-to-head. For example, if a young, orphaned wolf pup gets cornered by a full-sized German Shepherd, the Shepherd has a good chance of coming out on top.

Conversely, if the wolf is in its senior years, it may lack considerable strength compared to a fully grown adult German Shepherd! In this case, the German Shepherd would likely emerge the victor!


Having a Pack Nearby


It is also worth keeping in mind that wolves travel in packs, where German Shepherds do not. So, if a German Shepherd encounters one wolf, there is a good chance that more wolves are waiting in the wings to attack and protect their pack member. 

If this were to happen, the German Shepherd would do its best to escape by backing up or slinking away in hopes that a show of submission would be enough to deter the wolfpack from following and attacking. 




When they get ill, dogs and wolves lack strength, have slower reflexes, and are more likely to make mistakes. So, when two animals come together head-to-head, a sick animal has a distinct disadvantage and depending on the severity of the illness, it may already be destined to lose.


Familiarity with Territory


Where a confrontation takes place also plays a role in any confrontation outcome. For example, wolves have the advantage if a German Shepherd becomes lost in the forest because they are more familiar with the territory. The German Shepherd, though, would not be aware of dead-ends, steep drops, and clear paths for escape.




Not all animals have the same temperament; for example, an overly aggressive dog clashing with an excessively submissive wolf is likely to sway the outcome of a German Shepherd and wolf matchup. Not all animals have the same temperament – for example, an overly aggressive dog clashing with a very submissive wolf is likely to sway the outcome of a German Shepherd and wolf matchup!! 


Conclusion / Summary


We cannot know what would happen between a wolf and a German Shepherd, but if we can infer anything from the basic statistics, it would be that a wolf could kill a German Shepherd.

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