Can foxes breed with dogs?
Many dog owners ask can foxes breed with dogs? Well, while foxes are beautiful, elegant animals that look a lot like dogs, they’re actually quite different than your domesticated best friend.
- Foxes are small to medium size, between 7 and 16 pounds, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae (which means they’re related to wolves, jackals, and dogs). Foxes have a flattened skull, pointy faces, upright triangular ears, a pointed upturned snout, and a long bushy tail.
- Dogs are also members of the canidae family, they are between a 200+ pounds Mastiff to a 2 pounds Chihuahua. A domesticated carnivorous mammal that typically has a long snout, a great sense of smell, non retractile claws, and a barking or howling voice.
- Foxes and dogs are members of the same animal family, canidae, but their lineage splits off from there. While dogs are domesticated members of the canis genus, foxes belong to several different, non canis genera.
So can foxes breed with dogs? The answer is no! Even if they are both canids, they can’t interbreed. They can’t have babies. Members of the dog genus Canis: wolves, dogs, dingoes, coyotes and golden jackals cannot interbreed with members of the wider dog family, such as South American canids, foxes, African wild dogs, bat eared foxes and raccoon dogs. Because they simply don’t have compatible parts.
The longer answer to why dog fox hybrids AKA Dox can’t exist, it’s because they have vastly differing chromosome counts. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has 34, the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) has 70. Foxes and dogs diverged over centuries ago, and have evolved into very different creatures that cannot cross breed.
However, dogs can breed with other members of the genus Canis such as wolves, coyotes and dingoes. And produce viable offspring because they are not yet genetically different enough to be incompatible.
Wolves and dogs are interfertile, they can breed and produce fertile offspring. Which means, wolves can interbreed with any type of dog. A wolf dog is the offspring of a wolf and a dog, a wolf and a wolf dog, or two wolf dogs. Many dog wold hybrids are part German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, or Siberian Husky, other breeds such as Akita and Chow Chow are often used.
There have been unsubstantiated reports of successful fox-dog hybrids on the internet by a crazy cryptozoologist, who was caught faking it all on his website, once you browse that website, you start seeing the insanity seeping out. He has ridiculous hybrids on there like horse/dog, human/dog, cow/dog and more.
Some differences between dogs and foxes:
- Dogs live longer than foxes, the life expectancy in smaller dogs is approximately 15-16 years while it’s 10-13 for large dogs. The life expectancy in red foxes is 2-5 years.
- While dogs can be easily trained and can learn a wide range of commands, foxes are very difficult to train.
- While dogs are typically friendly and social, foxes are incredibly shy and prefer to be lonely.
- Dogs are domesticated since so many years, and foxes are still wild.
Some of the most fox-like dog breeds:
- Shiba Inu: In Japanese, Shiba means brushwood and Inu means dog. These are the smallest dogs belonging to the Spitz breed of Japan.
- Basenji: The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog. It was bred from stock that originated in central Africa. Basenji means “dog of the brush”.
- Finnish Spitz: Finnish Spitz are the national dogs of Finland. They were bred to hunt. They are known as bark pointers.
- Akita: The Akita is named after a region in Japan. They were originally used to track game during hunts.
- Korean Jindo: Jindo dogs originated from Jingo Island, Korea. These medium sized, sturdy dogs look like Asian Red Foxes.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi: The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a cattle herding dog breed which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales.. It loves the attention of the owner and is very friendly with people.
- American Eskimo: The American Eskimo Dog is a breed of companion dog, originating in Germany. The American Eskimo is a member of the Spitz family.
- Long-haired Chihuahua: The Chihuahua is a tiny dog, named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico.
Read next: Top 5 friendliest large dog breeds