It is common knowledge today that the modern domestic dog, or Canis lupus familiaris, got their start from ancient wild wolves.
In other words, today’s pet dogs were once wild wolves. For this reason, there are still many passing similarities between canids from a number of different species, including wolves, coyotes, and modern dogs.
Another similarity that is leftover from that long-extinct wild wolf ancestor is the ability to interbreed. While it does not happen all that often, it still happens.
In this article, we take a look at one of these hybrid animals with one coyote and one dog parent – the Coyote Australian Shepherd mix.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix
As Penn State University confirms, it is biologically possible for domestic dogs and wild coyotes to interbreed because the two species are interfertile.
When a female domestic dog (any breed) mates with a male coyote, the resulting hybrid is called a coydog. There is no formal term for reverse mating.
Coyote dog hybrids are rare but not unheard of. However, they can present special challenges to care for in adulthood.
Learn More About the Australian Shepherd Dog Breed
In this YouTube video, you can learn more about the amazing Australian Shepherd, the dog named for a country they didn’t originate from.
Australian Shepherds mean different things to different people. To native Americans, the Aussie Shepherd is considered to be a religious icon. To American cowboys, however, the Australian Shepherd is the world’s finest rodeo and trick dog.
But to many people, the Australian Shepherd is simply their beloved companion canine.
Learn About the Wild Coyote
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, it becomes much easier to tell the difference between wild coyotes and other wild canids such as wolves when you know what to look for.
For starters, coyotes have much narrower faces, with tall pointy ears and very slim muzzles. Their bodies, too, are slim and rangy with lean torsos, long legs, and very bushy long tails.
Coyotes are also more comfortable in the company of humans than are other wild canids. In fact, this is why coyote-dog interbreeding is more common. Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores that often live near human communities so they can scavenge for scraps.
This can actually work out in your favor if you want to care for a coyote-dog hybrid, because it may help facilitate socialization in adulthood.
Learn About the Australian Shepherd Dog
Aussie Rescue SoCal charity highlights the interesting history of the Australian Shepherd dog, a breed with a modern origin in the United States by way of Australia.
Spanish (Basque) ranchers and shepherds brought the precursor to today’s Australian Shepherd dog with them from Spain and Europe to Australia and then to the United States.
Americans fell in love with these smart, talented, personable dogs and gave them the name of Australian Shepherd, assuming they were from Australia.
Australian Shepherds became staples on the rodeo circuit and in traveling circus shows, doing tricks and entertaining crowds from coast to coast. Australian Shepherds are still popular as herding and tracking dogs as well as companion canines.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix Personality & Temperament
The coyote Australian Shepherd mix is an interesting hybrid because of the coyote’s relative confidence in the presence of people.
If the wild canid parent was a wolf, the outlook would be completely different. But coyotes are more adaptable to the presence of people and exhibit more confidence than most other wild canids do.
This means that your hybrid canid’s ability to cope with domestic life will rely a great deal on your canine training abilities.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix: Size, Height, and Weight
What might a coyote Australian Shepherd mix canid look like?
Dog Breed Info offers a rare example of the Coyote Australian Shepherd mix pairing with a photo of Kaweah, who is one part of modern domestic dog and one part wild coyote.
As you can see, Kaweah looks a lot like an Australian Shepherd, just with a longer and pointier muzzle.
Coyote size, height, and weight
The coyote, Canis latrans, is quite a bit smaller than many other wild canids. Typically, adult coyotes weigh anywhere from 15 to 50 pounds. They stand 21 to 24 inches tall (paw pads to shoulder tops) and have a long, narrow muzzle and lean body.
Australian Shepherd size, height, and weight
The Australian Shepherd dog falls on the larger end of the coyote weight spectrum, typically weighing anywhere from 40 to 65 pounds and standing 18 to 23 inches tall (paw pads to shoulder tops).
Coyote Australian Shepherd size, height, and weight
Theoretically, a coyote Australian Shepherd mix might weigh anywhere from 15 to 65 pounds, but the more likely outcome is a hybrid canid that weighs between 35 and 50 pounds depending on the averaged weight of both parents.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix: Training and Exercise Needs
Both the coyote and the Australian Shepherd are canids with naturally high energy levels. So no matter what, you will have a canid that needs a lot of activity to stay healthy and happy in a captive setting.
Coyote training and exercise needs
As this remarkable story in the Daily Mail illustrates, if you rescue a coyote early enough in life, some degree of domestication may become possible.
The pictures show how Wiley the coyote was rescued as a tiny pup and raised by a family that was used to living with dogs. The coyote is said to be just one of two such domesticated coyotes in the United States.
The family says their coyote needs a lot of enrichment in the form of play and exercise, but also enjoys long naps and walks happily on a leash.
