Dog-goat Hybrids

Canis familiaris × Capra hircus

EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS

     
I am obliged to report that which is reported, but not to believe it.
—Herodotus
The History, VII, 152
A video documenting that dogs sometimes mate with goats.

A video of a goat nursing a puppy.

A video of a dog nursing a kid.

Note: It has been my policy in listing reports of mammalian hybrids to include all serious allegations by serious individuals, especially scholars, whether or not the hybrid alleged seems possible or likely to me. This policy, I think, helps to eliminate subjective judgment on my part, and therefore should eliminate at least one source of systematic bias from my work.

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 that between a dog and a goat actually produce hybrids? It does seem unlikely. But serious reports of such creatures do exist and are therefore recorded here.

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

attested by a regularly executed procès-verbal. [In French law, a procès-verbal is a detailed authenticated account drawn up by a magistrate, police officer, or other person having authority of acts or proceedings done in the exercise of his duty.] A goat belonging to Maurice Feron, a vintner of Mussey, in Champagne, has birthed an animal of an extraordinary form, now two weeks old. Instead of having the small pointed ears, slender bent legs and short face of a kid, this animal has pendulous ears about six inches long and its head resembles that of a hunting dog [the French term used here ("chien courant") seems to be equivalent to the English "scent hound," that is, a tracking breed such as a basset or blood hound]; the two forepaws are flat and rather large; and it has a tail, about four inches long, like that of a dog. But its body and hindquarters are normally formed, as well as its rear feet, which are fairly similar to those of an ordinary kid. Its head is black, and a streak of the same color extends along its back. The remainder of the body is a light gray. Its voice is at times like that of a kid, but at others, that of a small dog. The nanny who produced this creature refused to nourish it and seemed to dread its sight. But in the end she got used to it and has allowed it to nurse. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original French.]

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, HALF GOAT

Strange Combination Animal Appears in Las Vegas

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.

reality thermometer
Reality Thermometer (estimated reliability of this cross).

Another, short report of an ostensible dog-goat hybrid appeared in the February 22, 1910 issue of the Viennese newspaper Welt Blatt:

A Monstrosity. The farmer Ehrenreich Sauteler in Zannhof in the Pitztal in [the Austrian state of] Tyrol has delivered a monstrosity from a goat. Instead of having the form of a kid, it was like a dog, but it had hooves on its feet. The mother had to be killed, and the monster is dead. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original German.]

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.

A list of dog crosses

The following is a list of 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.

sheep-pig hybrid
Sheep-pig hybrids?
reliability arrow

Table of contents >>

Bibliography >>

Internet citations >>

Biology Dictionary >>

By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).


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