Watch the Bravest Dog on Earth Take on a Lion and Refuse to Back Down

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: February 21, 2023
© Maryke Scheun/
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On paper, a dog of this size would be highly unlikely to be able to take on an adult lion. This pooch doesn’t care about what’s on a paper! You have to marvel at its bravery and persistence in defending its family or territory from this large feline intruder. It’s not unusual for dogs to risk their lives serving their human families – we can read about service dogs doing this all the time. However, this appears to be a particularly placid lion who seems puzzled rather than irritated by the dog. This may be because the lion was raised by or close to humans and it is accustomed to them and their pets.

Could a Dog Kill a Lion?

This is an age-old question and it has so many variables it is impossible to answer with a simple yes or no. Could an average family pet dog kill a fit adult male lion? No, it could not. Could a group of dogs from a large and aggressive dog breed kill a young, sick or old lion? Yes, probably. Some dogs like the Kangal and the Rhodesian Ridgeback were bred to protect farmland and livestock from human intruders and predators and to accompany hunters. They would have come into contact with lions.

Lion Displays Teeth
Only young, sick or weak lions could be overcome by a domestic breed of dog


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When a direct comparison is made between the Kangal and a lion, it is likely that the lion would win the fight. The big cat is simply too large and muscular and its claws and teeth are too sharp for a dog to cope with in a sustained attack.

The Impressive Rhodesian Ridgeback

The other breed that is often cited as a ‘lion killer’ is the magnificent Rhodesian Ridgeback. These dogs can trace their history back to the continental breeds brought to South Africa by the Boer colonists which were then crossbred with native dogs. They were eventually bred to accompany professional hunters when they were on big game hunting expeditions.

These ‘lion hunting’ dogs needed to be strong enough to physically keep up with the hunt but also agile enough to get out of the way of a swinging lion paw and grasping teeth. They were not bred to fight a lion at all – that is a misconception. The dogs were not meant to actually make contact with a lion, they were meant to tease and disorientate the big cat whilst the human hunter positioned themselves for a good shot. This required courage, agility and intelligence. It did not mean that they could take on a lion in a one-on-one contest!

Roaring male lion
This brave dog tackles a placid lion


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Two male lions
Lions rarely eat other carnivores as they do not provide the best nutrition
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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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