Science & Tech

A dog has successfully bred with a fox to create a rare hybrid

A dog has successfully bred with a fox to create a rare hybrid
World's first known dog-fox hybrid after being discovered in Brazil

A dog has successfully bred with a fox to create a hybrid animal in a rare scientific discovery from Brazil.

In 2021, an animal was brought to the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul veterinary hospital after it was struck by a car.

The breed of the female was unable to be identified by staff, as she appeared to have the physical characteristics of both a dog and a fox.

Their confusion led to the arrival of scientists from surrounding universities who analysed the genetics of the animal in order to determine what she was.

Sadly, she died earlier this year of unknown causes, but scientists have now determined where she came from.

The results of her genetic makeup have revealed that the female animal is believed to be the world’s first dog-fox hybrid.

Experts say her mother was a pampas fox while a domestic dog was the father. The rare hybrid animal has been nicknamed a “graxorra” and “dogxim”. The first word comes from the Portuguese common name for the pampas fox, “graxaim-do-campo”. Meanwhile, “cachorra” translates to “female dog”.

The dogxim had dark fur and large pointed ears you’d expect to see on a fox. Initially, the dog was wary of humans and refused food in favour of catching live rodent prey.

A conservationist who worked with the animal, Flavia Ferrari, said she was an “amazing animal”.

Speaking to The Telegraph, she explained: “It was not as docile as a dog, but it also lacked the aggressiveness expected of a wild canid when handled.”

Ferrari continued: “She had a shy and cautious personality, generally preferring to stay away from people. Over the time she was hospitalised for treatment, I believe she started to feel safer.”

Experts believe that if she hadn’t been neutered as part of her treatment, she would have been able to reproduce.

They also believe it is the first instance of a hybrid being successfully created as a result of a dog breeding outside of its own genus.

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