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Is This Mystery Animal a Dog or Fox?


Researchers have recently published the findings of a study aimed at distinguishing whether an animal discovered in Brazil belonged to the fox or dog category. In 2021, a female creature displaying a blend of characteristics from both mammals was brought to the veterinary hospital at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul after being struck by a car.

Upon its arrival, the hospital staff couldn’t definitively identify the species, prompting scientists from local universities to delve into its genetic makeup. Regrettably, this animal passed away this year under unknown circumstances. However, the results of the genetic analysis have now been disclosed.

So, was it a fox or a dog?

Following a thorough examination, experts have determined that it was the world’s inaugural dog-fox hybrid, featuring a pampas fox as its mother and a domestic dog as its father.

Scientists have bestowed upon this unique creature the name “graxorra” and “dogxim.” The former is derived from the Portuguese common name for the pampas fox, “graxaim-do-campo,” combined with “cachorra,” signifying “female dog.” The term “dogxim” is a fusion of “dog” and “xim” from “graxaim-do-campo.

Resembling a medium-sized dog, the dogxim boasts prominent, pointed ears and a dense, wiry fur coat. During observations, it exhibited a preference for live rodents over food and initially displayed wariness towards people. Flavia Ferrari, a conservationist who collaborated in caring for the animal during its recovery, referred to it as an “exceptional creature.”

Can dogs and foxes breed?

Yes, dogs and foxes can interbreed, although it is relatively rare and more likely to occur in captivity or in areas where domestic dogs and wild foxes come into close contact. When a dog and a fox mate, they can produce hybrid offspring, which are sometimes referred to as “dox” or “fox dogs.”

These hybrids typically inherit a combination of traits from both parent species and can vary widely in appearance and behavior. The exact outcome of such a crossbreeding depends on the specific breeds of dog and species of fox involved. It’s important to note that these hybrid offspring are usually sterile, meaning they cannot reproduce themselves. Additionally, crossbreeding between domestic dogs and wild foxes can have ecological implications, as it can potentially introduce new genetic material into wild fox populations.

In summary, while it is possible for dogs and foxes to breed and produce hybrid offspring, it is not common in the wild and more often occurs in captivity or in areas where domestic dogs and wild foxes come into contact.

How many hybrids exist?

The number of hybrid animals that exist in the world is vast and constantly changing due to various factors, including human intervention and natural processes. Hybrids can result from crossbreeding between different species, subspecies, or breeds of animals. Some hybrid examples include:

  1. Liger: A cross between a male lion and a female tiger.
  2. Tigon: A cross between a male tiger and a female lion.
  3. Mule: A hybrid between a male donkey and a female horse.
  4. Zorse: A hybrid of a zebra and a horse.
  5. Wholphin: A hybrid of a false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin.
  6. Cama: A hybrid between a camel and a llama.

These are just a few examples, and there are many more hybrid animals, both naturally occurring and created through human intervention.

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