Why can different dog and cat species breed but other animals cant?



  1. 0 Votes

    It not that they can’t, it’s that they don’t. Dogs and cats are in a unique situation in that we domesticate them. Their high populations are a reflection of our high populations. They live in densely populated areas as we live in densely populated areas. But as we know, they don’t necessarily live amongst dog or cat species of the same kind. We have historically cross-bred dogs either strategically or non-strategically and continue to do so. An increasing proportion of dogs and cats are “muts”; they have no specific species to identify with. Further, we take these animals out of any sort of natural habitat and domesticate them in neighborhoods where there may or may not be a dog or cat of their same species. When these animals act on their instinct to mate, they don’t discriminate by breed, they act with whatever dog or cat of the opposite sex will have them.

    There are instances of this happening in the wild but it is far more rare. Species like monkeys, bears or large cats tend to inhabit areas or climates that are exclusive to one or two types of species. They also act a learned or genetically predisposed set of behaviors when they are in heat, which may include going to a very specific climate or topography to mate that is exclusive to that species. However the link below depicts bear (that has been killed) which is genetically confirmed cross between a polar bear and a grizzly bear.   

  2. 0 Votes

    As aaron10 mentioned, domesticated dogs and cats can interbreed because they are actually members of the same species. Domesticated dogs are all part of the species canis domesticus no matter what breed they are. Wolves, on the other hand are canis lupus. However, it is possible to breed different species together if they have a common ancestor that is close enough to them. Dogs and Wolves can actually produce offspring together under the right circumstances. This has also been done with lions and tigers, which are both of the same genus Panthera.


    Although humans and chimpanzees cannont (or simply will not) interbreed, there are some very interesting evidence about how the ancestors of modern humans and other primates may have interbred in the past. Evolution and Genetics are very important to understanding more about ourselves and the environment, and I encourage you to look into it more 🙂

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