It’s no secret that Coyotes are dangerous creatures, and they pose a serious threat on dogs, especially smaller ones. If you have a Golden Retriever and live in an area with coyotes, you are probably worried about what would happen in a confrontation between your dog and a coyote.
Can a Golden Retriever kill a Coyote? No, a Golden Retriever can’t kill a coyote. Unlike Coyotes, Golden Retrievers are very gentle creatures and it’s not in their instinct to kill. Coyotes are dangerous on Golden Retrievers, but they are unlikely to attack your dog if it’s large enough.
Let’s take a closer look at how dangerous are coyotes on your Golden Retriever and how you can protect your dog from them.
The Dangers of Coyotes on Golden Retrievers
Coyotes are actually really dangerous on dogs. They are more dangerous on smaller dogs than they are on larger dogs. The reason is simple; they think smaller dogs are an easier prey, and they know they can simply snatch them.
Coyotes are predators, and predators will always go for the easiest prey possible, no creature would willingly choose the more difficult path.
But what about larger dogs? Do Coyotes attack larger dogs? Yes, Coyotes do attack larger dogs such as Golden Retrievers. It’s much less likely to happen, but it still happens if the Coyote feels they are cornered, scared, or if the dog stands between them and their prey (such as chicken).
5 Reasons Coyotes are dangerous on Golden Retrievers
Here are a few of the reasons Coyotes are dangerous on Golden Retrievers:
- Predator Tactics
Coyotes are predators, and they use predator tactics. This means that they know how and when to attack, they can hold the tension for longer and play on your dog’s nerves till they find a weakness and the perfect moment to attack.
- Formidable fighters
A Coyote may be smaller than your dog, but they have much more experience fighting and brawling than your dog. Coyotes deal with enemies on a daily basis, this means that they are much more used to getting into fights than your dog.
This experience makes them formidable fights, and a real threat on your golden retrievers. A fight between a coyote and a dog will almost always result in the dog being seriously injured even if the dog comes out on top. Sometimes these injuries are even fatal.
- Used to fighting in the dark
Most people don’t know that Coyotes are actually nocturnal animals, meaning they are adapt to fighting in the dark. They can see much better than your dog in the dark and are way better than spotting motion.
They also move much more lightly than your dog, and they can maneuver faster than your dog can react.
- Hunt in Packs
Coyotes live in packs, and they are used to hunting in packs. They will often go hunting in packs and use the same tactics used in the wild by lions and cheetahs. They will corner an animal and attack it from all sides till they can take it down.
- They’re smart &sneaky
Coyotes are very smart animals, and they are also incredibly sneaky. It’s not just you that can’t detect their movements and notice them easily, your dog has a hard time catching them early as well.
They can sneak up on you or your dog, but fortunately they rarely do that to attack and it’s almost always a “steal and run” situation where they’ll grab something you left unguarded and run away with it.
Unfortunately for a friend of mine, this was his shoe on a hike and he had to go all the way down the mountain without his shoes. Needless to say, he never took off his shoes while on a hike again.
Will a Coyote attack a Golden Retriever?
Yes, Coyote can and do attack Golden Retrievers. They are less likely to attack golden retrievers than other smaller breeds, but they can still attack golden retrievers.
I have found a very interesting research (find source below) that breaks down the reports of Coyote attacks on dog breeds as following:
|Dog Breed||% of Reported Attacks|
|Other large breeds||5%|
|Other Small Breeds||36%|
|Other medium breeds||4%|
Here is a pie chart that may illustrate things a bit more:
Can a Coyote Kill a Golden Retriever?
Yes, a Coyote can kill a golden retriever. Coyotes are experienced killers, and if they think the dog is a serious threat, it may try to kill it or lure the dog back to an ambush where its pack can kill or seriously harm the dog.
In fact, it has happened before. Back in 2015, Sarah French found the body of her 75-pound golden retriever after it was killed at night by Coyotes. The dog simply went out of the house the night before and never came back.
This heartbreaking story should serve as a reminder that you shouldn’t leave your dog to wander away at night on its own if you live in an area with known Coyote sightings. But this is just one way to keep your golden retriever safe from Coyotes. Let’s discuss more ways.
Thankfully, pet-related Coyote attacks in the United States and Canada only consist of about 6% of all reported Coyote attacks, this makes them pretty rare.
This table illustrates the nature of Coyote attacks in Canada & the US.
|Nature of attack||% of reported cases|
Here is a colored pie-chart to illustrate it:
5 ways to protect your Golden Retriever from Coyotes
Here are a few ways to keep your dog safe from Coyotes.
- Keep your dog inside.
The easiest way to protect your dog from Coyotes is to bring them inside. If you can’t keep your dog inside most of the time, at least let your dog sleep inside.
- Fence your yards well
Fences over decent protection against coyotes, but not complete protection. As explained before, Coyotes are pretty smart, and they are known to find ways around fences.
Some fences, like wooden ones, will not even be a challenge to them. High wired fences have the best chances of stopping them, and of course, brick walls offer the best protection, but they are also much more expensive and harder to build than wire fences.
Coyotes can jump up to 6 feet, so your fence needs to be at least 8 feet high to provide any real protection. Consider a material that’s difficult for the coyotes to scale. Smooth material provides good protection. You should also install “coyote rollers” at the top of your fence.
- Never leave food or garbage outside
Food and garbage left outside will attract coyotes like flames attract moths. You should always make sure nothing “smelly” is in your yards if you want to keep the Coyotes away from your property.
- Know how to react when you encounter a Coyote
You need to know how to scare the coyote away. I have discussed this thoroughly in my can a Labrador kill a coyote post, I definitely recommend checking it out and following the recommendations there.
- Report any Coyote sightings in the area
A community that always reports coyote sightings will be much more alert and cautious, and this can be very effective in preventing future Coyote attacks on properties.
When Are Coyotes most dangerous?
Coyotes are most dangerous at their mating season at night. They are very active during the month of February. They also hunt more actively during the months of April to August to bring food for their newborns.
I would say to be the most cautious during these times, but you should stay cautious all-year-long still as Coyotes are inherently dangerous on your golden retriever no matter what time of the year it is.
Do Coyotes eat Dogs?
Coyotes do not normally eat dogs, but they may hunt small dogs, cats, and other pets if they are desperate for food. A coyote diet consists of mainly small mammals, but they can get desperate in urban areas and be forced into attacking larger prey such as your dog.
Can a Coyote kill a large dog?
Yes, Coyotes can kill large dogs, but this is quite rare. Coyotes often hunt in packs and can lure large dogs into ambushes and kill them if they consider the dogs to be a serious threat.
Can Coyotes Jump Fences?
Yes, Coyotes can easily jump 6-foot fences or higher. They can also scale taller fences if they can find a hold or a jumping point.
Does dog poop attract Coyotes?
Yes, dog poop can attract coyotes to your property, so you should clean after your dog quickly and keep your yard clean of anything that “smells” as these can attract coyotes.