What is a Coydog?

This urban coyote, to me, is a little strange looking. The other 9-month olds that I know do not look quite like this (see photos below). I’m not sure I can say exactly *how* he looks different — possibly he’s just a little bit compressed or stunted in size? But maybe I’m wrong: it did occur to me that his oddness might just be a variation of normal that I’m simply not accustomed to. That would be good news. Alternately, he could be *handicapped* or even *challenged* in some way, and that would be bad news. OR, I even wondered if there might be the possibility that he’s an urban coydog? Probably not, but I decided to do a posting on coydogs.

The Coydog is a hybrid between a coyote and a dog. It has many features common to the coyote, both temperamentally and in appearance. A true coydog is 1/2 coyote: it has one pure coyote as one of its parents. Coydogs are MUCH less common than people think. For one, coyotes have a once-a-year breeding season (January through March), while dogs are on a twice-a-year schedule which is well after the coyote’s. The vast majority of reported or claimed “coydogs” are not coyote crosses at all, but simply husky or German shepherd crosses that look vaguely coyote-ish.

Coydogs vary in appearance, depending on which dogs they have bred with. I found that, “they can be differentiated by their typical dark neonatal hair color, a white face mask, ebony coat color in adulthood, and a bushy, downward tail. Like the coyotes, their ears are triangular, and they have piercing eyes.”

It is not known whether fertility drops in coydogs — it does not drop with wolf/dog breeding. Coydogs do only two things that wolves & dogs don’t do: they have the unique ability to gape (instead of a doglike snarl) like its coyote parent, when threatened. And, they can emit a hissing sound like a cat, which other dogs can’t. Besides these two similarities, coydogs make sounds that are a fusion of a howl and a high pitch bark.

The individual disposition of coydogs might range from a shy, timid nature, to a gentle, friendly one, to one who is so overly fearful that it would feel threatened and afraid very easily, resulting in aggression or even biting. Coydogs, as coyotes, are very territorial. Their behavior is skittish and can be outright aggressive towards “intruders”. This is one of the reasons they do not make good pets.Another reason is that they need lots of individual affection and care — much like a human child — which is, of course, what their parents give them. They are intelligent, aggressive (compared to most domestic dogs), strong, loyal and energetic.

Most 9-month old coyotes look like this

another 9-month old

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindie
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 21:33:19

    Great article. I didn’t know…


  2. Joannie
    Jun 07, 2018 @ 20:18:09

    I would like to find out what my dogs DNA is exactly. I dont have alot of money. What do i have to do?


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jun 07, 2018 @ 20:31:07

      Hi Joanne, You’ll have to go online to find a place that will do it. There are a lot of businesses that now do this. I think the price is about $50 to $100. Janet

  3. Brandi Bennett
    Jul 02, 2019 @ 15:06:15

    We adopted a dog from the shelter. I have had a lot of people tell me that she looks like a coyote. In doing some other research this weekend, I stumbled across some articles and pictures of coydogs. My dog looks just like some of the ones in the pictures. And reading up on it, her disposition is a lot like them also. I don’t mind doing the DNA testing because I have children in the home and I am not willing to take the chance of them being in danger. Before ordering the test, however, is there someone who knows a lot about these animals that could take a look at her picture first?


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jul 02, 2019 @ 17:06:40

      Hi Brandi —

      Coydogs tend not to look so much like coyotes, they look more like their “dog” parent from what I’ve read. I know a lot of dogs that LOOK like coyotes but have absolutely no “coyote” in them. Frankly, ANY dog can inflict a bite. Children tend to be most vulnerable to dog bites because they have such erratic behaviors. Children should be taught to be calm around all dogs. Having said all this, the ONLY way to know if you have a coydog is through a DNA test: each one LOOKS very different from the next depending on what the “dog” parent looked like. Hope this helps! Janet

  4. Tammy
    Jun 26, 2020 @ 19:10:07

    A vet said a coy dog probably bite m cats tail off , im missing 2 cats from last yr. It must been hungry, 1000 bucks to op but had to give up my rights, ill miss my blackie & he’ll miss us im sure. Not ur regular cat!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jun 28, 2020 @ 16:30:47

      Hi Tammy — I’m so sorry about the loss of your cats: I’m sure Blackie will miss you as much as you miss him. Cats are killed out of doors by multiple entities, including mostly by cars, dogs, and coyotes. Also, when they get old, they often wander off to die on their own. You can protect your kitties from now on by not allowing them to roam free. Please take care of them.

  5. Cinda Baker
    Jan 30, 2021 @ 21:10:28

    I worked at shelter in Florida. A woman brought in a tiny puppy and said they had their farm dog breeding with a coyote. The mother and 3 of the puppies had died. I took it home because they were going to euthanize her. She was gentle with our kids and other pets. She was not food aggressive, nor strange animal aggressive though she loved to chase squirrels.
    The only problem was she was very protective of me which is a little hard with 6 kids. She wouldn’t growl or bite, just get between or if our lab came up for a scratch, Lady would nose her way between us.
    This is just one family’s experience. We had her 15 years and it was traumatic for our whole family. She was a wonder.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jan 30, 2021 @ 22:03:57

      Hi Cinda — Thank you for sharing your story! I’ve had no experience with coydogs, but I’ve been told that neither they, nor full coyotes make good pets BECAUSE they are so protective of their owners. They tend to bond for life with their mates, so you can see that they are extremely loyal — and it’s this that probably dovetails into your own experience. Very interesting also that she lived 15 years “in captivity”, i.e., under the care of humans and not in the wild where they live much shorter lives because of the rough lives they live. If you have any photos, I would love to see what she looked like! :)) Janet

  6. Sandra Caviness
    Feb 18, 2021 @ 19:28:20

    We have 5 dogs one of them is a coy dog. We don’t know what to do with her…she attracts our little dogs to where they are hurt. She’s a really good dog but she can’t be alone or around them. We want to keep her but just don’t know what to do!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 18, 2021 @ 19:46:23

      Hi Sandra — I don’t know much about coydogs — I’ve never seen or been around them. But what I’ve heard is that they are at the same time too tame to survive in the wild for long, and too wild to make good pets. I would think that your little dogs after a time would not be attracted to the coydog if she hurts them. Or, maybe set up a child-proof gate within the house and yard to keep them separate? I found this article online and am hoping it might help you: https://www.perfectdogbreeds.com/coydog/

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