Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

From an aerodynamic standpoint, no raptor can carry an animal that is heavier than itself. Since hawks typically only weigh between 1 and 3 pounds. Therefore, hawks snatching up canines is an extremely unusual occurrence. However, it has been stated that hawks can help little dogs stand taller.

Hawk Picking Up Dog

The fact that a hawk can’t pick up a dog is no guarantee that the dog will be safe.


Because even a massive dog is no match for a hawk’s talons.

What you will find in this article is as follows.

  • How do hawks get at canines?
  • Just how much of a dog would a hawk be able to carry?
  • Why do hawks target canines?
  • When a hawk tries to eat your dog, do you have a gun handy?
  • Tips for keeping hawks away from your dog.
  • In what circumstances do hawks typically attack dogs?

There’s obviously a lot to cover, so if you have a tiny dog and live somewhere where hawks are common, you’ll enjoy this piece.

This post is also for you if you have a thing for hawks or even if you’re just curious about them.

Do you like what you hear?

Okay, so let’s get going.

How Do Hawks Attack Dogs?

Hawk Picking Up Dog-2

Hawks typically prefer a victim who is caught off guard.

A hawk would then swoop down from above, do a bomb dive, and pounce on the prey, capturing it in its talons. The hawk will squeeze the victim to death if it is small enough, and then take off with its dead catch. Most dogs, however, are too large to be easily squished by hawk talons.

A hawk’s natural prey is a dog, and as such, it is quite likely that the hawk will aim for the dog’s spine, rendering the dog paralyzed. On the other hand, it would be much simpler to consume such a massive prey at the crime scene.

A hawk, though, is not one to gamble. This means that if the dog is:

  1. If it’s small enough, the hawk will pick it up and carry it to a secure location to eat.
  2. The hawk will tear apart the dog’s guts and eviscerate it since it is too big to be removed. The victim’s weight is drastically reduced, making it possible for the hawk to carry it away.

If the hawk is unable to carry off its prey after gutting it, it will likely have to eat it on the spot. As a result, hawks are often caught in the act and deprived of their food. So, hawks generally stay away from canine companions.

Nonetheless, hawks are not picky eaters; they will feast on whatever happens to be in their path. And they would gladly steal a puppy if they had the chance. But,

What Size Dog Can a Hawk Pick Up?

Usually not more than 2 pounds.

A hawk is a medium-sized raptor, with a wingspan of around 1 meter and a weight of about 2 pounds. Unfortunately, not even the fiercest raptors can overcome the laws of physics. Therefore, a hawk can’t carry a dog that’s much heavier than it is. Given that a typical dog weighs somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds. Thus, only very little dogs are within the hawk’s grasp.

Adult chihuahuas, for example, weigh around 7 to 10 pounds. That’s why hawks prefer prey that weighs between two and three pounds. Dogs like Terriers and Pomeranians at the age of eight weeks would fit this category.

Hawks are omnivores, able to feast on prey as diverse as rabbits, mice, snakes, toads, and lizards. So, it’s reasonable to believe that hawks won’t try to attack most canine companions.

However, hawk attacks on dogs under 20 pounds have been documented, with the birds often eviscerating the animals or feasting on their meat. While most of these incidents are blown out of proportion when reported on or discussed.

But one might ponder,

Why Do Hawks Attack Dogs?

Hawk Picking Up Dog-3

Usually, it’s a way to show off their territory or to watch out for their young.

Nonetheless, there are occasions when hunger forces

Hawks, like other birds, prefer to avoid conflict wherever possible.

This is why most hawks avoid preying on canine companions and other large creatures.

It’s highly unusual for a hawk to attack dogs, which could be due to a number of factors.

  1. Protecting Offspring

When it comes to their young, hawks are just as protective as any other animal.

These raptors will viciously attack anyone who comes near their nests.

When a hawk is nesting in the area, even crows avoid the area out of fear of the parents.

To protect its young, a hawk may even dive bomb a person.

In order to protect its young, a hawk will attack any dog that comes near it.

  1. Territorial Behavior

Hawks’ hormone levels rise during the mating season.

This causes them to exhibit more territorial behavior.

Hawks may attack dogs as a form of dominance display.

In addition, hormonal imbalance causes birds to lose their sense of judgment.

They get into fights when there’s no need to since they can’t judge for themselves how harmful an activity is.

  1. Hunger

Hawks have a wide range of prey options.

This means that most hawks can go without eating canines.

Yet, a hawk may resort to attacking dogs out of hunger if it has no other food sources.

In the winter or during migration, this is quite usual.