The Idaho Statesman reports on a similar situation where a man rescued a young coyote pup and raised it in a captive setting with his dogs. Today, the coyote adult happily plays with the dogs but remains aloof with strange people.
Australian Shepherd training and exercise needs
The Australian Shepherd could easily be said to be the all-go-no-stop dog breed. These dogs are tireless as they run and jump and herd and do tricks, happy to be engaged in whatever appropriate canine work might come their way.
An Aussie Shepherd with nothing to do that is cooped up and left alone will do one of two things: destroy the home or yard or try repeatedly (and likely succeed) to escape.
Many owners choose the Aussie Shepherd because they want a smart dog that will guard and watch the family and the property.
But Australian Shepherds are not happy unless they are with their people and given plenty of play and exercise, as the United States Australian Shepherd Association (USASA) points out.
Coyote Australian Shepherd training and exercise needs
One thing you can count on if you choose a coyote Australian Shepherd mix dog is a high-energy dog with a low tolerance for being alone or being bored.
These animals need an outlet for their energy and smarts, whether that is learning tricks or going on long hikes, or doing a job such as herding or guarding.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix: Coat Care, Shedding & Grooming
A coyote Australian Shepherd mix is going to inherit a working dog coat from both canine parents.
Coyote coat care, shedding, and grooming
Wild coyotes have short to medium-length coats with a coarser outer layer and a thicker, soft, and insulating inner layer.
These animals need to constantly replenish the outer guard hairs of the coat to maintain their water-resistant protective properties.
The inner insulating layer will shed out during the warm season and grow back in before winter, which can mean a lot of shedding seasonally.
Australian Shepherd coat care, shedding, and grooming
Australian Shepherds are as well known for their long and flowing tai-color coats as they are for their natural knack for learning dog tricks.
Like other working dog breeds, the Australian Shepherd has the traditional double layer working-dog coat. The inner layer is soft and insulating and very thick. The outer layer is longer and consists of coarser guard hairs with weather-resistant properties.
The coat will shed out year-round and the undercoat will shed out seasonally in what owners call a “coat blow” – a literal storm of dog hair that can last a few weeks.
Coyote Australian Shepherd mix coat care, shedding, and grooming
Because both parent canids have a thick, insulating, double layer coat, the big difference will be only in length. Your hybrid dog will need regular brushing as often as a few times per week to keep tangles and mats from forming.
Seasonally, you may want to brush as often as daily to keep the shed hair from coating you and everything you own.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix: Longevity & Health Issues
Whenever two different species interbreed, determining potential longevity as well as genetic health concerns becomes more challenging.
In this section, find out what is known about longevity and health issues for both the wild coyote and the Australian Shepherd.
Coyote longevity and health issues
Coyotes can contract many of the same dangerous diseases that affect domestic dogs, including parvovirus, distemper, rabies, and mange.
There is an oral rabies vaccination that can work on coyotes if given as a preventative measure, according to LOHUD/Animal Defenders of Westchester.
According to the Arizona-Sonoma Desert Museum, Coyote’s average lifespan can vary a great deal based on whether the animal is captive or wild.
A wild coyote might live 10 to 14 years in a temperate climate with plentiful food and a lower risk of predation. Captive coyotes can live two decades or longer with appropriate care.
Australian Shepherd longevity and health issues
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the Australian Shepherd dog breed should be pre-tested (prior to breeding) to rule out passing along these known genetic health conditions:
- Elbow dysplasia.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Eye issues.
- Autoimmune thyroiditis.
Australian Shepherds are also known to have a sensitivity to many veterinary drugs, including anesthetic.
The Australian Shepherd can live between 12 and 15 years on average.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix: Guarding and Protection Instincts
Choosing a coyote Australian Shepherd mix means you will get a mix of wild and domestic, which is not a great recipe if you want a reliable guarding and protection dog for your home and family.
Coyote guarding and protection instincts
As far as wild canids go, coyotes are less shy around humans than many of their wild counterparts. However, they still aren’t going to make good protection canines around the home.
A healthy wild adult coyote’s natural instinct is to steer clear of people, not stand up to them or stand in between them and potential prey.
Australian Shepherd guarding and protection instincts
The Australian Shepherd is a natural guarding, herding, and protection dog with strong guarding instincts.
As such, these dogs are not a good match if your family includes vulnerable family pets or small kids who can’t handle a dog gently.
But for a family with older children (or even a self-assured cat), the Australian Shepherd will be a reliable watchdog.
Coyote Australian Shepherd Mix: Is This the Right Hybrid Mix For You?
It is not legal to own a wild canid or a hybrid animal in all areas.
So it is important to check the local and state laws where you live before you make a commitment to caring for a hybrid Coyote Australian Shepherd mix.
Otherwise, if you have the time and interest to spend socializing, training, and exercising a hybrid canid, the coyote Australian Shepherd can make an interesting companion canine.