Coyotes, Wolves and Dogs

Deb D’Andrea, Nederland.  While coyotes, wolves and dogs are similar in many ways, they have subtle and not so subtle differences to help identify who’s who. For instance, coyote and wolf fur colorations are very similar, and wolf pups are almost impossible to distinguish from coyotes. Wolves have a broader and blockier facial structure than coyotes who have narrow, pointed features with a smaller nose. Their ears vary, with coyotes’ ears being taller and pointier; and wolves’ short and rounded. These characteristics are more breed specific in dogs, with vast variations between them. From a Pug to an Akita, or a Chihuahua to a Leonberger, breeds display a variety of features not found within the wolf or coyote families.


Dogs and wolves are closely related, with DNA analysis unable to separate a wolf from a dog or wolfdog hybrid. Coyotes can be identified through DNA testing to neither be wolf or dog. The red wolf is a coyote/wolf hybrid; and all three – dogs, wolves and coyotes can interbreed producing wolfdogs, coywolves and coydogs.


When coyotes are left alone, researchers have discovered they are not the loners people once thought they were; but instead live in social groups similar to a wolf pack. Wolves and coyotes will protect territories, hunt together, are social and have a complex hierarchy. From my own observations of my dogs, and the way they hunt field mice and protect my property; these traits are clearly also displayed within my dog pack.


Their songs vary, with coyotes singing in a higher, rising and falling pitch of shorter howls with yips mixed in; whereas wolves sing in a lower pitch having longer howls sometimes including growls and barks. My Girls will join in their song with howls and barks, sometimes with Bear singing the loudest, holding her notes the longest. It’s quite magical.


Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email:

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea a columnist for The Mountain-Ear. She is the founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz which provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email. Online: 4TheLuvOfDogz