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A Coyote-German Shepherd hybrid
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: Canis latrans x Canis lupus familiaris
Binomial name
Canis latrans x Canis lupus familiaris

A coydog (or dogote) is the hybrid offspring of a coyote (Canis latrans) and a dog (Canis lupus familiaris). Coydogs studied in captivity have reduced fertility and behavior problems.[1][2] The term is sometimes mistakenly used for coywolves, which are common in northeast North America, whereas true coydogs are only occasionally but rarely found in the wild. [3]

Captive studies[edit]

Breeding experiments in Germany with coydogs showed a decrease in fertility and significant communication problems as well as an increase of genetic diseases after three generations of interbreeding between the hybrids, unlike with wolfdogs. This suggests dogs are more genetically compatible with wolves than coyotes.[4]

Prevalence in the wild[edit]

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation casts doubt on the existence of naturally occurring coydogs in any significant number, at least in New York State, despite the widespread presence of coyotes: "Coyotes and dogs theoretically can interbreed to produce what is called a 'coydog'. However, depending on how much coyote and dog is inherited in the hybrid, crossbreeds with mostly dog genes usually have a reproductive cycle of dogs, not coyotes, and will give birth at times of the year when the pups cannot possibly survive (e.g., January). In addition, there are behavioral differences between most breeds of domestic dogs and coyotes which often prevents crossbreeding from occurring. Coyotes normally mate with other coyotes and not with dogs. [...] Coydogs occurred at the leading edge of coyote range expansion during the 1950 to early 1970's. The occurrence of a coydog would be an extremely rare event in New York today."[5]

Of 379 skulls taken from encounters with wild canids in Ohio from 1982 to 1988, 10 (2%) were found to be coydogs. It was noted that that "The incidence of coydog hybrids was high only in areas of expanding, widely dispersed coyote populations." For behavioral and physiological reasons, coydogs are less well adapted for survival than coyotes. These include inappropriate whelping times, lack of parental care by the male, and decreased fertility. [6][PDF]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dorit Feddersen-Petersen, Hundepsychologie, 4. Auflage, 2004, Franck-Kosmos-Verlag 2004
  2. ^
  3. ^ Zimmerman, David. "Eastern Coyotes Are Becoming Coywolves". Caledonian-Record. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  4. ^ Dorit Feddersen-Petersen, Hundepsychologie, 4. Auflage, 2004, Franck-Kosmos-Verlag 2004
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links[edit]

You Tube video displaying the skulls of two coydogs