Canine Interchange, by Walkaboutlou

Dogs and coyotes normally don’t like each other, and certainly don’t mingle, but this particular dog had enough “wild” in him to actually almost become a coyote for many years.

Hi Janet,

I recently touched base about a dog I knew. He was very unique in multiple ways. And worth noting…because he is father of many coyote.

Fuzz was husky x malamute x Australian shep x wolf mix. He lived on an enormous ranch. Very early on…Fuzz showed himself different. He could actually drive and work cattle with the other ranch dogs….but as he matured, he grew bored of cattle. He kept apart from the other dogs..and was allowed to roam as his family owned thousands of acres.The owner realized Fuzz wasn’t a worker and sold him. Fuzz went to a very good home.  And ditched his new owner asap on a hiking trip.

He traveled 200 miles back in 3 weeks, a little dirty and tired. But calm and looked at original owner like “oh hi”.

He was allowed to stay. He remained aloof and roamed his vast range. When he was around 3 years old, different family members [humans] kept seeing Fuzz…with coyotes.

This happened for weeks during the late winter…then it was just Fuzz, and a small female.

The owner realized…Fuzz was likely..courting this female. He had dispersed other male coyote. He was seen interacting with various coyote…and was part of that scene. A pattern developed. Fuzz stayed at ranch and slept at barn with cats often. But at evening..he left. Trail cameras showed him traveling with same female. Also mouse hunting. Fuzz also showed the female how to utilize LGD feeding stations, and interacted with LGD while she fed. One pic showed her eating cautiously and obviously lactating.

That Fall, Fuzz was seen with 5 very unique looking young coyote. One had a blue eye. And little Mom Coyote leading them all.

For at least 4 years, Fuzz and this coyote called Little Mom seemed to have litters together. There are many “big” coyote in the region [his offspring]. Unlike other coyote, they seem to fight ranch and hunting dogs hard. They are coyote..but with more “oomph” and boldness.

I was both bothered and intrigued by Fuzz consorting with coyote, and actually taking a mate. The genetic exchange has happened many times in east. And wild coyote genes absorb the influence smoothly.

But..obviously, locally..it affects the genetics of coyote. Behaviorally too. I do believe the Pups of Fuzz learned some boldness and craft from dad. They associated with him off and on years into adulthood. Trail cams show them traveling together. Eating road killed deer. And showing up in dispersal for years in other places.

I wish I could truly know…how the genetics of a husky malamute Australian shepherd wolf play out after 4 years and 4 litters. How long will those genetics persist? How far will they spread? And will they create “better” or “worse” coyote?

Ironically….Fuzz disappeared when wolves started traveling through the area. Little Mom seemed to disappear too. There were at least 4 wolves in area for several months. It would seem..Fuzz might have met his fate among them. But we’ll never know. He could have been shot far away, roaming. Or met a bear or cougar. Or an LGD he didn’t know. These free ranging dogs are mysterious sometimes.

What we do know…is that Fuzz was part of the coyote community 4 or 5 years. He bonded with a female. There were years of pups and strange dispersing. It’s not common. But it happens…more than we realize.

His owner says “sometimes family member’s go crazy and run away to join a carnival. You gotta let um be.”

I don’t think Fuzz was crazy. But he truly created some carnival canine coyote. I wonder at their futures. And at the convergence of canine genetics.

Always amazed….

Lou

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Dec 17, 2020 @ 00:11:43

    Wow. Lou comes through again with an incredible insight into what goes on out of our view. What a mystery.
    Thank you, Lou!

    Reply

  2. lancer223
    Dec 17, 2020 @ 00:16:37

    Thank you for a wonderful article. I am very thankful that we have coyotes here in San Francisco. I love to watch them at dusk in Mclaren Park and they are peaceful enough. Thank you Janet Kessler for such a wonderful website. And thank you Lou Too!

    Reply

  3. Lisa Febre
    Dec 17, 2020 @ 00:22:36

    Wow! This is an incredible story. Definitely summed up with the carnival comment. The secret lives of animals are something maybe we aren’t meant to know. Sad to hear Fuzz & Little Mom are no longer there, but what an effect they’ve had on those who knew him and the land he kept. Thank you for sharing this amazing story.

    Reply

  4. deborah odonnell
    Dec 17, 2020 @ 02:29:24

    I was told by a wildlife biologist , that a female coyote will not breed with a domestic dog, because she instinctively knows that he will not help raise her pups, as a male coyote does. Male coyotes will regurgitate food into the pups mouths like the mother, a male dog traditionally breeds and moves on. Your story is interesting and creates curiosity regarding the wildlife biologist’s claims.

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 17, 2020 @ 03:34:48

      Hi Deborah — I myself have found biologists and ecologists not to have the best knowledge of coyote behavior — few of them have actually been out watching the animals directly. Although it’s not so common, there are “coydogs” which are dog/coyote offspring — so these do exist. I agree that dogs aren’t “family” animals, but I have seen coyote single moms raise a litter of pups on her own without Dad, so that may have been what happened here. I agree that Lou’s story is fascinating! Janet

    • Lou Venegas
      Dec 20, 2020 @ 00:36:17

      Hello! Yes..you will find biologist who say such things. It isn’t entirely accurate. Normally, coyote won’t mate dogs. But they do occaisionally. The eastern coyote has dog DNA. Verified. Also, many dogs in rural areas do not live as per dogs as we know. They roam and range and interact with coyote. These dogs and coyote occasionally mingle. Fuzz was exceptional. He was a low %wolf hybrid who roamed widely and actively associated with coyote. And the same coyote female years. I respect biologists. But, I have found their science inaccurate at times. Plus they have to be careful what they say. Politics. We who live with land see some things..and the dogs and coyote defy some perceptions. Dogs and coyote, do indeed, produce pups. And coyote moms are more than able to raise a litter alone. Also, Fuzz showed his female dog feeding stations. She was all set.❤🐾

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