Friday, September 4, 2015

Mama Mia Mysteries

It's been a while; I have no excuse to offer except that I'm a bad blogger.

Since the spring, things have been quiet here. The girls continued to grow and mature, and Bast came down off his hormonal, seasonal jackass syndrome. I think the girls are finally done getting huge - their growth plates closed, at least - and they've settled in at a whopping 80 pounds. This was unexpected, since they were 19 pound bags of bones when I got them, and already close to 7 months old. I expected them to max out at 50 pounds, but they're now bigger than Bast.

Simply too big to be allowed

Although we initially believed the girls to be low to mid content wolfdogs, despite their size we now think that they may be something else - the general consensus is that they look and act more like coyote-dogs than wolfdogs.  When I first got them, I was told repeatedly that they resembled coydogs, but real coydogs are stupid rare; I know of only one legitimate breeder of them and she lives in British Colombia. I thus spent a lot of time talking with various rescues, sanctuaries, and private coyote and coydog owners across the country, convinced I didn't have coydogs, before finally accepting my fate; I probably do have coybeasts.

Coydogs are hard to produce for a number of reasons: firstly, it's hard to get coyotes and dogs to do the humpty hump to begin with, as coyotes tend not to see dogs as conspecifics, or something they can breed with. Dogs are for eats.

Well, okay, sometimes they're for snuggles...

In addition, you have issues of timing; coyotes are only fertile during late winter, males and females both. Since coyotes are monogamous and both parents raise the pups, coyote-dog pups in the wild rarely survive, especially if they are sired by a male dog onto a female coyote. Without a dedicated father to help feed Mama and the Horde, all of the offspring will die and Mama may as well. This means that accidental breedings between wild coyotes and stray dogs are much less frequent than urban legend would have you believe.

In captivity, if you can get a coyote and a dog to get it on at the right time, pups are much more likely to survive, however. There have long been rumors of various wolfdog breeders putting coyote in their lines, but it was all talk with no evidence to back it up. Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, that's changed and it's no longer a rumor. During our research about the girls, we met a lady with an animal that was the result of a roadside zoo throwing together various canine species to try to make something cool. The result was a mating between a coydog and a wolfdog, producing pups that were a mix of coyote, wolf, and German Shepherd. The pups were given out to whoever wanted one, and through various mishaps - mostly containment issues - all but one of the pups were eventually killed. 

After a bit of sleuthing, we tracked down a person that we believe may be responsible for having mixed all 3 canine species again, and who is likely the breeder of the Twins. As it turns out, a breeder who lives a bare 20 minute drive from where the girls were initially dumped on a ranch - by a woman who said they were too difficult to sell - previously bred coydogs and then moved on to breeding wolfdogs. She had been suspected of crossing the 3 previously, as an animal turned up in rescue near her kennels that looked suspiciously like a large coyote-shepherd mix - however there was never any evidence.

I can't imagine why these things are hard to sell...

We also do not have any evidence besides circumstantial, but it seems like a little too much to be coincidence - a breeder with coyotes and wolfdogs, who previously mixed the two, living 30 miles from where the girls were dumped on a ranch, and who would not answer any of my emails or attempts to contact her even just to ask about availability of any litters...


Gee, gang. I wonder whodunnit?

It doesn't really matter who did it, I guess, although I would love to know the Twins' history so I can know about health issues... But I doubt we'll ever know. From the story I was told, the mom and the rest of the pups dumped on the ranch were eventually killed, as well, so the girls are the only ones left.

Later, I'm sure I'll write ad nauseum about their behavior - the girls are super weird and their personalities have really developed over the past few months. They keep all of us on our toes...

And off them, as well...


  1. I cannot say if often enough.... BLESS YOU for taking them in and giving them not just the essentials needed to survive but, a loving home as well!!!

  2. I am abhorred that people would breed coyotes with wolves and/or dogs. The things people will do for $. So glad you and girls found each other. They look GREAT!