Jackal-wolf hybrid

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Jackal-wolf hybrid
Canis lupus & Canis aureus.jpg
Conservation status
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. lupus x C. aureus

The jackal-wolf hybrid is a canid hybrid resulting from a union between a gray wolf and a golden jackal. Although hybridization between wolves and golden jackals has never been observed, evidence of such occurrences was discovered through mtDNA analysis on jackals in Senegal[1] and Bulgaria.[2] Although there is no genetic evidence of gray wolf-jackal hybridization in the Caucasus Mountains, there have been cases where otherwise genetically pure golden jackals have displayed remarkably gray wolf-like phenotypes, to the point of being mistaken for wolves by trained biologists.[3] A jackal–dog hybrid is a canid hybrid resulting from a mating between a dog and a golden jackal. Such crossbreeding apparently only occurs in captivity, as such matings in the wild have never been observed.[4] However, it is thought that recent declines in jackal populations in Israel and Lebanon could be due to possible hybridisation with pariah dogs,[5] and hybridisation has been recognised as a possible threat to jackal populations in the Balkan peninsula.[6]


According to Marie Jean Pierre Flourens, first-generation matings between the two species tend to produce animals in which jackal characteristics are dominant, having straight ears, hanging tails, do not bark and have a wild temperament.[7] This is confirmed by Robert Armitage Sterndale who mentioned experimental jackal hybrids from British India, noting that glaring jackal traits could be exhibited in hybrids even after three generations of crossing them with dogs:

The writer in the India Sporting Review alluded to by me in writing of the wolf, mentions some experiments made in crossing dogs with jackals. "First cross, hybrid between a female jackal and Scotch terrier dog, or half jackal and half dog; second cross, between the hybrid jackal and terrier, or quarter jackal and three-quarters dog; third cross between the quarter jackal and terrier, or seven-eighths dog and one-eighth jackal. Of the five pups comprising the litter, of which the last was one, two were fawn-coloured and very like pariahs, while three had the precise livery of the jackal; noses sharp and pointed; ears large and erect; head and muzzle like the jackal. This cross, he remarks, appears to have gone back a generation, and to have resembled the jackal much more than their mother, whose appearance, with the exception of the very sharp muzzle, although she had so much jackal blood, was that of a sleek, well-fed pariah dog, colour yellow fawn, but her gait and gallop were precisely that of the jackal."[8]

Natural History of Mammals in India and Ceylon by Robert A. Sterndale, 1884

Flourens also observed that jackal hybrids become sterile after the fourth generation, but can be mated back to either parent species.[7] Charles Darwin wrote of a first-generation hybrid kept in the London Zoo which was completely sterile, though he noted that this was an exceptional case, as first-generation hybrids have been known to reproduce successfully.[9] Breeding experiments in Germany with poodles and jackals and later on with the resulting dog–jackal hybrids 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 which remain healthy and never become sterile.[10] These "puchas" (poodle-jackals), like the "pucos" (poodle coyotes), exhibited much less domestic dog-like behaviour than the wolf-hybrids.[11]

Influences on dog breeding[edit]

Although the consensus among modern scientists is that dogs originated from Asian wolves, there are still those who advocate the possibility of a partial jackal contribution. Dog specialist Dr Ian Dunbar pointed out how jackals have often been recorded to mate with pariah and dingo-like dogs and produce offspring, so it's possible jackals have influenced some breeds. Author Michael Rice further argues that the golden jackal may have played a large part in the creation of Ancient Egyptian hunting hounds, pointing out how one specific breed (the Pharaoh hound), has vocalisations similar to golden jackals, including the latter species' ability to almost mimic the calls of their human masters. Among other similarities, Pharaoh hounds tend to give ritual "noddings and groanings" to people they encounter for the first time, and tend to be monogamous, and only choose to mate with members of the same breed.[12]

Jackal blood may have influenced the behaviour of some feral Indian pariah dog populations, as they have occasionally been observed to make jackal-like cries often rendered in English as "Pheal"; a distress call usually emitted by jackals when in the vicinity of tigers or leopards.[13] Reginald Innes Pocock proposed that dog–jackal hybridisation was the reason why jackal coursing in Sri Lanka was ineffective, as most hunting dogs there would refuse to attack jackals, which they likely viewed as a member of their own species.[14]

In modern times, since 1975, Russian scientists have bred quarter jackal hybrids, initially from jackals and Lapponian Herder reindeer herding dogs, called Sulimov dogs in order to take advantage of the jackal's superior olfactory abilities combined with the Lapponian Herder's resistance to cold. They are owned by Aeroflot – Russian Airlines and trained as sniffer dogs for use in airports. According to the breed's creator, first-generation hybrid pups could only be produced by male dogs and female jackals, as male jackals refused to mate with female dogs.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gaubert P, Bloch C, Benyacoub S, Abdelhamid A, Pagani P, et al (2012). "Reviving the African Wolf Canis lupus lupaster in North and West Africa: A Mitochondrial Lineage Ranging More than 6,000 km Wide". PLoS ONE 7 (8): e42740. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042740. PMC 3416759. PMID 22900047. 
  2. ^ Moura, Andre E., et al (2013). "Unregulated hunting and genetic recovery from a severe population decline: the cautionary case of Bulgarian wolves". Conservation Genetics 14. doi:10.1007/s10592-013-0547-y. 
  3. ^ Kopaliani, N. et al. (2014), "Gene Flow between Wolf and Shepherd Dog Populations in Georgia (Caucasus)", Journal of Heredity, 105 (3): 345 DOI: 10.1093/jhered/esu014
  4. ^ East African mammals: an atlas of evolution in Africa, Volume 3, Part 1 by Jonathan Kingdon, University of Chicago Press, 1977
  5. ^ Mammals of the Holy Land by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, published by Texas Tech University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-89672-364-X
  6. ^ (Italian)Mammiferi d'Italia by Mario Spagnesi and Anna De Marina Marinis. Ministero dell' Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio Direzione Conservazione della Natura, Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica "Alessandro Ghigi"
  7. ^ a b The moral and intellectual diversity of races: with particular reference to their respective influence in the civil and political history of mankind by Gobineau (comte de), Josiah Clark Nott and H. Hotz, published by J. B. Lippincott & co., 1856
  9. ^ Darwin, Charles (1868). The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication. Volume 1 (1st ed.). London: John Murray. pp. 32–33. 
  10. ^ Doris Feddersen-Petersen, Hundepsychologie, 4. Auflage, 2004, Franck-Kosmos-Verlag 2004
  11. ^ Der Hund, Abstammung- Verhalten – Mensch und Hund, Erik Zimen, 1. Auflage, 1988, C. Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH, München
  12. ^ Swifter than the arrow: the golden hunting hounds of ancient Egypt by Michael Rice, published by I.B.Tauris, 2006, ISBN 1-84511-116-8
  13. ^ Perry, Richard (1965). The World of the Tiger. p. 260. ASIN: B0007DU2IU. 
  14. ^ Fauna of British India: Mammals Volume 2 by R. I. Pocock, printed by Taylor and Francis, 1941
  15. ^ Dog and jackal hybrids are perfect sniffer ’dogs’