Dog-horse Hybrids?

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EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ

     
If a mare gives birth to a foal with the claws of a dog, the nation will be diminished.
An Assyrian birth omen
Divination among the Chaldeans, p. 112

Caution. The reports of this cross, some of which are quoted below, need further verification.

When horses and other large farm animals are lying down, dogs sometimes mount them.

Various reports about ostensible dog-horse hybrids are on record. The following is a brief account of a strange canine offspring foaled by a mare. It appeared on page 4, column 5, of the May 26, 1888, issue of The Progress, a newspaper published in White Earth, Minnesota (access source)

Equine and Canine

    A mare belonging to Mr. Bellefeuille gave birth to a monstrosity on Tuesday. The feet, tail and head of this singular freak, bore a striking resemblance to that of a dog. It was lively and strong, and would, in all probabilities, have lived had not the owner unwisely put it to death.

(It is not unusual for owners to put newborn hybrids to death, the reason being that they see them as unnatural monsters.)

White Earth is a census-designated place in Becker County, northwestern Minnesota.

If a mare gives birth to a foal with the head of a dog, her mistress will be cursed and the nation will be diminished.
An Assyrian birth omen
Divination among the Chaldeans, p. 112

Four years earlier, a report of a similar hybrid ran in American newspapers. The following is from the bottom of column 4 of the front page of the May 1, 1884, issue of the Dodge City Times, a newspaper published in Dodge City, Kansas (access source):

    The Lawrence [Kansas] Herald says: A most wonderful freak of nature has just developed on the farm of Adam Scheer, A German living in Kanwaka township. One of his breed mares gave birth last night to a could with perfect body and limbs, but the head, ears, eyes, nose and mouth of an English bull dog. It is said by persons who have seen it, that the head of the colt is not deformed or disturbed, but it is a perfect, well developed dog’s head. Such things are terrible, but nevertheless wonderful.

And, just before the outbreak of World War I, another notice about such an animal appeared on the front page of the June 6, 1914, issue of the San Bernardino News, a newspaper published in San Bernardino, California (access source):

THIS FARMER OWNS COLT WITH DOG’S FACE

    SEAFORD, Del., June 6.—Allison Riggin, who lives on a farm between Laurel and Bethel, is the owner of a dog-faced colt. The animal is normal except that its nostrils and tail are like those of a dog. Riggin says he has refused $500 for his freak.

[An omen derived] from the birth of a foal with the tail of a dog.
From a list of Babylonian birth omens
Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, XXVII, p. 6

In a much older account, the 17th-century German equine veterinarian Georg Simon Winters von Adlersflügel (1703, p. 138) mentions that he himself saw a horse with a long dog’s tail at Castle Dachau in Bohemia in 1648. His illustration of the animal (Adlersflügel 1703, Plate 26) is shown below.

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dog-horse hybrid

Adlersflügel was one of the leading experts on horses of his day.

It’s of interest that such births combining equine and canine traits are mentioned by the ancient Mesopotamians (as evidenced by the birth omens quoted on this page), who seem to have been as assiduous in compiling strange births as they were recording planetary events in the nighttime sky.

Incertae sedis. The next report describes an animal that cannot have been a simple dog-horse hybrid, given that it supposedly not only had one forefoot like that of a dog, but also one like that of a cow, which leaves it unclear how this particular report should be categorized (thus, incertae sedis). At any rate, the following notice appeared on the front page of the April 28, 1906, issue of The Bega Budget, a newspaper published in New South Wales, Australia (access original)

    The champion freak of nature to date is reported from Goonoo Goonoo (wherever in thunder that is!). A foal was born which possessed an equine’s two hind legs, a calf’s near forefoot, while the off forefoot possessed all the characteristics of dog’s foot, with nails complete. The foal was born alive and sucked its mother three days. But the owner began to see the monstrosity in his dreams and was forced to shoot it.

Gunnoo Gunnoo was a sheep station south of the town of Tamworth, New South Wales.

A list of dog crosses

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.

dog-cow hybrid A dog-cow hybrid?
reliability arrow

Dog × Wolf >>

Coyote × Wolf >>

Dog × Dingo >>

Dog × Jackal >>

Dog × Coyote >>

Dog × Cow >>

Dog × Fox >>

Dog × Cat >>

Fox × Raccoon Dog >>

Dog × Maned Wolf >>

Dog × Bear >>

Dog × Primate >>

Fox × Raccoon >>

Dog × Sheep >>

Dog × Goat >>

Dog × Pig >>

Fox × Wolf >>

Dog × Horse >>

Dog × Rabbit >>

Dog × Turkey >>

Dog × Parrot >>

Dog × Hawk >>



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