Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Who Would Win In A Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 7, 2023
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Africa hosts a wide variety of interesting lifeforms, including hyenas and wild dogs. Many people confuse the wild dog for a hyena, but the two predators are very different in terms of their physical characteristics and behaviors. We’re going to compare the two mammals and show you how they’re different from one another, and then we will use available information to determine the winner of a hyena vs wild dog fight.

Come see which of these pack hunters wins against the other when they’re all by themselves!

Comparing A Hyena And A Wild Dog

hyena vs wild dog
Hyenas are larger and more powerful than wild dogs.
HyenaWild Dog
SizeWeight: 90lbs-190lbs
Height: 2ft-3ft at shoulder
Length: 3ft – 5ft
Weight: 40lbs-80lbs
Height: 2ft-2.5ft
Length: 3ft-3.5ft
Speed and Movement Type35-40mph
– Uses a galloping sprint  
45 Mph
– Galloping run
Bite Power and Teeth1100 PSI bite power
– 32-34 teeth
– Conical teeth are meant for breaking bones  
320 PSI bite power  
– 42 teeth
– Teeth shaped to strip flesh with ease  
Senses– Powerful sense of smell used for hunting and recognition of others.
– Hearing powerful enough to hear prey miles away
– Great nighttime eyesight
– Use their great low-light vision to hunt at dawn and dusk
– Great sense of smell for identifying other animals or prey
– Excellent hearing that is supported by relatively large ears.    
Defenses– Speed
– Safety in numbers
– They are faster and have more endurance than many animals  
Offensive Capabilities– Amazingly powerful bite
– Speed to overwhelm enemies
– Pack hunters
–  Sharp, flesh-tearing teeth  
Predatory Behavior– Cursorial predator that chases after enemies in packs, similar to wolves
– Will eat carrion and steal others’ hunts.
– The pack locates and chases down prey, eating it alive before other, more powerful creatures steal the kill.  

The Key Factors In A Fight Between A Hyena And A Wild Dog

Types of Wild Dogs

This fight would boil down to a contest of size and offensive measures.

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How can we decide whether a hyena or a wild dog wins a fight? A variety of factors will impact this clash between these somewhat similar animals. In particular, we have identified seven different vital pieces of information that would turn the tide of this fight in one direction or the other. Consider the differences in each animal’s body and killer instincts to see which has the greatest advantages.

Physical Features Of Hyenas And Wild Dogs

Are Hyenas Dogs

Hyenas are 5ft in length and can weigh upwards of 190 lbs in the wild.

©gualtiero boffi/Shutterstock.com

Every fight in the animal kingdom is impacted by the physical elements of the creatures involved. We’re going to show you how hyenas and wild dogs measure up to one another in terms of their bodies. The advantages that each animal has will heavily influence their potential success in battle.

Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Size

Wild dogs and hyenas are easily mistaken for one another, but the hyena is a larger creature. The hyena weighs up to 190 lbs, and measures 5ft in length, and stands 3ft tall at the shoulder. Wild dogs weigh a diminutive 80lbs at max, stand about 2.5ft tall, and grow just over 3ft long.

Hyenas have the advantage in size alone.

Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Speed And Movement

Both hyenas and wild dogs are known for their high potential speed which they use to hunt prey and escape predators. Wild dogs have reached speeds of 45mph in the wild, faster than hyenas at a top speed of 40mph. Both animals use a galloping run, but the hyena’s gait is different because their front legs are longer than their back legs.

Wild dogs have the advantage in terms of their speed and movement.  

Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Bite Power And Teeth

Both animals use their teeth to do damage to others. Hyenas have one of the most powerful bites in the world at 1,100PSI and use their 32 conical teeth to break bones and rip chunks from prey. Wild dogs have weaker bites that top out at 320PSI, about the same as a domesticated dog. They have 42 teeth, all designed to shear meat from prey.

Hyenas have the more powerful bite and the advantage.

Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Senses

An animal’s senses can help it detect enemies before they arrive or provide an opening for others to attack them. In this case, hyenas have amazing smell, sight, and hearing. They’re capable of sensing prey from miles off and hunting at night. Wild dogs can hear well, but not as well as hyenas. Their vision is perfect in low-light settings, and their sense of smell helps them find prey.

Hyenas have stronger senses than wild dogs.

Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Physical Defenses

Both the hyena and wild dog share the same physical defenses: they are both fast. Aside from that, they live in packs, and that provides a measure of protection for them.

Hyenas and wild dogs are equal in terms of physical defenses.

Combat Skills Of Hyenas And Wild Dogs

Indian Striped Hyena in a field

Hyenas are pack hunters that use their powerful teeth to hunt prey.

©Dr. Meet Poddar/Shutterstock.com

Hyenas came away with most of the physical advantages, but that’s not the only thing that matters. Take a look at the combat skills of these two dogs.

Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Offensive Capabilities

Wild dogs are pack hunters with sharp teeth. They’re not afraid to take bites from still-living prey in case their activity attracts other predators. Hyenas also live in packs, but it’s their powerful bite that is most worrisome to their enemies.

Both creatures have roughly the same capabilities, but hyenas are just stronger and therefore deadlier.   

Hyena Vs Wild Dog: Predatory Behaviors

Both hyenas and wild dogs use similar predatory behaviors. They are cursorial predators that will chase, exhaust, and inflict many smaller attacks before moving in for the kill.

Hyenas and wild dogs are tied in their predator behaviors.

What Are Key Differences Between A Hyena And A Wild Dog?

wild dog standing in a field

Wild dogs are smaller but faster than hyenas, and they both have strong senses.

©iStock.com/PK Visual Journeys

Hyenas are heavier, longer, and taller than wild dogs. Wild dogs are slightly faster than hyenas, but hyenas are deadlier predators since they have a much stronger bite. Hyenas have stronger senses, too. While hyenas may bear a physical resemblance to wild dogs, they’re actually more closely related to cats.

Although they may appear similar at first glance, hyenas and wild dogs have significant differences that would decide a fight between them.

Who Would Win In A Fight Between A Hyena And A Wild Dog?

hyenas preying on lions

A hyena is too strong for a wild dog.


A hyena would win a fight against a wild dog. The reason is simple: hyenas are just too much larger and stronger than wild dogs. A hyena and wild dog would smell or see each other coming; there wouldn’t be an ambush.

When the battle starts, the hyena and the wild dog would jump into battle, snap at each other to get a feeling for their fighting style, and then hop out until they were ready to fight for real. The hyena would ultimately deal a significant blow to the wild dog, breaking a leg with its powerful bite.

Incapacitated, the wild dog loses its ability to flee. It’s only a matter of time until the hyena moves in for the kill.

Other Animals That Could Take Down A Hyena

The Lion. This cat is the number one cause of death for the Hyena in Tanzania. Twice the size of a hyena and weighing more than 3 times the amount, just one swipe of the lion’s massive paw can take out the hyena. Not only larger, but the lion is also slightly faster, making this king the winner.

The Gorilla. This would be a fairly good match since the hyena has a pretty solid bite and could do considerable damage but in the end, due to its strength, size, and ability to maneuver, manipulate and grab the hyena, this great ape would prevail.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Franz Schallmeiner

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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