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Panda: A Story About The Dog Who Was Part Coyote

Updated on August 24, 2015

The year was 1976 and my parents' dog had just passed away. Their friend had a few puppies and decided to give one to my parents. Apparently these people were breeding a dog with a coyote, which is not something I would choose to do, but apparently these people thought it was a good idea. However, since no one really was interested in buying their mixed breed puppies they decided to give the remainder to friends and neighbors. Someone made a comment on this hub about how no one purposely breeds dogs with coyotes, but I suggest people do their research before jumping to such grandiose conclusions. There are people who create exotic breeds between dogs and coyotes, and even though this is not something I agree with, it does happen.

Today I would never adopt a mixed coyote/dog, but back then people were not as knowledgeable about not breeding wild animals with dogs. At least I hope no informed person engages in this practice today as it is unfair to the animals. A couple hundred years ago coyotes were mostly found west of the Mississippi River, but today large numbers of coyotes have migrated to the eastern part of the United States. Thus, it seems throughout the history of the United States there have been a very rare cases in which coyotes were bred with dogs. After reading stories on the web I see there are quite a few coydogs out there, but something about purposely breeding canis latrans (coyotes) with canis lupus familiaris (domesticated dogs) is very disturbing. On one website a man claimed he wanted a better breed of dog and was looking for the coydog, which just seems risky after all the things I have read. The coyote is a wild animal and should not be forced to mate with a dog, but of course living arrangements do need to be made for offspring that had no choice in the matter.

Apparently a coydog is a mix between a male coyote and a female dog, and a dogote is a mix between a female coyote and a male dog. Panda was a dogote and did have few of the traits of this mixed breed, such as being extremely shy and not very social. Panda ended up being a very sweet and gentle dog despite being a dogote, but I could not imagine adopting a dog such as her today. We lived in an isolated part of the mountains and Panda was always in our yard with us, or we would take her out hiking, so she lived a pretty solitary life. To my surprise today there are still people who are researching into buying coydogs and dogotes, but I cannot say whether this is a good idea. Panda lived between 1976-1989, but in the last twenty years I have never met anyone who had a dogote or coydog. When I was contemplating writing about pets this week I decided to write about Panda because coydogs/dogotes are very unusual pets, and I really had not thought much about this breed.

By the way coyotes are not scary and for the most part they leave humans alone, as I witnessed on my many walks through the national forest. There are a few incidents where coyotes have attacked domestic animals, and even rarer humans, but we must keep in mind that humans have encroached upon their natural habitat. A few hundred years ago coyotes roamed free and only saw a few humans. Native Americans had a great deal of respect for coyotes and many of their creation stories revolve around this cunning trickster. Some tribes even cross bred their dogs with the local coyote population, creating new and diverse breeds. This rest of this Hub is about the story of Panda, the dog that looked quite a bit like a coyote. Anyone who has similar stories about dogotes or coydogs is welcome to share in the comments section of this Hub.

A picture of Panda dog in 1985.
A picture of Panda dog in 1985.

Panda The Snoop

Panda was a mischievous puppy that got into most anything, hence her being named after the story of Pandora's box. She was raised was a cat named Tiger and loved cats unlike some dogs that like to chase domesticated felines. In the future I will try to find a picture of Panda curling up with our cats because I would like readers to see what I mean. Actually it was not until we got our dog Lady that we learned about the concept "fighting like cats and dogs". Lady was always a very sweet dog that socialized well with people and dogs, and who craved human attention. However, when we first adopted her, she used to chase our cats away from their food or water. Unlike Lady, Panda was raised with Tiger the cat from the time she was a puppy, so she actually thought of him as an older brother and used to follow him around the house. If Panda tried to take Tiger's food or toy, he would swat her on the nose, which was quite a funny sight. Panda loved chocolate and you had to be careful not to leave a candy bar lying around the house because she would eat it if left unattended.

One of my favorite pictures of Panda was taken during the great snowfall of 1979 in the San Bernardino Mountains, which has no been matched since. During that winter the San Bernardino Mountains experienced heavy snow storms, and often snowplow were unable to clear all the roads for several days. I was told Panda and I apparently had a wonderful time playing in the snow, and the picture below was the aftermath of one of those snow storms illustrates she did have an interest in the white frozen stuff. Although I do have funny early memories such as getting in trouble for eating cat food and playing in the snow with Panda, I was only a year old and do not remember anything about the winter of 1979. However, this picture of Panda playing in the snow is a great photographic reminder of the wonderful times we had in those days. Today it is very special to me to look at pictures of a dog I remember from my youth, and to think about how some things stay the same over the years. There will always be amazing snowfall, and dogs who enjoy playing in these.

Panda playing in the snow after a large snowstorm in 1979.
Panda playing in the snow after a large snowstorm in 1979.

Panda And Her Pups

The vet said the likelihood of Panda ever giving birth to puppies was low because of her mix. However, evidentally a dog did jump over the fence and mated with Panda because she had a litter of puppies during the winter of 1979. We kept two of the puppies and their names were King and Natasha. King was a very noble dog with a tall and very lean physique.  He also had yellow/black fur and resumbled a German Sheperd that used to frequent the neighborhood.  I guess we know what that German Sheperd was up to! My sister and I used to ride King around the backyard, until we got in trouble and had to stop.

Natasha was a very beautiful dog that literally had bluish fur and a somewhat shy temperament like her mother.When Natasha was a puppy she ran off for a couple of hours and was hit by a car. The vet wanted my parents to simply put Natasha down, but they loved this dog so much and decided to go to another vet over forty miles away that agreed to reset her leg in a cast. Natasha lived eleven years after her accident, but she was always a little rotund because she could not walk easily after the accident. She had a noticeable limp for the rest of her life, but I commend my parents for not putting her down and saving her life. This beautiful dog was more important than saving the money for the operation, which I suppose taught me a very important lesson early in life. Money is not everything, but life in all forms is very important and should be respected.

Panda's litter of puppies. Natasha is the pretty one with the black and white mask.
Panda's litter of puppies. Natasha is the pretty one with the black and white mask.

Panda The Wonderful Dog

Unfortunately my youngest sister was to young to remember Panda and Natasha as much as I do. I grew up with Panda and her pups King and Natasha, so these were the first dogs I ever knew. I distinctly remember silly things such as putting a sombrero on Panda's head and letting her walk around that way for awhile. Also I recall the mischievous things such as feeding her chocolate (her favorite thing to sneak) even though I was not supposed to, but kids do things like that! She loved to grab bites of chocolate whenever someone was not looking, and I was only too happy to oblige my beloved doggy. Panda was a beautiful and shy dog that I have fond memories of to this day.

King taking a nap in 1986.
King taking a nap in 1986.

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