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Posts Tagged ‘jackal hybrid’

Remember when I threw a small fit when I came across this site that claimed all the genetic evidence pointed to the coyote as the ancestor of the domestic dog?  Actually, all the genetic evidence thus far has clearly pointed to the simple reality that not only are dogs descended from the wolf (Canis lupus) and has pointed to the Middle Eastern subspecies as the main genetic stock from which all dogs are derived. This evidence also suggests that domestic dogs are a form of Canis lupus, not a unique species or derived from some other canid– be it living, dead, or imagined.

Well, here’s another dubious and poorly thought out theory about the origins of a certain breed of dog. This site claims that the basenji, which is actually very closely related to these ancestral Middle Eastern wolves, is derived from the Ethiopian wolf.

Let me show you where that is wrong:

I know that the Ethiopian wolf was once claimed to have been an African offshoot of Canis lupus. Later genomic analysis found that the Ethiopian wolf is more distantly related to the dog and wolf species than the golden jackal and the coyote. Some golden jackals, it has more recently been revealed, are actually part of the wolf and dog species. These particular wolves have not been compared to the other wolf and dog subspecies using a genome-wide analysis, but my guess is that these “African wolves” (Canis lupus lupaster) are probably closely related to the Arabian wolves and domestic dogs. These wolves do have unique mitochondrial DNA sequences, as do some Indian pallipes and Himalayan chanco wolves, but these might all prove to be much more closely related to dogs and the other Middle Eastern and South Asian wolves than the the mitochondrial DNA analysis would suggest.

However, there is no evidence that any dog is derived from the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). They do hybridize with dogs and produce fertile offspring, but all of the studies on hybridization have been on the dog contribution to Ethiopian wolves. It is possible that some dogs in the Ethiopian Highlands have some contribution from Ethiopian wolf, but it is a stretch to make the claim that the basenji of  rainforests of Central Africa has anything to do with the Ethiopian wolves living in the harsh alpine country of Ethiopia.

If you want to make things very confusing, some of the newly discovered African wolves are from Ethiopia, but it is not accurate to call them Ethiopian wolves.

Canis lupus lupaster ≠ Canis simensis

And neither have been found to be ancestral to Canis lupus familiaris, which is mostly derived from Canis lupus arabs and Canis lupus pallipes.

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This site also make a claim that black-backed jackals crossed with basenjis, too.

The only thing I need to do with that one is laugh.

Black backed jackals, let me repeat, cannot interbreed with domestic dogs.

Golden jackals, yes. Golden jackals are much more closely related to the wolf and dog species than they are to anything else that is commonly referred to as a jackal.

See where they are on the dog family phylogenetic tree pictured above? African wild dogs and dholes are actualy more closely related to wolves and dogs than black- backed jackals are.   And no hybrids between the dog and wolf species and these two canids has ever been produced, even though they should be placed in the genus Canis.  If black-backed and side-striped jackals belong in the genus Canis, then dholes and African wild dogs clearly do.

Black-backed jackals are actually the oldest extant species in the genus Canis. And no one has found that black-backed or side-striped jackals, which are found only in Sub-Saharan Africa have ever crossbred with dogs. Although many prick-eared dogs have been claimed to be part black-backed jackal, not a single hybrid has been produced so that a DNA sample could be taken.

My guess is that these hybrids simply don’t exist.

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Cape black-backed jackal

So just for the record, I will admit that I am wrong about the existence of black-backed jackal dog hybrids, if someone can provide me a link to a study or record of a hybrid that has some form of DNA evidence– either a mitochondrial DNA or a y chromosome analysis will suffice. I will also accept any nuclear DNA studies of African dogs that find evidence of crossing with either of these jackals.

If someone can find the same evidence for a side-striped jackal and dog hybrid,  I will also admit that the African-only jackals can hybridize with dogs.

Side striped jackal

I’ve heard it claimed that these two jackals will cross with dogs or wolves or some other variant of Canis lupus, but I’ve never read of record of them breeding in any nineteenth century menagerie.

