good point on the cougar's cache - maybe it was? i don't know how/where cougars cache the remains of a kill.
i've read of small dogs being taken by a cougar and saw a show on TV which "re-enacted" another similar incident of a woman jogging with her sm-med sized dog (i think it was somewhere in CA). the show was on "supposedly" documented Cougar attacks - small children, women, sm. to med. sized dogs, etc. (who knows if you can believe everything in a TV show like this?)
[note: if anyone doesn't t like animal stories - no need to read any further.]
as far as "mass" vs. "mass". it really may not have to be equal or greater. it's really that psyche thing - esp. with cats (even big cats). even 2-3 lionesses (~275 to ~300lb each), who have the benefit of a pride and are generally not lone hunters, can be bluffed off a kill by 160lb hyaenas. i saw this once, filmed footage, on an excellent wildlife show. three lionesses bluffed off a Gnu/Wildebeest they had just brought down. it took only 4 hyaenas to do this. one lioness fled quickly; the other two tried to stay their ground, briefly, but fled rather quickly also. immediately after the lionesses fled, the 450lb male lion who ruled the pride charged in, swatting one hyaena, sending it airborne, and then charged the others. the hyaenas fled. the narrator explained this as the lionesses, who do the hunting, cannot afford injury.
i also read, many years ago, a magazine article by a hunter who supposedly witnessed the following incident (i don't know how true the story was). he came upon a deer brought down in winter by a cougar. as he watched, a wolverine bluffed the cougar off the kill. the reason stated was the same. the cougar can't afford any injury to a leg, for instance, or hunting will be very difficult or impossible.
obviously, these are very limited incidents. and there are somewhat unpredictable animals involved. it would be very dangerous for me to draw inviolate conclusions from these minimal incidents. i only mention them to show that it MIGHT be possible that a lesser canine "mass" might bluff a larger feline "mass". obviously, the larger the dogs (and the more of them), the better the odds would be of scaring the Cougar off - no argument from me there. obviously, injured, old, starving, cornered animals may behave diff than typical.
the hunting magazine story i mentioned in the prev. post, actually had the photo of 3 med-large sized coonhounds, treeing a large male cougar (i've also read a larger pack of smaller foxhounds doing the same thing). here, as you pointed out, the masses were somewhat equal (dogs prob. were greater - as were their numbers). this 3-dog photo was not the only incident of treeing or scaring off the article had. i think that if it had been only one dog, once the Cougar was cornered, the Cougar may have turned the tables on the the one dog - but this is just an assumption on my part; the article didn't have any story similar to that. again, the truth of these tales - i don't know. but, even assuming their veracity, i would hesitate to draw hard and fast conclusions about somewhat unpredictable animals.
[note: i did witness, over 30yrs ago, a bobcat (yes, i know what a "real" bobcat look like - it was a positive I.D.) owned by a nutty friend of mine, get chased by a neighbor's GSD (german shepherd dog). he and i were in pursuit - but way too slow to keep up. we were over 50ft away when the cat got cornered. obviously, the cat attacked and the dog (weighing more than 2x the wt of the 35lb bobcat), took off yelping. BTW, this nutty friend of mine, another ex-marine, a huge, powerful man, actually (until the neighbors complained) had an African lion in his home - a young male, ~2yrs old. he had it from a cub. not sure how he came by it and i personally never saw the lion (others who had seen him with the Lion told me about it, but i saw the scars on his back from being clawed once), but he was forced to give it up (thank goodness - it prob. would have killed him one day - Rich told me that the clawing incident was an early attempt to assert its dominance. maybe as it started develop some elevated testosterone levels???) and he drove it to a zoo in his old Ford Pinto. that would have been a sight to see on Interstate 95!!! sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.]
guess we really need the input of a wildlife/field biologist who has studied these animals, like Dr. Hornhocker??? or something like that; can't remember the spelling of his name - 20-30 yrs ago i think he was the leading expert on Cougars - he wrote a great article - i read it in Nat'l Geo i think it was (i do remember from the article the largest cougar at that time that he had "tranq-ed", examined, weighed, and tagged was 181lb).
good advice you gave "If you are entering a place known for having cougar attacks- don't." (clever wording; sage advice)