Talk:Domesticated red fox

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Problem with this article's title[edit]

The title of this article is misleading and I propose the following change for the following reasons.

  • Old title: Domesticated silver fox
  • Proposed Title change: Russian Domesticated Red Fox
  • Totally false. As anyone who looked into the study knows, this was never about "red foxes" being domesticate, this was a study done on tamed silver foxes which unlike the untamed ones are not aggressive. When isolated from untamed silver foxes, tamed silver foxes become even more attached to humans.

Reasons:"Silver fox" refers to simply a fur color variation of the species Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). The foxes used in the Russian program are all Red Fox. Some individuals exhibit the silver fur variation. However, many of the foxes do not, therefore it is inaccurate to call all foxes in this program "Silver Foxes". However, all foxes in this program are Vulpes vulpes ("Red Foxes").

The proposed title change would clarify the following:

  1. - That the experiment has domesticated a SPECIES (Red Fox
  2. - That the silver color was not created by the russian domestication experiment.
  3. - That not all foxes domesticated by the experiment are the Silver color. Red, Platinum, Cross and Georgian are all morphs found at the institute.
  4. - That not all Silver Foxes that you see are russian domesticated foxes. For example, people in the u.s. sometimes have Red Foxes as pets, and often these are the Silver color because that is a very common color produced on fur farms. Regardless of color, any foxes from fur farms outside the Russian institute are not genetically tame.
  5. - Finally, adding "Russian" to the title clarifies that these domesticated foxes are the foxes specifically from the Russian program. This is an important distinction, because technically speaking, most foxes found in fur farms around the world are domesticated because they have been selectively bred by humans for traits such as fur color, resulting in a genotype that differs from the wild type (the definition of domestication.) The Russian project is unique in that it selects for tameness a behavior, rather than physical traits such as fur color. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kayfedewa (talkcontribs) 19:44, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

If you have anymore questions or need more information and sources about this feel free to ask.

Here is an image featured in the march 2011 issue of national geographic (article here: ), that shows 4 of the common color types at the russian institute (red, silver, platinum, georgian white.). Lyudmila trut is pictured in the center. ( Image: )

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Kayfedewa (talkcontribs) 19:22, 2 February 2015 (UTC)  Kayfedewa (talk) 22:37, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Is there a reason this title is not in sentence case? Is Russian Domesticated Red Fox a trade name or something? Kortoso (talk) 18:55, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

Fox Farmers asked for help[edit]

It is my understanding that the people who were raising the foxes, farmers or ranchers or whatever you want to call them, asked for help because they found that they got bitten too often and the animals were difficult to handle. The article currently reads as if the experiment were initiated by the Dr. Belyaev and the other scientists involved, with no economic goal. I will see if I can find some references and add what I find to the article. (talk) 16:49, 9 October 2008 (UTC)Will in New Haven65.79.173.135 (talk) 16:49, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Robert Sapolsky - Stanford University[edit]

Robert Sapolsky on youtube lectures analyzes the "methods of epigenetics". Reading his books and following a complete circle of his youtube Stanford lecture, will help you understand more about the mechanisms, than popular magazine uploads which focus in emotional data and not epigenetic or genetic analysis. Also he speaks about Moscow Metro Dogs, that got partially rewolfied. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:26, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Proposed move: tame and domesticated[edit]