Hybrid in the genus Canis have occurred between all things that are currently part of Canis lupus, including the red wolf (whatever it is), Ethiopian wolves (which are not technically jackals), golden jackals, and the coyote. Verified hybrids have been found with all of these animals.

As far as I know and as far as I’ve looked, the two Africa-only jackals have not hybridized with any of these animals.

That’s probably because they are the two oldest species of true dog (tribe Canini) that are still in existence today.

And they are more genetically distant from domestic dogs than dholes and African wild dogs are– and we all know that neither of those can hybridize with domestic dogs.

Indian pariah dogs have been seen running with dhole packs, but no one has ever reported a dhole-dog.

I guess I’ve made a zoological challenge.

I’d like to see real evidence of a hybrid between a dog and one of these jackals.

All I have received in the past have been photographs and someone saying these are jackal-dogs.

However, as we know, one can easily find dogs with virtually any phenotype in any randomly breeding population.

It does not mean that these dogs have jackal in them.  German shepherds are more closely related to mastiffs than they are to wolves, but it is still widely claimed that they are derived from wolf hybrids.

I stand by what I say about these two jackals interbreeding with dogs.

But if someone can provide me some kind of DNA proof that a hybrid exists between a dog and either of these two jackals, then I will accept the correction.

The black-backed jackal really varies in terms of its mitochondrial DNA from all the other species of jackal, including the side-striped jackal, its closest relative.

I don’t think we have a very good grasp on how unique the black-backed jackal actually is.

It superficially looks like a small coyote or golden jackal with a grizzled blanket on its back.

It’s not.

It’s very unique.

I have called them the closest thing to naturally occurring Jack Russell Terriers, because they are very scrappy with each other. The Southern African or Cape black-backed jackals are typically just a little bit bigger than a terrier.

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BTW, in a future post, I will make the case that the two subpopulations of black-backed jackal might be separate species.

I’m not going to do that here.

I don’t know if anyone has looked into this possibility from a genetic standpoint, but in terms of phenotype and behavior, the East African and Cape subspecies are quite different from one another– and probably have been separated for a long time.

 

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These are hybrids between domestic dogs and golden jackals:

Source.

The Sulimov dogs are the only breed I know of that was bred to be a sniffer dog.

The Russian government keeps a tight leash on these dogs, so I don’t think there is any chance of anyone getting one as pet in this country.

The original mix was between a reindeer herding spitz called a Lapinporokoira and a golden jackal from Turkmenistan. Other breeds of domestic dog have been added, but these dogs have a very strong jackalish and herding spitz appearance.

The original dogs were kept at 3/4 Lapinporokoira and 1/4 golden jackal.

The jackals were chosen to produce this dog because the jackals are known to have a better sense of smell than domestic dogs. If your diet is carrion and you don’t live with messy humans, you need a very strong sense of smell to find food.

Klim Sulimov decided to create a golden jackal hybrid to make a super sniffer dog.

I would love to see how these dogs compare to more conventional breeds.

Now, as I have said before, golden jackals can interbreed with domestic dogs. However, domestic dogs and golden jackals have to be raised together before they consider each other mates. Jackal-dogs really aren’t that common, although it suspected that the wolfish golden jackal from Egypt may have some dog in it.

Sulimov had to imprint his male jackals with dogs when they were puppies or they wouldn’t mate with domestic bitches. Female jackals more easily accepted male dogs as mates.

This might mean any hybrid offspring that occur in the wild are derived from male dogs crossing with female jackals. The reverse may not happen without human intervention.

And that may be why golden jackals have not contributed to the dog genome.

It seems like they would. Jackals and dogs scavenge in the same sorts of areas, and some of the dogs from Canis aureus’s range look a lot like they have jackal ancestry.

Darwin and Konrad Lorenz put a lot of stock into jackal origins for at least some domestic dogs.

But none of the genetic studies have found any hint of this golden jackal blood.

However, I don’t think anyone has looked at how dogs have affect on the golden jackal species.

We now know that black wolves and coyotes get their coloration from the occasional influx of dog genes.

I’ve never heard of a black jackal,  but maybe they have other genes that come from dogs.

It’s something worth exploring.

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