Coyotes and dogs are similar animals, and they are both in the Canidae animal family. Dogs breeding with each other produces more dogs, and the same happens when coyotes breed. But, can coyotes breed with dogs, and if so, what happens?
Yes, Coyotes can breed with dogs which creates an animal called a coydog. However, it is not common for coyotes and dogs to breed together because of their breeding seasons, the bonds between the parents, and their low fertility rates. It happens, but coydogs are rarely kept as pets since they are wild.
This article explains how coyotes and dogs can breed, why coydogs are not more common, and whether or not they make a good pet.
Other articles you would like: Why Can’t a Human Breed With Other Animals? and How Often Can You Breed a Dog?
Coyote and Dog Breeding
Coyotes and dogs can breed, and their offspring have a good chance of surviving and being born healthy, thanks to the similarities between the two animals.
And, the result is an animal called a coydog, a combination of the two animal names. Scientists sometimes refer to coydogs as eastern coyotes.
Some coydogs are hard to recognize because they look so similar to one of their parent animals. Just because an animal looks like a coyote does not mean they do not have any dog ancestry and vice versa.
Coydogs have some common characteristics that make them easier to identify compared to dogs or coyotes.
Many coydogs have gray fur, as do most coyotes, but they can also be other colors like blond, black, and red, which is less common in coyotes. Their unique coloring comes from the dog. Coydogs also weigh more than coyotes on average and have a more deer-based diet, which is where the excess weight comes from.
Are Coydogs Common?
Even though coyotes and dogs can breed, they are not very common. You will not find any domesticated coydogs, but some are in the wild, and some have been raised in captivity for scientists to study.
Scientists can estimate how many coydogs are living in the wild, but it is a rough estimate because they need to perform DNA testing to determine which animals are a mix of dog and coyote; looking at them is not enough to tell.
Coydogs often get mixed up with coywolves, which are a similar hybrid but the coyote breeds with a wolf instead of a dog. The two animals look similar, but most wolves in North America have some coyote DNA in them. But, there are significantly fewer coydogs on the continent.
However, these animals used to be much more common. Starting before the colonization of the Americas by Europeans and lasting into the 20th century, people in Mexico and Canada would purposely breed coyotes and dogs.
In Mexico, they wanted guard dogs, but domestic dogs were not as big and intense, so they wanted some coyotes in them. And, in Canada, they bred coydogs as sled dogs.
Next, we will get into the reasons coydogs are not more common.
Reasons Coydogs are Not More Common
So, coydogs exist but are not as common as they could be. Why is this? There are a few reasons why coydogs are not more common:
- Different Breeding Seasons
- Single Parent Litters
This section details these reasons.
Different Breeding Seasons
First, dogs can breed anytime, but coyotes are seasonal breeders. So, a dog and a coyote would have to meet and breed at a specific time of year for the coyote to be ready to breed together.
Furthermore, coydogs inherit the seasonal breeding trait. Coydogs can mate with dogs or coyotes to produce more of these species. But, their breeding season does not align with the coyotes’ breeding season. So, coyotes and coydogs rarely breed with each other, and dogs and coydogs breeding is just as rare as dogs and coyotes breeding because of the seasonal breeding.
When coydogs do breed, they are most likely to breed within the coydog family since their mating cycles line up.
Since coydogs are rare, to begin with, it is difficult for coydogs to reproduce together enough to create a significant population of them. And coydogs are a hybrid species which oftentimes means they are not as good at breeding as pure animals. Their fertility is often lower, which leads to an even smaller chance of the coydog population becoming more prevalent.
So for coydogs to be more common as a species, dogs, and coyotes would need to breed much more than they already do. But, for all the reasons we explain in this section, they do not breed all that often, even though it is possible.
Single Parent Litters
Another reason why coydogs are not common is that the coydog dad does not stick around to help the mom of the other species raise the litter. The mom is left alone to care for her coydog pups, and they have a lower chance of survival.
Coyotes and dogs will only stay together long enough to get pregnant, then they go their separate ways, but when dogs or coyotes breed with their own species, the mom and dad bond and both are there to keep their pups safe after they are born.
Are Coydogs Good Pets?
You can keep coydogs as a pet, but it is quite uncommon, and if you want a coydog pet, you need to be an experienced dog owner. As detailed in this section, there are many things to consider if you want to domesticate a coydog.
Coydogs do not make good domestic pets like other dogs since they are partially wild animals. With the coyote in them, they are quite temperamental and require a lot of attention and patience. They tend to get very attached and protective of their owner, resulting in violent behavior against others.
The coydog needs to be trained from a very young age if you want to have an easier time keeping them as a domestic animal.
One of the best ways to make sure they stay happy and safe is to make sure they get a lot of exercise. Coydogs need a lot of space to run around and a lot of time to do it. Just like dogs, they want you to play with them, and the exercise needs to be daily, just like a coyote would have in the wild.
Coydogs also might face some health issues, and they have a wide life expectancy ranging from 5 to 15 years. Some common health issues in coydogs include arthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia. Their life expectancy depends on whether or not these health conditions affect them and how well taken care of they are, including their diet, exercise, and affection.
You also need to find a vet who is familiar with coydogs and their health when you take one for checkups and shots.
Coydog vs. Dog Characteristics
Furthermore, coydogs have some characteristics that dogs do not, and owning them may be difficult. First, coydogs need a lot of space to themselves, like a den they would have in the wilderness. It needs to be their own space, and they should not share it with other pets.
And, since coydogs are bigger than most dogs, they need their den to be spacious. Their size also means they require more space in general and a lot more food. So, owning a coydog might be more expensive than owning other types of dogs.
Coydogs are also very social, and when they want attention, you need to give it to them. If coydogs want to lay down with you or play a game, you better be willing to do so. Otherwise, they will be offended, and their hot temper may show. However, they tend not to like to be pets as much as dogs, but they do like to cuddle.
Furthermore, when coydogs do want to play, they might want to do more than just play fetch. They are smart animals, so you may want to find toys and games that will challenge them. Unfortunately, their intelligence also means they are pretty quick to learn how to open doors and get into things in your home that they are not supposed to.
Coydogs are noisy like coyotes. Sometimes they bark similarly to how dogs do, but they make a lot more noise and different noises too.
They can howl, and at times it may be high-pitched, which can be very annoying, and even startling the first time you hear it. A coydog will likely break all noise regulations if you have close neighbors or roommates, especially in an apartment building.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Coyote Breed With A Dog?
Yes, a coyote can breed with a dog. They do produce hybrid litters and they are referred to as coydogs. However, they’re quite uncommon as coyotes and dogs have erratic breeding patterns.
What Happens When A Coyote Mates With A Dog?
When a coyote mates with a dog, they produce a hybrid called a coydog. This isn’t very common since coyotes have a specific breeding season while dogs do not. Plus, dogs typically do not exist in the wild.
Can A Wolf Mate With A Dog?
Yes, a wolf and a dog can mate with each other. The offspring is known as Wolfdog and generally is known for its wild behavior as compared to domesticated dogs.
Conclusion For Can Coyotes Breed With Dogs?
So, can coyotes breed with dogs? Even though it is rare, it is possible, and the new animal is called a coydog. Coydogs are not a common species since they have low fertility, and coyotes do not breed with dogs enough to make a significant population.
Occasionally coydogs are kept as pets, but this is not ideal for most people since they can have a temper and need a lot of attention to play and exercise.
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For more information about Coyote Breeding, check out the video below: