Do coyotes and dogs interbreed (mate with one another)?

People often speculate as to the frequency of coyote-dog hybrids, or coydogs, in urban settings. Coyotes and dogs are related, and they are biologically capable of producing hybrid litters. Coydogs have been raised in captivity. Genetic surveys of wild coyotes have rarely documented evidence of dogs in the genetic makeup of coyotes, despite domestic dogs and coyotes sharing the continent for the past 9,000 years. Although it is possible, coydogs in urban settings are unlikely because:

  • Coyotes are highly seasonal breeders; dogs are not.
  • Coydog females have a shifted estrus cycle that does not coincide with the coyote period.
  • Domestic dog and coydog males do not tend to litters, whereas male coyotes do.
  • Coydogs may have lower fertility than either domestic dogs or coyotes.
site near where 441 was trapped and tracked

Coyote 441 is one of the most successful urban coyotes we have observed. This female was captured near the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago on March 10th, 2010. At the time of capture, she was a subadult in excellent condition, weighing 11 kg. A GPS collar was placed on her and we recorded her locations until November 2010 when her collar blew off (these collars are programmed to remotely fall off at a specified time).