It’s that time again to have a face-off between two top predators, a wolf vs cheetah. Who would win in a fight? The wolf is a determined animal typically hunting in packs but can still hunt game alone. The cheetah has a slim build and has no trouble catching its prey. Read on as we compare the abilities of both animals.
Wolf vs Cheetah: Animal Fact Sheet
|Size||weight 40 – 50 kg|
length body 1 – 1.6 m
height 80 – 85 cm
|weight 21 – 72 kg|
body length 1.1 – 1.5 m
height 67 – 94 cm
|Speed||31 – 37 mph||50 – 80 mph|
|Attack||bite force 400 psi|
canines 6.3 cm long
|bite force 300 – 350 psi|
small canine teeth
|Defence||lives in a pack||speed|
|hear distance wolf|
howls from 10 miles away,
sense of smell 100 times
better than a humans
|can spot prey|
from 3 miles away
|Habitat||North America & Eurasia|
tundra and deserts
|Lifespan||14 years||12 years|
Wolf vs Cheetah: Size
The average male adult wolf weighs 40 – 50 kg (88 – 110 lb) and has a shoulder height of 80 – 85 cm (31 – 33.5 in). The wolf has a body length of 1 – 1.6 m (3 – 5.2 ft) and a tail length of 29 – 50 cm (11.5 – 19.5 in).
A cheetah weighs 21 – 72 kg (46 – 158 lb) and has a shoulder height of 67 – 94 cm (26 – 37 in). They have a body length of 1.1 – 1.5 m (3.6 – 5 ft) and a tail length of 66 – 84 cm (29 – 33 in).
Even though the cheetah has a slim build, it is still heavier than the wolf.
Wolf vs Cheetah: Speed and Agility
Cheetahs are known for their speed and agility. They are the fastest land animal on earth, running at 50 – 80 mph (80 – 129 kph).
One stride can measure 4 – 7 m (13 – 23 ft) when a cheetah runs. The length of the stride increases with speed. When sprinting, the cheetah spends half its time with all its legs in the air.
Their tail acts as a counterbalance when all of their paws are in the air. The tail also turns like a rudder. This makes quick turns in different directions easier.
The wolf may have good speed and agility, but it is no match for the cheetah. The wolf only has a top speed of 31 – 37 mph (50 – 60 kph).
No animal can match a cheetah on speed, so it has the advantage.
Wolf vs Cheetah: Attack Power
A predator’s bite force helps them quickly dispatch their prey. A wolf has a bite force of 400 psi. The cheetah has a similar one of 400 – 500 psi.
The cheetah has small canine teeth and blunt claws compared to the other big cats. The canines are still effective at biting the throat and suffocating their prey.
The claws are blunt and used for gripping the ground as they run. Instead, they have sharp dewclaws on each front leg, 3.8 cm (1.5 in) long. They dig into the cheetah’s prey, so the cheetah doesn’t lose hold of the animal.
A wolf has more prominent canines 6.3 cm (2.3 in) long and claws 2 – 3 cm (0.8 – 1.2 in) long. Wolves are sociable animals and work together when hunting to bring down larger prey than themselves.
This is safer than hunting alone but don’t underestimate a lone wolf. They have still been known to take down an adult moose.
It’s a draw as both animals are very lethal.
Wolf vs Cheetah: Defence
A cheetah’s best defence in a fight is to run from other predators. If they find themselves corned and forced to fight, they can be overpowered as they lack the size and strength of the other big cats. Their bodies are built for speed, not fighting.
A hungry bear can pick off a lone wolf without a pack for safety. So a wolf must live in a group to survive long-term. There is safety in numbers.
The wolf has the defence advantage as long as it is in a pack.
Wolf vs Cheetah: Animal Senses
Cheetahs have evolved to hunt in the daytime. Hunting in the early morning and evening when the light is good, and the sun is low. This way, they avoid nocturnal predators. At these times, a cheetah can spot prey from 3 miles (5 km) away.
A wolf has impressive hearing and can hear another wolf howling 10 miles (16 km) away. Their hearing is so advanced they can listen to high-frequency sounds up to 80 khz compared to a human’s 20 khz.
They can smell a hundred times better than a human. They use this to find prey and identify friends from foes.
Wolf vs Cheetah: What Are The Differences
The most significant difference between the cheetah and the wolf is the cheetah’s extreme speed and agility. The cheetah is also taller and heavier than the wolf.
The cheetah is a cat and a member of the Felidae family, while the wolf belongs to the Canidae family. Wolves live in family groups of 2 – 15 wolves.
Wolf vs Cheetah Who Would Win in a Fight?
So which animal wins, a wolf or a cheetah? Easy, the wolf. Cheetahs have small heads, so their mouths are tiny compared to a wolf’s bone-crushing jaws.
The wolf’s biggest problem during the fight would be cornering the cheetah, who can outrun the wolf easily. The wolf needs to catch the cheetah off guard by ambushing it from behind, and then using a well-placed bite on the cheetah’s leg can stop it from escaping.
Cheetahs avoid all direct contact with other predators and will give up their kill when threatened. So if a wolf approached them, their first instinct would be to retreat rather than fight.