Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Wolf-Dog Terminology
Name: Melissa
Status: other
Age: other
Location: IL
Country: N/A
Date: 8/26/2005

I know wolves and dogs can mate, but can the offspring of this interspecies union reproduce with a wolf, a dog, and/or another wolf-dog?

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.

Grace Field

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.

J. Elliott

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

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory