Skip to main content

Difference Between Dog, Wolf, Jackal, Coyote and Fox

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

I like to share information about wildlife, animals, and pets—dogs in particular.

The Domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals and coyote all are members of the same Canidae family, and their physical trait and appearance is very similar. But they are all different species and their nature is different. Their evolutionary history has started around 50 years ago, they are categorised into two categories – Cat like (feliforms) and Dog like (Coliforms).

The Canid and Canidae Family

Interesting information on the family of dogs and wolves (Canidae Family)

  • The members of the Canidae group are called Canids.
  • The largest animal among the members of the Canidae family is the Gray Wolf.
  • The tallest animal of Canidae family is the Maned Wolf.
  • The smallest animal of Canidae family is the Fenec Fox.
  • The most innocent animal of Canidae family is the Bush Dog.
  • All members of the Kanidai group have different number of chromosomes, which is why they cannot interbreed and produce a healthy and fertile offspring. But both dogs and wolves have the same number of chromosomes (78, 39 pairs), and they can interbreed.

Wolf, Jackal, Coyote and Fox as Pet

All the members of the Canidae family appear similar but they all have their have own exclusive individualities, where they surpass others, that attract people to keep them as a pet. Such as the intelligence, stamina, strength and physical appearance of wolves, The fox's sharp mind and soft fur, and the jackal's agility and quick movement.

But considering their individual specialty is not enough to own them, it is also necessary to know how they behave as a pet? And apart from dogs, no member of this family is domesticated and can't be considered as a pet.

Canidae Family Members

Canidae Family Members

Comparison Between Canids Behavior (Dog, Wolf, Jackal, Coyote and Fox)


1: Scientific Introduction


Scientific Name

Canis lupus familiaris

Canis lupus

Canis aureus

Canis latrans

Vulpes vulpes.







Trophic level

secondary carnivores





2: Physical Traits

The physical structure of all the species of Canidae group is similar but their size and capacity differ significantly and they all have their own special characteristics
Although there is a difference in physical traits among the same species of members of this group, but it is very minor except dogs. According to breed in dogs, their physical composition varies greatly.

The Height and Length of Canidae

The Height and Length of Canidae Family Members (Dog, Wolf, Coyote, Jackal and Fox)

Length Comparison

Length Comparison

Height Comparison

Height Comparison



1.5 - 90 kg

50 kg

8–11 kg

6.8 – 21 kg

2.2 – 14 kg

Height (At Shoulder)

16 -90 cm

80 -85 cm

35–45 cm

58 – 66 cm

35 – 50 cm


13 -115 cm

110 cm

70 to 85 cm

76 – 86 cm

45 – 90 cm

Life Span

5 -22 years

11-17 years

10 - 12 years

6-7 years

5 years

3: Eyes and Vision

Eyes and Vision (Dog, Wolf, Jackal, Coyote and Fox)

Eyes and Vision (Dog, Wolf, Jackal, Coyote and Fox)

Eyes and Vision (Dog, Wolf, Jackal, Coyote and Fox)

Eyes and Vision (Dog, Wolf, Jackal, Coyote and Fox)

Dog's eyes

  • Most dogs have big, yellow and brown eyes, white eyes are very rare for dogs.
    Some dogs like Louisiana Leopard hound, Indian Rajapalayam are some others are the rare examples, which have whitish eyes.

Wolf's Eyes

  • The wolf has small eyes of varying shades of yellow color. Blue or black eyes of wolves is considered as a genetic default.

Coyote, Jackals and Fox eyes

  • Coyote a jackal and Fox, all three can have brown and yellow eyes, whose shades varies light or dark, according to the climate.
Scroll to Continue

Canid eye Revelation



Yellow, Brown, Blue, Light blue like white



Yellow and brown shades

Yellow and brown shades

Eye Size

Medium to Large

Small to Medium




Night Vision






Distance Vision






Angular Movement






4: Paws and Nails

The Paw structure is almost the same for all the members of the Canidae family and it is very difficult to differentiate between their paw prints.

Some bigger dog's paw size is almost same like wolf and coyotes and smaller size dogs can have the same size track print like foxes and jackals. To identify them, you need to analyse their paw size and pattern both that may provide an accurate track.


Paw track analysis

  • Dog vs wolves track: Track of wolves, has marked for two big bloated front toes. Dogs have smaller and or rounded shape track.
  • Wolf vs fox track: Wolves and foxes have comparatively more gap, in between nails and toes. And usually they leaves nails print on the ground. Such figure provides them an improved balance at run and make a strong grip with ground.
  • Coyote and Fox track print Vs Wolves vs Dogs track:

    Coyote and fox will leave separate marking for nails, whether wolf’s nail print will be adjoined with toe prints. And dogs usually doesn’t leave nails print.

Track size analysis:



0.9 - 3.5 inches

~4 inches

~2.5 inches

~ 1.4 inches


0.8 - 3.3 inches

~4 inches

~2.25 inches

~1.25 inches

5: Ear Comparison

Compare Ears

Compare Ears

WOLF, Coyote, Jackal, Fox Ears

WOLF, Coyote, Jackal, Fox Ears

Dog Ears (Different size and shape)




Dogs Dogs ears shape extensively varies, depending upon their breed. They can have naturally erected or hanging ears, also their size can vary very widely. Which is a major difference with all other members of canidae family.

