Do Wolves Attack Dogs?

Wolves are more aggressive than dogs and will attack them if dogs enter their territory because they have a strong territorial instinct and will feel threatened by the dog.

do wolves attack dogs

According to several documents and sources, dogs are often attacked by wolves in areas where the wolf population is dense.

This means that territories of wolves are larger and will often even stretch near the human territories, meaning that dogs are naturally endangered even when accompanied by a human.

For those reasons, taking extra precautions if you’re a dog owner and you live in a wolf-populated area should be considered.

Do Dogs and Wolves Get Along?

Dogs and wolves will not get along if they meet in the wild, but they can get along if the wolf is raised along with dogs.

Wild wolves are very territorial and will get aggressive towards anyone or anything that enters their territory.

And because they are often together in packs, they are very effective at defending their territory. Often, they will attack the approaching animal without warning, even if the animal didn’t have the intention to attack them in the first place.

This is what often happens in the wild with wolves and dogs. Wolves are much more aggressive than most dog breeds (which is one reason you cannot tame wolves), so they will attack a dog if they meet in the wild. They will see the dog as the direct competitor, and they will treat the dog as if they’re yet another wolf looking to take their territory.

However, it’s a whole different story if wolves and dogs are raised together.

If a single wolf is raised next to dogs or a dog family, it will be much less aggressive and might form closer bonds with the dogs it’s raised with. It’s fair to say then that wolves do get along with dogs, but only when they are raised together, or if they spend their early childhood under the influence of other dogs.

Wolves raised at home will be much more attached to their owners, and they will start forming bonds with other animals. However, even though they might show dog-like features and behaviors, they will never get rid of some of the typical wolf features.

These include:

  • Shyness and avoidance of people they don’t know
  • A strong sense of independence and cravings for being left out of the home
  • They don’t show the same level of attachment to humans as dogs do
  • They’re much more independent as they grow up, as they won’t get closely attached to other animals or people

Related: Can Wolves Bark Like Dogs?

Why Do Wolves Attack Dogs?

Wolves attack dogs in nature often because they see them as a natural threat that is threatening their existence and more importantly, their habitat.

That’s why in many states where wolf populations are high like Idaho or Alaska, wolf attacks on dogs are actually quite common. These attacks are far more likely in spring and in the summer when people wander out into the woods with their dogs, which leaves dogs more exposed to wolves and potentially, wolf attacks.

Wolves also mark their territories by urinating, giving other animals a clear warning sign they’re not welcome. However, the main problem with that is that humans can’t detect urine, so they’re not capable of avoiding these territories, even when they take their dogs with them.

As a consequence, they will also lead their dogs into these dangerous wolf territories.

And even worse, they leave their dogs unattended and not leashed, which further increases the chances of a wolf attack in wolf territories. That’s why wolf attacks are becoming very common in areas where wolves have their territories.

Local authorities advise strong precautionary measures and extra care when entering wolf territories and especially states or countries where wolves live, like Idaho, Alaska, and other states. To avoid a wolf attack on your dog, this is what you can do to prevent it:

  • Keep your dog leashed and close to you
  • Try to recognize wolf signs, such as dens or rendezvous signs. Detecting urine might not be possible, but be observant of your dog’s restless behavior if it sniffs something dangerous
  • Put a bell on your dog’s collar, which will warn wolves that you’re near them, which might keep them away from your dog
  • If you live in wolf territory, keep your dogs closed in your house or if that’s not an option, a kennel

Taking those measures will minimize the likelihood of wolf attacks on your dogs, but know that they’re always possible, even if you do everything right.

Related: Are Dogs and Wolves the Same Species?

Can a Wolf Kill a Dog?

A wolf can kill a dog if it attacks it, especially if the wolf is larger and stronger than the dog.

Depending on the type of dog breed you own, your dog might or might not be able to withstand a wolf attack.

Large dog breeds will obviously be more adept at defending themselves in case of a wolf attack, but even the larger dogs might not be strong enough if a wolf attacks.

Considering that wolves are up to twice larger than some dog breeds, it’s highly likely that a wolf attack will not end well for your dog. Wolves have stronger and larger paws, stronger jaws, bigger teeth, have more stamina than most dogs, and they’re also faster, which does not speak in favor of your dog.

In case of a wolf attack, the wolf might not be able to kill your dog, but it will hurt it at the very least. The main goal of the wolf attack will not be to kill the dog, but to scare it away and keep it clear from its territory – it’s just that a wolf attack might be a bit too much for some dog breeds.

Related: Great Dane vs. Wolf (Which is Bigger?)

Final Thoughts

Wolves and dogs look very similar and they have some traits and features in common. One of the main differences is that wolves are far more territorial than dogs, and will attack dogs if they feel threatened.

Know that there’s always a chance that a wolf will attack your dog if you live in a wolf territory, which is why taking the extra precautionary measures might help you avoid a wolf attack altogether.

Read Also: Does Bear Spray work on Wolves?