I know wolves and dogs can mate, but can the offspring of
this interspecies union reproduce with a wolf, a dog, and/or another
Wolves and dogs can interbreed, however, it is very rare they would do so
without humans purposfully mating them. From wolf-dogs, as they are called,
it is probable that they could also interbreed, the question would if they
would choose to.
In an indication of just how closely related wolves and dogs are, most
hybrid offspring are fertile and can mate in any of those ways. It is much
more common for most hybrids to be sterile.
You're thinking of the example of mules, right? Well, dogs and wolves
offspring CAN have their own babies. So much for our definition of species,
huh? The species concept has been one of the hardest things for scientists
to define, because there are so many exceptions! Remember also that
definitions are human ideas-nature doesn't always fall into place just
because we say so! At any rate, genetic studies show that dogs and wolves
share a very recent common ancestor. It may be that they aren't really
separate species after all, but on the road to becoming separate species. We
may be witnessing a speciation event in progress.
Click here to return to the Zoology Archives
Update: June 2012