I am obliged to report that which is reported, but not to believe it.
—Herodotus, The History, VII, 152
That male dogs will mount goat does is documented on YouTube (see, for example, the video at right). The reverse mating, billy goat × bitch, also happens but seemingly less frequently. Goats also sometimes nurse puppies (see video at right), as do dogs, goats (lowermost video). Such fostering of young animals can result in imprinting, the tendency of an animal when sexually mature to seek mates of the same kind as the foster parent.
But can a cross as disparate as that between a dog and a goat actually produce hybrids? Reports of alleged dog-goat hybrids are much rarer than reports of certain other types of crosses that seem equally bizarre, such as dog-cow, human-cow, or human-pig. Perhaps the difference is due to the fact that cattle are far more common in developed countries than are goats? Cattle in the U.S. outnumber goats by a factor of about 30 to 1.
One alleged dog-goat hybrid was reported in a news story that appeared in the Gazette de France on May 6, 1768. The Gazette, when it was discontinued in 1915, was the oldest newspaper in France. The same article was reproduced in the scholarly journal Mémoires de l'Académie de Prusse. The reported event allegedly occurred in the village of Mussey, which has since been merged with Val-d'Ornain, a commune about 25 miles north of Joinville in northeastern France. An English translation of the text reads as follows: “We have obtained from Joinville the following particulars, which are
The following report (which was originally published in the Las Vegas Optic, a newspaper in Las Vegas, New Mexico) appears on page 5 (column 2) of the February 20, 1902 issue of the Albuquerque Daily Citizen, a newspaper published in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Access source). It reads as follows:
Half dog and half goat. You could swear to that. So could anyone who saw the thing on the west side streets this morning as it limped, goat fashion, behind a rural Mexican's outfit.
The creature was a wonder for combination. It had a goat's body, but a dog's head. The head had a dog's eyes and a dog's ears, but under the ears, from a lank goat throat, fell long strands of angora goat silk of unmistakable quality. The feet were those of neither dog nor goat. They were like the feet of a sheep. About the hocks fell long shaggy bunches of fine soft silk and larger, shaggier strands of a finer texture adorned the body and the hind legs. The tail was a white fluffed stump, more like no tail at all than anything else. The dog-goat might as well have been born a rabbit so far as caudal appendage is concerned. Except for the head, not a person alive would have guessed that this goat was a dog. A number of dogs came up to make friends, but they invariably decided that the acquaintance would not be acceptable. The poor beast evidently did not understand one word of dog talk anyway. An accident to its left hip caused it to limp.
Another, short report of an ostensible dog-goat hybrid appeared in the February 22, 1910 issue of the Viennese newspaper Welt Blatt:
See also a brief account about a goat-dog hybrid on page 4 of the December 13, 1903 issue of The Indianapolis Journal, a newspaper published in Indianapolis, Indiana (Access report). In this case, however, the animal pictured in the illustration accompanying the article could easily pass for an ordinary mixed-breed dog.
The following is a list of reported dog crosses discussed on this site. Some of these crosses are much better documented than others (as indicated by the reliability arrow). Moreover, some are extremely disparate, and so must be taken with a large grain of salt. But all have been reported at least once.
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
Human Origins: Are we hybrids?
On the Origins of New Forms of Life
Cat-rabbit Hybrids: Fact or fiction?
Georges Cuvier: A Biography
Prothero: A Rebuttal
Branches of Biology