4. Habitat Destruction

As a result of human activity causing damage to natural ecosystems, wild animals are increasingly venturing into human settlements.

Perhaps the pet dog was attacked by a hawk because the animal was freaked out by the constant changes in his environment.

Hawks would rather feast on birds or cats than dogs any day.

Of course you’d want to save your dog from a hawk if you saw one attacking it.

The query is..

Can I Sho

No, not at all.

That you fear for the welfare of your pet is quite understandable.

However, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects raptors.

Injuries, snares, murder, torture, firearms, or poisoning of hawks are all punishable by law.

A fine of up to $30,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail applies for breaking this law.

A hawk, on the other hand, is a harmless raptor that is merely acting on instinct.

It doesn’t harm people out of spite, but rather because that’s how it is built.

 A hawk rarely attacks a dog.

So, how do you keep your dog safe from hawks if you can’t attack them?

Well, let’s find out.

How Can I Protect My Small Dog From Hawks?

So, have the hawk cross its heart and make a pact with you that it won’t harm your dog.


I wish that was how it operated.

In all seriousness, though, keeping hawks away from your dog is not hard at all. It’s possible to accomplish so by,

  1. Supervising

Hawks are realistic about their abilities and know they can’t beat a human.

Therefore, the mere fact that you and your dog are in the area will deter any hawks from attempting an attack.

What I propose is that

  1. Bring them with you every time you go outside.
  2. Feed them inside, as bending their necks puts them at risk of being stepped on.
  3. Let the dogs out together.
  4. Keep your dog on a leash at all times.
  1. Sheltering

Since hawks typically survey their surroundings before swooping down on their prey, from above.

As a result, a little dog will be much safer if their line of sight is obstructed.

A few suggestions from me are:


  1. Investing in dog houses with a wired top.
  2. letting your dogs relax in the shade of a shed or other structure.
  3. The installation of a mesh fence of 4 inches in height to contain the area.

Bears, foxes, coyotes, and feral dogs, all of which prey on dogs, will be deterred as a result.

  1. Hawk-Proofing

You can do this by,

  1. Reducing potential perch locations is a good first step.
  2. Put up spikes on your walls to prevent birds from roosting there.
  3. As a deterrent against hawks, you’ve set up your property with life-size statues of owls. To maintain the illusion, though, you may need to move them every day.
  4. Reflective tape, old compact discs, optical rods, or even aluminum foil hung on the wall. To a hawk, your home will now look very strange, and he will likely avoid it as a result.
  5. Removing Food Resources

Your yard will be a hawk’s paradise if it attracts rodents and songbirds.

So, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Put up netting over bird feeders or get rid of them.
  2. In other words, keep away from doves, roadrunners, grouse, and quails if you don’t want to see them eating on the ground.
  3. Eliminate any rodents, such as mice, voles, hamsters, or lizards, from your home.
  4. Get rid of the bugs.
  5. Do not go outdoors and feed the animals. Many more animals will flock to the leftovers.
  1. Others

The presence of hawks can be controlled in and around your home by:

  1. Flashlight shooing them away.
  2. Surprise the hawk by switching up your pet’s routine.
  3. Investing in a dog’s safety by outfitting him with a fluorescent or talon-proof vest.
  4. Making a call to the wildlife control department.

However, owls are far and away the most common raptor to attack a dog.

Keeping your dog indoors at night is an easy way to deter them.

Magnificent golden eagles, for all their size and strength, cannot pick up a dog weighing more than seven pounds.

Therefore, hawks typically avoid attacking dogs and won’t if given the chance.

Because of this, you might be fine even if you don’t take these measures.

To be sure, if you’re curious,

Which Hawks Are Most likely to Attack a Dog?

Once again, hawks avoid attacking dogs.

But if a hawk can carry a dog aloft, it won’t waste any time hunting it.

Roughly equal to its own body weight is how much a raptor can pick up in one go.

The following hawks are the most likely to attack a dog based on their ability to carry heavy prey.

Wrapping Up 

Hawks aren’t strong enough to pull anything heavier than themselves.

A hawk would have to be much smaller than a dog for it to be able to carry it off in the air.

For this reason, a hawk attacking a dog is an extremely unusual occurrence.

A hawk that is nesting or particularly hungry could still attack a dog.

When protecting their nests, they can get exceedingly possessive.

If you’re worried about hawks in your area and the safety of your dog, there are steps you may take to deter them.

In no circumstances should hawks ever be shot at.

Doing so might result in jail time or hefty fines if caught by authorities.

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