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Can You Keep a Jackal as a Pet? Can They Be Domesticated?

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Black Backed Jackal staring towards the camera

Can You Keep a Jackal as a Pet? Can They Be Domesticated?

Exotic pets such as jackals present dangers to you and the people around you, but whether or not they can be legally owned is a different question entirely. While states like Alabama, Wisconsin, Nevada, and North Carolina have no laws against keeping exotic pets, other states, counties, and cities have their own laws. Depending on your location, you must check your local ordinances to determine if you can keep a jackal as a pet. Even if it is legal in your area and there are rare instances in which jackals can be tamed, no wild animal should be kept as a pet.


Are Jackals Good Pets?

No, jackals do not make good pets. Owning a unique pet may initially feel exciting, but over time, the downsides to owning a jackal far outweigh any brief benefits.

Diet Challenges

Caring for a jackal is difficult. They require a diverse diet that may change with the seasons, and some of the jackal’s dietary needs may be impossible for you to acquire. While fruits and vegetables may be simple enough to find, jackals also eat a steady diet of birds, rodents, reptiles, and gazelles. Chances are, you won’t find gazelle meat packaged at your local supermarket.


Jackals are heavy shedders; they shed their fur year-round but heavily during shedding season when they blow their coats. Grooming a jackal to prevent constant shedding will require a lot of maintenance. Unless you raise a jackal from infancy, your attempts to train it will almost certainly fail.


Socialization will also be nearly impossible. Even jackals raised in captivity and trained from birth remain wary of strangers since they have not been domesticated for generations like dogs or cats have been. No matter how cool it may seem to own a jackal, the reality of owning a wild animal is not glamorous. In fact, it can be incredibly dangerous.

Jackal on a camping site
Image Credit: Fotografie-Kuhlmann, Shutterstock

Are Jackals Dangerous?

Yes, jackals can be dangerous. They are wild animals, not domesticated pets, and may behave unpredictably around humans or other animals. Some may dismiss the potential hazards of owning a jackal by citing their size: a little less than 30 pounds on average.

While adults may not be at as high of a risk of a lethal attack from a jackal, there is still a good chance of injury. In addition, small children are often the victims of exotic animal attacks and can be much more easily killed by a jackal. Jackals are not friendly animals.

They fear and avoid humans, and if forced to interact with humans while in captivity, they may behave aggressively. Jackals are territorial, and if they feel their property is being encroached on, they have no problem attacking the intruder—even if it is you.

In short, jackals are not safe animals to own. If you want an exciting animal for a pet, there are plenty of unique dog breeds, fascinating cats, colorful birds, and amazing reptiles that you can consider bringing home instead.


Why You Should Never Have an Exotic Pet

Owning wild animals is unsafe, not just for the owners or the people around them, but for the animals. There are plenty of reasons why you should never own an exotic pet, and below are just a few of them.

Image By: Orna Wachman, Pixabay

1. Wild Animals Should Be in the Wild

Jackals don’t belong in your home, and they don’t belong in a cage in your backyard. They belong in the wild, in their natural habitat, where they can thrive and live the life they are meant to live. Jackals enjoy being social with other jackals in their habitat and do not socialize well with humans or other animals. Removing a jackal from its home is not only cruel but also selfish.

Captivity is unsuitable for jackals. Life in a home or a cage inhibits the jackal’s natural behavior, preventing it from carrying out its instincts. This can cause an animal a great amount of stress and depression. If you take a jackal as a pet, you are consigning that animal to a life of misery.

2. The Wild Animal Trade Is Deadly

Wild animals ripped from their homes to be sold in the exotic pet trade experience extremely high death rates. In a 6-week stock turnover, a mortality rate of 72% is common.

3. Wild Animals Pose Serious Risks to Human Health

Beyond the possibility of a wild animal attack, owning an exotic animal poses a risk to you and your community due to the potential for a zoonotic outbreak.  Zoonotic diseases are diseases that spread from animals to people. If you’re unlucky, a zoonotic disease caught from your exotic pet will spread to you, your household, and possibly the rest of your community. In more severe instances, it may cause a dangerous global outbreak.

4. There Are Plenty of Incidents to Prove Why it Is a Bad Decision

Many people have fallen for the temptation to own an exotic pet and were not dissuaded by the dangers it poses to themselves, their loved ones, or their community. Tragically, there have been many recorded instances of this leading to horrific incidents of injury or death. Exotic animals do not belong in our backyards. The longer they stay somewhere they shouldn’t, the greater the chance of tragedy.


Final Thoughts

Jackals are fascinating animals that belong in the wild, not on a leash. The risks of bringing an exotic animal into your home are far too numerous for the benefits to be worth it. Bringing a wild animal home puts yourself, your family, your community, and the animal at risk. The best way to show appreciation for the jackal’s beauty is to leave it in its natural habitat. If you are looking for a unique pet, there are plenty of safe, legal, and domesticated animals that need forever homes.

Featured Image Credit: Zuzana Gabrielova, Shutterstock

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