Can a German Shepherd Kill a Wolf?

Wolves are known for being fierce and being the alpha predators of the wild. But if a German Shepherd plays its cards right, it can catch a wolf by surprise and defeat it. However, this is not always the case. If a German Shepherd is outnumbered by wolves, it will usually run away rather than fight them. And if fighting does ensue, it’s usually because the shepherd has been provoked or is protecting its human family from wolves. Here are some other reasons why you might find yourself asking: “Can a German Shepherd kill a wolf?”.

It is very unlikely that German Shepherds can kill a wolf, as they are considerably smaller in size and have a lesser bite force. Wolves have extremely sharp teeth and can easily take down an adult GSD with a bite on its neck.

As a matter of fact, a large wolf can bite down with over 1,200 PSI compared to the GSDs 238 PSI. Wolves usually hunt in packs for larger animals like moose. But a hungry lone wolf separated from its pack can easily kill a GSD. Even large mastiffs are regularly killed by timber wolves. Therefore, you should always, keep your dogs safe in wolf country. 

​​German Shepherd vs Wolves

A German Shepherd typically weighs around 60-90 pounds and stands at 22-26 inches at the shoulder. This is considerably smaller than a wolf which can weigh anywhere from 80-180 pounds and stand 26-33 inches at the shoulder. The difference in size between these two animals is not just a matter of a few inches or pounds.

On top of this, wolves have a bite force of up to 1200 PSI, while GSD can only grab as hard as 238 PSI. The sheer difference can tell you that German Shepherds would have no chance against an adult North American grey wolf. But they might be able to survive long enough against a smaller Arabian wolf for human intervention (firearms) to save it.

German ShepherdsWolves
Weight60-90 lbs.80-180 lbs.
Height22–26 inches26-33 inches 
Running speed30 mph30-40 mph
Bite force238 psiUp to 1200 psi
Hunting abilities and dietThe German Shepherd Dog was not bred to be hunting dogs but some have a strong prey drive and tend to chase small animals as instincts.

But they probably will not hurt if you feed them.GSDs can eat meat as well as other human food like vegetables, fruit, grain, and so on.
Wolves usually hunt in packs, allowing them to cooperate and take down much larger prey.

Sometimes they do attack in solitary. Wolves are carnivores and will eat anything they can hunt in the wild.

It really makes all the difference when it comes to fighting one another. Wolves may be able to overpower your pet with sheer power if they do happen to get close enough, but it would be much tougher for them to do this before your dog got in some serious bites (or even worse).

Where do wolves appear?

Currently, wolves are found in ecosystems as far north as the North Pole and as far south as the 20th parallel (Mexico City, Mexico; Mumbai, India). From tundra to desert, Great Plains to temperate rainforest, wolves and their prey have adapted to a wide variety of climates and habitats.

The largest concentrations of wolves now reside in the northern regions of the world such as Alaska, Canada and Russia. (Source: International Wolf Center)

What do wolves eat?

The wolf is a large carnivore (only eats meat) and requires a diet high in protein. Interestingly, wolves are also referred to as top-level predators because there is no other wild animal that hunts wolves to eat them. 

As a large carnivore, the wolf requires large prey, usually an ungulate (or hoofed animal), such as deer, moose, elk or caribou. Although the type of ungulate may change in different areas of the world, these large prey animals make up most of the diet of any wolf. 

Wolves will supplement their diet with smaller mammals such as beaver, rabbits or lemmings when they can. Wolves occasionally eat garbage and livestock as well. (Source: International Wolf Center)

Will wolves attack dogs?

Although wolves do not usually prey on dogs, they can still be very dangerous and are prone to attack if the food source is being threatened.

Wolves can very aggressive towards domestic dogs. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, an encounter between a single wolf and a domestic dogs sometimes result in play behavior, encounters between several wolves and a dog usually result in the wolves aggressively attacking the dog – even with the presence of humans.

Will wolves attack German Shepherds?

German Shepherds are large dogs. They are big and strong enough to make most owners not worry about other animals attacks. After all, GSDs are known to be excellent guard dogs and will risk their lives to protect their owners

Baby was an 85-pound GSD that was killed by wolves in Labrador City back in 2016. 

“This is Labrador,” the owner said. “There is wildlife around. … It’s indigenous to the region. He’d spotted the occasional wolf, but very rarely, and he never thought one would attack a full-grown dog.

“Respect nature.” 

The owner of a German Shepherd killed by wolves

“I’m not even angry at the wolves. Why would I be angry at a wolf for being a wolf?

I’m deeply saddened over the loss of my dog, but I think we have to respect the country that we live in, and we have to be aware that if you do see a wolf, these are wild animals.”

But sometimes the fate of a dog would fall victim to humans who are stupid enough to chain them outside – eventually become the easy prey of wolves. In this video below, a GSD-Husky mixed was being slaughtered by a pack of wolves because of the ignorance of the owner. Any responsible dog owner or lover will definitely be outrageous witnessing such a tragedy.

Will wolves attack humans?

Wolves are only sociable with their packs. They are rarely sociable with humans and other animals. In fact, wolves are wary of people and tend to avoid human interaction.

That said, when wolves band together to form packs, they can become quite dangerous, especially to children. Thankfully, these types of encounters are rare as they tend to be alone most of the time.

In cases when humans are with their pet dogs, the wolves commonly directed their attache solely at the dog and not the pet’s owner.

When will German Shepherds attack?

Like most dogs, fear is the most common reason for a German Shepherd to behave aggressively toward other animals or humans. Of course, every dog is different, even the same circumstance, and triggers different reactions to different dogs.

Unfortunately, fear often occurs through a lack of proper socialization, past negative experiences, physical abuse of previous owners, lack of obedience training.

In cases where a dog is faced with a life and death situation, such as a confrontation with a wolf, he will attack out of basic instinct. 

Will German Shepherds attack wolves?

For most German Shepherds, if not trained to attack, their bark may not scare off even a hungry and determined wolf, let alone a pack of wolves.

Even when two alpha GSD males fight it’s never to the death. One always ends up running away with his tail between his legs. Chances are, a male GSD with a strong temperament may win the fight against a wolve. At the end of the day, the wolf’s ultimate instinct is to survive.

However, wolves are natural-born predators who can take down large prey. If they gang up in a pack of three or more, their hunting and luring skills will defeat your German Shepherd easily.

​​How to keep your German Shepherd safe from wolves?

  1. Always be aware of wolf territories. Treat wildlife with respect. Plan ahead to avoid intruding on wolves’ territories.
  2. Learn to spot wolf tracks. They are generally bigger and tend to stay in a straight line. Stay away as soon as you spot their tracks.
  3. Don’t leave your German Shepherd unattended in the wild. If you’re camping in the backcountry, don’t leave your dogs outside alone.
  4. Lock away and secure any food. Keep them out of reach from any wild animals. Always feed your dog inside.

The best protection against a wolf is to avoid any encounter at all. Before traveling, be sure to check whether you are entering any wolf territory. Stay alert, and refrain from doing anything that may attract them.


German Shepherds are loyal and can make excellent guard dogs. However, they stand almost no chance against a wolf attack. After all, German Shepherds are pets that eat two times out of the bowl a day. And wolves are wild animals that kill to survive. They have a stronger jaw, a stronger bite, and polished hunting skills when working in a pack.

More about German Shepherds