Crossbreeding species, especially dogs, have been practiced thousands of years ago by our ancestors. It is carefully done to produce a diverse spectrum of animals. Thus, it can only be possible if the species have a closely similar or related genetic pattern.
Can foxes and dogs mate? Clearly, the answer is no because they are very unlike in both behavioral and biological aspects.
Fox and dogs cannot mate since they have different DNA composition, plus both have a completely different number of chromosomes. There have been no studies in science that are ever recorded to verify a hybridization of fox and dogs.
It is said that the chromosome count of a dog is twice or more than the number of chromosomes that foxes have. It only means that there is no possibility or hope for these species to crossbreed and produce offspring.
Though the idea of breeding a fox and dog is quite fascinating, those are just hearsay with no concrete shreds of evidence that will support its claim.
In order for you to find out more about why fox can’t breed dogs, read more of this article.
Find out additional facts and details about these dog and fox species and why you should stop your dog from mating with a fox.
Can A Fox And Dog Interbreed?
No, fox and dog cannot interbreed. There is a considerable gap between dogs and fox behavioral and biological aspects. Thus, it will be impossible for them to crossbreed.
Although dogs and foxes came from the same family, they have grown separately from two different branches thousands of years ago.
A completely incompatible number of chromosomes for both of them and their DNA composition difference make it impossible for them to interbreed.
Though, there are some speculations that fox and dog can interbreed. Many years ago, even individuals claimed to have produced offspring from a dog and fox.
Perhaps, this is because some dogs seem to look like foxes.
Due to this, people quickly assume that these dogs can be traced back to foxes’ lineage. It is just purely an appearance and not a result of dog and fox interbreeding.
When dogs and foxes breed, they are called dox-fox hybrids or “dox.”
But no documented information can verify dog-fox hybrids. Fact that dogs are so mutable, it can be assumed that the hybrid dog will fall within the array of ordinary dogs variant.
The probabilities of successfully crossbreeding a fox and dog go down enormously as the gap between the numbers of chromosomes widens.
However, thousands of years ago, there are documented events that show a crossbreeding between species with massive differences in terms of chromosome count.
Some reports made in the 19th century that this has happened before, but cases where details are not enough to support their claims.
They have also reported that only a small percentage of hybrid offspring is sufficiently viable to reach adulthood. In most cases, nearly all hybrids die young, though a certain fraction does survive.
Why Can’t Dogs Breed With Foxes?
Dogs can’t breed with foxes because of their genetics, genomes, and chromosomes’ variation.
In its scientific family, the Canidae family, dogs, and foxes are related to wolves.
Though they both belong to the same scientific family, fox deviated from the wolf lineage approximately 12 million years ago. They have evolved into a completely separate genus.
However, dogs diverged from a wolf’s lineage just about 40 000 years ago.
These foxes evolved longer years ago already, which is the very reason why foxes are so different, genetically and behaviorally, from their other Canidae family members.
Their geographical territories where they came from also play a role in their genetic differences.
Dogs and foxes’ number chromosomes are incompatible, making it impossible to breed.
As a matter of fact, even fox varies in terms of chromosomes count to its species. This fact makes it less likely for dogs to interbreed with them.
Other members of the Canidae family, including domesticated dogs, has a total of 78 chromosomes, which is equivalent to 39 pairs that are indistinguishable from each other.
Breeding species with nearly the same number of chromosomes or almost the same arrangement will make hybridization freely produce fertile offspring.
On the other hand, the Vulpus genus of foxes has only 38 chromosomes, Bengal fox has 60, Red fox only 34, kit fox 50, and a Fennec fox has 64.
When differences in number and arrangement of chromosomes are far too significant, hybridization becomes less and less likely.
To produce offspring, both of them should at least have the same genus. An equal part of genetic material and gametes is to consider making mating possible.
Dogs can’t breed with a fox in terms of behavioral differences.
Foxes are known to be wild and solitary animals. These species mostly spend most of their lives isolated from others or without the presence of other animals. Though, this has an exception when it comes to their mating behavior and offspring rearing.
Besides, a fox has many breeding patterns compared to common dogs.
When it comes to training ability, a fox is difficult to train. They are very different from domesticated dogs that can be trained to a very high standard. And do amazing things, too, when being commanded.
