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Thread: Could a pair of great danes fend off a tiger?

  1. #1 Could a pair of great danes fend off a tiger? 
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    I was just watching that old movie 'Swiss Family Robinson', which incidentally I think is a great movie. Quite frankly, during the scene where the two great danes managed to scare off a fully grown tiger, I actually laughed out loud at first. Because I would be absolutely astonished if the dogs could take on a tiger and live to bark the tale, but I'm not a Zoologist so I don't know for sure. Admittedly, great danes are very big dogs, but still. The tiger might just decide that it's not worth the trouble and flee, but I'm just curious what everyone's opinion is: is there any realistic chance that were a pair of fully grown great danes to viciously attack a tiger to defend their owners, that they would stand any kind of chance of winning? Or even of scaring the tiger away (which is what happened in the movie).

    Honestly, as powerful a predator as tigers are, I don't think many tigers would willingly get into a fight with two dogs that actually held their ground against it, unless the tiger was starving or something, but who knows.


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    A limping Tiger is just as dead as one instantly killed--it will just take weeks to starve instead.

    It's not a matter of a fight to the death....many solitary predictors, such as Tigers, just need to be convinced they can get hurt because if they do they can't hunt and starve.


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    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Two dogs, don't need to be a great dane though, will easily fend off a tiger. Two humans with enough courage to muster, while carrying sticks will have the same result. A group of 4 hyena's will, in the wild, chase off a pack of 5 lions easily, as hyena's really work together, and together are an impressive site for the lions. (not to mention, the hyena has the strongest bite from all animals)

    Go Dogs!!
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Could a pair of Great Danes fend off a tiger? Yes, if you can train them to operate a Kalashnikov.

    (Plus what Zwolver and Lynx Fox said.)
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    Just fend off, as in make it decide that it is not worth the trouble, I think they might do it, but if it was a fight to the death, I don't think so. A tiger is much stronger than a great dane and has claws and longer canines to boot. A good tiger slap with claws extended will injure a dog quite a bit I would think.
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    Lions will attack and kill (but not eat) a cheetah or a leopard. A tiger is bigger and stronger than a lion.
    So I think a tiger could readily kill a couple of Great Danes. It may choose not to, of course, if the cost of doing so looks to be greater than the benefit.
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    Theres a difference between scaring something off and fending against it. I live in Alaska and can tell you personally that its quite easy to scare off a grizzly, but if its pissed off your facing down with the baddest animal outside of a polar bear. When I was thinking about getting a dog I was trying to find the toughest breed (I prefer smarts now) and I came up with a Spanish mastiff - not only are they extremely large, but they have so much dewlap and loose skin that it would be very difficult for even a tiger to get ahold of arteries or the airway.
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    It's not size that matters in the animal kingdom, it's numbers and cooperation. A horde of ants will win from a beetle 100 times larger then themselves. Same is true with humans on the battlefield. Those who have to cover the most flank, will most likely lose. Usually being less in numbers makes you having to cover more flank.

    An animal knows that when it's attacking one of the dogs, the other dog will be attacking him. And one bite can be fatal. But indeed, on a deathmatch, the larger animal will most probably win.

    Some exceptions,
    - Venomous animals.
    - Badger/Wolverine, as they can take on an animal much larger.
    - Birds of prey, as they can plunge and gather momentum.
    - Animals in a shell, stingers, etc. Turtle, porchupine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Two dogs, don't need to be a great dane though, will easily fend off a tiger. Two humans with enough courage to muster, while carrying sticks will have the same result. A group of 4 hyena's will, in the wild, chase off a pack of 5 lions easily, as hyena's really work together, and together are an impressive site for the lions. (not to mention, the hyena has the strongest bite from all animals)

    Go Dogs!!
    Have a need to be very pedantic now.

    Hyenas are not dogs, and in fact are not even in the Canine suborder. They are in the suborder Feliformia, (thus with the tigers) are are most closely related to the mongooses, aardwolves, and fossas.
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    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Hmm, interesting i didn't know that. They behave, and look more like dogs though.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Theres two questions, the phychological aspect related to behavior, and the capacity. THe tiger has the capacity to kill both dogs. Its behavior depends as has been pointed out.

