These Dog Breeds Can Kill a Lion

A lovely pair of Dogue de Bordeaux with serious muzzles on a walk.
© iStock.com/Yanosh_Nemesh

Written by Kaleigh Moore

Updated: November 28, 2023

Share on:

Advertisement


Take a minute and walk with us into the wonderful world of imagination. Imagine a battlefield; on one side are lions, and on the other are different ferocious dog species. The battle gong goes off, and the two sides run toward each other, just as if humans were fighting. 

We can bet our last imaginary dollar that, at this point, you’re waiting to see a dog massacre happening right in front of you, right? But wait, some dog species seem to be winning the battle. One by one, the mighty kings of the forest are dropping off. The dogs are carrying the day. 

Now, let’s come back to the real world. You may be right in thinking we have a pretty wild imagination. How is it possible that the lovable pooches we keep at home can kill a lion? Keep reading to know which dog species are capable of this mighty feat.  

Believe it or not but these dog breeds could potentially take down a lion!

Can a Dog Kill a Lion?

The lion carries the name ‘king of the jungle’ for a reason — this cat species is stunning in its large, strong, and powerful appearance. The lion is a dominant, powerful predator that moves with strength, agility, and speed. The lion has also become symbolic of authority and power.

Interestingly the name king of the jungle is a misnomer, as lions do not live in jungles. Rather, their preferred habitat is long grasslands and savannas. 

So how can a dog go up against this powerful creature and even kill it? In reality, the dog may not stand much of a chance in a one-on-one battle. But in packs, they can be a formidable and deadly opponent to a lion. These dogs must possess the same qualities as lions: strength, agility, and speed. Lazy dogs with peaceful dispositions wouldn’t last a minute in a dog vs. lion battle. 

With that said, which dog breed makes it to our list of potential lion killers? 

1. Rottweiler

This Rottweiler Is A Force to be Reckoned With

Rottweiler dogs are known for their immense strength and powerful bite, making them one of the few dog breeds that could potentially even kill a lion.

©Lukas Gojda/Shutterstock.com

The first thing that’ll hit you when you look at a Rottweiler is its power. The muscular structure is one that bodybuilders would envy and strive to achieve. If you were to look for an apt description for this dog species, it’d be a bulldozer or tank. There is something so solid and unwavering about them. It could explain why a list of the strongest dog breeds would only be complete with a mention of the Rottweiler. 

Male Rottweilers are typically larger than females, reaching up to 27 inches in height and 130 pounds in weight.  

Rottweilers are fantastic companions because they’re very protective of their owners. Initially, people would breed them to guard and herd livestock; nowadays, they have become integral parts of some families due to their loyalty and protectiveness. Please note that before bringing one to your home, ensure it has the necessary socialization training.

The Rottweiler’s hunting skills have made them the go-to dogs for search and rescue missions. It’s not uncommon to find this dog species in the police force or emergency services. 

This dog breed isn’t one to back down from a fight. The powerful Rottweiler is aggressive in threatening situations. It’s also brilliant and has an out-of-this-world level of endurance. Its speed allows it to evade the lion’s powerful slap. A succession of powerful dog bites will eventually subdue the lion.  

2. Bloodhound

Photo of a Bloodhound.

Bloodhounds are a large-sized dog breed with an intimidating presence.

©Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.com

Bloodhounds are excellent hunters, using scent to get them to the prey. Law enforcers depend upon them for this very purpose. Unfortunately for law-breakers, bloodhounds pick up the slightest scent and follow it directly to the person. Furthermore, this dog species has helped police track missing persons for years. 

The French native grows to about 27 inches in height and a maximum of 160 pounds. Its willfulness and protective nature will make it go up against a lion without fear or hesitation.  

3. Rhodesian Ridgeback or African Lion Hound

A powerful, muscular Rhodesian Ridgeback or African Lion Hound dog breed.

The fearless and strong Rhodesian ridgeback or African lion hound is a powerful breed. With its dense coat and stout build, these canines are capable of taking down a lion in rare cases.

©nik174/Shutterstock.com

Rhodesian ridgebacks have excellent hunting skills and are very territorial. The South African native was, for a long time, a companion to farmers and hunters. You see, these dog breeds brought one extraordinary skill to the table. That’s the ability to tire out animals by keeping them in constant movement until they can take it no more. The hunters would then move in for the final kill of the exhausted animal. The nickname ‘the African lion hound’ comes from their ability to track and chase away lions.   

The Rhodesian ridgeback hound’s build is for speed. The sinewy body and long limbs can achieve up to 30 miles per hour. Like the Rottweiler, it can grow to about 27 inches in height. But the lean musculature keeps the weight down to about 85 pounds maximum. 

The advantage they have over a lion is speed and agility. True, as we said, lions have the same qualities. But, it can’t compare to that of the African lion hound. This dog breed is intelligent, has high endurance levels, and an unyielding will. In a pack, they’ll corner the lion, tire it out, and move in for the final kill.

