EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ
If a sow gives birth to a dog, there will be contention in the land.
—An Akkadian birth omen
(source: Freedman 2017, p. 84)
Caution: Reports claiming the occurrence of this distant cross, quoted below, require confirmation.
Reports about pig-dog hybrids are not abundant. Indeed, claims that other bizarre crosses involving dogs (e.g., dog-cow hybrids or human-dog hybrids) or pigs (e.g., pig-human hybrids) are quite a bit more common. Some reports about this type of cross do, however, exist.
For example, Christophe Degueurce, a professor of anatomy and Curator of the Musée Fragonard d’Alfort, an anatomical museum associated with the French National College of Veterinary Medicine (Écoles nationales vétérinaires d’Alfort) states in one of the pamphlets distributed by the museum that a hybrid of this type was listed in a catalog of specimens held in the their collection.
The following is a transcript of a brief article that appeared on page 2 (column 3) of the December 26, 1891, issue of The Frankfort Roundabout, a newspaper published in Frankfort, Kentucky (source). (The word petrified usually means “turned to stone” so I didn't know what it could mean in the context of the following article. But when I looked the word up, I was surprised that it also means “lifeless.”)
Another brief item about a pig with dog paws appeared on page 8 (column 2) of the June 11, 1896, issue of The News-Herald, a newspaper published in Hillsboro, Ohio (source):
Yet another, about a pig with a perfect dog’s head appeared in many U.S. newspapers in 1888. The following is transcribed from the front page (column 8) of the July 26, 1888, issue of The Democratic Press, a newspaper published in Ravenna, Ohio (source):
So the animal just described would look something like this artist’s reconstruction:
And another ostensible pig-dog hybrid is mentioned on page 3 of the August 3, 1886, issue of The Abbeville Messenger a newspaper published in Abbeville, South Carolina (source):
So this animal, with the head of a pig and the body of a dog, which is the reverse of what was pictured above, would look something like:
And there is also a brief mention of pig with three dog’s paws on page 5, column 5, of the August 2, 1893, issue of The Indiana State Sentinel, a newspaper published in Indianapolis, Indiana (source):
And a German language newspaper Grazer Tagblatt dated May 29, 1898 carried an advertisement for a sideshow that featured (in translation) “a living beast, half pig, half dog, ten months old, with four dog’s paws.”
Johann August Unzer (1727-1799), a German physician, whose work with the central nervous system and reflexes still influences modern physiological studies, described in detail (Unzer 1752, pp. 445-448) an alleged hybrid of this type in his possession and states unequivocally (ibid., p. 445) that
In his Observationes atque cogitationes non nullae de monstris (1748, p. 6, sec. 4), Johann Jakob Huber (1704-1759), a German anatomist and surgeon, describes a specimen he thought was a fetal pig-dog hybrid. It was birthed by a sow in the village of Welheiden just outside Kassel. Huber relates the following: “Another monster birthed by the same kind of animal as in the previous section, namely a pig, is not so deformed as the one just discussed, nor is
And the prolific zoologist Johann Matthäus Bechstein (Naturgeschichte der Stubenthiere 1807, p. 112) states that,
In addition, in 2012 there were widespread news stories alleging that a “dog-headed pig monster” was terrorizing residents in northern Namibia (access story).
Bechstein was one of the most enlightened naturalists of his era. He was among the first scientists to be concerned with wildlife conservation and even went so far as to call for the protection of creatures generally considered pests at the time, such as bats. Bechstein’s Bat (Myotis bechsteinii) is named in his honor.
The German physician Christian Francis Paullini (1688, p. 49) reports a case of of a sow farrowing five puppies, none of which had any more than a slight resemblance to their mother.
Liceti (De monstris, 1634, p. 21) describes a dog-pig hybrid born in the Duchy of Lorraine in 1572. It was a conjoined twin in which two separate pig bodies were joined by a canine head. Paré (1641, p. 653) described it as “la teste d’un vray chien” (“the true head of a dog”).
Another alleged pig-dog hybrid is described by E. J. Boucher, a taxidermist in Auburn, Maine, on page 12 of the May 12, 1915 issue of the Lewiston Evening Journal, a newspaper published in Lewiston, Maine. In the article, several freak animals stuffed by Boucher are described, and at the end of the article there is the following account:
It is certainly true that pigs and dogs are sometimes willing to mate. In connection with this fact, several pieces of information involving dogs and pigs seem worth relating.
The first is a story reported to me by my wife, who during the course of her work visited a farm north of Atlanta, Georgia. The family there had years before given an orphaned domestic piglet to a Doberman Pinscher bitch to raise with her litter. She successfully suckled the pig, and when he grew up to be a boar, he would have nothing to do with other pigs and was treated as a dog by his owners. And he actually behaved like a dog. He spent his days and nights with the dogs of the farm and acted as if he were a watchdog when strangers arrived, and even attempted to bark along with the dogs. When my wife visited, this pig leaped up on her with his front legs in excitement, much as a dog does, and almost knocked her down, because, of course, he was much larger than any dog. So this is an interesting case of a pig acting like a dog, and choosing dogs rather than pigs as social companions. One can easily imagine the consequences when it came time to mate.
A second relevant bit of information, which provides an example of the willingness of dogs and pigs actually to mate, is related by the great naturalist the Comte de Buffon (Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière: Supplément, vol. 3, 1776, pp. 35-36): “Nothing seems further from the amiable character of a dog than the gross, brute instinct of a pig, and the form of the bodies in these two animals is as different as their characters. Nevertheless, I have two examples of violent passion between a dog and a sow. In 1774,
There are also various YouTube videos documenting the fact that dogs and pigs are sometimes willing to mate. The usual situation seems to involve a male dog mounting a sow.
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).