Can A Labrador Beat/Kill a Pitbull? (6 Factors Analyzed)

There has been a long-standing debate among dog enthusiasts if Labradors are able to overpower an attacking Pitbull, given its bigger size and better endurance.

However, there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Here’s Whether Or Not Labs Are Able To Beat or Kill a Pitbull:

No. Labradors are not able to subdue and overpower an attacking Pitbull in case of an unfortunate altercation. This is because Pitbulls have far superior musculature, strength, agility – coupled with a much greater prey drive and protective instincts than Labradors’. Labradors have greater endurance but this factor doesn’t hold much weight in a fast-paced altercation.

In this article, we’re going to provide an in-depth analysis on the strength comparison between these two breeds, as well as analysing their aggression levels to determine which breed is likely to be more physically robust.

It’s of paramount importance to know where your Lab stands in the strength department to get a better understanding of how great its defending and protecting abilities are.

Note: Our articles are comprehensive and in-depth. Feel free to expand the table of contents below and skip ahead to sections that interest you.

Labrador Vs Pitbull Strength Comparison

1) Bite Force

Labrador has a bite force of approximately 230 PSI which isn’t enough to fracture or break a bone. But this bite force is sufficient for causing deep punctures, nerve damage, extreme scarring as well as severe infections if the wound is deep enough.

On the other hand, an adult pitbull is able to deliver a bite force of approximately 240 to 250 PSI – which is slightly stronger than that of Labradors’ due to their more prominent jawline.

It’s important to keep in mind that the structure of a jaw is directly correlated to the amount of bite force in dogs.

And since pitbulls of all kinds are recognized for their robust and broad jaw, they have a much stronger bite force due to their larger mouths.

On the other hand, Labradors possess more narrow and tapered jaw which results in them exerting a much smaller force due to their smaller mouths.

Therefore, a Pitbull may very well overpower a Labrador with its bite if full force is deployed.

2) Physical Characteristics Analysis

Eventhough Labradors are much bigger, heavier and taller than Pitbulls in general, that doesn’t necessarily correlate to a higher strength overall.

Pitbulls have a much more muscular body than Labradors due to their higher muscle mass overall. As a breed, Pitbulls have a genetic predisposition to be much more stronger and muscular due to selective breeding as fighting dogs in the past.

Pitbulls were bred to be ruthless fighters in the ring, and these physical traits are inherently present in modern day Pitbulls.

Pitbulls generally have a robust and a brawny build alongside a deep chest and a lower center of gravity.

This enables them to maneuver around obstacles or prey in an efficient manner with much stability and better endurance.

Not to mention their broader skull and stronger jaws which enables them to easily grab hold of the prey.

On the other hand, Labradors generally have a leaner athletic build and a larger torso with a much lower muscle mass. This is because Labs were mainly bred for swimming, retrieving and hunting abilities as opposed to fighting.

Also, Labradors’ legs aren’t as muscular or well-defined as those of Pitbulls as well and aren’t suited for activities that require brute force.

Considering all the physical factors mentioned above, it's safe to say that Pitbulls are able to subdue a Labrador in case of an unfortunate altercation.

Read Also: Do Labradors Attack Humans? (Statistics, Factors and Reasons Explained) 

3) Agility

When it comes to agility, Pitbulls are equipped with a deep chest that enables them to have better oxygenation of their muscles which then helps in agility.

This is because deep-chested dogs have an increased lung capacity which allows for a much greater oxygen intake, thus boosting agility and endurance.

With that said, compared to Labradors — a lower-centered gravity deep-chested dog like Pitbull are also able to undergo high level of physical exertion over a short period of time thanks to better oxygenation and stronger legs.

Pitbulls also have an upper hand over Labradors in this department due to their shorter, stronger and stockier legs. And because of this, pitbulls are able to exert more power and speed for quick movements thanks to a greater muscle mass in their legs.

Shorter legs in Pitbulls also provide them with a unique advantage of a lower center gravity which allows Pitbulls to have improved stability, and balance in quick explosive movements – to the detriment of Labradors.

As for Labradors, they have longer and leaner legs with a higher centre gravity which sets them back in terms of their agility when compared to Pitbulls.

A round chest, coupled with an athletic longer and  leaner legs in energetic Labradors are better suited for endurance and stamina.

All in all, Pitbulls have a clear advantage over Labradors in terms of physical power, and speed.

Hence, generally speaking; they’ll be able to easily overpower a Labrador in an altercation.

Check also: Can A Lab Take Down & Kill A Coyote? (All You Need To Know)

4) Endurance

While Pitbulls have been known to have a much superior agility and other physical characteristics that give them the edge over Labradors, Labradors have much better endurance levels than Pitbulls.

This is because they possess a sleek and leaner athletic physique that helps them move smoothly and with minimal energy expenditure during any physical activities as compared to Pitbulls.

With this type of body shape, coupled with a lean mass muscle, Labs are able to sustain prolonged physical activities without exhausting themselves too much.

