Help! How to ID a puppy-coyote or dog?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ovsfarm, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yesterday I took a walk in the frozen woods. Heard a cry, and then came upon a "puppy", reddish brown with some white on the chest, tips of paws, etc., kind of a darker shadowing along the top of the head down the back and onto the tail. It obviously wanted to come closer to us (me and 3 friends) and followed us down the trail a half mile or so. When we came back up the trail, it yapped a little, whined, and did all the classic submissive behaviors. So, not even giving it a second thought, I picked the baby up and brought it home. I couldn't leave the poor little thing to die alone in the cold woods.

    So now my friends are teasing me that it is a coyote pup. I hopped on the i-net and looked up some pictures. I am about 75% sure it is not a coyote. But it is close. I had previously guessed the breed as a collie/shepherd mix.

    I really need to know how to definitively tell the difference between a coyote and a dog puppy. I would guess its age at about 8 weeks. It still has puppy teeth but is a little unsteady on its feet and very submissive.

    I feel like such an idiot not knowing this, but all the i-net stuff just differentiates between coyotes and foxes. It is not a fox (I don't think, but now I am second guessing myself about everything!) Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have only seen a few coyotes, but none of them have had any white on them.
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I concur with Terri, especially if it has white paws it's not a coyote.

    How big is it?
     
  4. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    She is about 7" at the shoulder and around 4 or 5 pounds.
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    that's about right if the pup was a collie mix.

    I also don't think a coyote would be reddish. If it was normal sized and reasonably healthy, I just can't see why it would be abandoned without the mother nearby. It also would likely be timid or hide from you. I could see that if it was an abandoned puppy dog and lucky that you found it to give it a good home.
     
  6. Unregistered

    Unregistered Well-Known Member

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    If it was a coyote or even wild born you would not have even seen it. It has been around people all its life or it would not have let you approach it. Probably an unwanted pup dropped off.
     
  7. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree, probably a pup someone abandoned or that strayed.

    But for what it's worth, several years ago, I was walking my dog and heard a coyote yip ahead of us. Around a bend comes a man with a coyote walking quiet happily on a leash. It was perfectly socialized with people and other dogs, seemed like a fairly nice animal.

    Commented, "Nice coyote. Usually they're pretty timid and schitzo when people try to make pets out of them."

    The guy looked at me and looked at the 'dog' on his leash and went dead white and said, "You're right."

    He worked at a local grocery store and the coyote had been running into the grocery store through the automatic doors, grabbing food, and bolting back out. It was friendly when caught and he'd adopted the 'smart doggy' ... never actually realizing (probably because he was seeing what he expected to see, which was a DOG) that he had a coyote on a leash. He'd had it for about a day.

    *laugh* I told him to enjoy his coyote and not freak. It had obviously been someone's pet and would probably be killed if he turned it loose to 'be a coyote' (which was his first impulse) because it had NO fear of man whatsoever. We're talking dog-friendly coyote. It even knew 'sit' and walked quite nicely on that leash.

    Most coyotes and coy-dogs in captivity that I've seen, though, tend to be very neurotic and high-strung. They typically do NOT make good pets.

    For the pup you've got, though, if there's white on it, it's probably not a coyote.

    Leva
     
  8. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

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    Coyote nose pads are smaller than those of a dog or a wolf, in relation to the overall size of its head. Not sure if there are other phys traits like number of teeth and such. I know dogs & foxes have different numbers of them, as well as a sagittal crest on the fox.
    If you want to see a pic of a coyote with plenty of white in it, send me your email. Its typical around here.
    Lex
    wy0mn@yahoo.com
     
  9. LisaBug

    LisaBug Well-Known Member

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    Chances of this being a coyote are very thin. Coyotes mate around March meaning the pups are pretty good sized this time of year. What you're describing could very well be a Husky or Husky mix, they come in many different shades. What colour are the eyes and does it have any mask on the face?

    I'd say you found a drop off.

    LisaBug
     
  10. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Get back with us with pictures in 6 months or so ;)

    mikell
     
  11. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Meanwhile... socialize that puppy to build its confidence up. A timid puppy needs to be lugged around and exposed to puppy-friendly new environments so it doesn't become a fear barker. And hey... enjoy your new best friend. Take him to the vet, get him wormed (anyone dropping off a puppy probably didn't worm it), get him his shots...

    and if you find the yahoo who dropped him off in the woods to fend for himself... kick some butt for me!
     