4. Dogo Argentino 

A large white Dogo Argentino standing on grass.

This Dogo Argentino is a large and powerful breed of dog capable of taking down even the strongest of predators. With its strength and agility, it could easily overpower a lion in combat.

©iStock.com/Gerdzhikov

Dogo Argentino is an Argentinian native whose purpose was to hunt wild animals. The muscular breed is a powerhouse at 27 inches in height and 100 pounds. You’ll not fail to notice the thick neck and athletic build.  

In packs, their endurance and strength would be something a lion wouldn’t stand a chance against. 

Dogo Argentinos are protective animals that display high levels of loyalty and love. That makes them a popular choice amongst pet owners. But please don’t get one if you can’t keep up with their high energy. This active animal needs plenty of exercise to contain that explosive energy. On the bright side, you’ll get some pretty intense workouts walking them every day, maybe even twice.  

5. Boerboel or South African Mastiff

The Boerboel or South African Mastiff.

Boerboel or South African mastiff, an intimidating breed whose formidable size and power make it capable of taking down even large predators such as lions.

©Natalia Fesiun/Shutterstock.com

The sheer size and strength of Boerboels make them a formidable opponent to lions. This dog species is very protective and will take on any threats to keep you safe. 

The South African natives were favorites for the farmers due to their ability to keep away dangerous animals. They also have a sweet, loving disposition that makes them ideal companions. However, you must nurture their socialization skills because they tend to be headstrong. They must learn to see you as the dominant.  

Boerboels can grow to 200 pounds and 28 inches in height. Although it’s a large dog, it can move quite fast. Indeed this agility and aggression around danger will make them go against a lion and possibly kill it.  

6. Cane Corso 

A Cane Corso standing alert, with a muscular frame and powerful jaws.

The cane corso is an intimidating breed of dog known for its strength, courage, and ability to protect its territory.

©dezy/Shutterstock.com

Cane corsos are relatively large dogs with a powerful bite, potentially reaching 700 psi. At about 120 pounds and 28 inches high, the word to describe them is compact. The dog will look tiny when standing next to a 500-pound, 40 inches tall lion. 

But what the cane corso lacks in size, it makes up for in precision. The powerful bite is so precise that it can bring down a lion if done in a pack and when critical body parts are targeted. 

7. Fila Brasileiro

Fila Brasileiro, a large Brazilian dog breed.

The Fila Brasileiro is a large Brazilian dog breed with a fierce reputation for being able to take down large animals such as lions. This brave breed is known for its loyalty and protective nature.

©olgagorovenko/Shutterstock.com

The Brazilian native Fila Brasileiro is a mix of three dog species: the English mastiff, bloodhound, and bulldog. It contains each breed’s wonderful attributes, such as strength, skill, intelligence, toughness, and determination. Its initial purpose was hunting. 

There is also the unfortunate connection between the dog and 18th-century slavery in Brazil. Instead of human guards, slave owners would get a couple of Fila Brasileiro to keep guard. The dogs would herd the enslaved people back to their master at day end. 

If you want to keep one, ensure it gets proper socialization training. It’s a willful animal that should not be your beginner pooch. Fila Brasileiros needs an owner with some dog experience. 

Their aggression, for instance, can be dangerous. So much so that countries like New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malta, Norway, and Turkey have banned them. These dog breeds also don’t do very well around small animals. To them, these are prey that they need to hunt. 

In size, the breed grows to about 30 inches high and about 190 pounds in weight. Fila Brasileiro moves in groups. They’re very fast, often achieving up to 35 miles per hour. They can effortlessly chase down a lion, tire it out, and kill it.  

8. Wolf Dog

A pack of wolf dogs running in the snow.

Wolf dogs are a powerful hybrid breed developed from wolves and domestic dogs.

©Marek Rybar/Shutterstock.com

Take the name as an apt descriptor of what to expect with wolf dogs. These animals are aggressive, just like their wild namesake would be when threatened. And, of course, they closely resemble the wolves.

Please note that wolf dogs may not necessarily make the best pets. While highly intelligent, they tend to be assertive and will attack without hesitation. They can also be aggressive and, in some instances, feral. Ensure you have proper training on handling them if you want to keep one. 

The wolf dog is tall at about 33 inches and 120 pounds in weight. They’re extremely territorial in packs and can go after much larger animals. Their canines are formidable tools they use to their advantage. Despite their size, this dog breed is agile and will outrun most lions. 

9. Turkish Kangal or Anatolian Shepherd Dog

A Turkish Kangal or Anatolian Shepherd Dog, known for their strength and size.

The Turkish Kangal or Anatolian shepherd dog are large dogs that are capable of taking down large predators like lions and wolves due to their size, courage, and strength.

