Coywolf: The Remarkable Hybrid

For better or worse (and lets face it, usually for worse) mankind’s presence has a powerful effect on the natural world. Usually this leads to extinctions, deforesting, and pollution. Occasionally, we try to fix our mistakes with conservation efforts and habitat recovery. But perhaps the strangest and rarest influence we exert over the natural world is when we try our hand at design. Previously I’ve written about the successful domesticating of feral Siberian foxes. Those experiments resulted in the birth of the adorable and playful puppy-like runts that were the first of their kind. Today I’m going to talk about a project that’s in someways similar, but entirely weirder and more invasive. Have you ever heard of a Coywolf?

Coywolves are a hybrid of wolf and coyote. It’s believed that some hybrid combinations have only existed for about 100 years. Supposedly, deforestation, hunting, and pollution reduced the populations of wolves so severally that they began mating with coyotes to survive. The resulting offspring were a mix of the two parent species, and can breed with either one (or ever domesticated dogs). In time they may even become their own species, separate from both parent species.

In 2013 the National Wildlife Research Center Predator Research Facility in Logan, Utah conducted the first successful hybridization of the northwestern gray wolf crossed with pure western coyote. This experiment used artificial insemination techniques and resulted in a new animal that had never before existed. It’s like something out of science fiction.

Morphologicaly there are significant differences between these beautiful animals.
These hybrids are more tolerant of city noise than wolves.
Many coyotes and wolves already have some dog DNA in their ancestry to begin with.
Maybe that’s why they’re so chill around people.
Plus they’re really adorable.
source: plaidzebra

For more on the Coywolf check out this masterful documentary.



    • Hi Aprajita, that’s a great question. Before I respond I should mention that I’m not a zoologist or biologist. From my research for this article I’d have to say that no, hybrids are not harmed or deformed compared to pure-blood wolves and coyotes. In fact, genetic examination shows they benefit from the added genetic diversity that’s all to often limited in traditionally isolated packs. Like many cross-breeds these hybrids show a reduction of expressed recessive traits (which often lead to deformity and disease). I’ve found a quote from a Dr. Becker that states they are “Greater Than the Sum of its Parts” which implies the Coywolf is much stronger and healthier than its respective parent breeds within its adjusted size. If you’d like to see my source I found it here:!

      Thanks for your interest in my article!

      Liked by 1 person

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