  12. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, everyone, for your input. I have pretty much decided it is a dog. Although I do have to say that comparing it to all the photos I have looked up, there is a VERY strong resemblance to a coyote pup. It does have a very small little nose pad and the pointed, stand-up ears (although they do want to flop over at the tip ends and that is one of the main differences I can recognise). I think what blew me away and gave me so much doubt is that I am just like the grocery store guy previously mentioned. It just never even occurred to me that it wasn't a dog until my "friends" started in on me. Which was after I had brought it into my home, gave it a bath, let it nap with my dd!!! I felt like a horrible mommy, putting a possible coyote down to nap with my child!!! (I would point out in my defense, that the pup was totally exhausted and slept so soundly that 6yo dd kept saying "It is so still that I keep forgetting it is real!", and I was in the same room with them the whole time.)

    She does have the very faintest shadow of a reverse mask (light around the eyes, darker on top of the head and sides of the neck), and some of her fur is multicolored, just like so many wild animals have. She had very dark brown eyes with a circular pupil. But she is not neurotic or hyper. As a matter of fact, she loves to cuddle up on someone's lap. She paper trained easily. Anyway I have decided to believe that SHE IS A DOG.

    And for anyone who is contemplating just dropping a pup off, she did not romp off into the frozen woods to live happily ever after. She was cold and crying when I found her. I seriously believe that she would have frozen to death that very night (single digit temps) if I had not found her. If the cold did not get her, she would have died a slow painful death of starvation. That is if she did not get eaten by a real coyote. It is not kind to "let them go free", they die a horrible death. Also, as a sheep farmer, if she had been older and started after my sheep, I would have had to shoot her. It is not a kindness to drop a pet off into the woods. How would your child feel if tossed out of the car in the same manner? Would they have been able to survive? It is just plain wrong. Don't do it.
     
  13. 2horses

    2horses I'm a silly filly!! Supporter

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    Awww, he sounds so cute! Any way you can get a pic of him posted here? That might help those who know identify him for you. And I would have done the exact same thing you did - pick him up and bring him home. Regardless of what he was!!

    Pam :cool: <----- big softie for abandoned puppies.....
     
  14. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Poor little baby - thank goodness you happened to be there that day to find her! Can you post a picture ?
    Also - if you are going to keep her, I bet a vet could tell you for sure if she is dog or coyote.
     
  15. 2horses

    2horses I'm a silly filly!! Supporter

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    RandB,

    Jinx! You owe me a coke......

    Hehehe

    Pam :cool: <------always wins the Jinx! game
     
  16. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't have a digital camera, so can't get a photo. However, she looks a lot like the pups shown here:
    www.snowfire.com/JO-Coyote Pups Trio.htm

    The major differences is that she doesn't have quite so much cream/light color, the tips of her ears want to flop forward a little, and her fur is not quite as thick. But otherwise, the resemblance is very strong!
     
  17. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    You know, with you being a sheep farmer, you may have stumbled upon a real treasure. The dog you're describing sounds a lot like a Scotch Collie, Farm Collie or English Shepherd, or maybe an undocked, long-tailed Australian Shepherd. Some have very little white, but what they do have will be on their toes and chest. That's the "scotch" marking pattern. The pricked ears flopping forward at the tips is another "collie" trait. I'm sure you know these are some of the best general purpose farm dogs around. PLUS, you got it early enough to teach it not to chase stock unless it's asked to! I would definitely be watching for herding dog traits in this puppy. Lucky you! I had to have mine shipped in on a plane! I'd sure like to see her!
     
  18. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    my brother and his family used to live down the road from me. a couple of summers ago my sil and brother stopped as they were taking their family away for a boating weekend and my sil whispered to me that someone had dumped a puppy by their house and would I go get it and do something with it while they were gone so her kids wouldn't find it and want it?

    I dutifully go down there and there is the little pup, probably about 6 weeks old, along the side of the road. pick it up and it hisses at me and tries to bite me. I put it back down and as it crawls off into the brush I only then realise that it is a coyote pup. they had a den near a culvert under the road there and I watched that *puppy* grow up over the summer, occasionally getting glimpses of it.

    this puppy was definitely not even 8 weeks old and wanted nothing to do with a human. I still tease my sil about that *poor puppy*.

    I agree, no way is that puppy a coyote! not to mention I hear coyotes howling/singing on this farm all the time yet in almost 4 years have only seen one once.
     
  19. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Many years ago I picked a scruffy little pup out of an illegal garbage dump on a country road. Cute little fellow...turned out to be half coyote...vet thought his other half was Chow. Rebel was a much beloved pet of my children. Very unique looking dog and we never had a problem with him.

    Enjoy your new baby. She sounds adorable and is very lucky that you found her.