Will A Dog Try To Mate With A Fox?
Fox and dogs don’t get along. Obviously, dogs will not try to mate with a fox.
Though there can be situations where a dog will do mate with a fox, most of them will not work because of their differences in behavior, personality, and biological components.
In their physical features, foxes are smaller compared to domesticated dogs. Fox also have flatter skulls with upright triangular ears and a slightly upturned snout.
Fox is difficult to train than dogs. Thus, they live a shorter life, which is 2-4 years only, while dogs live longer up to 10-14 years.
Dogs and foxes have different personalities. Dogs are known to be affectionate to their human owner. On the other hand, foxes are not nearly as affectionate towards humans as dogs.
Some specific types of foxes have a genetic component that affects their social behavior. This gene is why fox seemed to be aggressive, hard to tame, and develops fear when confronted with unfamiliar people or objects.
There is also a genetic condition associated with extreme anxiety for fox and is consistent with the foxes’ more fearful response, especially to humans.
In other words, they don’t like strangers much. Fox tends to be shy, leading to antisocial behavior towards other people.
Fox has a nasty, musky odor that smells like a stink bomb or a horrible perfume. This scent is not appealing to dogs, which draw them away.
A dog will not mate with a fox because of its being territorial in nature. They both leave their scent in their territory. This is the reason why no other animals would want to invade its territory.
Both of these animals live a completely unlike way of living or lifestyle. They also have unique mindsets from each other.
Should You Stop Your Dog From Mating With A Fox?
Yes, you should definitely stop your dog from mating with a fox.
Winter is usually the season for mating of a fox. If you have an unspayed dog, you better keep an eye on it, especially when your dog goes into heat.
When in heat, these compelling odors from your dog might draw fox nearer to your pet’s area.
On the other hand, female fox or vixen has the loudest scream, usually high-pitched. It is sometimes mistaken as a human crying for help, which can be frightening, lasting approximately 20 minutes.
This is the fox way of communicating, especially when mating, which can be a great disturbance among urban areas.
Aside from these mating behavior issues of a fox, this species can also be a significant health problem to your dog.
Fox is known to transmit mange to your dogs. They can spread it on your dog’s surroundings, such as on your dog’s dens and loafing areas. This mange is a type of contagious skin disease to dogs caused by parasitic mites.
Though mange can be a lower risk to dogs, these foxes may also cause toxocariasis. This is otherwise known as roundworm.
This roundworm can spread throughout your dog’s body once it ingests it or comes too close to fox feces.
Aside from that, foxes can cause severe damage to your pets, especially to your dogs. Fox is a threat to public health and safety. A bite of a fox can be subject to infection or rabies.
Different ways can help you avoid your dogs getting into contact or mating with a fox. Here is some of it.
- Keep your dogs indoors most, especially at night.
- Provide a predator-proof kennel or fence that measures at least 6-foot high with a bottom extending 2 feet underground.
- Make sure to keep your dogs leashed and supervised in well-lit areas in your yard.
- Store your pet food in a fox-proof container.
- When walking your dog, avoid going to nearby fox den sites.
- Spray or neuter your dog. This will decrease your dog’s hormone level that is related to the interest in the act of mating.
In summary, dogs and fox crossbreeding is nearly impossible. Its genetic components and other behavioral aspects are much different.
This vast difference between them marks a clear gap, especially when trying to mate them. It can be traced back to its evolutionary journey millions of years ago.
Many studies are trying to verify this crossbreeding possibility because many dog breeds possess vulpine traits.
To name a few, it includes Pomeranian, Shiba Inu, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, German Spitz, etc.
There have also been a lot of studies and researchers trying to breed foxes that will resemble and behave just like domesticated dogs. T
Some of the few experiments scientists are trying to debunk facts that foxes can be tamed and petted.
According to studies such as, there are exceptions to some rules; a fox raised in captivity might learn to be gentle. On the other way around, and an abused dog might lash out.
However, still up to these days, most people, even fox owners, discourage getting this species as a pet. They can never be like good pets as dogs.
Dogs are bred to live with us, stay and love us, while foxes have not had the chance of selective breeding for the past years.
Image credits – Canva