Fox to dog hybrid (dox) discovered in Brazil from a Pampas fox to dog mating

Dox -a pampas fox to dog hybrid in Brazil
Dox -a pampas fox to dog hybrid in Brazil. Image:  Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul veterinary hospital.
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The latest, hot of the press news is that scientists in Brazil have proven that a dog-fox hybrid is possible because they found one! And they say that they’ve proven in through genetic testing. The hybrid dog-fox (sometimes referred to as a ‘dox’) has 76 chromosomes which ‘were a mixture of those found in foxes and dogs’. This animal could be a world first.

The scientists believe that the hybrid is the result of a mating between a female pampas fox and a male dog of unknown breed.

The dox looks like a dox if you know what I mean. The appearance is halfway between a fox and a dog.

All the articles on the internet on page one of Google search results say that foxes cannot mate to produce hybrids because the is too much disparity in their genotype (their genetic makeup). Interestingly the phenotype (appearance) of this hybrid is bang in the middle between a dog and a fox, I think you’ll agree.

Genetic evidence points to a dog-fox hybrid together with appearance and character

This dog-fox hybrid has been named ‘dogxim’. The animal was brough to the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul veterinary hospital after being hit by a car. Initially the staff were unsure if they were treating a dog or a fox, which led to genetic testing, which in turn led to the discovery that they were dealing with the first known hybrid dog-fox.

The character of the animal is between dog and fox. It was unaggressive but wary of people. It did not behave as a true wild animal i.e. a fox.

The animal became more comfortable with people over the time she was treated. Flavia Ferrari a conservationist described the hybrid as ‘an amazing animal, really a hybrid between a pampas fox and a dog’ in speaking with the Telegraph newspaper.

She added, “It was not as docile as a dog, but it also lacked the aggressiveness of a wild canid when handled. She had a shy and cautious personality, generally preferring to stay away from people. Over the time she was hospitalised for treatment, I believe she started to feel safer.”

She’s female and was spayed but it is believed that she procreated when in the wild. They believe that there are more of these hybrids in the wild in the region.

Bruna Elenara Szynwelski of the above university said: “In our study we recorded the first case of hybridisation between one species of wild canid and the domestic dog.”

The findings are published in the journal Animals.

AI thoughts on dog-fox mating. This clashes with the Google search results

The AI computer ChatGPT has a different opinion about dog-fox hybrids. They say they are possible:

Yes, a fox and a dog can mate and produce offspring. Foxes (e.g., red foxes) and domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are closely related members of the Canidae family, and they share a common ancestor. When animals from the same genus can successfully interbreed and produce viable offspring, they are considered to be of the same species or at least closely related species.

Interbreeding between foxes and dogs is most likely to occur in captivity or in areas where they live in close proximity, such as in certain rural or suburban environments. However, it’s important to note that interbreeding between foxes and dogs is relatively rare in the wild due to differences in behavior, habitats, and mating patterns.

When a fox and a dog mate, the resulting offspring are referred to as “crossbreeds” or “hybrids.” These hybrids may possess a combination of characteristics from both the fox and the dog, and their appearance, behavior, and traits can vary widely depending on the specific breeds involved in the cross.

It’s essential to approach interbreeding between different species or breeds responsibly, considering the well-being of the animals and potential ethical and welfare implications. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of local laws and regulations regarding the ownership and breeding of animals, particularly hybrids.

Online research – controversy

But as mentioned the main online articles disagree and as it has been decided that this example is a world first according the scientists involved, I have to conclude that ChatGPT is incorrect.

The argument against this form of hybrid is that most foxes belong to the genus Vulpes which cannot breed with dogs. The two species do not share a compatible number of chromosome pairs to allow interbreeding.

But this is controversy on this topic. Hence the differences of opinion. Perhaps fox-dog hybridisation is only possible in the case of the Pampas fox? I’ll research that shortly.

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