Watch A Hero Dog Rescue His Sister From An Attacking Eagle

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 9, 2023

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Golden eagle
© Touched by light images/Shutterstock.com

Key Points

  • Eagles attack very quickly and if you don’t happen to catch it on video as we see here, you may not even realize that it has taken place.
  • Dog owners need to be aware of the danger that eagles present to their beloved pets. There are even reports of dogs being killed by eagles.
  • The back/gray dog did have the eagle on its back at one point. But once the tan-colored dog got involved, the eagle hesitated and seems to back off.

Isn’t it great when your brother has your back? Full respect to this brave pooch for piling in when his sister was having some bother with an eagle. The scuffle was short but furious. The back/gray dog did have the eagle on its back at one point. But once the tan-colored dog got involved, the eagle hesitated and seems to back off. The bird looked pretty bedraggled after the encounter so it is possible that it was the dog that started it. Nevertheless, these dogs are both a similar size to the bird, if not a bit smaller. It highlights just how large these birds can be!

Exceptional Eagles

a predator golden eagle with a dangerous look

Golden eagles will attack pet dogs

©elmehdi.ph/Shutterstock.com

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Think You Can?

Eagles are part of the Accipitridae family which comes from the Latin word accipiter, which means hawk – they are amazing birds. Vultures, hawks and kites are also in this family but eagles have the largest beaks.

They are large birds and are very fast in the air having evolved from kites around 36 million years ago. Their grip is up to ten times stronger than a human’s, and some can carry up to four times their body weight.

There are actually around 60 different species of eagle and they can be informally categorized as fish (or sea) eagles, serpent eagles, forest eagles, and booted eagles.

Eagles As A Danger To Dogs

Golden eagle

Immature golden eagles may target dogs that weigh less than 10 pounds.

©Touched by light images/Shutterstock.com

Dog owners need to be aware of the danger that eagles present to their beloved pets. There are even reports of dogs being killed by eagles.

The main culprits are golden eagles and bald eagles. Usually, the bald eagle catches fish and small birds and the golden eagle hunts prey such as rabbits and squirrels but will target prairie dogs. When these birds target pet dogs, it is often an immature bird that is responsible as they have not yet developed their skills and judgment when it comes to hunting. Pet dogs that weigh less than 10 pounds are the most common targets.

Eagles attack very quickly and if you don’t happen to catch it on video as we see here, you may not even realize that it has taken place. There are some tell-tale signs that your dog has been involved in a conflict with an eagle. They will probably have missing patches of fur and multiple skin punctures (with bleeding). They may also have concussions or fractured bones (this is after being dropped from a height). Another clue is if you have seen eagles in the area or if there are eagle feathers on the ground.

Is it Normal Behavior for Eagles to Attack Dogs?

Though it’s generally rare for an eagle to attack a dog, the two types of eagles that have been known to do so on occasion are golden eagles and bald eagles. Golden eagles feed on large prey when hungry like hares, foxes, lambs, or calves. A small dog would fit that size category if this predator were hungry enough. Though bald eagles tend to prefer fish and small birds, they too could go after small animals.

Dogs under 10 pounds would be most at risk of attack. It’s advisable to be aware of the surroundings of your smaller dog, and not to leave it unattended in open areas. If you notice an eagle circling, bring your dog indoors or place it in a protective enclosure. You can also wave your arms and yell to scare it away.

How Big Do Eagles Get?

American bald eagle with wings spread and perched on branch against background of Alaskan Kenai region shoreline along Cook Inlet

Bald eagles are recognized by their white heads and white tails and are powerful birds that may weigh 14 pounds and have a wingspan of 8 feet.

©FloridaStock/Shutterstock.com

Both the bald and golden eagles are large, beautiful birds of prey and are similar in size. Bald eagles are recognized by their white heads and white tails and are powerful, brown birds that may weigh 14 pounds and have a wingspan of 8 feet. Male eagles are smaller, weighing as much as 10 pounds, and have a wingspan of 6 feet.

The golden eagle is a large, dark brown raptor with broad wings and has a range in size from 28 to 33 inches in length with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet. This raptor can weigh between 7 to 13 pounds and much like the bald eagle, the female is much larger than the male.


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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