EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ
If an ewe gives birth to a dog, the king’s land will revolt.
It is well known that the sort of mating that would be required to produce dog-sheep hybrids does occur on farms with some regularity. Various YouTube videos document dogs mating with sheep. Indeed, even the ancient Akkadians knew that dogs and sheep sometimes engage in such activities (Freedman 2017, p. 6). And reports of the actual occurrence of this cross do exist.
Photos are available for one recent alleged case, which supposedly occurred on a sheep farm in China in 2011 (see images on this page). The animal pictured here was found soon after birth on a Chinese sheep farm. The owner, farmer Liu Naiying, claimed that he found it soon after birth with its mother and that she was caring for it while it was still wet. He was amazed to see that it looked so much like a dog, while at the same time being birthed by a sheep and having the fleece of a sheep.
"I was herding the sheep, and saw a sheep licking her newborn lamb on the grassland," Mr Liu said. "When I went up to check, I was shocked because it looked so weird, like a cross between a sheep and a dog. I was a bit frightened, as I've been raising sheep for 20 years and had never seen such a creature." (Read more here)
As usual with other such bizarre putative hybrids, biologists have apparently refused to test it and have instead simply denied the possibility that such a hybrid could exist.
In addition to this recent report, there have been numerous others about crosses of this sort published over the years in American newspapers. (If you know of any other cases, not listed here, please contact the website.)
One such report appeared on the front page, column 6, of the February 11, 1859 issue of The Wyandot Pioneer, a newspaper published in Upper Sandusky, Ohio (source):
Another such report appeared on the front page, column 6, of the March 16, 1888 issue of the Washington Standard, a newspaper published in Olympia, Washington (source):
Oysterville is on Washington's southern coast.
Later in that same year of 1888, another case was reported in Stoverton, Ohio. The article appears on page 2, column 3, of the July 12, 1888, issue of the Springfield Daily Republic, a newspaper published in Springfield, Ohio (source):
Another appeared on the front page, column 5, of the June 2, 1893, issue of The Evening Bulletin, a newspaper published in Maysville, Kentucky (source):
What may be the same case as that immediately above is mentioned in a North Carolina paper. The article appears on page 2, column 2, of the June 2, 1893, issue of Asheville Daily Citizen, a newspaper published in Asheville, North Carolina (source):
The following appeared on page 3, column 4, of the February 20, 1901, issue of The Adair County News, a newspaper published in Columbia, Kentucky (source):
That same year, various Australian newspapers published a report about a stillborn dog-sheep hybrid. The following transcript is taken from on page 2, column 3, of the October 17, 1901, issue of The McIvor Times, a newspaper published in Heathcote, Victoria (source):
The next report, also from Australia, describes a dog-sheep hybrid in which only one foot was like that of a dog, the remainder of the animal being like a sheep. It appeared on page 2, column 4, of the September 28, 1893, issue of the Barrier Miner, a newspaper published in Broken Hill, New South Wales (source):
In addition, various brief mentions of ostensible dog-sheep hybrids have been garnered from old news reports. One appeared on page 3, column 2, of the March 6, 1894, issue of The Progressive Farmer, also published in Winston, North Carolina (access original). It states that a ten-month-old ewe owned by a Mr. A. D. Cowles of Gap Creek, Ashe County, North Carolina, had three normally developed legs, but that "The left fore leg is shorter than the other and has a well formed dog's foot with claws."
Another appeared on the front page (column 6) of the January 8, 1878, issue of the Cincinnati Daily Star, a newspaper published in Cincinnati, Ohio (access original). It simply states that "a lamb with a double jaw and the countenance of a bull-dog" was on display in a local saloon.
Another is a single sentence that appeared on page 8 of the June 14, 1929 issue of the Escanaba Daily Press, a newspaper published in Escanaba, Michigan (and in various other papers around the U.S.) reading, "A lamb with a dog’s head was recently born in England."
Another, originating from the Huntingdon Times, a paper published in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, appeared on the front page (column 2) of the April 5, 1871 issue of the Nashville Union and American, published in Nashville, Tennessee (access original). It says "We have received two feet of a lamb from the farm of William Humphrey, of this county, very much like the feet of a dog. We are unable to account for this strange freak of nature…"
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