In his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond makes a point of distinguishing "tame" and "domesticated," claiming that the latter, unlike the former, is the product of artificial selection over many generations. His emphasis, he explains, is due to the tendency to consider the words synonymous, when in fact they are not. I don't know whether he invented this distinction for the sake of clarity, or whether it is widely accepted in the study of agriculture and domestication. If it is widely accepted, however, the name of this article is both inaccurate and misleading, and I move that it be changed. If I have the time, I'll investigate this further. Please do not hesitate to provide evidence and take further action if needed. Thanks! Temptinglip 06:37, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Well if Jared Diamond said it, it must be true! ;-) Seriously, though, the word "tame" appears to be present throughout the literature regarding this study, and the authors of the Wikipedia article simply copied the terminology from the papers. Although I don't have any evidence to back this up, I was always under the impression that the adjective "tame" simply referred to behavior; "tame" is the opposite of "aggressive". "Domesticated" is the past participle of a verb; it denotes something that was "done" to the animal. To domesticate means to make tame, so a domesticated animal is one that is tame, having been made that way by someone. I could be wrong. If you have another reference (perhaps a more academic one) that refutes this, let me know. Xezlec (talk) 07:12, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the title seems incorrect, and if the literature uses it, that's misleading too. Many animals may be tamed in principle, and there are many tame "ordinary" foxes, lions, wolves etc. The whole point of this experiment was to breed a naturally tame type (see #Nature/Nurture below), not to tame ordinary foxes. A naturally tame strain of a species is exactly what a domesticated animal is, and I don't see how this creature differs from domesticated cats, pigs or pigeons.
I therefore suggest renaming this article Domesticated silver fox with of course a redirect from the current name. --Richard New Forest (talk) 15:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with classifying this fox as domesticated. The latest animal to be domesticated, without argument, seems to be the European rabbit in the 1600's. In the wiki article about domestication there are four degrees. Wild, Raised in Captivity, Raised Commercially or Semi-domesticated, and Domesticated. This fox appears to fit best in the "Raised Commercially" category. Chickens and goats are in the domesticated category, while elephants are still only considered semi-domesticated. To me, if there is any doubt, there is no doubt. Tsarevna (talk) 04:58, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be talking about ordinary fur-farmed silver foxes, which I agree are probably semi-domesticated. However, this article is not about silver foxes in general (nor about other farmed red foxes), but about a special strain of fox deliberately bred to be tame. The whole point about it is that it is very much more domesticated than ordinary farmed foxes, and (if it is as described in the article), there can be no doubt that it is fully domesticated.
Domestication is when there has been genetic change to fit it to humans. It seems clear that this is what has occurred here, and I support the proposed move.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 17:51, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
It surely cannot be true that European rabbit is the latest domesticated animal. Off the top of my head: house mouse, black rat, brown rat, golden hamster, gerbil, chinchilla, domestic canary, bob-white quail, budgerigar, cockatiel etc etc. Were all those before the 1600s? Then arguably various animals whose "tamability" is limited anyway: Drosophila fruit flies, many species of fish, various ornamental reptiles and amphibians. (Conversely, according to Asian elephant, "domesticated" ones of those are tamed wild ones, so not even semi-domesticated.)--Richard New Forest (talk) 23:04, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Tsarevna – have another look at the article you referred to. At the end of Domestication#Degrees there is a statement that "a dog is certainly domesticated because even a wolf (genetically the origin of all dogs) raised from a pup would be very different from a dog". How is that difference different from the difference between these different foxes? The European rabbit idea you got is, I'm afraid, because you must only have looked at Domestication#Approximate dates and locations of original domestication. In the next section, Domestication#Modern instances, there are many later ones. These do include the "fox" (which ought to be red fox) – although there is no distinction made there between fully and semi domesticated. Incidentally I see that canary is given as 1600s, about the time given for the rabbit (though there is mention in Rabbit of much earlier domestication).--Richard New Forest (talk) 18:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

(back to the left) Support the move - 'tame' seems like it could easily apply to an individual (a relatively "tame" wolf, or even a "tame" lion, or something), whereas 'domesticated' implies that this is something true of the whole group. It also implies that the group has undergone a process to make them this way, which is the case. While these foxes could be accurately called "tame", I think "domesticated" is both more specific and also more unique - you could not call your average Silver Fox "domesticated" (maybe "semi-domesticated" when raised for their fur, but that's hardly the same thing).
DragoonWraith (talk) 21:08, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Seems as if there was consensus, no disagreement for a year, I'm moving the article. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 01:56, 6 February 2009 (UTC)