©Halit Omer/Shutterstock.com

The Turkish Kangal has size and strength on its side. It’s slightly heavier than a wolf dog at 140 pounds, but in terms of height, they’re the same. The Turkish Kangal has a powerful bite and is quite territorial. In packs, they can easily overpower and kill a lion. 

This dog breed is intelligent, loyal, and very protective. For a long time, people have utilized these attributes for livestock management. However, their willfulness and constant need for independence can make them hard to handle. Socialization training is essential for them to understand you are the boss. Also, keep up with exercises to help them contain their energy. 

The only disadvantage the Turkish Kangal has is a need for more stamina. If the fight is not over quickly, it may succumb. 

10. American Bandogge Mastiff

An American Bandogge Mastiff, a large and powerful breed of dog known for its strength.

The American Bandogge mastiff is a powerful and intimidating breed of dog capable of taking down prey larger than itself.

©Michael J Magee/Shutterstock.com

The American mastiff has a powerful bite. A pack of this dog species would spell catastrophe for the King of the jungle. The muscular American native is a hybrid of various mastiffs and the American pit bull terrier. For a long time, they were a critical component in hunting expeditions. 

The dog is enormous, reaching up to 150 pounds and 27 inches tall. Its features comprise a broad neck, strong jaws, and a muscular body. Despite their appearance, the animals are excellent pets due to their trainable, loyal, and intelligent nature. Many jobs requiring obedience training, like livestock management, come naturally to them. Please keep up with exercise, training, and socialization to avoid aggression. 

11. Tibetan Mastiff

Most Expensive Dog Breeds: Tibetan Mastiff

The

Tibetan mastiff

is a powerful and fearless breed that has been used for centuries to guard property, herds, flocks, and homes.

©Tatyana Kuznetsova/Shutterstock.com

The hairy Tibetan mastiff is a large, nocturnal guard dog. For the Tibetans, they were critical for livestock management and the family’s protection. 

These dog species can grow to 100 pounds and 26 inches in height. They prefer their independence and can be pretty stubborn. Fortunately, they respond well to training and can learn to channel their animal instincts better. 

Due to their size, strength, and natural aggression, they can fight larger animals, including lions. The powerful jaws clamping down on the lion can quickly overcome the larger animal. 

12. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan mastiff, a large breed of dog with a muscular build.

The imposing

Neapolitan mastiff

is an impressive sight – capable of taking down even the mightiest of predators. These powerful dogs have been used as guardian and guard dogs for centuries.

©Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

The Italian Neapolitan is not the best-looking dog. The sagging skin on its jowl doesn’t add to its aesthetic appeal. But this mastiff makes up for the looks with its sweet disposition. Indeed, it’s ideal for a family with children because it displays remarkable patience with kids. But please ensure proper training and socialization first. Due to its sheer size and intimidating strength, it can pose a threat if it doesn’t know boundaries. 

At about 30 inches tall and 150 pounds, it’s a strong breed. History buffs will know they were a common sight in the Roman army. This gentle giant was also a guard dog for the wealthy. 

While they may not go up to a lion looking for a fight, the Neapolitan mastiffs can hold their own when the situation demands it. Its competitive and dueling nature, which traces back to its ancestors, will come on full display whenever it needs to defend itself or those closest to it.  

13. Irish Wolfhound

A large, shaggy-haired Irish Wolfhound standing in a grassy field.

This breed has a powerful stature and can reach heights of up to 32 inches tall at the shoulder.

©iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

The massive Irish wolfhounds are powerful, tenacious, and fast. Males can tip the scale at 180 pounds and 32 inches in height. The Irish originally bred them for wolf and large game hunting. Their bite is powerful enough to kill a lion. 

Irish wolfhounds are gentle and affectionate, making them popular pets, even in homes with children. However, always remember that the Irish wolfhound is a resilient, tough hunter at its core. Please keep it on a leash at all times.  

Yes, We’ve Proved That Specific Dog Breeds Can Kill Lions

We can’t argue that the lion lives up to its King of the Jungle reputation. The animal is assertive, dominant, and large. But, there are dog breeds that can kill lions, as we have shared in the article. Their strength lies in attacking the lion in packs rather than alone. In a one-on-one battle, the dog may not have a fighting chance.

Summary of The 13 Dog Breeds That Could Kill A Lion

RankDog BreedAverage Male Weight in Pounds
1Rottweiler110-130
2Bloodhounds90-110
3Rhodesian Ridgeback or the African Lion Hound80-90
4Dogo Argentino88-99
5Boerboels or South African Mastiff150-200
6Cane Corso99-110
7Fila Brasileiro141-181
8Wolf Dogs70-100
9Turkish Kangal or Anatolian Shepherd Dog80-145
10American Bandogge Mastiff80-140
11Tibetan Mastiff90-150
12Neapolitan Mastiffs150-200
13Irish Wolfhound90-140
Summary Table of The 13 Dog Breeds That Could Kill A Lion

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Share this post on:

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.