Can Domestic Dogs Breed with Coyotes?

coyote standing in the field

Written by Amber LaRock

Updated: April 27, 2023

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Coyotes and domestic dogs have been known to cross paths from time to time. This is especially true in residential areas that are close to wooded areas, as coyotes are more likely to cross into human and pet territory. Because of this, some pet parents wonder if coyotes and dogs ever mate.

While it is technically possible for a coyote and a dog to mate, it is not that simple and there are many factors to be aware of. In this article, we will discuss the relationship between coyotes and dogs, if it’s possible to breed a coyote and a dog, and whether or not you can have a coy dog as a pet.

Let’s get started!

Alert coyote looks to the right with a blurred green background

Both dogs and coyotes are a member of the same Canid (Canidae) family

©Paul Tessier/

Both dogs and coyotes are a member of the same Canid (Canidae) family. This family consists of dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, and a variety of other species. Though some members of the Canidae family have too many genetic differences to allow them to interbreed, the coyote and the dog have many genetic similarities!

Can Domestic Dogs Breed with Coyotes?

Yes, coyotes and dogs can technically breed due to their genetic similarities. There are coyote dog hybrids (coy dogs) that have been raised in captivity, so we know that their genetic similarities make them compatible for successful mating. However, while it is possible to breed a domestic dog and a coyote, the coy dog itself is very uncommon in the wild. Research has shown that it is rare for wild coyotes to have any evidence of dog DNA in their genetic makeup, and this is likely due to a couple of different reasons.

First, the mating cycle in coyotes is very different than the mating cycle in dogs. Coyotes are seasonal breeders and typically mate from January to March, as this allows their pups to be born in the warmer months of the summer. This is often key to their pup’s survival, but domestic dogs do not stick to this same breeding cycle. A female domestic dog typically has about two heat cycles per year based on her body, so it is unlikely for mating periods to match up on both ends.

The coyote and the dog also have very different social styles that do not promote successful breeding. Female dogs are typically only receptive to males when they are in their estrus cycle, and because the dog and coyote breeding cycles do not often align, it is unlikely for the two to choose to interact. At the end of the day, a coyote and a dog can breed successfully, but it is not common in the wild.

Do Coyotes and Dogs Create Sterile Litters?

Many animals are capable of interbreeding, but some create sterile litters as a result. Due to this, some wonder if this would be the case for coyote-dog hybrids as well. Though some experts state that coy dogs might be less fertile than standard dogs or coyotes, they are certainly not sterile. The coyote dog hybrid is considered fertile, and they can have healthy litters.

Can You Own a Coydog?

Coyote on spring meadow in Tagish, Yukon, Canada

The mating cycle in coyotes is very different than the mating cycle in dogs.

©Jukka Jantunen/

Due to the fact that coy dogs are not very common, there are no breed standards or regulations for each state. However, some states allow you to own certain exotics and wolf hybrids, so it is often safe to adhere to these same rules and regulations for a coy dog.

Not only will you need to research the regulations for wolfdogs or wolf hybrids in your state, but you will also need to look into regulations for your specific city. Many cities have their own exotic animal ownership regulations that you will need to abide by.

The states in which you can legally own a wolfdog or wolf hybrid include:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Again, we still suggest researching the regulations in your city of residence, as some cities have their own regulations that you will need to follow.

Do Coy Dogs Make Good Pets?

Coy dogs are a result of coyotes and dogs breeding.

©Hunter Desportes / flickr – Original / License

You might be able to legally own a coyote-dog hybrid in your state, but it does not mean you should. There are records of captive coy dogs being high-maintenance companions, and it is almost impossible to truly understand this hybrid’s temperament. Not much is known about the coy dog due to how uncommon they still are, so it’s challenging to know whether or not they could make good pets.

Mixed breeds of any kind can favor certain parents more, so this could mean that your coy dog will favor his coyote roots. Coyotes are often self-driven, have a high prey drive, and even display hostility toward humans, and these characteristics are not ideal for a pet.

Ultimately, the decision is yours when it comes to having a coy dog as a pet. We suggest looking into your state’s regulations, as well as performing adequate research about keeping these dogs in captivity.

Final Thoughts

Coyotes and dogs can be bred, but there are many factors that complicate this process. We encourage you to review the information we discussed above before taking steps to obtain a coy dog.

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About the Author

Amber LaRock is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics surrounding pet health and behavior. Amber is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with 12 years of experience in the field, and she holds a degree in veterinary technology that she earned in 2015. A resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Amber enjoys volunteering with animal rescues, reading, and taking care of her two cats.

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