I changed "strong selection pressure for tamability." to "strong selection pressure for inherent tameness.". It's in important part of this experiment that the foxes are tamed by nature (breeding) not nurture. Each fox is given a small and controlled amount of time with humans, and only those that choose to actively seek out contact are selected for breeding. This is a significantly difference process from (nurture based) taming. Rogerborg 14:15, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Silver foxes as pets[edit]

does anyone know where one could find more details about buying some of these foxes as pets? some of the articles say that they were considering selling some as pets to fund the project...-- 05:18, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

same here i cant find anymore info about that either, the only article that i read that mentioned the possible sale as pets was from 1999.
It was a project in Russia. I highly doubt that they would be for sale in other countries. TJFox (talk) 12:59, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, the Black Russian Terrier was also spawned from a project in Russia, yet they are quickly gaining popularity in the US and abroad. It seems like they would make very interesting pets since they are actually domesticated, unlike many exotic pets that people keep. And despite the low numbers in existance, it shouldn't take too many years to breed them into a larger population. It's a shame there isn't much up-to-date information on them. -GamblinMonkey (talk) 19:12, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
I thought 'wow that would be a cool pet' when I first started reading the article but its apparent from later on that they're just for the very rich (given that there are only a few hundred of them in existance). Shame really.--Him and a dog 16:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

so I have started doing a bit of research... and it seems that some states would be better to live in if you want to import one... but I am having trouble figuring out which states are the places where it is legal to own these as pets.-- (talk) 07:35, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I received a reply from one of the later article authors saying "Thank you for your interest to the fox project. Tame foxes are available as pets in Russia but not in the US yet." There is some effort to check into what the availability is in Russia as well as the importation requirements. JLHorn (talk) 00:11, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

  • My name is Kay, and Im making some edits to the wiki, including-

-Removing Sibfox's URL. They were not licensed and subsequently failed at their attempt to successfully import foxes. Because of this the Institute refuses to work with them anymore due to this embarrassing failure and their dishonesty. Sibfox is no longer going to try to import foxes and has taken down their site. - Added my site's URL ( to the wiki. I have successfully imported a fox to the United States and the Institute wishes me to continue to assist with importations. The site will have information on domestic foxes as pets, and how I can help you acquire one of your own. We import to U.S. and other countries. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Please don't add spam links to WP. I have removed your edit, as it was unsourced. --Guillaume2303 (talk) 21:42, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Scientific Name[edit]

I have seen from many sites that this Silver Fox bears the scientific name "vulpes fulvus". The following sites agree:,,,, and more. Nickesty 22:32, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

However, none of those sites are referring specifically to the foxes described in this article; they instead refer to 'silver foxes' in general, which I'm pretty sure are simply treated as a subspecie of the typical 'red fox,' which is vulpes vulpes. Take a look at the 'Subspecies' section of the Red Fox article.--MythicFox 01:49, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Given that the summary article by Dr. Trut describing the project uses Vulpes vulpes, I am inclinded to believe that V. vulpes is the correct name.

Soronel 17:43, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Vulpes vulpes is (or at least should be) the correct name. But however, they can be given an extended name when referring to the specific morph of the animal, or treated like one of the many subspecies of the Red Fox. So you can go either way. Regardless, there's nothing suggesting that the 'Tame Silver Fox' has been classified as a species all its own yet.--MythicFox 01:52, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
MythicFox, can you help to build improve this template (come from the article Red Fox). I added a question mark to each wrong or believe wrong field which need to be corrected. --Yug (talk) 13:47, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

(Draft taxobox itself moved to its own section below: #Taxobox --Richard New Forest (talk) 15:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC))

