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Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Canines not listed on other forums: African Wild Dogs, Coyotes, Dingoes, Jackals, New Guinea Singing Dogs, Raccoon DOGS, ETC..

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ucrjedi
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby ucrjedi » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:41 pm

sarajeku wrote:
ucrjedi wrote: it's clear to me that they can be tamed and are good pets if the owner makes a significant effort to socialize and train them.

This is very true. Totem (the coyote in my sig) is a sweetheart. :mrgreen:
He's not great with strangers, but he does allow them around him on his own terms. Those of us that raised him from a young pup have a very close bond with him. I absolutely adore him.


Acacia is the same way. She will allow others to come up to her when she wants it and will follow directions in the house when she feels like it. However, as soon as we go outside she realizes that I am her best friend and listens better than my australian cattle dog. I read some posts about Totem in the last few months and he seems to be a very good coyote. Anybody that has bonded with one will know how smart and attuned they are to their environment and to their people. On a side note, Acacia hates bathing and acts as though I am going to kill her. When I tried to give her a bath a few days ago she went nuts and as soon as I stopped she became super sweet as though she was thanking me for stopping the torture. Does Totem hate baths as well? If so, any suggestions? This seems to be the only problem that I have with her.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby sarajeku » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:01 pm

He lives in an outdoor enclosure, so I've never tried. He does like to steal the water hose. Have you tried making a game out of it? Like with Totem, if I wanted to bathe him, I'd have to hose him down and let him think I was scratching his back. He'd never let me hold him still in a tub. Trickery and fun is the key. :lol:
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby ucrjedi » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:14 pm

sarajeku wrote:He lives in an outdoor enclosure, so I've never tried. He does like to steal the water hose. Have you tried making a game out of it? Like with Totem, if I wanted to bathe him, I'd have to hose him down and let him think I was scratching his back. He'd never let me hold him still in a tub. Trickery and fun is the key. :lol:


Now that I know how coyotes can be I feel somewhat bad for those that live outside or at the zoo because I know that they do bond with humans and enjoy human company as long as they know the person very well. I've tried giving Acacia three baths now and only succeeded on the first attempt because she was smaller when I first got her and I could hold her with my arms and legs while my girlfriend hosed her down. It wasn't a pleasant experience but I did wash her. The last two times I got only as far as wetting her. After she got bigger I wasn't able to hold her in the shower any longer and I got tired of having destroyed shower curtains so I took her and my dog to a dog groomer that has stations for self bathing and no matter what I did I could not wash her. She was strapped in the front and back and had a muzzle on but that did nothing to stop her from rejecting the water so I just gave up. However, when I was washing my dog she seemed to be interested and didn't mind getting the occasional spray so I've decided to hose her down outside of the official washing area while washing my dog so that she doesn't know that I am actually washing her. Trickery is the key but sadly she's usually the trickiest one here. Thanks for your comments. I am glad to talk to another owner of a pet coyote because most of what I've heard is that she is a wild animal and will eat me eventually.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby sarajeku » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:44 pm

Totem isn't a pet; he lives at the wildlife refuge that I work at. However, I did raise him, and I'm his caretaker, since he prefers me over others.
But yes, I agree, it is nice to talk to someone else with coyote experience!

I once had someone ask me how I can keep him alive, since it's not possible to find animals that are alive and still dying. Because "coyotes eat animals that are still alive, like demons. Why aren't his eyes red?" No joke. People are so ignorant when it comes to coyotes, because they don't know anything about them other than rumors and myths.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby the_randomizer » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:19 pm

sarajeku wrote:Totem isn't a pet; he lives at the wildlife refuge that I work at. However, I did raise him, and I'm his caretaker, since he prefers me over others.
But yes, I agree, it is nice to talk to someone else with coyote experience!

I once had someone ask me how I can keep him alive, since it's not possible to find animals that are alive and still dying. Because "coyotes eat animals that are still alive, like demons. Why aren't his eyes red?" No joke. People are so ignorant when it comes to coyotes, because they don't know anything about them other than rumors and myths.


Misconceptions spread like wildfire unfortunately. In my first experience with coyotes (albeit very limited), I have told all those who saw my picture that the coyote I interacted with was an absolute sweetheart and would do it again given the chance. Same with foxes; yes, some can be aggressive, but most will just do their own thing and not even bother humans. Heck, even domesticated animals can behave aggressively, so their argument is rendered invalid. People need to do their research before making such baseless accusations. Canids are awesome and that's that :mrgreen:
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby ucrjedi » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:56 pm

the_randomizer wrote:
sarajeku wrote:Totem isn't a pet; he lives at the wildlife refuge that I work at. However, I did raise him, and I'm his caretaker, since he prefers me over others.
But yes, I agree, it is nice to talk to someone else with coyote experience!

I once had someone ask me how I can keep him alive, since it's not possible to find animals that are alive and still dying. Because "coyotes eat animals that are still alive, like demons. Why aren't his eyes red?" No joke. People are so ignorant when it comes to coyotes, because they don't know anything about them other than rumors and myths.


Misconceptions spread like wildfire unfortunately. In my first experience with coyotes (albeit very limited), I have told all those who saw my picture that the coyote I interacted with was an absolute sweetheart and would do it again given the chance. Same with foxes; yes, some can be aggressive, but most will just do their own thing and not even bother humans. Heck, even domesticated animals can behave aggressively, so their argument is rendered invalid. People need to do their research before making such baseless accusations. Canids are awesome and that's that :mrgreen:


Do you think Totem could be a pet? I am trying to figure out if you think that coyotes can be pets or if you believe that they should only be in zoos. Someone at the dog park asked me if owning a coyote was different from owning a dog and aside from Acacia being more timid and much smarter I don't see much of a difference. Sadly people don't use their brains most of the time and just follow what others are saying.

For example, I lost Acacia in a large wildlife park for four days not long ago. I had assumed that she would go wild since this park has wild coyotes in it but instead she looked for me daily and on the fourth day we ran into each other. She immediately came to me and my dog and I took her home. Meantime she was spotted by dozens of people but never followed any of them. She would just come up to people with dogs to check if it was me. It turns out that coyotes can be very loyal. Some have said that she isn't a full coyote but I think she is. She has the long neck, a small chest with a pokey bone at the front, her paws match those of a coyote (can draw an X in the middle), she gets a winter coat, doesn't like to be touched and can't be snuck up on, howls and makes other sounds like a coyote, has the long legs and runs unlike any dog, digs holes to lay in, and curls up into a semi ball to sleep. What do you guys think?

Here are four pictures to help assist anybody in their decision. The white on Acacia's front right leg is paint that she got into. I took this picture before I cleaned her off.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby sarajeku » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:23 pm

Do you think Totem could be a pet?

Oh easily. I'd take him home with me in a heartbeat! He's escaped his enclosure more than once, and he just waits at the door to be let back in. He's very very affectionate with me. There's nothing better than coyote kisses.
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The only time he has ever growled at me (or in my direction) was when I had a sucker in my mouth and he didn't know what the stick in my mouth was. I had to let him have it before he would put his hackles down. He was terrified of the stick until he realized it had candy on it.
He is very intelligent, and he does know a few basic commands (sit, down, come) but he does them mostly when I have very high value rewards (his favorites are cookies and beef jerky).
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Some have said that she isn't a full coyote but I think she is.

She looks a lot like a coyote, in everything except her face. Her stop is too pronounced and her ears look kind of small for a coyote, at least in the pictures I see. Do you have any close ups of her face? Straight view and profile?
Some of the things you listed, sleeping in a ball, growing a winter coat, etc. aren't necessarily coyote traits. My dogs sleep in a ball with their tails over their noses. You should see how the dogs change from summer to winter. It's pitiful. They look so big and beautiful in winter, then in summer, they look bald. Same as Totem, he does the exact same thing. Big and fluffy in winter and scraggly in the summer.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby ucrjedi » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:20 pm

sarajeku wrote:
Do you think Totem could be a pet?

