If you’ve ever wondered whether a pitbull or a coyote would win in a fight, you’re not alone. As more people move to suburban areas, encounters between dogs and wild animals are becoming more common. In this comprehensive 3000 word guide, we’ll analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each animal to predict the likely winner.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: while pitbulls have a powerful bite and muscular build optimized for bringing down large prey, coyotes have superior stamina, cunning, and pack hunting instincts.

In most realistic one-on-one encounter scenarios, the coyote is likely to outlast the pitbull or escape without serious injury.

Comparing Physical Traits

Size and Weight

When it comes to size and weight, pitbulls generally outweigh coyotes. According to the American Kennel Club, male pitbulls can reach up to 65 pounds, while females range from 30-50 pounds on average. Coyotes in comparison typically weigh between 15-46 pounds.

The size difference gives pitbulls an advantage in a physical confrontation. Their stocky build and muscular frame make them a formidable opponent compared to the leaner and lighter coyotes.

Jaw Strength and Bite Force

In terms of raw bite force, studies show that pitbulls and coyotes are quite evenly matched. Using scientific measurement tools like bite sleeves, researchers have recorded an average bite force of 235 psi (pounds per square inch) for pitbulls and around 250 psi for coyotes.

However, pitbulls have much wider jaws and larger teeth, allowing them to potentially cause deeper or more damaging bites. Their strong neck and shoulder muscles dedicated for biting also give them an edge over coyotes.

Agility and Stamina

When it comes to agility and endurance, coyotes have the upper hand. Living in the wild requires superb athleticism to catch prey and escape predators.

Pitbulls, while energetic, cannot quite match the nimble movements and indefatigability of coyotes. A coyote can maintain higher running speeds for longer distances and make quick directional shifts that could confuse less agile pitbulls.

Trait Pitbull Coyote
Size/Weight 65 lb male
30-50 lb female (avg.)
15-46 lb
Bite Force 235 psi 250 psi
Agility/Stamina Moderate High

So while pitbulls may overpower coyotes in close combat, the coyotes’ evasive capabilities make direct confrontations unlikely. As PawsomeAdvice.com notes, coyotes tend to avoid larger animals and primarily go after pets and livestock.

Overall though, if there were a skirmish, pitbulls have the sturdier frames to inflict greater damage.

Behavioral Attributes and Temperament

Prey Drive and Tenacity

Both pitbulls and coyotes have a strong prey drive rooted in their ancestry as predators. However, pitbulls tend to have a higher tenacity when pursuing prey due to their history of being bred for bull baiting and dog fighting.

Their bite strength allows them to hold on while coyotes rely more on pack numbers and speed to take down prey. Pitbulls are persistent when chasing something they want, while coyotes may abandon the hunt if the prey puts up too much fight. Still, both animals can be extremely determined hunters.

Reaction to Threats

Coyotes are naturally skittish and prefer to avoid confrontation. They tend to retreat when faced with threats from larger animals. Pitbulls, on the other hand, were historically bred to be fearless fighters, so they will often stand their ground when challenged.

However, pitbull temperament depends heavily on training and socialization. Well-socialized pitbulls can be friendly, even submissive, while those trained to be aggressive can react fiercely to perceived threats.

Pack Hunting vs Lone Hunting

Coyotes are highly social canids that hunt in coordinated packs, allowing them to take down prey much larger than themselves. A pack of 3-4 coyotes can successfully hunt adult deer. Pitbulls are not pack hunters, though they may live amiably with other dogs. They generally hunt solo.

This means coyotes, though smaller, can subdue larger prey through teamwork.

Interestingly, despite their pack mentality, coyotes will also hunt alone. Around 70% of their hunts are solo. Pitbulls, though they lack cooperative hunting skills, can still successfully take down prey singly due to their athleticism, jaw strength, and tenacity.

In fact, they were historically used to hunt and capture wild hogs.

Simulated Encounter Scenarios

One-on-One With No Element of Surprise

In a one-on-one fight with no surprise attack, a pit bull would likely defeat a coyote. According to Pawsome Advice, pit bulls have a stronger bite force of 235 PSI compared to a coyote’s bite force of around 150 PSI.

Additionally, pit bulls tend to be more muscular and heavier than coyotes on average:

Breed Average Weight Musculature
Pit Bull 30-65 lbs Very muscular
Coyote 20-50 lbs Lightly built

With their strength advantage, a determined pit bull would likely overpower a similarly sized coyote. However, coyotes are known for their stamina and could try to wear down a pit bull in a prolonged battle.

Coyote Ambush

If a coyote initiated an ambush or surprise attack on a pit bull, the outcome could be less predictable. Coyotes often rely on surprise attacks to take down larger prey like deer, utilizing pack numbers and tricky maneuvering.

A single coyote ambushing a lone pit bull could land some early bites but would likely get overpowered if the pit bull mounted a counterattack.

Pitbull Breaks Free From Owner

According to recent data from the Texas Department of Family Services, pit bulls were responsible for weekly cases of animals at large threatening humans or animals. If a pit bull broke free and encountered a coyote, it would likely chase down and engage the coyote aggressively.

Unleashed pit bulls pose a significant threat to coyotes as their breeding and fearlessness mean they do not back down from a confrontation. A loose pit bull would potentially pursue and attack a coyote unprovoked due to its genetic history of being bred to fight other animals.

Multiple Coyotes vs Single Pitbull

While solo coyotes would struggle against an adult pit bull, a pack of three or more coyotes could potentially take down a lone pit bull through attrition and death by a thousand bites. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, coyotes may form packs of three to six pups and two adults that work together to isolate and assault domestic dogs.

Facing multiple attackers at once could overwhelm even an aggressive pit bull. Still, the pit bull’s strength and gameness would probably enable it to injure some of its attackers in the process. This encounter would likely end with severe injuries or death to both coyotes and the pit bull as neither animal typically shies from conflict.


While pitbulls possess impressive physical power, coyotes have superior stamina, cunning, and pack instincts that would likely give them the advantage in most realistic fight encounters. However, every situation depends heavily on individual animals and circumstances.

We hope this guide gave you a more informed perspective on how these two relentless predators might fare in a face-off.

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