Musée Fragonard d’Alfort, the museum of the French National College of Veterinary Medicine
This cross, if it occurs at all, is rare, or at least very rarely reported. Reports of other bizarre crosses involving dog (e.g., dog-cow hybrids or human-dog hybrids) or pig (e.g., pig-human hybrids) are much more common. I will, however, include here what little information I have managed to garner in connection with this type of cross.
Christophe Degueurce, a professor of anatomy and Curator of the 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 an hybrid of this type is listed in a nineteenth-century catalog of specimens held in the museum’s 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 (access original). (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.”)
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 (access original):
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 from the front page (column 8) of the June 11, 1896 issue of The Democratic, a newspaper published in Ravenna, Ohio (access original):
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.
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, 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
And the prolific zoologist Johann Matthäus Bechstein (Naturgeschichte der Stubenthiere 1807, p. 112) states that,
Bechstein was one of the most enlightened naturalists of his era. He was among the first scientist 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.
Another alleged pig-dog hybrid is described by taxidermist 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:
Above: A news report from page 10 of the April 5, 1906 issue of the 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, two 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 leapt 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.
In addition, there have been recent (2012) allegations in news stories of a “dog-headed pig monster” terrorizing residents in northern Namibia (access story). However, these reports may well be based solely on rumors since, apparently, the existence of this creature has been documented neither by photographs nor a specimen.
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