Bobcats are reclusive animals that avoid interacting with humans as much as possible, so if you are around your dog then they are highly unlikely to attack a dog and even less likely to attack big dogs.
But there are a few circumstances where a bobcat will attack a dog and we’ll go over those in this article.
The size of the prey matters to bobcats, so it’s important to understand what we mean by a “big dog.” For our purposes, big dogs are dogs that are over 50 pounds. The most popular dog in the big dog category is a Labrador Retriever, but giant dogs like Great Danes are also considered big dogs.
Bobcats look like giant, exotic house cats, but you don’t want to encounter one in the wild.
Bobcats have fur that ranges from brown to buff in color and they are spotted. They also have distinctive ear tufts and facial ruffs.
Bobcats are related to other lynx cats such as the Eurasian lynx, Iberian lynx, and Canadian lynx.
These large, predatory cats are up to two feet tall at the shoulder and they weigh between nine pounds and 33 pounds, but they are much smaller and far less dangerous than mountain lions which can reach up to 100 pounds.
That said, a 33-pound bobcat can still do a lot of damage!
Even though humans will rarely see a bobcat, they do live in a wide range of habitats in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. There are an estimated 2.3 million to 3.5 million bobcats in the United States and they are found in every single state.
The biggest difference between bobcats and big dogs is obvious, they are completely different species! These two species also have many other differences.
Bobcats are highly solitary and elusive. They are not social animals. Big dogs are social animals and love to be with their people and often also love to be with other dogs.
Bobcats are also nocturnal and hunt and are awake at night. Dogs sleep at night and are awake and active during the day.
Big dogs are also much larger than the largest bobcat. Big dogs range from 50 to 175 pounds, while bobcats top out at about 33 pounds.
Both bobcats and dogs communicate through scent, especially urine. They also are both four-footed animals with fur.
Both bobcats and dogs are carnivorous animals, although many domestic dogs don’t actively hunt for food.
Beyond these similarities, big dogs and bobcats are very different kinds of animals.
A bobcat’s favorite food is rabbit and hare, but they will eat other things as well. Bobcats will eat mice, squirrels, snakes, lizards, cats, sheep, goats, small deer, and even dogs.
It’s rare for a bobcat to attack any dog, and when they do attack a dog it’s usually a small dog. Bobcats can attack big dogs, but it’s highly unlikely. And most big dogs can easily fend off a bobcat attack.
Remember that bobcats are almost always active at night and don’t like people, so unless you live in a remote area a bobcat is unlikely to make an appearance.
Bobcats are great climbers and they can move fast – up to 30 miles per hour. Bobcats stalk their prey over time and are nearly silent when they hunt.
Bobcats like wild areas and are not fond of people. So sightings of bobcats are rare and attacks on humans and animals that are with them are even more uncommon.
If a bobcat does attack you or your dog, you should make a lot of noise. Yell, beat a stick on a tree, or blow a whistle. Noise scares bobcats.
You can also throw water at the bobcat. These animals don’t like water and water will often make them back down.
If you or your dog end up being bitten or scratched by a bobcat (this is very rare) make sure you seek medical advice immediately because bobcats can carry rabies. If you or your animal have been exposed to rabies it’s critical that you get treatment quickly.
Bobcats don’t like people, so the best way to not be attacked by a bobcat is to avoid them whenever possible.
If you see a bobcat in the wild you should avoid approaching the bobcat. They rarely attack unless they are sick or are protecting their cubs.
Don’t turn your back on this animal. Make sure that if you see a bobcat you back away slowly to put distance between yourself and the animal.
Bobcats have a strong prey instinct, so if you run into one it’s important to not run. Running can provoke a bobcat to chase you.
If you see a bobcat in a developed area make sure you contact animal control. Bobcats aren’t normally sited by humans, and if they are hanging around people there is often a problem.
Avoiding bobcats is beneficial for both the bobcat, your dogs, and you.