I'm afraid I don't actually know any more about the subject than I've already stated. And even then, what I've stated is simply what I've been able to piece together by looking up the term 'vulpes fulvus.' While the subject itself bears enough merit to be worth an article, I still say that there isn't enough information to suggest that the tame foxes are or should be considered a seperate species. However, I am in no way an expert. I just happen to know the scientific name for Red Foxes is vulpes vulpes, and that according to the Red Fox article specific sub-species are given extended names. Sorry, but I really don't know enough to fill in the gaps on the template.--MythicFox 07:18, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I am sure it is an arctic fox. We call it in our country - silver fox, I am from Latvia and we have the farms of these foxes. You can see the proper name of this fox in Rusian page about arctic foxes - Alopex lagopus semenovi Comannder blue fox--Ingii (talk) 20:27, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
No, the arctic fox is called just that: see Arctic Fox. The English name "silver fox" applies to the black form of the Red Fox. It is this fox that is normally farmed for fur, but it seems that the arctic fox is also farmed (see for example here). Richard New Forest (talk) 15:18, 8 March 2009 (UTC)


[Taxobox example deleted: please retrieve from before this date if needed for further discussion. Richard New Forest (talk) 08:57, 16 June 2009 (UTC)]

I don't think this article is supposed to have a taxobox. It's about not about Vulpes vulpes, but just the domesticated form of Vulpes vulpes, which I suppose one could argue by now should be a separate subspecies, but that'd just be one's opinion. It's not the best analogy, but one could argue that if this article gets a taxobox, then Beagle and every other type of Canis lupus familiaris should have taxoboxes, too. I'm not sure if this is what Richard was getting at when he started this discussion page section, but if so I definately concur. So I'll leave it for a bit and wait for comments, but eventually if no one else does so I'll be removing the taxobox. Chrisrus (talk) 03:48, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree – remove it from the article. (All I was doing before was removing a draft of it from the talk page, which it was cluttering up). Richard New Forest (talk) 07:59, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Done. - UtherSRG (talk) 08:05, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Tame wolves?[edit]

Scientists were interested by the topic of domestication, and how wolves were able to become tame, like dogs.

Where are all the tame wolves? And don't tell me my neighbor's Schnauzer is a wolf.Perhaps this experiment should be replicated using wolves in place of foxes so we can actually see how easy it is to transform a wolf into a dog.

If dogs and wolves are the same(except for what exactly?)why are the warnings everywhere about keeping wolves and "wolf-dog hybrids" as pets:

Discussions of the differences between dogs and wolves and whether dogs evolved from wolves : Falange (talk) 12:54, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Why are hybrids dangerous?
Because wolves, being wild, are naturally afraid of humans and will tend to avoid them.
Dogs, being domesticated, are naturally UNafraid of humans, but are also good at reading human body language.
With hybrids, there is a high chance you'll get the killing efficiency & strength of a wolf, the aggression of both wolves and dogs, behaviour more like wolves not dogs and so will be more disturbed by humans (ie you're in my territory now, AND you're baring teeth (smiling) - prepare to fight!), and yet also have the 'unafraid of humans' quality of dogs.
Can you imagine how that combination would result in more attacks? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:35, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Misapprehension here, leading to an irrelevant discussion. It is now very well established that dogs are indeed domesticated wolves – but this does not mean the two are "the same". Like other wild-domestic pairs they are the same species, but they do differ, precisely because one is domesticated. Wolf-dog hybrids are regarded as dangerous because they are not fully domesticated. The phrase quoted from the article by Falange has already been improved to make it clearer. Richard New Forest (talk) 08:57, 16 June 2009 (UTC)


What about some sort of picture? UNIT A4B1 (talk) 00:01, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Jlahorn (talk) 20:14, 25 June 2010 (UTC) There are a bunch of photos of the silver morph of Vulpes vulpes on commons, but every time I add one, somebody deletes it. I guess they don't look domesticated enough unless they're wearing a collar? ;)

I have one here I uploaded onto wiki media:

Silverfox —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

I believe the photo being used is of the original silver fox, not the domesticated one. As I understand it, the ironic result of the domestication was that their coats changed from silver to piebald, thus making them useless for the fur trade. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:38, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Origin of project[edit]

The article states: "The experiment was initiated by scientists who were interested in the topic of domestication and the process by which wolves became tame domesticated dogs."

