Are Foxes Related to Dogs? Insights

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Author: Jacob Kay

Dogs are very curious creatures and like to explore everything and that is quite evident. But like dogs, their paw parents too are full of curiosity, I guess it has a lot to do with the company. That same curiosity makes the paw parent relate their fur baby with other creatures and then the question like, “Are foxes related to dogs?” may arise.

One such animal you might think shares a resemblance with a dog and thinks they are related is a fox. Through this blog, we will go in-depth into the fox and dog relationship and will explore all its dimensions.

Are Foxes Related to Dogs?

Why Are Foxes and Dogs Compared?

You might have often seen, heard and read about the comparison being made between foxes and dogs. Due to their few similarities both foxes and dogs are considered to be belonging to the same species.

Foxes and dogs do share similarities in terms of their appearance, size, shape, social behaviour, communication and reproduction. Due to these similarities, they are often compared but apart from these similarities, there is nothing in common in them.

The comparison between foxes and dogs helps in understanding this creature better. Through comparison, the world gets an in-depth knowledge regarding the diversity of both species and their genes.

Are Foxes Related to Dogs?

Yes, foxes are related to dogs not fully but they do share some of the partial similarities. Foxes and dogs both belong to the same Canidae family[1]. Apart from foxes and dogs other carnivorous animals belonging to this Canidae family are coyotes, wolves, and jackals.


The Canidae family consists of three sub-families out of which dogs and foxes both belong to the Caninae subfamily. The foxes and dogs are related to each other by the common ancestor “Leptocyon”. However, with the passage of time this Leptocyon divided forming a variety of different species.

Even though both foxes and dogs share common ancestors their genes differ. Dogs belong to the genus Canis[2] whereas foxes belong to the genus Vulpes. The genus Canis consists of species like dogs, wolves, coyotes and jackals.

Difference Between Foxes and Dogs

Foxes and dogs might be considered of the same species but they are not. Even after sharing the same ancestors both these creatures differ physically, genetically and in terms of behaviour:

Physical trait

Dogs are muscular and their size differs according to their breed.Foxes are not as muscular as dogs and generally, their size remains the same in size.
Dogs have broad heads and almost sharp jaws.Foxes have narrow heads and pointed noses.
The fur of a dog is short, medium and long depending on the breed. This fur is usually of different colours.The fur of the fox is either brown, grey or reddish in colour.

Behavioural trait

Dogs are domestic animals and are habitat to live with humans.Foxes are wild animals and cannot be kept as a pet. They are habitat to have their livelihood in the forest.
Dogs are loved and adored for their loyalty and are dependent on humans.Foxes are generally considered cunning and are not dependent like dogs.
Dogs tend to behave domestically and are no threat.Foxes exhibit aggressive behaviour and pose a threat to human beings.
Dogs are obedient and social creatures.Foxes are wild animal and their socializing can be a threat to others.

Is Interbreeding Possible for Dogs and Foxes

No, interbreeding in dogs and foxes is not possible. Dogs and foxes are two different creatures with different genes and species. They differ from each other and have different requirements.

Interbreeding Dogs and Foxes

Interbreeding dogs and foxes is not possible due to the incompatibility of the number of chromosomes. Their natural instinct and the way to habitat is also widely different. Interbreeding two such widely different species is unethical and against the rule of nature.

Interbreeding dogs and foxes will cause stress and discomfort to both creatures and will result in infertile and incompatible offspring. Both the animals are good individually and have the best individual qualities and that’s how it should be left.

As stated by Jennifer Coates, DVM in petmd “In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.”


Are foxes related to dogs?

Yes, foxes and dogs are related, they share common ancestors and genetic code. However, they differ due to their separate genes. Both the foxes and dogs belong to the same carnivora animal order. Few of the dog breeds do share their resemblance with the foxes.

Are foxes friendly to dogs?

The answer to this question of whether foxes are friendly with dogs or not depends on several factors. Generally, foxes are not friendly towards dogs and can exhibit aggressive behaviour towards them. The danger of foxes prevails most among the younger dogs as they see them as prey.

Is it safe to pet a fox?

No, it’s not safe to pet a fox. Fox is a wild animal and can pose a threat to your life. Fox has an aggressive nature and is not meant to live with humans. If you think of having it as a pet then make sure the fox is well-trained and fully vaccinated. There are many places where it is illegal to have a fox as a pet owing to the risks.

Can a dog breed with a fox?

No, a dog cannot breed with a fox. The dog and the fox belong to different species and are different from each other. Moreover, the number of chromosomes in both dogs and foxes are incompatible which itself makes it worthless for them to breed.

How do foxes and dogs share similarities?

Foxes and dogs belong to different genes though are similar to each other in a few things. Foxes and dogs do share the same resemblance in terms of body structure, and their intelligence level matches at some level. They both can have the same senses and can dwell with humans.


Foxes and dogs might share some similarities but are very distinct from each other. The relationship between foxes and dogs is only related to the Carnivora family. We hope that through our blog, “Are foxes related to dogs?” we have successfully solved this curiosity.


  1. Canidae (coyotes, dogs, foxes, jackals, and wolves). (n.d.). Animal Diversity Web.
  2. Canis (dogs, jackals, and wolves). (n.d.). Animal Diversity Web.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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