Tiger vs Lion : Who would win?

by Matthew Johnson
(kingwood, tx, USA)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

A lion would win 60% of the lion vs tiger fights. These are my reasons.

It's quite a strong subject matter to bring up, but seeing as many people are probably killing each other over this, I would like to put my two cents in to hopefully change some peoples opinion on this. Here goes nothing.

When analyzing such a specific topic, I must make sure that the bout is 'fair' to certain picky viewers. For this I will factor out many things. This will be a one-on-one bout in a neutral location, in theory of course. I will also choose the preferred subspecies for the sake of lion and tiger fans alike. In a fight, three major things must be considered. that is the cat's attitudes, the cat's skill sets, and the cat's physical attributes. note these specifics are a gathering of many different sources all combined.

Physical attributes comparison:


- between 3.5m - 4m long
- 1m tall or more avg.
- avg. 550lb - 600lb
- 3in claws 4in canines
- worlds strongest cat and fast
- powerful limbs
- avg. 1000lb bite force
- relatively high fat levels
- small heart (poor cardio)
- short but stout jaws


- between 3m - 3.5m long
- 4ft tall on avg.
- avg 450lb to 550lb
- 3 claws 3in canines
- slinder build but still strong
- powerful forequarters
- low fat levels
- large heart (
for a cat)
- mane (males only)
- long jaws

These are just the attributes that are need to make a viable conclusion. It would seem that the tiger has a size and strength advantage over the lion. With these advantages comes agility as well. The lion on the other hand has a more slender build with a larger heart that allows for better stamina. Also, lions have a longer jaw structure which could allow for more a bite effect, but tigers are more compact which could allow for stronger effect, in theory.

Male lions also have a mane that allows for a small amount of protection against any biting from any animal. It is very effective against hyenas (which have a stronger bite than both lions and tigers), so its effectiveness against a tiger bite should be small but notable. one could side with a tiger or a lion, but in my opinion the tiger and lion have an equal amount of advantages over each other.

Fighting style...

let's start with the tiger first. Some would consider its fighting to that of a house cat or even other big cats. The tiger is known for balancing on its hind legs and playing the boxing game. Jabbing with lightning fast speed. This sort of tactic is more of a defensive way of approaching a fight.

What a tiger does is attempts to bring the enemy down from behind or on the back so that he is able to maul of shred the prey below him. This isn't very common in fights with any animals that a tiger may fight. They are also know to use their weight advantage against smaller animals to better ground them.

A tiger's fighting style is similar to his hunting habits and also to that of other cat species. Simple, but still effective.

Now lets talk about the lion. A lion's fighting is not like that of other cats. It unique and strangely different. Although a lion can jump on its hinds to box, it's not very good at it, so he approaches a fight very differently. He is a ground and pound type of cat (or should I say ground and bite). It's simple but extremely effective. A lion goes in head first, balancing on one fore leg while the other uses brute force to give devastating blows to the enemies face with no consideration of defense (note a male's mane can protect him from a facial onslaughts). This is his grounding tactics. Swipe the living hell out of the enemy and knock him on his ass.

Next, the lion's main objective is to gain control on top of the prey. He then uses his long jaws to lock onto an enemy's throat. From here he either rips the neck out or chokes the opponent to death. A quick and simple, yet effective tactic of fighting any opponent. Fighting style from a lion is not simplistic. It is an effective tactic aimed to kill.

After analyzing the fighting styles, I must say that a lion has the significant advantage here. That is not to say a tiger can't defend itself very well. The lion is more offensive and the tiger, defensive. It is very true that defensive tactics can beat an offensive onslaught, it's just very hard to do so. Make what you want out of this information, but to me it's clear of the lion's fighting style advantage.

Lastly, which is of coarse the most important, is the animal's attitude, ferocity, and alpha mentality. It's not that hard to explain. Both lions and tigers fight very often. Tigers are lone hunters and fight by themselves. Some would consider this the deal breaker in a fight, but one must note that a tiger rarely fights as much as a lion.

Tigers (at least many subspecies like Siberians) are known to be skittish and more shy than other big cats). Lions on the other hand have over bearing arrogance and amount of pride to themselves (especially males). Not only do lions fight over territory, but they also fight over food almost every time and they fight for pride (family/pact) dominance as well.

One major interesting fact about lions is that they will also go to war, with other lion prides and also hyenas. They are always at a constant battle for domination over many other factors, including themselves.

It is simply fact that even though tiger do fight very much, it is nowhere near the amount that lions do. as for mean and ferocious attitude, it clearly goes to the lion (in my critical opinion).

There you have it. After reviewing evidence and sources, it's clear to me that lions seem to have the advantage in a 'fair' fight.

Did I say they would win win in every fight? No. It's more or less a 40/60 scenario. Tigers are vicious and elegant creatures and I love and respect them. Hell, I specifically choose my domestic house cat because it looked like a tiger.

Many factors would make a tiger win in a fight, but more or less, the lion would win most of the time. And I am not saying this as an ignorant slum. Such notable figures like Clyde Beatty, Kailash Sankhala (a.k.a. the tiger man), and Louis Roth, would agree with my critical conclusion.

My personal conclusion... lions are better than tigers and the lion retains the title of king of the jungle, but I still love a badass tiger.

P.S. -- dont even think I am biased or closed minded. just to tell you. The lion is not my favorite cat. I actually like cougars more.


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Tiger vs Lion : Who would win?

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Sep 23, 2011
by: Vasa Dodenc (Brooklyn NY)

There are two species of Lions, The Asian Lion (Smaller) and the African Lion (Larger) The largest known the Barbary Lion is Extinct in the wild

There are Nine Species of Tigers as per the Wikipedia the lion is larger than 7 of the species only the Bengal tiger and the Siberian Tiger are larger and not by a lot 40-to-80 Lbs

The Siberian is much heavier because it has a lot of fat due to it's region it does not have more muscle mass than the Lion

The Siberian Tiger poses the most danger to the African Lion but again all fights are RANDOM.......

50-LBS less or more will not decide the fight

i think it's psychological on the part of the animals

When a fierce Man who is bigger Meaner runs toward your reaction will decide who will win, if you are scared and back off he will be all over you and beat the hell out of you

If you do the opposite he now he is on the defensive now you have a chance that's the same with the Animals ALL RANDOM


Sep 23, 2011
by: Michael

Thanks Matthew for taking the time to explain in detail. I like your arguments. Very sensible and sound.

I agree that a major factor is the cat's attitude. And by the way, the outcome would depend on the particular personality of the lion and tiger concerned.

It would probably come down to the characters of the individual cats.

1 thought on “Tiger vs Lion : Who would win?”

  1. I guess by now you know as the only 2 recorded fights in recent times were in the New York Coney Island (Tiger disemboweled the African Lion in < 5 mins, and before they could be separated) and in Turkey Zoo (Anakar) where a Tiger summarily killed a lion. Look up Wiki Tiger vs Lion and you will see opinion of "real" experts who "deal" with both these cats simultaneously. Even the ancient Romans pitted the 2 and bets were heavily in favor of the tiger. Remember, while comparison is usually done between Siberian & Bengal Tigers vs. African Male Lions, NO ONE ever dares compare the Tigress with the Lioness, because that is a complete mismatch 🙂


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