Oh easily. I'd take him home with me in a heartbeat! He's escaped his enclosure more than once, and he just waits at the door to be let back in. He's very very affectionate with me. There's nothing better than coyote kisses.

The only time he has ever growled at me (or in my direction) was when I had a sucker in my mouth and he didn't know what the stick in my mouth was. I had to let him have it before he would put his hackles down. He was terrified of the stick until he realized it had candy on it.
He is very intelligent, and he does know a few basic commands (sit, down, come) but he does them mostly when I have very high value rewards (his favorites are cookies and beef jerky).

Some have said that she isn't a full coyote but I think she is.

She looks a lot like a coyote, in everything except her face. Her stop is too pronounced and her ears look kind of small for a coyote, at least in the pictures I see. Do you have any close ups of her face? Straight view and profile?
Some of the things you listed, sleeping in a ball, growing a winter coat, etc. aren't necessarily coyote traits. My dogs sleep in a ball with their tails over their noses. You should see how the dogs change from summer to winter. It's pitiful. They look so big and beautiful in winter, then in summer, they look bald. Same as Totem, he does the exact same thing. Big and fluffy in winter and scraggly in the summer.


The only time Acacia has ever growled at me was when I put a muzzle on her to give her a bath. I quickly stopped and took the muzzle off because I didn't want to make her too uncomfortable. Coyotes seem like they are the smart asses of the candid world but otherwise pretty easy once tame and in a proper environment. At least you get to visit Totem but I do wonder if he would be better off with people. He is very cute though.

I thought that Acacia's muzzle was a bit short for a coyote but other pictures show it to be longer than I thought. I guess it depends on what position she is in because the black tends to mask her body. I hope these pictures help. If not, I will post some more but many of the ones that I have are from when she was a puppy and she's changed so much in the last few months. She's grown longer, bigger, and skinnier. While I've had her she has always weighed between 30lbs and 35lbs if that helps.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby sarajeku » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:52 pm

30 lbs is about average for a coyote. It really is hard to tell because of the black coloration. She could easily be either a high content coydog or a melanistic coyote. Either way, she's adorable. The one thing throwing me off is her ears.
They just look a bit small compared to Totem's.
I'm used to his enormous ears.
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I agree with you that coyotes are the smart asses of the canids. I have a sequence of pictures where Totem is stealing my camera bag, then acts like he did absolutely nothing.
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There's also this picture: I gave him a pumpkin for enrichment, and instead of playing with it, he peed on it.
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If I could take him home with me, I would. I don't have the proper permits to keep native wildlife though, so I have to settle for loving him at the refuge. Someday, I will have a pet coyote of my own, with the proper captive wildlife permit.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby ucrjedi » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:04 pm

sarajeku wrote:30 lbs is about average for a coyote. It really is hard to tell because of the black coloration. She could easily be either a high content coydog or a melanistic coyote. Either way, she's adorable. The one thing throwing me off is her ears.
They just look a bit small compared to Totem's.
I'm used to his enormous ears.

I agree with you that coyotes are the smart asses of the canids. I have a sequence of pictures where Totem is stealing my camera bag, then acts like he did absolutely nothing.

There's also this picture: I gave him a pumpkin for enrichment, and instead of playing with it, he peed on it.

If I could take him home with me, I would. I don't have the proper permits to keep native wildlife though, so I have to settle for loving him at the refuge. Someday, I will have a pet coyote of my own, with the proper captive wildlife permit.


I am not sure either but I am leaning towards melanistic coyote because of how she was found and also because she has a white spot on her chest like most melanistic coyotes. I did get her at the shelter but I was told that she was found close to the mountains, she was totally wild when I got her, and she did have an umbilical hernia. I've since had the umbilical hernia fixed but it indicates that she was born wild especially if you consider her behavior around humans. Below is a video that a rescue group took of Acacia at the shelter. If you take a look at it you will notice some odd behavior which the shelter said was due to her being timid.

