A Dog-puma Hybrid?

Canis familiaris × Felis concolor

Hybrids out of History



A diligent scholar is like a bee who takes honey from many different flowers and stores it in his hive.
John Amos Comenius
dog-puma hybrids

The actual occurrence of dog-puma hybrids, which seems to be attested by only a single old report, should not be construed as factual. Confirmation of such a disparate cross would require either a testable specimen or the production of a hybrid under controlled conditions.

A dog-lion hybrid, specifically, what would have been a dog-puma hybrid (see explanation below), was reported on page 6, column 4, of the February 14, 1901, issue of the El Paso Daily Herald, a newspaper published in El Paso, Texas (source). The following is a transcript of the report:


    One of the greatest freaks which has ever sprung on an unsuspecting people is an animal which lives at the livery stables of Mr. Cisneros on Morelos Avenue. The animal is now about two years old and he has a mixture of blood in him which differs in organization about as far as the bear and the monkey. The animal is apparently a cross between a dog and a lion. He is a large, tawny, dun animal weighing about fifty pounds and his features resemble his canine father, but in character is inclined to take up the peculiarities of his feline mother. His running is done on the running order much the same as the cat family, and while he enjoys a caress he seriously objects to a correction for being unmannerly. This prodigy is one of the strangest freaks on record, and a number of physicians who are supposed to be acquainted with the propagation of life refuse to accept the statement regarding the animal’s ancestry.
Note: It has been my policy in listing reports of hybrids to include all serious allegations, especially those of 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 remove at least one source of systematic bias from my work. It also helps to fulfill the ethical obligation of telling not just the truth, but the whole truth.

In the western U.S. pumas (Felis concolor) are often simply called lions, so given the locale and the small size of the alleged hybrid it is much more likely that his animal is the one referred to in the report. F. concolor native to the region around El Paso, whereas, P. leo, of course, is not. Moreover, from the standpoint of size, a male dog would be much more compatible with a female puma, than with a lioness. Female pumas typically weigh between 29 and 64 kg (64 and 141 lb), averaging 42 kg (93 lb), whereas lionesses weigh far more, 120 to 185 kg (265 to 408 lb).

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

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