What Breeds of Dogs Are Most Effective at Killing Coyotes?

What Breeds of Dogs Are Most Effective at Killing Coyotes?

Coyotes can be a real problem for folks living in rural or suburban areas. If you're worried about these wild animals threatening your pets or livestock, you might be wondering which dog breeds are best at keeping coyotes away. Let's dive into the world of canine protectors and find out which breeds excel at guarding against these clever predators.

While this article discusses dogs that are effective at protecting against coyotes, it's important to note that the goal is deterrence rather than encouraging confrontations. Ethical wildlife management practices prioritize coexistence and non-lethal methods of protection. The breeds discussed here are valued for their ability to guard and deter, not for any capacity to harm wildlife.

Key takeaways:
• Large, protective breeds like Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds are top choices for coyote protection
• Working dogs such as German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois can be effective guardians with proper training
• Size, strength, and protective instincts are crucial factors in selecting a coyote-deterrent dog
• Proper training and socialization are essential for any breed used for coyote protection
• Alternative methods like fencing and removing food sources should be used alongside guard dogs

Why Some Dogs Are Better at Protecting Against Coyotes

brown wolf walking on snow
Photo by Caleb Woods / Unsplash

Not all dogs are created equal when it comes to facing off against coyotes. Some breeds have natural advantages that make them more suited for the job. These typically include:

  1. Size and strength: Bigger dogs can intimidate coyotes more easily.
  2. Protective instincts: Breeds with strong guarding tendencies are more likely to confront threats.
  3. Courage: Dogs that aren't easily scared will stand their ground against coyotes.
  4. Intelligence: Smart breeds can be trained to recognize and respond to coyote threats.

Top Breeds for Coyote Protection

Great Pyrenees

a white dog lying in the grass
Photo by Ethan Hasenfratz / Unsplash

The Great Pyrenees is often considered the gold standard for guarding against coyotes. These big, fluffy dogs were originally bred to protect sheep from wolves in the Pyrenees Mountains. They're known for their:

• Impressive size (up to 100 pounds or more)
• Thick, white coat that helps them blend in with sheep
• Calm demeanor that turns fierce when threats appear
• Natural instinct to patrol and guard their territory

Great Pyrenees are gentle giants with their families but won't hesitate to bark loudly and chase off any coyotes that dare to come near. Their size and protective nature make them particularly effective at deterring coyotes, which are typically much smaller and will avoid confrontation with such a formidable opponent.

Anatolian Shepherd

image by worldanimalfoundation

Another heavyweight in the world of livestock guardians, the Anatolian Shepherd hails from Turkey. These dogs are:

• Large and muscular (often weighing over 150 pounds)
• Fiercely loyal to their family and flock
• Independent thinkers with strong protective instincts
• Capable of covering large areas to keep watch

Anatolian Shepherds are serious working dogs that need a job to do. They excel at keeping coyotes and other predators at bay, making them a top choice for ranchers and homesteaders. Their imposing presence and territorial nature often prevent coyotes from even approaching the areas they protect.

German Shepherd

brown and black german shepherd on brown dirt during daytime
Photo by Anna Dudkova / Unsplash

While not traditionally used as livestock guardians, German Shepherds can be excellent protectors against coyotes. Their qualities include:

• Intelligence and trainability
• Strong protective instincts
• Athleticism and agility
• Loud, intimidating bark

With proper training, German Shepherds can learn to patrol property boundaries and alert their owners to potential coyote threats. Their versatility makes them a good choice for families who want a dog that can be both a pet and a guardian. German Shepherds' agility and speed allow them to quickly respond to and chase off coyotes that venture too close.

