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Are coyotes, wolves, and dogs really separate species?

Submitted by mscheller on Mon, 01/28/2019 - 18:58

The family Canidae contains all species of living and extinct quadrupedal carnivores resembling the domestic dog. This includes domestic dogs themselves, coyotes, wolves, foxes, dingoes and many others. Some interbreeding can occur between coyotes and dogs, as well as dogs and wolves and wolves and coyotes. The offspring of these pairings are fully viable and usually fertile, begging the question are these three varieties of canines really separate species. The wolf, Canis Lupis, is the largest of these three species and has overlapping ranges with the coyote, Canis latrans. These ranges also unsurprisingly overlap with human settlement, meaning there is the potential for both of these species to interbreed with a person pet dog or a stray domestic dog, the species Canis familiaris. What separates these three as different species is their tendency under ideal circumstances to avoid breeding with members of the other species. Although interbreeding is possible, in a proper habitat with adequate resources and fertile mates available it will not occur. These rare hybrids only occur when there is a shortage of healthy and viable mates of the same species.