While her ears are not huge they are bigger than my australian cattle dogs and cattle dogs do have pretty big ears themselves. The odd part about her ears is that while they are pointy there is a slight fold an inch below the tip which widens her ears considerably. The pictures below show this. Another possibility is that they are different subspecies. I know that there are 19 recognized subspecies and that the ones on the east coast are mixed with wolves. I don't know where you live but the difference is probably because we are in different parts of the country.

I'm in California so only zoo's are allowed to have non domesticated animals but since I got her at the pound nobody could make the argument that I broke the law. If anything the state would be responsible since they had her for 7 weeks and told me that she was a belgian shepherd and jindo mix. I did have the Wisdom Panel Professional test done which uses a blood sample and it indicated that one of her parents was a basenji and norfolk terrier mix and that the other was a siberian husky, alaskan malamute, and a bernese mountain dog mix which seems highly unlikely. The test did say that they do not check for coyotes or wolves so it might be that my results got mixed up or that they simply could not figure out what she was and just threw some random breeds onto the report. I don't know if I am doing anything illegal since the shelter told me that Acacia was a dog and the DNA blood test showed that she was a dog as well. It just seems to me that she isn't but I can't prove it.

By the way, Totem seems even more friendly than Acacia probably because you've raised him from time when he was a small pup. The shelter said that Acacia was 8.5 months old when I got her but I think it's closer to 6 if you consider the coyote breeding season and how much she has grown since being with me. Acacia has yet to lick my face but she does lick my hands and arms all the time. It's truly special to be shown affection by a coyote since they are fearful of humans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKK_Vher ... e=youtu.be
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby sarajeku » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:03 pm

ucrjedi wrote: I did have the Wisdom Panel Professional test done which uses a blood sample and it indicated that one of her parents was a basenji and norfolk terrier mix and that the other was a siberian husky, alaskan malamute, and a bernese mountain dog mix which seems highly unlikely. The test did say that they do not check for coyotes or wolves so it might be that my results got mixed up or that they simply could not figure out what she was and just threw some random breeds onto the report.

Those tests aren't worth anything. You could send in a registered purebred dog's DNA and get a jumble of breeds back.

I'm in Kentucky, so a different subspecies is quite likely.
Totem is around 35 lbs, so he is not a coywolf, despite coming from the east. You can see how tall he is standing next to me. He's not very big at all. He gets called a fox all the time. :roll: Someone argued with me once that he wasn't a coyote because coyotes were sooooo much bigger.
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You're right about Totem being more friendly because of his being bottle raised. His story is on another thread, so I won't type the whole thing here, but it is suspected that he was born wild as well. Here's the first time I held him.
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Totem at 4 weeks
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:18 pm

You should be legally fine since you have the shelter papers saying she's a dog and most people wont ever think she would be anything but dog due to her coloration. People just aren't that animal savvy. Just don't go around telling people she isn't a dog. Oh plus hybrids with domestics are okay in CA so you could make that argument if everything else failed and probably win since she is black with the white patch, again almost no one will know that is actually a wild coloration so they will think dog mix.

And you would get better results calling a psychic hotline than those DNA tests but wouldn't hurt to hold onto that either since DNA test seems official to most.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby the_randomizer » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:34 pm

I can't get over how adorable Totem is! Those pictures of him as a pup..... :mrgreen:
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby ucrjedi » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:49 pm

sarajeku wrote:Those tests aren't worth anything. You could send in a registered purebred dog's DNA and get a jumble of breeds back.

I'm in Kentucky, so a different subspecies is quite likely.
Totem is around 35 lbs, so he is not a coywolf, despite coming from the east. You can see how tall he is standing next to me. He's not very big at all. He gets called a fox all the time. :roll: Someone argued with me once that he wasn't a coyote because coyotes were sooooo much bigger.

