Are foxes related to wolves/dogs?


A Doggie Scholar
Barked: Sat Aug 11, '07 8:23pm PST 
Just a random question.... are they? shrug

I don't know the proper terms, but if wolves are considered "genetic" fathers of dogs, are foxes a close relative.. say a cousin?

I do notice that some dog breeds look more like foxes than wolves.

How can I be- this cute?
Barked: Mon Aug 13, '07 12:26am PST 
Foxes are in the canine family, but are pretty distantly related to wolves and dogs. Coyotes and jackals are more closely related to wolves/dogs than foxes are.

Check out this page for a look at some phylogenetic trees that are based on molecular data (if you right-click the images and select View Image, you can read them better). This image in particular shows how distantly related foxes are.

There are certainly some dog breeds that look fox-like, but different genotypes can produce similar phenotypes, depending on the environment and such. That's probably what happened, especially since people have influenced how dogs look so much.

I imagine they'd be called cousins, yeah. smile

A Doggie Scholar
Barked: Wed Aug 15, '07 7:48am PST 
Thanks!!! Veeeeery interesting... smile


Proud to be a- kitchen wolf!!!
Barked: Sun Aug 19, '07 12:20am PST 
Related, but not as closely as other canids. Fudge pretty much has it covered, but here's another figure for ya':

Amount of chromosomes in species of various canids:
gray wolf (canis lupus) -- 78
maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyrurs) -- 76
bush dog (Speothos venaticus) -- 74
crab eating fox (Cerdocyon thous) -- 74
bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) -- 72
fennec fox (Alopex zerda) -- 64
arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) -- 50
raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) -- 42
red fox (Vulpes vulpes) -- 36

This info comes from the book, "Genetics, An Introduction For Dog Breeders" by Jackie Isabell, in a section from chapter one, titled "Evolutionary Genetics".

There's a little evidence that foxes and dogs can actually inter-breed, I think, but the offspring isn't really all that viable, and I don't think they produce fertile offspring at all.