Are Foxes Actually Dogs? Can They Interbreed?

By Aviram K.
Published in Other Animals
January 22, 2021
1 min read

Foxes sure look like a mix of both dogs and cats. Does that mean that a fox is a type of dog?

The short answer is no, but they are genetically related.

Foxes are not dogs nor cats—they are their own species. However, foxes are related to dogs, wolves, and coyotes - all of which are members of the Canidae family.

Biologically speaking, foxes share some genetic code with dogs. Still, since their genes diverged from dogs around seven to ten million years ago, they are very different animals.

Can Dogs Breed with Foxes?

While dogs and foxes both belong to the Canidae family, they don’t belong to the same genus. Dogs are a part of the Canus genus, while foxes belong to the Vulpes genus.

Foxes and dogs have an incompatible number of chromosomes. Dogs have 78 chromosomes, while red foxes only have 38.

In simple words:

The genetic makeup of foxes is too different from that of dogs, and therefore, they cannot interbreed together.

A fennel fox.
A fennel fox.

Foxes Have More in Common with Cats Than Dogs

Foxes may look more like dogs, but they actually share more behavioral and physical traits with cats.

Behavioral Similarities

  • Foxes and cats are stealth hunters. They stalk, pounce, and sometimes play with their prey.
  • Foxes and cats hunt the same prey.
  • Foxes and cats are solitary hunters. Unlike dogs that hunt in groups, foxes and cats hunt alone.
  • Foxes and cats use the same method for killing their prey. They use their sharp teeth to bite and kill as opposed to dogs that grab and shake instead.
  • Foxes and cats are most active after the sun has settled.

Physical Similarities

  • Foxes and cats have sensitive whiskers and spines on their tongues.
  • Gray foxes and cats can climb trees.
  • Foxes and cats have vertical pupils that enhance their night vision.

In Summary

Foxes are not dogs and cannot interbreed with them. They actually have more in common with cats than with dogs.



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Aviram K.

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