Coydog: Dog Breed Information and Owner’s Guide

What is a Coydog?

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The Coydog is a canine hybrid resulting from a male coyote mating with a female dog. Many species of dogs are capable of mating with wild coyotes. This leads to many variations of this unique cross-breed.

To understand Coydogs, you will need to know a little bit about coyotes:

  • Coyotes are smaller than wolves but larger than foxes. With their striking wild features, they are characteristic of the American wilderness. 
  • They live in rural regions of North America, where they can be heard howling during the night.
  • Historically, their range was primarily confined to the North American Great Plains and deserts. Their range today includes all of the United States and Canada (except for Hawaii). They are found in all ecosystems: deserts, woodlands, forests, swamps, farm-country, plains, and the subtropical Florida Everglades.
  • Coyotes can mate with wolves causing Coywolf offspring. These offspring are larger than coyotes and Coydogs. 
  • They frequently enter suburban and even urban areas. Their willingness to venture out of the wild leads to rare instances where the two species mate. 
  • Coyotes can pass for feral street-dogs. They have even been seen in highly developed cities, most notably in New York City. 
  • Their color, size, and other variations vary regionally. As with most species, desert specimens are smaller than those found in forested areas. Example: Northeastern coyotes are larger than those found in the Mojave Desert.
  • Coyotes are powerful, agile, intelligent hunters.
  • They eat virtually anything and are notorious for raiding farms. They will eat meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables. Historically they were recklessly hunted as varmints by rangers and farmers. 
  • Coyotes have attacked and seriously harmed children in suburban areas in America. There is one known incident where a coyote actually killed a child in California.

Coydogs Exist

The Coydog is a unique and beautiful hybrid. It is also very rare. Contrary to some beliefs, coydogs exist! 

People sometimes make a mistake by arguing that such breeds are only myth. As evidence, they note that coyotes and dogs have different hormonal cycles. The female dog’s estrus cycles generally do not coincide with the coyote’s period to allow successful mating. They see this as proof of the impossibility of the two mating.

This is partially correct. There are indeed hormonal differences between the two species which will present obstacles. Certain breeds of dogs go into heat twice a year.  Under such situations, there ARE indeed opportunities between the species that can lead to successful mating. 

This is why authentic Coydogs (those who are genuinely half dog/half coyote) are so rare. The conditions for it to happen are rare. 

Unlike certain hybrids, they are able to produce fertile offspring. Not surprisingly, their levels of fertility are not as high as with other dogs. 

Professional wildlife individuals recommend that pet owners who live in rural or suburban areas spay or neuter their pets to prevent coyotes from mating with them There are reported instances of male dogs being killed by wild male coyotes, after following the scent of a female coyote in estrus.

There is strong evidence that native people were the first to breed Coydogs long before Europeans arrived in North America. The Teotihuacan people are generally recognized as one of the first tribes to do so.

True Coydogs are half coyote and half domesticated dogs. They are loyal, agile, powerful, energetic, and highly intelligent.  

They are rarely found in the wild. Coyote and dog matings occur in rural, semirural, and even suburban areas. 

Coydogs have the ability to bark, howl, or emit a fusion of the two sounds. They retain much of the feral look of coyotes and much of its temperament. They are often stubborn and independent.

Additional sounds common to this hybrid include warning sounds such as growling, huffing, and woofing. These sounds should be recognized as indications of possible aggression. Another unique coyote behavior they tend to exhibit is the “hip slam”.

Are Coydogs dangerous? 

This is a common online question. They have a tendency for aggression so they can be dangerous. This is what makes them a difficult pet to own. 

With their predatory nature, they may chase after animals or other dogs. They can be territorial and are predisposed to wandering off for extended periods, if they are left unattended. This wandering behavior can lead to aggressive interactions with other dogs, animals, or people.

They are not appropriate for those with children. Coydogs are not suitable pets for most people.

Appearance

Coydogs display many of the same characteristics as coyotes. Adults usually have darker coats. 

They are described as having striking or piercing eyes, the classic bushy tail that points downward, and triangular ears. Their white-mask is another distinctive identifier. 

Coydogs also show aspects of their “dog-side”, both in terms of features and characteristics, so their precise look will vary depending upon the species.

Coydog Weight and Size

This is a medium-sized dog. Coydogs can range from 60-120 pounds. They are generally 22-27 inches tall. The specific breed of dog will have an impact on its overall weight and size.

Common Colors

The colors of this hybrid vary. They can be gray, brown, sable, and white. Coydogs have all sorts of looks, since they will exhibit many of the characteristics of their non-coyote side.

