Dog vs. Coyote vs. Fox

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Difference between Dog, Coyote and Fox

Dog is a member of the Canidae family. Dogs are can be of either the feral and pet variety. The coyote is popularly known as the American jackal. It is also called the prairie wolf. It belongs to the species of Canid. Fox is a popular name for many carnivorous mammal species. They can be either small or medium sized canids. They possess a narrow snout and bushy tales. Differences between these three breeds include their body structures, food habits and relationship with humans.


Etymology and Taxonomy

Members of Canis lupus familiaris are generally called dogs. The English word Dog is derived from Middle English Docga. The meaning of this term is a powerful breed of domestic canines. Most domestic dogs are of type Canis familiaris and Canis familiaris domesticus. The word coyote is derived from native American Nahuatl word cóyotl. Its meaning in Latin is barking dog. Scientific name of Coyote is Canis latrans. Fox is derived from Proto-Germanic word fukh. Literal meaning of this word is "tail of it". 8 genera's of Canids are classified as foxes. They are Alopex, Cerdocyon, Chrysocyon, Dusicyon, Lycalopex, Otocyon, Urocyon and Vulpes. Red Foxes are present throughout the world.

Eating Habits

Small mammals are the primary diet of Coyotes. Their food habit depends upon the season and availability of food. That is the reason why their diet habit is known as opportunistic. They can target nests of all bird species on ground for food. During autumn and winter, they mainly depend upon fruits and vegetables.

Omnivorous diet habit can be marked in Foxes. Invertebrates are the favorite foods of foxes. However, they also target small mammals like rabbit and rodent. Their daily food intake is around 1 kilogram. They also eat berries, grass fruit and insects.

While some sources site that dog are purely carnivorous, others stress upon their omnivorous diet habit. Meat protein is not solely required to meet the daily diet requirements of dogs.

Life Span

Life span of foxes is around 10 years. For dogs, the longevity ranges from 10 to 13 years. Generally, they become capable of reproducing from age of one year and experience their first heat between 12 to 18 months. Coyotes take up to 12 months to become completely grown up. They have a life span of 10 to 15 years.


  • Among dogs, coyotes and foxes, communication capacities of dogs and coyotes are better. Coyotes have a greater adaption capability to the changes created by humans. They have the capability to thrive in both suburban and urban areas. They rarely attack humans and if they attack, the injuries caused are not serious. They are the major livestock predators in Northern America. Significant percentages of sheep goat and cattle losses in this region are due to coyotes.
  • Fox Haunting is a controversial yet popular sport in the UK. Russian Silver Fox can be domesticated. Foxes are associated with much folklore as a symbol of treachery.
  • The domesticated dog is thought to be the most socially intelligence in animal world. Cognitive development is highest in dogs in the animal kingdom. They can cause several harmful diseases to human beings, yet they are domesticated worldwide for protection, check of predation and as fashionable or loyal pets.

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