My understanding is that this is incorrect and that the project was started because the fur farmers wanted a more docile animal to work with - an understandable objective as it would make the fur producers' lives easier.

In the event the project both succeeded and failed. It succeeded in creating a docile fox, but failed as the docile animals presented a much wider variety of coat colours which made them useless in the fur trade industry which wanted standard pelts.--Bob Mudford (talk) 16:53, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

If my understanding is correct, the scientists were denied funding or permits by the government, so they set up the fur trade as a cover for their research. I've heard a variety of explanations for the origin of the experiment. Let's research it and use provable citations, yeha? - UtherSRG (talk) 20:06, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it seems conveniently "tucked away" that this was a fur farm. They had the luxury of killing any unsatisfactory experiments. Kortoso (talk) 21:44, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Proposed deletion[edit]

I removed the proposed deletion template because I am opposed to merging this article with the wild silver fox article. That article is about the wild subspecies of red fox known as the silver fox. This article is about a domesticated animal that, due to selective breeding, is now distinct from the wild animal. I think a thorough reading of this talk page will uncover evidence of this.

I agree that there is overlap between these pages but I would counter-propose that rather than delete this page (which is about a domesticated animal not a wild one) the article on wild silver foxes should have its section on domestic silver foxes replaced with a short summary of this article preceded by a template.

Dusty|💬|You can help! 00:52, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Proposed deletion explanation[edit]

We understand your concerns and would like to explain our reasoning behind this proposed article deletion. We have thoroughly read through the information on the domesticated silver fox page and reworked that information into the main silver fox page. The information is under the subheading entitled “domestication.” Since there is such a substantial overlap between the two pages, we thought it would be unnecessary to keep both active. Please let us know of your thoughts. Wmhua (talk) 15:15, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Conservation status[edit]

There is about 100 domesticated foxes, so the status should be critically endangered.

I don't think this applies to domesticated animals. Kortoso (talk) 18:53, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

What is the project's name?[edit]

Nowhere does this list the name of the project and all projects have name else they're not projects. Anyone know? MagnoliaSouth (talk) 16:49, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Popular book published in March 2017; further editing needed[edit]

The University of Chicago Press has published How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-started Evolution by authors Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut. For now I'm adding this information here rather than integrating it into the article - which needs serious review, particularly in comparison with the more extensive content on the page: Dmitry Belyayev (zoologist)#Belyayev's fox experiment. See also the Template:External links requesting links be upgraded to citation references for specific content as yet unreferenced in the text. -- Deborahjay (talk) 12:05, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Really looking forward to you integrating the info from the book! (talk) 13:46, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
I would also very appreciate this information in the main text. Udo.bellack (talk) 18:55, 3 October 2017 (UTC)

Requested move 28 September 2017[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Already moved by Redgro, but consensus is to move. For future reference, please allow the RM to run for seven days before closing, thanks.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:40, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Russian Domesticated Red FoxDomesticated red fox – Current title is a) over-capitalizing (against MOS:LIFE, MOS:CAPS, WP:NCCAPS), and b) over-disambiguating. In theory even Domesticated fox could work (and there need to be some redirects). It should not be shortened to "domestic", because that's not a synonym, and these are not domestic animals, but domesticated just enough to be kept by people who know what they're doing. However, there may be some other fox-domestication program in the works using some other species, so Domesticated red fox appears to be good enough. We don't need "Russian" on this, since some of these animals are already being bred outside of Russia (though our article doesn't go into this).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:43, 28 September 2017 (UTC)

  • Support this careful rationale for a specific enough title without the over-caps. Dicklyon (talk) 01:38, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per detailed and well-researched nomination and Dicklyon. —Roman Spinner (talk)(contribs) 18:51, 28 September 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.