Coat

Coydogs have a double coat. A tough, thick, dense inner undercoat. And a water-resistant outer coat. 

Personality and Temperament

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Behavior around other dogs

Coydogs have been known to get aggressive with other dogs. There are even rare instances of them attacking and killing larger dogs. 

It is important that owners socialize Coydog puppies early on with other animals, including dogs. This is particularly important if you own other pets. Proper training is essential to prevent instances of aggression with other animals.

Is a Coydog a Good Family Dog?

The Coydog is a poor choice for a family pet. They frequently exhibit aggressive behavior and other undesirable characteristics found in wild coyotes. They can be aggressive and hard to control.

This isn’t a proper dog for most dog-lovers. Coydogs have a wild coyote-like temperament. They could be dangerous around children. 

There is a specific personality type for this dog. Do you fit the profile?:

  • Personality: You have to be able to out-alpha the dog. Coydogs are going to test you. If you are unable to do this, you will have great difficulty with them. Owners must have a dominant personality. They must be willing to show their dog early on who is the boss. 
  • Knowledge: Anyone even contemplating owning such a pet should be knowledgeable about this particular breed, and of dog behavior in general. Prospective owners need to research this dog and understand what owning such a pet will entail.

How to Train a  Coydog

Coydogs require a strong-willed person who will lay down the law. A person who will make the dog understand who the boss is, and who will not be afraid if the dog challenges them.

They require an owner who is not afraid of getting nipped or even bit during training. Because there is an excellent chance that this will happen. 

Training must be structured. Nevertheless, it cannot be overly harsh or it will backfire. 

It can’t be overly harsh or the dog will rebel. You have to find a balance. Training needs to be geared toward developing basic obedience. 

One way to make sure that the training is effective is to keep all sessions relatively short. You don’t want to bore him.

Another challenge with any sort of training is that this is a highly intelligent animal. Experts report that Coydogs are capable of using the training system against you. They will try to outsmart you.

See Related Topic: Thai Ridgeback: Dog Breed Information and Owner’s Guide

How To Care For a Coydog

Exercise Requirements

Coyotes have high energy levels and will require plenty of exercises. Pet owners need to provide sustained, intense, longer periods of daily exercise. 

They will require at least 2-3 exercise sessions a day. If you are the kind of owner who isn’t up for serious daily exercise, this isn’t the proper dog for you. 

There are many good suggestions for giving your Coydog opportunities to expend his abundant energy. Some owners suggest running up and down the stairs as a great activity. 

Other great physical activities (also good for cultivating bonding opportunities with your dog) include playing fetch with, intense daily jogging sessions, or going for long hikes in parks and reserves. 

It is said that the more opportunities you provide for them to expend their energy, the less likely they are to exhibit aggression.

Grooming and Shedding

When it comes to the responsibility of grooming, this is not regarded as a high maintenance dog. Coydogs shed their hair once a year. 

As with all dogs, they require weekly brushing, brushing their teeth, and trimming their nails periodically. A reasonable suggestion is to trim their nails once a month. Untrimmed nails can cause them pain.

Grooming sessions are always an ideal opportunity to check their dog’s overall condition. Check for any signs of infection, inflammation, redness, swelling, discharge or fluid build-up, or other signs of discomfort or distress. 

Grooming gives you a good chance to discover possible medical issues early on. Early detection allows you to take the measures to treat these issues before they worsen.

What To Feed A  Coydog

Coydogs require a proper diet with all the necessary nutrients for a highly active dog. Some people feed them raw meat, bones, and other natural foods. 

Fortunately, there are many good commercial options on the market today. Several of the best ones contain all of the necessary nutrients that are necessary for your dog’s health.

With their high energy, Coydogs need to replenish their protein and fat. As with all dogs, they should also have regular access to sufficient amounts of clean water.

Diligent owners need to be aware of the ever-changing dietary needs of their dog. Throughout the lifetime of the dog, the food requirements will change during different stages. The needs of a young puppy are certainly not the same as a growing young dog, or of an older dog.

Known Health Problems

This is a relatively healthy hybrid overall. Being half-coyote, they naturally share their wild half’s overall durability. 

As with other species of dog, they can be susceptible to different medical conditions. The Coydog is particularly susceptible to degenerative conditions such as arthritis, and hip or elbow dysplasia. 

Secondary to these primary medical conditions, the dog will likely exhibit decreased activity, fatigue, and tiredness. This will likely lead to weight gain, obesity, and other medical conditions. The presence of these symptoms will sometimes alert owners to these conditions.

