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Can Pugs Take Down Lions?

If you’ve heard a rumor that pugs were originally bred to take down lions, you’re not alone. But the question is, can they really? Can pugs take down lions?

Pugs cannot take down lions and were never bred to do so. Due to their short, stocky build and stubby snouts, they are not built for taking on large predators and would not be able to do any damage to an actual lion.

So, if pugs can’t actually take down lions, where did the myth come from? What purpose were they really bred for, and what kinds of dog breeds could take down a lion?

In this article, we will answer all these questions and more, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this topic.

Pug As a Lion Hunter Myth

lion dog statue in china

Believe it or not, the myth that pugs were bred to hunt lions is a common one, so don’t feel bad if you thought it might be true.

This myth probably originated long ago, stemming from the line of reasoning that small, stout dogs like the pug could gang up on a lion to take it down.

While it may be true that a pack of pugs would have better luck taking down a lion, it’s still doubtful.

The pug physiology is not good for hunting large predators, especially lethal ones like lions, and a pug would more likely end up as the lion’s snack than be able to take down a lion.

What Were Pugs Bred to Do?

pug as a companion dog

Pugs are thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds from Asia, with some even thinking they may have been bred up to two thousand years ago.

Because of a lack of written records, there is no way to know for sure how old they are or for what purpose they were originally bred.

Records show that pugs were originally bred from the Pekingese breed of dogs  and were primarily used as canine companions for the ruling families of ancient China.

Pugs originated in China further proves that they were not bred to fight lions because lions are not native to any part of Asia.

Besides being companion dogs to ruling families in China, pugs were also bred to hunt and take down small game like rabbits and birds. Their small size allowed them to fit inside the burrows of small animals like the rabbit and bring them back for their masters.

Can a Dog Kill a Lion?

lion and dog silhoutte

So, if pugs can’t take down a lion, is it possible for another breed of dog to do so?

Theoretically, a dog can kill a lion. However, they would have the highest chance of accomplishing this if they attacked the lion alongside other dogs.

Many smaller animals have been known to gang up on a single lion as a pack, such as hyenas or other smaller predators.

It is more unlikely that a single dog would successfully take down a lion without help from other dogs. However, some larger and more vicious breeds of dogs may stand a chance in this scenario.

What Were Dogs Bred to Hunt Lions?

rhodesian ridgeback on the beach

A few different breeds of dog were originally bred to fight lions, including the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Irish Wolfhound.

These breeds of dog are some of the largest and strongest in the world, making them perfect for fighting off attacking lions.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these impressive breeds.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a massive breed of dog that can be traced back to the early Dutch pioneers who settled in the Cape Colony of southern Africa.

In an attempt to breed a dog that could fend off lion attacks, they bred their own domesticated dogs with local ridge hunting dogs kept by the indigenous population of South Africa.

These massive dogs were used primarily to fend off lion attacks from the Dutch settlers, but they were also used for hunting the massive cats.

Ridgebacks were extremely good at working together in a pack to harass a lion and hold it in place so that a human hunter could approach and make the kill.

On the other hand, Irish Wolfhounds were bred as gift dogs from the Irish to their Roman subjugators.

The dogs were then used in arena fights to take on large animals like lions and other predators. Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest dog globally, and they use their massive weight and strength to stay toe to toe with a lion.

Despite their massive stature and strength, a lone Irish Wolfhound would still have a tough time taking down a lion by itself.

More often than not, the Romans would send two or three Irish Wolfhounds into the arena to fight and kill a single lion, with hundreds if not thousands of Roman citizens cheering them on from the stands.

Final Thoughts

pug reading a book

The surprisingly popular myth that pugs were originally bred to hunt lions is a fascinating one, even though it’s not true.

No, pugs were not originally bred to take down lions, and they were not even bred in the same continent where lions typically live.

As companion dogs of the ruling families of ancient China, these little dogs were bred more for companionship and hunting small game than taking down large predators like lions.

However, a few breeds of dogs were bred to fight lions, including the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Irish Wolfhound. Both of these massive dogs were large enough and strong enough to take down lions when fighting in a pack.

We hope the information we’ve outlined for you in this article has answered all your burning questions about pugs and whether or not they can take down lions.

For more interesting animal facts and answers, check out our other articles!

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About the author: Pablo Pascua created dogbreedsfaq.com because of his interest in all the different breeds, and his desire to learn more. His inspiration comes from the many dogs he has owned throughout his life.