Pit Bull vs. Coyote: Which Animal Would Win a Fight?

Written by Brandi Allred
Published: January 29, 2023
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In many parts of the United States, coyotes are an all too familiar predator. They’re incredibly adaptable and can survive anywhere from the deepest wilderness to right outside your back door. Pit bulls, on the other hand, are pets, domesticated canines who’ve been around as a breed since the 1800s. Because of inflammatory news reports and breed discrimination, many people have been led to believe that pit bulls are inherently more aggressive than other breeds of dogs. However, study after study indicates that breed has nothing to do with aggression in domestic dogs. So, what would happen in a pit bull versus coyote fight?

Read on to find out what we think might happen. But, keep in mind that this battle is hopefully something no pet owner ever has to experience. We’ll determine who would win in a fight based on a few things, including size, temperament, and bite force.

Pit Bull vs. Coyote Comparison

Pit BullCoyote
Pit BullCoyote
Size17-21 inches tall21-24 inches tall
Weight25-70 lb20-50 pounds
Lifespan8-15 yrs10-13 yrs
DietPet food; i.e. kibble, raw, canned, homemadeOmnivorous; wild caught prey, carrion, vegetable matter
TemperamentAffectionate, loyal, intelligent, energeticWild animal: intelligent, agile, observant
Bite ForceVariable; approx. 235 psiAround 88 psi

Overview: Coyote

coyote in sunlight
Coyotes are light and medium in size, weighing between 20 and 50 pounds.

©Mircea Costina/Shutterstock.com

When exploring a pit bull versus coyote fight, it’s important to know the basics about each species. Coyotes are members of the Canidae family (Canis latrans), along with domestic dogs, wolves, jackals, and foxes. They live as far south as Panama and as far north as Canada. Coyotes are also known as ‘yotes, brush wolves, or prairie wolves. They’re currently listed as Least Concern, in terms of endangerment.

Size and Appearance

Coyotes are medium-sized, with light bodies and long legs. Adults may weigh anywhere from 20-50 pounds; they typically stand between 21-24 inches tall. Coyotes have stiff, erect fur that’s fluffiest at the tail. Their coats are a combination of red, gray, and white fur, which helps them to blend into the environment. These small canids have large, erect ears and small, narrow muzzles. Coyote tails are typically fluffy, with a black tip. And, unlike dogs, who hold their tails erect when moving, coyotes tails stay low to the ground.

Life History and Temperament

To find out who would win in a pit bull and coyote fight, we next need to explore temperament. Coyotes are not generally considered aggressive. However, they are wild animals, and will always act to preserve their life or the lives of their young. Further, coyotes are incredibly clever, persistent, and opportunistic hunters and scavengers. They see no distinction between domestic pets and wild animals–it’s all the same to a coyote. Depending on the size of the domestic dog, a coyote will either see a threat or a potential meal. The bite force of a coyote is a mere 88 psi.

Overview: Pit Bull

Pit bulls are not really prone to aggression more than any other breed of dog, despite their reputation for such.

©KruBeer Photo/Shutterstock.com

Today, a “pit bull” might refer to any number of breeds, including Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, or American pit bull terriers. Despite their inflated reputation as aggressive dogs, pit bulls are, in reality, no more prone to aggression than any other breed of dog. 

Size and Appearance

To determine who would win in a pit bull and coyote fight, let’s take a look at size. Pit bulls are generally between 25-70 pounds, and stand up to 21 inches tall. They’re typically compact, muscular dogs with heavy heads and shorter legs. Pit bull-type dogs come in a wide variety of colors and body conformations. They might be red, blue (gray), dark brown, black, or any of these colors mixed with white. Unless cropped, their ears typically fold over against their head.

Life History and Temperament

Pit bulls have been around for a couple of hundred years. They were initially bred as a mixture between English bulldogs and terriers. Today, they’re known for their playful, friendly natures, high energy levels, and fierce loyalty to their families. Pit bulls have strong, heavy jaws, and can bite with a bite force of up to 235 psi. Like greyhounds, pit bulls have a strong prey drive; they need lots of exercise to stay healthy.

Pit Bull vs. Coyote: Who Would Win?

Pit Bull vs. Coyote
In most cases, a coyote will win this fight, but largely because it’s a wild animal. In certain contexts, though, a different outcome could arise.


So, now that we’ve learned a few basics about each breed/species, let’s find out who would win in a pitbull versus coyote fight.

The first thing to consider is that coyotes are wild animals, and pit bulls are domestic pets. The second is that this hypothetical situation is entirely context-dependent. Coyotes typically travel in packs, whereas a pit bull, in the wild, would likely be alone. Coyotes, as wild animals, are inherently more dangerous than domestic pet pit bulls. However, a pit bull may be heavier and have a stronger bite than a coyote.

In a pit bull versus coyote fight, a coyote would almost certainly win simply because it is a wild animal, whereas a pit bull is a domestic pet. However, if the pit bull was acting in defense of its family unit, the tables might turn against the coyote. Further, a single pit bull against a group of coyotes would have almost no chance of survival. Finally, we hope that no one ever has to find out who would win this fight. But, it seems clear that the victor would be entirely context-dependent.

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Pit Bull vs. Coyote
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About the Author

Brandi is a professional writer by day and a fiction writer by night. Her nonfiction work focuses on animals, nature, and conservation. She holds degrees in English and Anthropology, and spends her free time writing horror, scifi, and fantasy stories.

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