Belgian Malinois

selective focus photography of brown and black dog
Photo by Tahoe / Unsplash

Often mistaken for German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois are intense working dogs with a strong drive to protect. They offer:

• High energy levels and stamina
• Exceptional intelligence and trainability
• Strong bite force and athletic ability
• Unwavering loyalty to their family

Belgian Malinois require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, but when properly trained, they can be formidable opponents for any coyote that dares to intrude. Their high energy and quick reflexes make them particularly effective at patrolling large areas and responding rapidly to coyote threats.


a large black and brown dog laying on top of a field
Photo by Krishna Chalasani / Unsplash

Known for their strength and courage, Rottweilers can be effective coyote deterrents. These powerful dogs bring:

• Impressive physical strength and size
• Natural guarding instincts
• Confidence and fearlessness
• Deep, intimidating bark

Rottweilers are often used as guard dogs and can easily transfer those skills to protecting against coyotes. Their imposing presence alone can be enough to keep predators away. Rottweilers' strength and protective nature make them excellent at standing their ground against coyotes, often deterring them without physical confrontation.


white and brown short coated dog
Photo by bushido mars / Unsplash

The Kangal is a Turkish breed known for its ability to protect livestock from wolves and bears. When it comes to coyotes, Kangals offer:

• Massive size (males can weigh up to 145 pounds)
• Incredible strength and protective instincts
• Independence and decision-making skills
• High pain tolerance and fearlessness

Kangals are serious working dogs that need experienced handlers. They're not typically family pets but excel in rural settings where coyote protection is a priority. Their history of guarding against larger predators makes them particularly effective against coyotes, which they can easily overpower if necessary.

Training Your Dog to Protect Against Coyotes

No matter which breed you choose, proper training is crucial for effective coyote protection. Here are some tips:

  1. Start with basic obedience: Your dog should respond to commands like "come," "stay," and "leave it."
  2. Teach boundary training: Help your dog understand the limits of your property.
  3. Introduce your dog to livestock: If you have farm animals, make sure your dog knows they're part of the "family" to protect.
  4. Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog for alerting you to potential threats and patrolling the property.
  5. Socialize carefully: While you want your dog to be wary of coyotes, they should be friendly with people and other pets.

Remember, a well-trained dog is more effective and safer than one left to figure things out on its own.

Other Considerations for Coyote Protection

While having a good guard dog is helpful, it shouldn't be your only line of defense against coyotes. Consider these additional measures:

• Secure fencing: Install sturdy, tall fences to keep coyotes out.
• Remove attractants: Don't leave pet food or trash outside that might lure coyotes.
• Use lights and noise: Motion-activated lights and sounds can startle coyotes.
• Supervise pets: Don't leave small pets outside unattended, especially at night.


Choosing the right dog breed for coyote protection depends on your specific situation and needs. Large, protective breeds like Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds are top choices for their natural guarding instincts. Working breeds such as German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois can also be effective with proper training. Remember that any dog used for coyote protection needs proper training, socialization, and care to be both effective and safe. Combine a good guard dog with other protective measures for the best results in keeping coyotes at bay. Always prioritize ethical wildlife management and use these breeds for deterrence rather than encouraging harmful confrontations.


Can small dogs protect against coyotes?

Small dogs are not recommended for coyote protection. They may actually become targets for coyotes themselves. Larger breeds are better suited for this task.

How do I train my dog to recognize coyotes as a threat?

Expose your dog to coyote scents and sounds in a controlled environment. Reward them for alerting you to these stimuli. Always prioritize your dog's safety during training.

Are guard dogs effective against groups of coyotes?

While a single guard dog can deter individual coyotes, they may struggle against a pack. Multiple guard dogs or additional protective measures might be necessary in areas with high coyote populations.

Do I need a special license to own a livestock guardian dog?

Requirements vary by location. Check with your local animal control or agriculture department for specific regulations on owning working dogs.

How do I introduce a guard dog to my existing pets?

Introduce them slowly in a controlled environment. Supervise all interactions and reward positive behavior. It may take time for all animals to adjust to each other.

Can guard dogs distinguish between coyotes and friendly dogs?

With proper training, guard dogs can learn to differentiate between threats and non-threats. However, supervision is always recommended when introducing new animals to your property.

How much exercise do coyote protection dogs need?

Most breeds used for coyote protection are working dogs that require plenty of exercise. Plan for at least an hour of activity daily, plus mental stimulation.

Are there any downsides to using dogs for coyote protection?

Guard dogs require significant time, training, and resources. They may bark frequently, which can be disruptive. There's also a risk of confrontation if a coyote does enter your property.