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Wolf vs. Mastiff Comparison: Size, Strength & Other Differences

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Which dog would win in a fight against a wolf? Could a Mastiff do it?

A Mastiff is generally bigger than a wolf, but it might be lacking in terms of fighting power.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences and similarities between the two animals. We’ll also explore what would happen if the two were to fight it out.

TraitWolfMastiff
Height26-33” (66-83 cm)24-35” (61-89 cm)
Weight65-150 lbs (30-68 kg)70-240 lbs (32-110 kg)
Lifespan10-14 years10-12 years
DistributionUnited States, Canada, Eurasia, AfricaCaptivity Worldwide
DietCarnivoreCarnivore

Tibetan Mastiff vs. Wolf: Who Wins in a Fight?

A Tibetan mastiff has a good chance of surviving a wolf attack, but a poor chance of taking down a wolf by itself.

A wolf would be able to overpower a Tibetan mastiff. Not because of its size, but because of its temper, teeth, claws, and agility.

Wolves are apex predators and live off of prey that they hunt down and kill. They’re very fast and very agile. 

If they were to fight to the death, a wolf would succeed. But, a Mastiff may be able to fend off a wolf long enough to escape, if it had the chance.

The Mastiff is a domesticated dog breed, and is hence not built for fighting, and does not have the same aggressive temper. They are however very protective and will do whatever they can to protect their territory, much like wolves.[1]

Tibetan Mastiff sitting

Wolf & Mastiff Differences

There are plenty of differences between wolves and mastiffs. For one, they look very different. Their temper, bite force, and social behavior are also very different. Mastiffs are bigger than wolves but have less attacking force.

Physical Appearance

There are many different physical characteristics that distinguish wolves from other canine species, including the Mastiff. 

Wolves have long legs and large feet relative to their body size which helps them move quickly through snow and over rugged terrain. Wolves often have thick fur which provides insulation against harsh weather conditions.

Mastiffs also have a double coat (meaning they have two layers of fur), but their hair is shorter. They have floppy ears, whereas wolves have stiff ears.

The physical characteristics vary depending on the breed of Mastiff. Where the Tibetan Mastiff has longer fur, the English Mastiff has shorter fur.

Wolves typically weigh between 65 and 110 pounds but can reach upward of 150 to 175 pounds. The Mastiff can weigh up to 240 pounds (more specifically the English Mastiff), but they usually weigh between 90 to 130 pounds.

Related: Wolf size comparison

brown tibetan mastiff sitting

Bite Force

Wolves have a significantly stronger bite than Mastiffs. With an average bite force of 405 PSI, and a maximum bite force of 1200 PSI, wolves bite with more power than most Mastiffs, though the English mastiff can reach 552 PSI.

When it comes to biting, wolves are very powerful. Relative to their size, they have one of the strongest bites. The wolf has the sharpest and most powerful teeth of all canines, while the Mastiff also has a strong bite. 

While an average wolf has a bite force of 405 PSI, it’s believed that it can reach upwards of 1200 PSI when in danger.

In comparison, Mastiffs range from 300 to 552 PSI, with the English Mastiff having the strongest jaws, followed by the Tibetan Mastiff (500 to 550 PSI). Hence, the English and Tibetan Mastiff may have stronger average bites, but wolves can ultimately generate more power.

But, bite force isn’t everything. The size of their teeth makes a great impact on how devastating a bite is. Wolves have generally larger and sharper teeth than Mastiffs.

Related: Wolf bite force

alpha male wolf

Social Behavior

Wolves are pack animals that live in family groups. Their social behavior is very complex and has been studied for many years. 

A wolf’s rank within the pack is determined by its dominance and submission behaviors. The dominant wolf controls access to food and mates.

Mastiffs are also social animals, but their social structures are not as well understood as wolves’. As dogs have been domesticated by humans, they typically consider their owners as their pack. 

They’re generally social animals, but can also be reserved toward strangers. A will be very protective of its territory and family though.

Related: Wolf pack rank

couple of wolves in the wild

Wolf & Mastiff Similarities

Wolves and Mastiffs also share some similarities. For one, they’re from the same family. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and hence share much of their DNA. Both animals also feed on protein, making them carnivores.

The Canidae Family

The family Canidae includes wolves, dogs, foxes, jackals, and coyotes[2]. Wolves are the most ferocious of this family.

Dogs are direct descendants of wolves and were domesticated by humans a long time ago.

While there is some discussion on the matter, dogs and wolves are even considered the same species, and dogs are a subspecies of wolves[3]. The animals typically share between 99.8% and 99.9% of their DNA, making them more alike than most people recognize.

Related: Are dogs and wolves the same species?

group of dogs

Diet

Wolves are carnivores, hunting, killing, and eating prey that they find in their territory. They primarily hunt ungulates, which are large, hoofed animals. A wolf’s diet consists mostly of meat, but they will also eat fruits, vegetables, and other plants on occasion.

In contrast, the diet of a mastiff is much more varied, as they’re are omnivores[4]. They may eat meat, but they also consume a lot of grains and vegetables.

As stated, wolves hunt for food. As Mastiffs are domesticated, they’re fed by their owner.

Related: What do wolves eat?

grey wolf eating

Are Wolves and Mastiffs Related?

Yes, wolves and Mastiffs are related. Domestic dogs are direct descendants of wolves.

The wolf and mastiff are both parts of the Canidae family. The scientific name for wolves is Canis Lupus, while dogs are classified as Canis Familiaris.

As stated earlier, wolves and dogs share 99.9% of their DNA, making them highly related.

As the two animals are so close, they can also mate with each other, producing viable offspring called Wolfdogs.

Can Wolves and Dogs Mate?

Yes, wolves and dogs can mate. They’re interfertile, meaning they can produce viable offspring.

Wolves and dogs have a long history together. Dogs were first domesticated from wolf ancestors, so it is logical that they can mate with each other. 

However, their offspring would not be as strong or resilient as wolves. Wolfdogs inherit some traits from each parent. As dogs are generally friendlier than wolves, a wolfdog is also more friendly than a wolf.

Dogs are wolves that can mate because they share the same chromosome count and genetically match.

Wolves can also mate with coyotes, producing a so-called “Coywolf”.

Wolfdogs are primarily bred in captivity.

czechoslovakian wolfdog

Do Wolves Prey on Dogs?

No, wolves typically don’t prey on dogs, due to the simple fact that dogs are often accompanied by humans. Wolves will attack lone dogs.

Wolves are known to prey on an array of animals, but can they also go after domesticated dogs? 

Dogs have become man’s best friend over the years due to their loyal nature and willingness to please humans. As wolves tend to keep their distance from humans, dogs that stay close to their owners are safe.

Wolves have been known to attack stray dogs or hunting dogs that invade a wolf pack’s territory.

Related: Are wolves dangerous to humans and pets?

Conclusion

A wolf is a wild animal, and it would most likely overpower a Tibetan mastiff in a fight. They’re more aggressive and agile and are generally better suited for killing prey. The mastiff, on the other hand, is a domesticated dog breed. They’ve evolved to be fed and to form bonds with humans.

The Mastiff is generally bigger than a wolf, but not always by much. The smallest Mastiffs are about the size of a small wolf, while a bigger Mastiff is significantly larger than a big wolf.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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