    Ive seen a documentary in which hyenas (who's jaw is probably much more powerful than any dog's) attacked a female lion by surrounding her(it?), the female lion was on the defensive and clawing any that attempted to bite her,
    but when a Male lion came into the fight the hyenas all fleed because the Lion was all out offensive, it didnt(appear to) care if it got bitten it selected a hyena and was dead set on killing that one,
    and sure enough the lion leaped on one hyeda and broke its back bone with a powerful well executed bite. Technically all those hyenas could have ripped that lion appart if they all attacked simultaneously,
    but since none wanted to be among those the lion would kill before it got mauled to death, well they all fled, except the one the lion had selected to give an example. I assume the hyenas that fled and knew
    their fellow hyena had been killed as if the Male lion had snapped a twig will probably run for their lives again next time they see a male lion charging, and not be similarly frightened by a female lion on the defensive(if the lioness behaves in a similar fashion).
    So there is capability and behavior.

    I dont know the behavior of the Tiger, but its a solitary predator as has been pointed out, and I dont know if its folklore or somewhat valid, but Ive read something to the effect that apparently tigers do not usually attack human that is facing it and looking at the tiger (but presumably are more inclined to attack a human that is apparently unaware or has his back to the tiger). (Its a little bit like Alien Vs Predator FPS, if you play an alien you need to sneak and attack from sides/above/back because if you attack a Colonial Marine head on he will machine-gun you down )
    Last edited by icewendigo; May 8th, 2012 at 08:24 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Hmm, interesting i didn't know that. They behave, and look more like dogs though.
    A nice pint to bring up against creationists going on about "kinds" and such.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    (Its a little bit like Alien Vs Predator FPS, if you play an alien you need to sneak and attack from sides/above/back because if you attack a Colonial Marine head on he will machine-gun you down )
    I played that game, it was kinda overpowering playing as an alien, i really liked to play against marines. 1 swoop of the tail, or one time teeth trough the head and the marine is dead. Problem was, beating the fr(*)gging predators as an alien. As they could spot you trough walls, in the dark, and they had a friggin shoulder cannon that auto aims. And 1 hit from a spear gun is death.

    I'm not sure though about the lion biting targets it didn't want to eat. As lions only bite playfully, or in the back, or front of the neck to choke. I have never seen them bite at a target like another great cat, or a hyena. It's mostly clawing. Though i could have missed something.

    How would it be as opposed to other animals. A warthog could fend off a tiger?
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanghur View Post
    I was just watching that old movie 'Swiss Family Robinson', which incidentally I think is a great movie. Quite frankly, during the scene where the two great danes managed to scare off a fully grown tiger, I actually laughed out loud at first. Because I would be absolutely astonished if the dogs could take on a tiger and live to bark the tale, but I'm not a Zoologist so I don't know for sure. Admittedly, great danes are very big dogs, but still. The tiger might just decide that it's not worth the trouble and flee, but I'm just curious what everyone's opinion is: is there any realistic chance that were a pair of fully grown great danes to viciously attack a tiger to defend their owners, that they would stand any kind of chance of winning? Or even of scaring the tiger away (which is what happened in the movie).

    Honestly, as powerful a predator as tigers are, I don't think many tigers would willingly get into a fight with two dogs that actually held their ground against it, unless the tiger was starving or something, but who knows.
    Just a couple of quick points, 'dogs' by the very definition have been domesticated and are no longer wild, many of the hunting and survival instincts have been bread out them. A tiger is largest of the big cats and formidable predator. If the fight took place in the wild and the tiger was so motivated it would easily kill a couple of great danes.

    Now that said unless the tiger saw the dogs as prey or competition for food and territry it would most likely ignore them. It would however be far more likely that the dogs run away, and the tiger catches and kills them.

    That all said just like in war the outcome of any conflict is never certain and always in flux as many factors may or may not come into play.
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  16. #15  
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    Well, here's the scene if anyone is interested; Swiss Family Robinson P2 - YouTube The fight is at approximately 12:00. I personally agree with most of the replies; I have little doubt that if it came down to a savage fight to the death between an adult tiger and a pair of great danes that the tiger would ultimately prevail. However, I also very much doubt that any tiger (or other predator for that matter) would dare stick around to fight. Personally, I think the most ridiculous part of this scene from the movie is that the two dogs emerge from the fight completely unscathed. There's no way that would be the case in real life.
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