Dogs vs Coyotes: Difference and Comparison

Dogs and Coyotes are technically dogs in the same genus(Canis). The former is most probably the first animal tamed by humans; the latter is depicted as a trickster in Native American folklore.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Dogs have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years and are often kept as pets, while coyotes are wild animals that live in natural habitats.
  2. Due to selective breeding, dogs have a wider range of physical and behavioral traits, while coyotes have more consistent physical and behavioral characteristics.
  3. Dogs are more social and form strong bonds with humans, while coyotes are generally more solitary and cautious around humans.

Dogs vs. Coyotes

The difference between Dogs and coyotes is that while both arose from Wolves through genetic divergence, the former is mostly found in domesticated areas in human contact. At the same time, the latter lives in the wild, thus having behavioral differences accordingly.

Dogs vs Coyotes

Dogs are found in the domesticated area, while Coyote lives in the wild.Dogs(Canis lupus familiaris) and coyotes (Canis latrans) are both closely related to wolves(Canis lupus).

While many scientists believe that dogs were domesticated 15,000 years ago, some biologists argue that dogs were domesticated as long as 30,000 years ago. Many researchers claim from DNA evidence that dogs originated in East Asia, Mongolia, Siberia, Europe, and Africa.

Domestic dogs are believed to result from genetic divergence from the wolf, its domestication, and its development into dog types in the late Pleistocene era. Dogs are widely distributed throughout the world.

The fossil record shows that Coyotes were present in the early Pleistocene period. Modern Coyotes are believed to have arisen 1,000 years after the Quaternary extinction event.

Coyotes were first scientifically described by naturalist Thomas Say in September 1819 near the Missouri River. Also known as prairie wolves or brush wolves, Coyotes are native to North America and widely distributed in North America, Mexico, Canada, and Central America.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonDogsCoyote
HabitatDogs are mostly found in domesticated areas close to humans.Coyote lives close to nature in the wild.
AppearanceThey seem to have shorter legs than Coyote. This is because Dog`s elbow is higher than its line of the sternum.They have longer legs because their elbow is lower than the sternum line.
Geographical distributionDogs are found worldwide.Coyotes are found only in North America, Mexico, and South America.
Food HabitsThough Carnivorous, Domestic dogs may eat plant-based food, raw meat, and some human food. Wild Dogs eat a variety of food comprising mainly of prey animals.Coyotes eat, including rabbits, rodents, birds, and vegetation, depending on what is easily available.
CharacteristicsDogs are known for being faithful, intelligent, and protective of their masters.Coyotes are known for hunting at night, howling in moonlight, and being smart.

 What is Dog?

The dog is a subspecies of the gray wolf(Canis lupus), the scientific name of Canis lupus familiaris. Dogs come in various shapes and sizes but are all genetically identical.

Dogs have 319 bones, but if their tail is docked or absent at birth, there are fewer bones.

A dog’s skull generally has a pronounced bulge over optical orbits where sinuses are located. Hairs cover their whole body, which most dogs shed seasonally.

As they are found worldwide, temperature influences the amount of body coat a dog grows. So, Dogs in colder areas have more amount of protective undercoats.

Dogs come in a wide variety of colors depending on their breeds. Dogs live for 10-13 years.

Dogs are the most popular domestic animals. Wild dogs exist too, but because maximum dogs live in human contact, dogs are known for their trustworthy, protective, adorable, and friendly nature.

They have played a huge role in human civilization, be it being a hunting partner in the past or being a companion in the modern era. 

Dogs have the same five senses as humans, in which the smell and hearing sense is most acute and immensely better than humans. Dogs are used for tracking missing persons, digging underground, and detecting drugs, explosives, and toxic substances that are undetectable by humans.


What is Coyote?

The coyote (Canis latrans), also called prairie wolf or brush wolf is smaller and lighter than a wolf. Generally found in North America, especially in the Great Plains has now expanded its range throughout the United States and Canada.

Ignoring local variations, the Coyote stands 60cm on the shoulder, is 3.3-4.3 feet long, including its bushy 30-40cm tall, and weighs about 9-23kg.

The topmost part of the Coyote skull almost forms a convex curve from the rear of the skull to the middle of the nasal bone. They have narrow, elongated, lean bodies and yellow eyes.

Thick fur covers their body which helps to keep them warm throughout the winter.

Living in the wild, most coyotes survive up to 8 years, while in captivity, they can live up to 20 years. They possess a heightened sense of hearing, smell, and sight and are very smart creatures.

It has long been persecuted for its predation on domestic or game animals or pet animals, known for its cunningness and swiftness.

They also cause damage to fields of ripe watermelon, honeydew, and other market fruits. They fear and avoid humans, but there are some rare records of coyote attacks on humans.

Humans also have been their greatest threat, especially in rural areas, due to hunting or trapping.

coyote 1

Main Differences Between Dogs and Coyotes

  1. Dogs are mostly found in domestic habitats, whereas Coyote lives in the wild, which is also the reason for their lower life period. 
  2. By appearance, Dogs have shorter legs than coyotes because the dog`s elbow is higher than its line of the sternum, while the coyote`s elbow is lower than its line of the sternum.
  3. Based on geographical distribution, dogs are found worldwide, while coyotes can only be seen in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
  4. Based on food habits, wild dogs feed mostly on prey animals, while domestic dogs eat human foods like vegetation-based or meat.
  5. Based on personality, Dogs are known to be friendly, protective, and trustworthy creature, whereas Coyote is seen as cunning, smart, and night howlers.
  6. The skull of a coyote is thinner, crests longer, and is lighter in weight than that of dogs.
Difference Between Dogs and Coyotes
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