Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
The mythical coydog is a mixed breed that many either don’t believe or don’t suspect exists. This cross between a coyote and a domesticated dog is very rare because the two parents tend to have different parenting and heat cycles. However, coydogs are possible, usually with huskies and other spitz breeds. Our preferred coydog is a bit different, however. The black lab coyote mix – is it as weird as it sounds?
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What Does A Black Lab Coyote Mix Look Like?
The looks are a big reason why we are fond of a coydog with a black lab parent. The standard coyote colors are brown, white, and sable, and those mix very well with the full-black of a black lab. The coat itself will be short and dense, and it will shed although not as much as that of a purebred lab.
The body type of the lab coydog will be relatively well-balanced with a thinner and more athletic frame than that of a standard lab. The head will likely be a bit narrower too and the ears may be standing upright rather than hanging down the side of the head.
As for the size, this may surprise some people but a lab coyote mix will be roughly the same size as a purebred lab. Many people falsely believe that coyotes are small, but they actually grow as tall as 23 to 26 inches (58 to 66 cm) and as heavy as 46 pounds (21 kg). In other words, coyotes are taller but lighter than the average lab.
The Temperament Of The Labrador Coyote Mix
This is the key thing to note about all coydogs and not just lab crosses – the temperament of any dog crossed with a coyote can really be all over the place. A cross with a lab will theoretically bring the lab’s loyalty, intelligence, and manners into the mix but the coyote’s wild side will remain too.
So, what can you expect? Really, labs and coyotes are so different that every pup in the litter can have a drastically varying personality. Some pups will be just like a lab – smart, friendly, and gentle. Others will be extremely coyote-like – individualistic, opportunistic, disobedient, and potentially even aggressive.
That’s right, coydogs can be aggressive. Coyotes, while closely related to dogs, don’t really have their pack and hierarchy instincts. A coyote will almost always view your home as a temporary pit stop and not as a pack’s den.
How About Training?
This is a big reason why coydogs aren’t recommended for anyone but very experienced dog trainers. Someone who knows what they are doing can use expert obedience training and socialization to turn most coydogs and even coyote into an actual domesticated dog.
However, this is a very tricky and time-consuming enterprise that rookie dog owners really shouldn’t attempt. If you don’t train a coyote or a coydog right, the results can be quite problematic and even life-threatening for you and your family. This is especially true if you have young kids – bringing an untrained coydog home is very ill-advised if you have kids.
Other pets can also be a risk factor as coyotes are very opportunistic predators that are used to jumping on everything when they are hungry. Again, coyotes don’t really have that strong of a pack instinct so even a trained coydog may look at your cat funny when it gets hungry or boring. So, make sure that you know what you’re doing with this mixed breed or seek professional help instead.
How Much Exercise Does A Black Lab Coyote Mix Need?
Both labs and coyotes are quite physically active so you’ll need about 2 hours of outdoor exercise every day with such a mix. This should always be on a leash too as the coyote in your dog will be quite interested in wandering off and exploring or chasing whatever he wants.
Some yard time on top of those two hours is also very recommended to keep your dog healthy and engaged. However, you’ll need to make sure that your yard is properly fenced if you don’t want the dog chasing after a car or a stray cat.
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Are Lab Coydogs Healthy?
These dogs are typically considered healthy and quite hardy. We don’t really have all that data on coydogs as they are rare. However, we know that you’ll at least need to watch out for the following conditions:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Bloating (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus)
Needless to say, you’d do well to find an experienced vet if you want to bring a coydog to them. Proper care and routine vet check-ups are a must for coydogs as they are for any other dog.
Pros and Cons Of A Lab Coyote Dog Mix
- This is a truly one of a kind dog
- Coydogs, when well-trained can be very lively, interactive, and fun to play with
- Breeding coydogs in general and other dogs with coyotes is quite difficult. That’s because of their differing heat cycles and mating habits
- There’s a major chance that your coydog will be aggressive and disobedient
- Training is both difficult and an absolute must
So, Is A Black Lab Coyote Mix The Right Pet For You?
We wouldn’t say a coydog is “the right pet” for anyone other than people who are very experienced or outright professional dog trainers. Of course, you can also happen upon a very lab-like coydog that has an excellent temperament. However, unless you’re certain of what you’re getting there’s the risk of you having to raise a pretty wild and potentially aggressive coydog.
So, have you found a coydog and you want to keep it? Our main advice would be to look for a local dog trainer to help you out. With the right help, coydogs can be good family dogs.
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