Pig-dog Hybrids



If a sow gives birth to a dog, there will be contention in the land.
—An Akkadian birth omen
(source: Freedman 2017, p. 84)
Musée Fragonard d’Alfort
Musée Fragonard d’Alfort, the museum of the French National College of Veterinary Medicine

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.

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.

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Video about a dog who adopted and nursed a litter of piglets. Mammals often imprint on the animal that nursed them, that is, they seek a mate of the same kind after they reach sexual maturity. So in this case these pigs, nursed by a dog, when they reached maturity, would probably seek dogs as mates.

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.”)

Petrified Pups

     Mr. Richard Thomasson, of the Switzer neighborhood, this county, killed a sow about a week ago which had in her womb a litter of seven petrified puppies. Some of them had one ear like a dog and the other like a hog, all had dog’s tails and were marked like a dog. Not thinking of the value of such a freak of nature, Mr. Thomasson broke one up with a hatchet and gave the others to a little boy who destroyed them. This story may sound a little tough, but Mr. Thomasson is a truthful gentleman, and it is vouched for by others.

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):

     S. P. Michael, who lives about two miles east of here has a strange freak of nature. A pig with claws on three feet like a dog, the hind ones and one front foot. The pig is living and perfect, except the feet.

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):

    A ranchman at Sayara, Colo. has a pig that has a perfect dog’s head, with dog’s hair covering the head and neck. Excepting this and a short and bushy tail, the rest of the animal is like a pig.

So the animal just described would look something like this artist’s reconstruction:

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pig-dog hybrid A reconstruction based on a news notice appearing in the July 26, 1888, issue of The Democratic Press (quoted immediately above).

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):

    A monstrosity in the way of a medium-sized dog, with the head of a hog, is the property of a Shoshone in Eureka, Nev. The hybrid generally goes along with his nose to the ground.

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:

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pig-dog hybrid A reconstruction based on a news notice appearing in the August 3, 1886, issue of The Abbeville Messenger (quoted immediately above).

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):

Freaks of Nature

    ST. CROIX, July 25.—Special.—On the farm of Thomas Hornbeck near here this spring and summer have been born a calf without ears, a litter of seven pigs, four of which have six legs each, one of them having feet like a dog; also a chicken with two heads and two necks. The chicken died, but the other freaks are living and prospering.

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

The sire of this double-natured creature was a stray mongrel dog, and the dam, one of those short-legged Indian pigs one sees from time to time. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original German: “Vater dieser zweydeutigen Creatur war ein schlechter Gassenhund, und die Mutter eines von den kurzbeinigten indischen Schweinen, deren man einige findet.”]
Johann Jakob Huber Huber

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

it so unusual that it will require many words to describe. Near the end of last year a female fetal pig was brought to me from the village of Welheiden, which lies about a mile from our city [of Kassel]. This fetus in part — the front feet, upper jaw, and rostrum — was like a dog, as was its neck. Dissection of the internal anatomy revealed nothing unusual. Nor has this birth gone unnoticed among the peasants. The man who brought me the pig, said a certain dog had many times tried to engage in coitus with the sow mother, and perhaps succeeded, and that from this intercourse the fetus just described was produced. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original Latin.]
Johann Matthäus Bechstein Bechstein

And the prolific zoologist Johann Matthäus Bechstein (Naturgeschichte der Stubenthiere 1807, p. 112) states that,

I have myself heard from a trustworthy individual that he had gotten from his bitch two pups with pig’s heads with well-defined pig snouts. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original German: Ich selbst habe auch von einer glaubwürdigen Person gehört, daß sie zwey junge Hunde mit einem Schweinskopfe und deutliche Schweinsrüssel von ihrer Hündin bekommen haben.]
An African pig-dog?

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:

Mr. Boucher tells of one freak which is positively the funniest. This animal lived to a ripe old age, and undoubtedly attracted much attention as Mr. Boucher tells the story. “I was driving through the country a while ago, when I saw an animal that acted like a dog and looked like a pig. It ran out of a house and gave a little grunt, then went back again. Naturally I was rather curious and I went into the house to inquire. The animal proved to be a pig in everything but legs and feelings. His legs were those of a dog and piggy had a dog’s soul, too. He lived in the house, wouldn't have anything to do with other pigs, and the other dogs wouldn't recognize him for one of their kind either. It was the queerest thing I ever saw, that pig, running around, lying under the stove and eating like a dog. He would run up to you just like a dog, too, and beg to be petted.”
mother dog adopts pig Above: A news report from page 10 of the April 5, 1906 issue of The Ward County Independent, a newspaper published in Minot, North Dakota (source)

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.

Buffon Buffon

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,

during the course of the summer, a spaniel of the largest size, which was kept next to the sty of a sow in heat, seems to have been struck with a great passion for his neighbor. They were shut up together for several days, and all the servants of the house witnessed the mutual ardor exhibited by these two animals. The dog’s efforts to mate with the swine were both prodigious and many times repeated, but the incompatibility of their genitalia prevented the union. The same thing happened several years earlier in a neighboring place so that the event was nothing new to most of those who were witnesses. Animals then, even of very different species, can often develop an affection for each other, and can therefore under certain circumstances be affected by a powerful passion, for it is certain in these two cases that the only thing that prevented the sexual union of a dog with a sow, was simply the fact that their genitals would not fit together. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original French]

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.

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