Arthritis: This degenerative condition results in excessive calcium build-up in the dog’s joints, secondary to the initial loss of joint elasticity. Pets suffering from arthritis will experience increased pain. Eventually, it will become difficult for them to use the affected limb(s).

Hip Dysplasia: This condition occurs when the dog’s femur isn’t properly affixed to the pelvic socket. The result is extreme pain, and can ultimately result in the dog becoming lame. 

The subsequent inflammation will lead to your dog developing a limp. This may be your earliest indication of the dog’s condition. 

There are several medical options to treat Hip Dysplasia. These include surgical and non-invasive options. Non-anti-inflammatory treatments may be unsuccessful. 

A reduction in exercise and activity may not alleviate the condition. Surgical options may be a last resort. This includes surgical hip displacement.

Elbow Dysplasia: In this degenerative condition, the dog’s elbow joints will exhibit abnormal development. The subsequent inflammation and pain will increase the chances that your dog will eventually become lame.

Coydogs and Water

Coydogs are able to swim. There is not enough research currently available on this rare hybrid, to ascertain in more depth how they relate to water. Much of the data are in the form of anecdotal experiences from owners sharing their dog’s like or dislike for water.

It should be noted that coyotes are very capable swimmers.

Buyer’s Guide

coyote

How to Choose a Coydog Puppy

So you’ve decided to get a Coydog puppy. How do you choose the correct one? Many experts recommend the following steps: 

Step #1:  View the entire litter together. Observe how the litter interacts as a group. 

Step #2: Be careful to observe and interact with each individual puppy when they are separated from the litter. This allows you to carefully assess and interact with each puppy.

Consider all of the puppies in the litter and not only the ones that initially appeal to you. By doing so, you give yourself an opportunity to select the very best dog. Consider the following points when meeting with a breeder:

  • When purchasing a puppy, ask the breeder which DNA tests he used to check for genetic disorders and other conditions. Make sure to ask him for all documentation confirming the findings. A responsible breeder will provide you with all of the necessary documentation. If he is unwilling to do this, you should look elsewhere.

Failure to provide documentation, whether medical or pertaining to something else, is always a problem. Ask for all documentation pertaining to the dog’s medical history. 

  • Find out what vaccinations (if any) your puppy has received, and what additional vaccinations will be required in the future. Standard treatments include  Canine adenovirus-2and K9 Advantix II. Be sure to ask for medical paperwork confirming that these vaccinations occurred.
  • Ask the breeder how long it will be before you can take your pet home. It is unusual to take the puppy home that same day.
  • A responsible breeder will want to ask you many questions. Don’t become annoyed with him if you feel like you are being grilled or interviewed. This is a good sign in a breeder. A good breeder who truly cares about his litter will want to make sure that all of his puppies have a good home. He doesn;t know who you are. He needs to ask you questions to find out more about you.
  • Be sure that the breeder permits you to visit the facility where your puppy was raised. He should be confident in showing his facility. The facility should always be clean and hygienic. A dirty facility is a problem.
  • If applicable, make sure that you observe the entire puppy litter. Following your initial observation of the litter, carefully observe each individual puppy 

Make sure that each puppy looks healthy and is well maintained. 

A puppy that is disheveled, dirty, unhealthy, or appears neglected should be cause for alarm. Check carefully for any signs of physical abnormalities, such as inflammation, redness, discharges, areas of irritation, etc. Observe for any behavior that seems abnormal to you.

Coydog puppies are adorable. But it should be noted that such puppies will not necessarily show the same playful personalities that other puppies do. Owners expecting a different experience with their young puppy may be disappointed.

See Related Topic: Beauceron: Dog Breed Information and Owner’s Guide

How Much Does a Coydog Cost?

True Coydogs are a rarity. This is a direct result of the unlikelihood of a wild coyote successfully mating with a domesticated dog. 

Those who are serious about owning this hybrid should contact a reputable breeder. Prospective owners will also want confirmation from the breeder that they are purchasing a genuine Coydog. This will likely require documentation confirming a DNA test, and the results of that test.

Many supposed Coydogs merely look like one. When undergoing the proper genetic testing, these dogs frequently fail to meet the criteria to be a genuine specimen.

Coydog vs Siberian Husky

Coydog Summary Table

PROS

  • Strong personalities with proper knowledge/discipline, will probably enjoy owning a wild hybrid.
  • Relatively healthy hybrid, with few medical ailments.
  • Outdoor, active-minded people will enjoy having a high-energy dog.
  • Low maintenance when it comes to grooming.
  • Smart and loyal.
  • Beautiful.
  • Very rare crossbreed.