You're right about Totem being more friendly because of his being bottle raised. His story is on another thread, so I won't type the whole thing here, but it is suspected that he was born wild as well. Here's the first time I held him.

Totem at 4 weeks


I just thought that I would give that test a try since they came out with a new version that uses a blood sample but it did turn out to be as unreliable as the one that they had before. I can see that Totem is a pure coyote. They are very slender and have a number of differences which I am now aware of. Acacia gets called a fox all of the time as well and people constantly argue with me about her being a coyote because they think that coyotes are big, bad wild animals.

Acacia is getting friendlier but as you can see from the video of her at the pound she's come a long way. Those are some very cute pictures of Totem. Do you have any pictures of him around the 6 month point? The ones that I am posting are from when I first got Acacia. Her muzzle has grown since then and her entire body had become longer and more slender. I am trying to figure out if she really is a melanistic coyote or a coyote mix and I think that her development might give me a clue.


TamanduaGirl wrote:You should be legally fine since you have the shelter papers saying she's a dog and most people wont ever think she would be anything but dog due to her coloration. People just aren't that animal savvy. Just don't go around telling people she isn't a dog. Oh plus hybrids with domestics are okay in CA so you could make that argument if everything else failed and probably win since she is black with the white patch, again almost no one will know that is actually a wild coloration so they will think dog mix.

And you would get better results calling a psychic hotline than those DNA tests but wouldn't hurt to hold onto that either since DNA test seems official to most.


Surprisingly the people in California are very animal savvy and I often get asked if she is a coyote while driving to the dog park by people that pull alongside my car. The most noteworthy example was of a UPS truck driver who noticed it right away and seemed fine with it. At the dog park everybody knows that she is a coyote because they were the ones that informed me. I kept thinking that she was going to grow into a belgian shepherd but instead she got skinnier, longer, and continued to look and act very different from the other dogs. One of the people that I know at the dog park came up to me and asked if I was able to sneak up on her. I told him that it was impossible and that she could be sleeping and run off within a second of me inching towards her. He then informed me that I had a coyote on my hands and this solidified the notion that she was a coyote in my mind. Almost everybody that I met told me that she was a coyote but I had a hard time believing that I had picked up a black coyote at the shelter. Yesterday at the dog park there were a couple of wolf hybrids, a coyote hybrid and a pure dingo so I haven't had many problems with Acacia being reported.

Acacia's muzzle is pretty long but it appears to be shorter than that of most coyotes probably due to the color masking her features. I once used that as an excuse when I had a problem with a huge english sheepdog picking on her at the park. The guy tried to get into a fist fight with me over it but the crowd told him to buzz off and either way my australian cattle dog was standing behind his right foot waiting to bite at the first sign of him punching me. However, I can't use that excuse now because her muzzle has become longer. If the state or local government decided to take her away I could always slap them with a lawsuit for putting me in this position since I wasn't looking to get a coyote in the first place. On a side note, do you think she is a melanistic coyote or a coyote mix? The pictures below are from when I first got her so I think you'll be able to see how she's changed. She was originally called Brandy by the shelter due to her coat but since then she's become darker and has grown into her new name. I named her after a tree with a dark colored wood.

the_randomizer wrote:I can't get over how adorable Totem is! Those pictures of him as a pup..... :mrgreen:

I totally agree. I wish that I had had Acacia when she was that young.
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Re: Is it possible to domesticate Coyotes?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:10 pm

I'd still suggest at least calling her a hybrid. I lived in Ca for awhile and they confiscated lots of animals people claim they can keep even though the law says not to. In one case they confiscated a guys wolfdogs even though they are legal because the state claimed they were pures and the owner and breeder were both lying then they couldn't find a sanctuary for them so they were killed.

I would lean towards her being pure after seeing the video of her. Most coydogs seem to inherit a high amount of dog features.

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