If there are big cats, why are there no big dogs?

I think many answers are missing the point entirely. At least from what I assume the question is asking - why are there (naturally occurring) big cats and no (naturally occurring) big dogs.

In the same ecosystem with the same prey animals, there will always be larger cats than dogs.

First off we need to remember that hominins have caused a mass extinction event within the last 500,000 years and there were a lot more large animals than there are today.

So we can extend our list of big cats and big dogs to include sabre-toothed cats which were far bigger than the panthera line of big cats; large panthera big cats such as cave lions which were quite a bit larger than the Siberian Tiger; and large dogs such as the dire wolf.

This is possibly the largest dog, Epicyon. It is earlier than the canid wolves we are familiar with today with a shorter muzzle. Though its not a grey wolf in the picture, a grey wolf is almost the exact same size as the smaller dog in that picture.

Some lion species were perhaps 50% larger than the African lion (so another half a lion added to a lion).

And the largest sabre-toothed cats were even heavier for their size, as they had heavily muscled bodies designed for wrestling massive prey, rather than lighter bodies of lions and tigers designed to manipulate prey until they can get a bite.

So both cats and dogs have been much larger than they are today. The thing to remember is the places with the largest animals also tended to have the largest human populations which wiped out the large animals- the verdant forests of Europe, Asia and America have been almost wiped clean of large wildlife whereas dry places like Africa have had most of their wildlife left intact. Africa is seen today as a hotspot for large animals but in actuality it doesn’t have many large animals, which is why it is so intact today. Compared to extinct lions, extinct hyenas, extinct rhinos, extinct mammoths and mastodon et cetera, the African animals we think of as large today are by no means the largest - Africa wasn’t a great place for large animals on the whole.

The fact remains, though, that any environment that has had a dog (basically every habitat in the last 10 million years) has had a significantly larger cat.

For an identical habitat with identical prey animals, cats are bigger than dogs.

As for why, it is all down to hunting style.

Wolves today kill some of the largest animals in their habitats- musk ox, bison, the largest deer- are all prey to wolves. Similarly wild dogs and hyenas can kill prey many times their size.

For a cat to kill something so large, it has to be far more powerful and muscular than a dog does.

Predators will evolve to kill all prey in the environment. This means even the largest animals will have a predator except for the very largest (mammoths, elephants and indricotheres) which require the predators to become far too massive and specialised, hugely reducing the prey they can take.

So cats and dogs will both grow to the size required to take down the largest (except for the super large) prey in the environment. Dogs hunt larger animals by endurance, pack intelligence, and by nipping and biting to wear an animal out in the chase. Cats hunt larger animals by wrestling and grappling.

For dogs the size needed to kill a large prey animal can be much, much smaller than it can for cats.

This is why cats are, and in the past have been, bigger than dogs.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Do these facts make sense to you? Now you know why there so many big felines in nature.

#animals #Nature #Quora


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Peter Thomas
Unfortunately, the largest animals - elephant, rhino, are not safe - they are hunted by much smaller predators who have guns...humans...
Jan 15, 2021 5:06PM
If you can do the job efficiently size will not matter. HURRAY for the DOGS!!
Jun 22, 2020 11:26AM
Ilias Tsiabardas
Very informative and understanding
Mar 28, 2019 9:25PM
Lilian Ling
very interesting...
Feb 19, 2019 5:20PM
Sandra Mcnamara
You learn something new every day 👍
Jan 13, 2019 12:45AM
Steve Gash
Lots of cats are individual hunters. Dogs are social and hunt in packs. Thought provoking
Nov 22, 2018 3:30AM
Humberto Carrasco
Nov 21, 2018 4:31PM
Clarence Quismundo
That was a nice one.
Oct 30, 2018 10:05PM
vasily tchaikovsky
Thanks ,good information
Oct 16, 2018 5:40PM
Jacqui Golledge
Very interesting
Sep 25, 2018 2:06PM
Excellent informational trivia. Thank you.
Sep 24, 2018 8:52PM
Don Racette
youngsunsuny I'll be DOGgone.
Sep 24, 2018 4:59PM
Dan Drinkall
There's that 'Natural Selection' UNGODLY theory rearing it's ugly head again, eh ? Why would some Ultra-Universal Deity go to such extremes in the arena of species progeny , yet overlook me as a possible Lottery winner ? Hell knows I'd be even more charitable than I have been so far with my hard-earned money !
Sep 21, 2018 12:52AM
Jacky Pierce Friedman
Very interesting and informative. Cool
Sep 20, 2018 8:45PM
Lynne Cage
Very informative 🐾🐾
Sep 20, 2018 5:46AM

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