The wolf has small, straight upward erected ears.

The coyote has medium, outside straight ears.

Jackal and foxes have moderately broad, bigger and erected ears.

6: Tail Comparison

The length and shape of dog's tails are varied, that can be in the range of 8 - 55 cm, whether other Canadae family members have the same tail pattern but length varies.


Tail length

8 - 55 cms

29 – 50 cm

30 – 41 cm

20 - 30 cms

30 - 50 Cms

Dog Tail Vs Other Canid Tail

Dog tail Vs rest of canidae family members

Dog tail Vs rest of canidae family members

7: Muzzle and Skull

Canid Skull Comparison

Canid Skull Comparison

Canid Skull Comparison

Dog vs Wolves

Dogs are the descendants of wolves and are classified as a subspecies of the grey wolf. Recent genetic studies, however, have shown that dogs descend from an extinct genus that diverged from modern-day grey wolves about 40,000 years ago. Because of their close genetic similarity, dogs and wolves share many physical traits. Though they have some differences, like wolves have longer muzzles and a broader skull. That help them to take down larger prey. Wolves have physically larger brains.


Wolves and coyotes both Canids share many common dog-like appearances, but they differ in a number of ways. Wolves are much larger than coyotes and doesn’t have a broader muzzle like wolves, but they have very similar and broad skull like wolves. Pointed muzzle of the coyote is a major difference from wolves.


Compared to other canid of their family, foxes are slighter and weak. Also, they do not have strong muzzle and skull like other members.

8: Brain and Intelligence level

Wolves’ has a much larger head in comparison to their body size and other canids. Whether dogs head vary, coyote and jackal have almost similar head and foxes are having a comparatively smaller head. Also Wolves are the most intelligent count among family.



Dogs head size vary, they have medium sized head in comparison to body.

Low - Average


Wolves’ heads are much larger in comparison to their body size and other canids head size.

Very High


The coyote has a medium size head, somewhat similar to a dog.



Jackal has a medium sized head in comparison to their body.



Fox has a medium sized head like a jackal in comparison to their body. And smaller among all Canidae family members.

Average - High

9: Acceptance As A Pet

Wolves, however, are stronger with higher levels of energy and stamina. Wolf instincts and temperament differ quite dramatically as well. Wolves are stubborn, erratic, difficult to train, and a danger to children and other small animals. These qualities make them a poor choice to keep as a guard dog or household pet. As similar to wolves other members are also not domesticated and not advised to keep as a pet. But the dogs are domesticated and are great companions, they are right as pets at home.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Aaradhya


;) on August 31, 2020:

These animals are some of my favourite animals. :)

oeleve on July 17, 2020:

good information... learned the relation and the evolution of the dogs, want to congratulate the writer.

GalexX_987 on August 18, 2019:

This is really helpful! Im taking notes for these canines' structure to help with my art! (I was quite surprised at the difference between wolf and fox skulls! I thought that a wolf would have a more rounded skull due to how a wolf looks from the outside)

~~~ on June 21, 2019:

Idk if you take constructive criticism but the images regarding wolf eye color are... wrong. A blue-eyed, adult wolf is a myth and if you see a picture of a mature canine with blue eyes I guarantee you it is either a dog or a wolfdog.

Aaradhya (author) on December 08, 2018:

Thanks Dear Zero,

These pictures/artwork are my own creation.

I see these pictures shared at many sites, which are copied from this article.

Zero on December 05, 2018:

Very Informative article, however the artwork used to showcase the various members of the Canidae family is not properly sourced.

Original artist is snowsilver on deviantart

Perscadia on November 01, 2018:

It's quite disappointing how people voted on having these wild animals as pets. However cute they may look they still have dangerous instincts that can't be erased by domestication.

hannah on June 14, 2018:

i love it so much

Aaradhya (author) on December 14, 2017:

Thanks ! Happy to know

Melia on December 13, 2017:

Thank you for the complete and detail information. Me and my son like it!

Aaradhya (author) on September 18, 2017:

Plz Share the Pic. , I will try my best .

Aaradhya (author) on May 22, 2017:

Thanks GalaxyRat! :)

GalaxyRat on May 22, 2017:

I love it, thx for the info.

Aaradhya (author) on March 20, 2017:

@Maria Cecillia

Dogs Height varies widely but all the dogs belongs to same category.

Maria Cecilia from Philippines on March 17, 2017:

wow this is very interesting, and based on your chart dog is the smallest among them? but there are dogs who are so large too at what category do they belong?

indra christian on November 13, 2016:

this is cool and informative article. also very detail

Pat k on January 02, 2016:

Alaskan Huskies also have the same ey options as Siberians.

Pat k on January 02, 2016:

This article is not accurate in regards to the eyes... Alaskan Malamutes DO NOT have blue eyes. Their eyes are solely brown. Siberian Huskies not only have blue eyes, they can have brown eyes, parti-eye, and can also be bi-eyed or any combination of these.

Aaradhya (author) on October 19, 2015:

Thanks Dr.Mark!

Mark dos Anjos DVM from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 19, 2015:

Very interesting reading, thanks!

Related Articles