Also, a Labrador’s round-shaped chest also facilitates with an improved endurance as it allows for a wider expansion of the lungs during breathing which results in better oxygenation.

This explains why Labs are better suited for prolonged high endurance activities such as hunting, swimming, hiking and running.

Labrador’s leaner and longer legs also make them superior over Pitbulls when it comes to endurance. This is because longer legs allows for longer strides and covers more ground with each step during an altercation.

It also helps with better shock absorption as the force or stress on their longer legs have a slightly reduced impact on their joints compared to Pitbull’s shorter legs.

With that said, despite Labradors being the clear winner in this department – having a better endurance alone isn’t enough to overpower an incoming threat or force.

Pitbulls’ endurance levels may not be on par with that of Labradors but their musculature and tenacity makes up for their lack of endurance. Pitbulls still do have the upper hand over Labradors if we were to take other factors into account.

Check also: Will A Labrador Kill A Cat? (All You Need To Know)

Prey Drive & Protective Instincts Analyzed

Pitbulls are much more likely to thrive, attack, dominate and subdue a Labrador with sheer tenacity if they ever get into an unfortunate fight.

Pitbulls have an overall higher prey drive and a greater protective instinct than a labrador does. This is because Pitbulls’ chasing and fighting instincts are deeply embedded in their genes and the remnant of these tendencies are prevalent to this day.

They were bred for bull-baiting and dogfighting back in the day, and today’s pitbulls of all categories had been a result of such selective breeding.

These pitbulls are infamous for their natural inclination to chase any smaller animals or animals that resembles their prey. As a result, they usually have their guards high up whenever in contact with other animals with much aggression.

It’s an instinctive trait that cannot be erased by mere training or socialization. That’s a myth.

Pitbulls in general are willing to do anything to protect their owners or territory at all cost in case it’s protective instincts are triggered, even if it has to kill.

The stats have also shown that most unprovoked attacks amongst dogs in the U.S are from Pitbulls, which is a testament to their high prey drive and protective instincts.

Labradors, however, are social butterflies and they are generally not as aggressive or protective as Pitbulls are. They also don’t make good guard dogs as they are notoriously known to even be friendly with strangers or intruders if bribed with treats.

Generally speaking, aggression isn’t an instinctive trait found in Labradors by default as opposed to Pitbulls. Labs, however, may get aggressive due to their environment and upbringing but it isn’t second nature to them.

On the other hand, Labradors also have a much lower prey drive than a pitbull does because Labs have been primarily bred for retrieving abilities.

Labs also specializes in water hunting skills, but it’s oftentimes a learned skill which requires extensive training.

Also, Labs that excel in hunting are typically line-bred as hunters for generations as opposed to the regular sporting Labradors today. It’s not in their nature to be generally confrontational and aggressive with other smaller animals.

All these factors conclude that Pitbulls have the upper hand in being able to capitalize on Labradors if they ever act on their instincts.

Recommended Reading: Can A Labrador Beat/Kill A German Shepherd? (A Detailed & Complete Analysis)

How To Protect Your Lab From A Pitbull Attack?

In an event when there’s an imminent danger of an attacking Pitbull targeted towards your Lab, it would’ve been almost too late for you to get your pooch to bolt out of the situation immediately.

That’s because Pitbulls are known to be extremely tenacious and they’d never give up on chasing you or your pooch.

The best course of action in this unwanted scenario is to make use of a pepper spray (Amazon) or with a citronella spray (Amazon) if pepper spray is banned wherever you’re at.

As a dog owner who constantly takes one’s dog out for a walk, it’s best to always equip yourself with a pepper spray as a form of protection.

It’s important to keep in mind that the usage of pepper spray should be your last resort if there’s no way of escaping the ordeal. And it should be readily available and accessible when you need it the most, i.e, placing it in front of your front pocket.

If you ever sense any peculiarities in an unleashed Pitbull’s behavior out in public, always trust your guts. Take a few steps back to see what it does, and if the Pitbull begins to pursue your pooch – deploy the pepper spray if there’s no where else you and your Lab can escape to, i.e, no elevations or barrier you can jump off of.

Hold the canister in your dominant hand while aiming for the dog’s face and spray a burst of pepper spray in a continuous stream directly into its eyes, nose, and mouth.

This will cause the pitbull to experience intense irritation, pain and temporary blindness which in turn would back away. And bolt out of there immediately.

Alternatively, if there’s a large enough stick laying around – you may use it as a weapon of defence. Position your hands on the large stick as if you’re sweeping with it, and flick it towards the dog with a hard push vertically.

Such flicks will deliver a devastating blow and it’s very effective to ward off an attacking dog.

Swinging the large stick around is NOT effective in combating the attack, as it may lunge at you when you’re swinging it away in the opposite direction of the dog.

Other Articles You’ll Love:


Dogtime – Pitbull Characteristics

Time — Pitbull Aggression

AKC – Labrador Retrievers Breed Info

PawlingLabs – Aggression in Labradors

Animals 24-7 — Statistics of Dog Attacks

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