Coyote Teeth vs Dog Teeth: What’s the Difference?

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Published on April 16, 2023
Last Updated on April 16, 2023

Coyotes and dogs are two closely related canine species. They share many physical and behavioral characteristics, but one area where they differ is their teeth. Coyotes have unique teeth that set them apart from most dog breeds.

While coyotes and dogs have many similarities in their dental structure, their teeth are not identical.

In the following sections, Floofmania will explore the differences between coyote teeth and dog teeth, including the size, shape, and function of each tooth type. We will also discuss how these differences affect the animals’ diets and hunting habits.

How Do Coyote Teeth and Dog Teeth Compare?

Coyotes and dogs both belong to the Canidae family, but they have some distinct differences in their teeth. Understanding these differences can help you identify which animal left behind bite marks or chewed on a bone.

Physical Differences Between Coyote and Dog Teeth

One of the most noticeable differences between coyote teeth and dog teeth is their size. Coyotes have longer and sharper teeth than dogs.

Coyotes’ canines are quite long, measuring from 31.5 mm to 38 mm (1.5 inches) in length and 15.5 mm wide. In contrast, dogs’ canines vary in size depending on the breed, but they are generally shorter and less pointed than coyotes’ canines.

In addition to the size difference, coyote teeth are also more complex in their cusp pattern than dog teeth. The bones of the coyote skull are thinner, and the crests are sharper compared to the dog’s skull, according to a University of California, Berkeley study.

How Coyote and Dog Teeth Function

Coyote teeth are designed for hunting and killing prey. Their long and sharp canines are used to grab and hold onto prey, while their hefty cheek teeth are capable of crushing bone. Coyotes also have powerful jaws, thanks to their long snouts, which allow them to exert a lot of force when biting down on their prey.

On the other hand, dogs’ teeth have evolved for different purposes. While some dog breeds, such as the Greyhound, are still used for hunting, most dogs are domesticated and have been bred for companionship. Therefore, their teeth are adapted to eating a more varied diet, including commercial dog food and human food.

Overall, while coyote teeth and dog teeth share some similarities, such as the number of incisors and molars, they have distinct differences in size, shape, and function. These differences are important to understand when identifying bite marks or chewed bones left behind by these animals.

Coyote Teeth vs. Dog Teeth: Which Are Stronger?

Bite Force Comparison

When it comes to bite force, both coyotes and dogs have strong jaws capable of crushing bones and tearing flesh. However, coyotes have a slightly weaker bite force compared to some bigger dog breeds. The bite force quotient of a coyote varies between 88 and 94, while the bite force quotient of a domestic dog ranges from 200 to 450.

It’s important to note that bite force is not the only factor that determines an animal’s ability to kill prey. Coyotes have developed other hunting techniques, such as chasing and cornering their prey, to compensate for their slightly weaker bite force.

Teeth Durability

Both coyotes and dogs have teeth designed for killing prey and tearing flesh. Coyotes have broad, pointed canines that measure between 31.5 mm and 38 mm in length, followed by hefty cheek teeth capable of crushing bone materials.

Dogs, on the other hand, have sharper canines that range from 18 mm to 28 mm in length, and their cheek teeth are designed for slicing and tearing flesh.

While both coyotes and dogs have strong teeth, coyotes’ teeth are more durable and resistant to wear and tear. Coyotes’ teeth are self-sharpening, which means they don’t require regular sharpening like dogs’ teeth do.

In summary, while dogs have a stronger bite force, coyotes have more durable teeth designed for hunting and killing prey.

How Coyotes And Dogs Use Their Teeth Differently

Prey Selection

Coyotes and dogs have different hunting styles, which means they also have different prey preferences.

Coyotes are opportunistic hunters, meaning they will eat just about anything they can catch. Their diet includes small mammals, birds, reptiles, and even insects. Dogs, on the other hand, are usually trained to hunt specific prey, such as birds, rabbits, or rodents.

One reason for this difference is that dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, and humans have selectively bred them for specific hunting purposes. Coyotes, on the other hand, have evolved to be generalists, able to adapt to a wide range of prey in their environment.

Hunting Techniques

Another difference between coyotes and dogs is their hunting techniques. Coyotes are known for their endurance and persistence when it comes to chasing prey. They will often chase their prey for long distances, wearing them down before making the final kill.

Dogs, on the other hand, are often trained to use their teeth to catch and kill their prey quickly. Depending on the breed, they may use different techniques, such as flushing out prey, pointing to indicate the location of prey, or even retrieving prey after it has been shot.

One thing that both coyotes and dogs have in common is their use of their teeth to catch and kill prey. Coyotes have longer, sharper-edged teeth that allow them to grip and hold onto their prey, while dogs have shorter, more blunt teeth that are better suited for crushing and tearing.

Coyote TeethDog Teeth
Better for gripping and holding preyBetter for crushing and tearing prey

Overall, the differences in how coyotes and dogs use their teeth reflect their different hunting styles and prey preferences. Coyotes are generalists, able to adapt to a wide range of prey, while dogs are usually trained to hunt specific prey. Coyotes use their teeth for endurance and persistence when chasing prey, while dogs are often trained to catch and kill prey quickly.

Coyote Teeth and Dog Teeth in Domestication

Breeds with Stronger Teeth

Coyotes are wild animals and have teeth that are adapted for hunting and killing prey. Domesticated dogs, on the other hand, have been bred for various purposes, including companionship, hunting, and guarding.

As a result, the strength and structure of their teeth can vary greatly depending on the breed.

Some breeds of dogs, such as the German Shepherd and Rottweiler, have strong teeth that are well-suited for their roles as guard dogs. These breeds have large, powerful jaws and sharp teeth that can easily tear through flesh and bone.

Other breeds, such as the Chihuahua and Pomeranian, have smaller, more delicate teeth that are better suited for their smaller size and less demanding roles as companion animals.


After comparing the teeth of coyotes and dogs, it is clear that there are some differences between the two. Coyotes have longer, sharper-edged teeth with a more complex cusp pattern, while dogs have shorter, blunter teeth with a simpler cusp pattern. Additionally, coyotes have a longer, narrower muzzles compared to dogs.

However, it is important to note that there is also a lot of variation within both coyote and dog populations. Different breeds of dogs have different tooth shapes and sizes and coyotes living in different regions may have slightly different teeth as well.

Overall, while there are some differences between coyote and dog teeth, it is important not to overstate these differences or make exaggerated claims about them. Both coyotes and dogs have evolved to have teeth that are well-suited for their respective lifestyles and diets.


  • Tommy

    Hi, I'm Tommy! I'm the founder of I am an animal enthusiast and self-proclaimed wildlife expert as well as a dog trainer and breeder of the breed Löwchen. Since I was a kid, I’ve been wildly fascinated by animals, both from growing up in a rural area where there were always animals around, but especially from seeing them in the wild.

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