Dog-monkey Hybrids

Mammalian Hybrids

logo

EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ

     

Dog × Monkey

Cynocephales, are a kind of Apes, whose heads are like Dogs, and their other parts like a man’s; wherefore Gaza translateth them Canicipites, (to wit) dog-heads.
—Edward Topsell,
The History of Four-footed Beasts (1607)
dog mating with a monkey A dog mating with a monkey.

Monkeys have been observed mating with a wide variety of other types of animals, including dogs, a fact well attested by videos on YouTube and by information presented in the pages on primate hybridization on this website. For example, Morris reports a case of a male squirrel monkey regularly mating with a female springhare, a rodent.

Indeed, there are cases known in which non-human primates form permanent, family-like associations with dogs in the wild, such as the case documented in the following video:

Article continues below

In the present context, it’s interesting that the scientific name of the yellow baboon, shown in the video above, is Papio cynocephalus, an epithet that refers to its dog-like head.

Article continues below
baboon dog Photograph taken by Dr. H. P. A. de Boom (Veterinary Laboratory, Onderstepoort, Transvaal, S. Africa) of one of what he describes as the baboon dogs that occur with some frequency in that country. Here in the U.S. this condition is known as “short-spine disorder” and is typically attributed to mutation, not hybridity. Hutt (1964, p. 475) states that the viability of puppies with this syndrome is reduced and that male pups have not been reared. Females, however, do reach maturity and produce offspring. This distinction between the sexes in viability and fertility is consistent with Haldane’s rule and therefore suggests these animals are hybrids.

baboon dog Baboon dog: Pregnant female (from Hutt 1964). The chacma baboon occurs throughout Transvaal, the state where this picture was taken.

baboon dog A comparison of a baboon-dog with a chacma baboon (Papio ursinus), also known as the Cape baboon, native to South Africa.

Hound dog and orangutan: best of friends.

Old reports

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Blumenbach
(1752-1840)

Various older (pre-1800) accounts of dog-monkey hybrids exist. In his De generis humani varietate nativa (Blumenbach 1776, p. 11. Vol. 2, Tiguri, apud Orell, Gessner, Fuessli, et Socc., p. 707), Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), the German physician, naturalist and physiologist, mentions two instances of a dog mating with a primate, and he claims that progeny resulted. In the first of these cases, he does not specifically identify the primate involved, but his brief description of the alleged hybrid suggests a Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia). The animal in the second case, however, was a Diana monkey (Simia diana, the name used by Blumenbach, is a synonym of Cercopithecus diana). (Note that these next cases, involving monkeys, differ from most of the other reports about dog-primate hybrids quoted on this webpage, which involve humans, in that the primate parents alleged here are both males.) The passage in question reads as follows: “Regarding the question of monkeys and dogs mating and producing hybrid offspring, I hesitate. These animals do seem extremely different. However, two examples

have come to my attention where dogs were impregnated by monkeys, cases which no one believes, and that I myself consider a violation of the natural order. The first occurred in Schwarzburg [a municipality in Thuringia]. His Excellency [Christoph Gottlieb] Büttner [(1708-1776), one of Blumenbach’s professors at Göttingen] was kind enough to send me a carefully drawn depiction of this hybrid. It was like a small domestic dog of a golden-yellow color, but in its eyes, ears, and shaggy mane, it differed from ordinary dogs and indeed in these respects resembled the father.

The second, reported by an eyewitness of the highest reliability, happened about ten years ago in Frankfurt: A dog, after mating with a Diana monkey, gave birth to a puppy that in its ferocity, its disposition, its humped back and long tail, was exactly like its father.

But I leave these issues to be investigated by those who, perhaps, may have a better opportunity of making accurate observations, for the difficulties are well known that occur in experiments of this sort. It is very hard to isolate from other animals the individuals upon whom the experiment is to be performed, and at the same time not to interfere with their desire to mate. And there is always the tendency, whenever abnormal offspring are produced, at once to attribute the peculiarity to hybridization. And, especially, what makes me suspicious about this matter is that I have seen many monkeys of both sexes and various species constantly living for many years with dogs, also of both sexes, and yet I have never seen anything of the sort myself. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original Latin.]

Also, in his Journey through Wales (12th century, Bk. II, Ch. 11) Gerald of Wales (c. 1146 – c. 1223) relates that in Chester, England, “during our time, a dog was impregnated by a monkey, and eventually produced

a litter of whelps resembling a monkey in their foreparts, but a dog toward the rear. At once, however, they were all killed by one of the peasant keepers of the inn where they were born, who was shocked at the strangeness of the prodigy and by their hideous bi-formed nature. He dispatched them with a staff he happened to have in his hand, but not without incurring the anger of his lord, who was indignant at this damage to his property. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original Latin.]

The source of the following excerpt has been lost. It's from an article by an Australian reporter attending the 1901 Sydney Exposition and describes one of the animals exhibited as

a wonderful “freak” in the way of dogs. He seemed to me to be half dog and half baboon, he having the forequarters of the former and the hind of the latter. A black white and tan, he had a good deal of the show head of a collie, and he is taller on his fore legs than his hind ones. He tapers off behind, and his short dock certainly gives him the appearance of the simian. [The showman in charge] M’Gregor told me he came from Johannesburg, [South Africa] and was brought here by Major or Mr. Cooper. It might be mentioned here that baboons are sometimes kept almost as watchdogs in South Africa. Anyway the dog that was to be found in that very unpretentious side-show in the ground was certainly not the least interesting.

Table of contents >>

Bibliography >>

Internet citations >>

Biology Dictionary >>

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

Table of contents >>

Bibliography >>

Internet citations >>

Biology Dictionary >>


Most shared on Macroevolution.net:



Human Origins: Are we hybrids?

On the Origins of New Forms of Life

Mammalian Hybrids

Cat-rabbit Hybrids: Fact or fiction?

Famous Biologists

Dog-cow Hybrids

Prothero: A Rebuttal

Branches of Biology

Dog-fox Hybrids




Dog × Monkey - © Macroevolution.net