German Shepherd vs. Mountain Lion: Which Animal Would Win a Fight?

Written by Crystal
Published: March 29, 2023
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What would happen in a German shepherd vs. mountain lion fight?

Mountain lions have a reputation for attacking livestock and sometimes small pets. But the chances of them attacking a large domesticated dog are low. But what would happen if a German shepherd got into a fight? Who would be the winner? Follow along as we provide an overview of each species to determine which animal has the biggest advantage.

Overview: German Shepherd

German shepherds are members of the Canidae family (Canis latrans), along with coyotes, foxes, and wolves. You can break German shepherds down into three top categories. There are working lines, show lines, and pet lines.

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These large agile dogs are always exploring the world with their nose. They have millions of scent receptors and rank in the top breeds regarding scent abilities. Their powerful noses are one of the reasons German shepherds are so good at search and rescue missions.

German Shepherd: Size and Appearance

german shepard
With a maximum weight of 95 pounds, German shepherds are large dogs.

©Dora Zett/

German shepherds are considered medium to large size dogs. One of their most notable traits is their large erect ears and strong stance. On average, males weigh between 70 to 95 pounds, and females weigh 50 to 75 pounds. As for shoulder height, male dogs measure from 20 to 24 inches at the withers, and females measure 22 to 24 inches.

You’re probably used to seeing black and tan German shepherds since this is the most common coat color. However, there are many more color combinations. A German shepherd’s fur coat can be black, red and black, gray, black and silver, white, or black and tan. And no matter the coat’s color, this breed sheds a lot.

If a German shepherd is blowing their coat, there’s hair everywhere. People who have owned this breed sometimes refer to them as German Shedders. The moderate to heavy shedding comes from the German shepherd’s thick double coat. It’s made up of guard hairs and a lush undercoat.

German Shepherd: History and Temperament

royal canin large breed puppy
Originating in the late 19th century in Germany, German shepherds were then working dogs for farmers.

©Happy monkey/

The German shepherd is a modern breed of dog with origins in 1899. Their history begins in Germany as working dogs. Their main objective was to protect livestock. They were considered farmers’ working dogs rather than a family companion or guard dogs. This is a lot different than how the world views this breed today. Now, German shepherds serve as family companions worldwide and have numerous other working dog and show line roles.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being around a German shepherd, you know just how calm and confident this breed can be. Their level-headed nature makes them perfect for all types of training. It makes sense that they’re the second most registered breed in the American Kennel Club.

Overview: Mountain Lion

Mountain lions are members of the Felidae family, along with cheetahs, tigers, and jaguars. These expert hunters live throughout Central America, North America, and South America. The name they go by depends on where they’re living. Some parts of the world refer to these big cats as cougars or panthers. In a German shepherd vs. mountain lion fight, the mountain lion would have the advantage of being an experienced apex predator.

Mountain Lion: Size and Appearance

Mountain lion perched on a rock near city with humans
Reaching between 135 and 175 pounds, mountain lions are huge, especially compared to German shepherds.

©Warren Metcalf/

Mountain lions are big cats with an average weight between 135 to 175 pounds. Females weigh less, coming in at 90 to 105 pounds. From nose to tail they’re approximately 5 to 8 feet long, with a shoulder height of 24 to 30 inches.

A mountain lion’s fur coat is usually light brown but can also appear gray or almost black. They usually have a white underbelly and a whitish-gray chest. And you’ll find black markings around their ears, snout, and tail tip. The appearance of their coats changes as the light changes throughout the day. The apparent color change helps these big cats blend into their environment.

Mountain Lion: History and Temperament

Female mountain lion chasing prey
As apex predators, there are few to whom mountain lions answer.

©Michal Ninger/

Mountain lions are large apex predators. They aren’t naturally aggressive like a rhino or grizzly. When facing a threat, they’ll attempt to flee rather than fight. But if escape isn’t possible, a mountain lion will attack with deadly force. These big cats have 2-inch long claws, large paws, and a powerful swipe. They also have a bite force of around 400 PSI.

The mountain lion’s lineage is long and fascinating. It’s believed mountain lions share an ancestor with the African cheetah and the jaguarundi wild cat. Their wild cat DNA helps give the mountain lion its unique and agile anatomy. These cats can leap 40 feet, jump 18 feet, and climb trees within seconds.

Most people feared mountain lions in the 1800s and early 1900s because they attacked livestock. But as information spreads about how to coexist with wildlife; their reputation is beginning to change. In a lot of places, mountain lions are local celebrities. They’re secretive and elusive, frequently talked about but rarely seen.

Who Would Win in a German Shepherd vs. Mountain Lion Fight?

Given the differences between these species, a mountain lion would likely take the victory in a battle between them.


Now that we know more about each species let’s see who would win in a German shepherd vs. mountain lion fight.

The first thing to consider is how each species lives its life. Unlike their feline challenger, German shepherds aren’t wild. Whereas mountain lions are constantly fighting to stay alive. Whether hunting for their next meal, evading threats, or seeking shelter, these cats are always alert.

Of course, German shepherds have the upper hand in being one of the most highly trainable dogs. A German shepherd with guard dog training would be vigilant and ready for action. This could make them a fair match for a mountain lion if they had the same attack abilities as the big cat. But they don’t. G

Mountain lions have an unfair advantage with their sharp claws, powerful bite, and predatory nature. They’re also incredibly agile, able to leap 40 feet, climb trees, and run 50 mph. If a German shepherd and a mountain lion were to get into a fight, the mountain lion would be the winner.

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German Shepherd vs Mountain Lion

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About the Author

Crystal is always looking to learn more, and share her finds with you along the way. It's amazing how you can spend your entire life living with plants and animals, but still know so little about them! Let's explore our world together as Crystal covers topics about creatures, places, and experiences.

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