CONS

    • This is not a safe pet for those with children. Coydogs may bite or become aggressive. They can be dangerous around children.
    • Not as playful, even as puppies. (Although they are not conventionally playful, they may exhibit aspects of the trickster nature found in Native American folk mythology.)
    • Owners should have strong personalities and assert dominance. they will want to test and challenge you.
    • Require approximately 2-3 sessions of daily exercise.
    • Very difficult to train.
    • Owners should not be away from the house for extended periods of time. They require an owner who is home with them.

Summary

We have tried to provide you with sufficient information to learn about this unique hybrid. Hopefully, the information we have presented will help you decide if this is the proper dog for you.

Is a Coydog the right dog for you? Don’t take this personally. Probably not. It’s not just you. It’s the wrong dog for the vast majority of people who love dogs. This is the wrong pet even for the majority of seasoned veteran dog owners. 

Temperament: If you have any children, forget about owning this dog. This is not a pet to have around children. They have a known reputation for aggression and they can bite. Just like coyotes.

Some experts recommend that coydogs are even more dangerous than coyotes. They cite as proof that Coydogs are less afraid of people, which can make them more likely to attack a person rather than flee as a wild coyote. 

A Coydog that retains the territorial aspect of the coyote, but lacks his intrinsic fear of adult humans, can be very dangerous. Some have noted that Coydogs can even be stronger than wild coyotes. This will of course depend on the other half of the breed.

Care: You will need to provide them with sufficient amounts of daily exercise. At the very least, 2-3 times a day. Are you willing to do this? if you can’t commit to their physical requirements, look for another kind of dog. 

Are you away from your house for extended periods? Coydogs will not put up with this. They require lots of attention. You cannot be away from home for long periods of time.

With their high energy levels, Coydogs are best suited for those living in a rural type of environment. They need a lot of room to run and aren’t appropriate for someone living in an urban apartment or in a confined space.

Profile of An Owner: If you are considering owning this dog you need to know yourself: 

coyote

  • Are you capable of asserting dominance with your dog early on?
  •  Are you prepared to do the things to let the dog know who is in charge? 
  • Are you capable of sustaining a disciplined approach throughout the lifetime of your dog’s many stages? 

They are stubborn and independent. You will need to be a stubborn, strong-willed person as well, to show that you are up to the challenge. In many ways, you should have coyote-like characteristics.

You had better be up to the challenge. If you don’t assert yourself as the leader, you will end up with an undisciplined, disobedient dog who thinks he’s in charge. A strong-willed dog who also happens to be half-coyote.

This is not an easy dog to find, considering the rarity of the hybrid. You will have to check with reputable breeders to find one. Keep this in mind, that many people who are advertising “Coydogs For Sale” are not actually in possession of genuine Coydogs.

The VGL coyote-hybrid test is the recognized standard for determining the genetic make-up of your Coydog. As noted, many supposed Coydogs are not actual specimens of the hybrid. The results of this test will simply state whether your dog is a regular dog genetically, or if it contains the genetic make-up to be a coyote-hybrid. 

Conclusion: Taking into account many of the variables, experts agree that this isn’t a proper pet for the majority of dog-lovers. A Coydog is only ideal for a strong-minded personality who will stick to disciplined training.  Coydogs are capable of aggression and biting. 

It should be noted that pets in the United States fall under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. Dog owners should familiarize themselves with this federal law.

If the training regimen is too soft it will be insufficient. Harsh training is counterproductive. You need to find a balance. 

You will need the patience of a saint, and the willingness to commit to a dog who retains a very wild nature. You can’t be afraid of your pet. 

There is a good chance that Coydogs will bite or nip you early on. They may continue to exhibit this behavior as they grow older and stronger. If this prospect scares you, then this isn’t the right dog for you. 

For the rare personality who meets the criteria, this can be a very enjoyable dog to own. Particularly if one lives close to nature where the dog can have plenty of open space. 

For a fascinating look at the type of person best suited for owning a Coydog, check out John Hooker’s blog post Living With A Coyote Hybrid (Coydog). He recounts his personal experiences raising a Coydog. Prospective owners will certainly benefit from reading about his daily experiences.

If this sounds like you, and you are up to the challenge, you may find yourself with a unique, loyal, intelligent, pet who just so happens to be half-coyote. 

How many dog owners can say that?

 

 

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