• Post author:
  • Post category:Dogs
  • Post last modified:August 21, 2023
  • Reading time:20 mins read

Are Foxes Closer to Dogs or Cats? What’s the difference?

Due to their beauty, elegance, and furry coats, foxes are often mistaken for belonging to the cat family. 

But looks are deceptive, they say, and isn’t that why all our childhood storybooks described this animal as cunning and clever? 

So, let’s learn the truth about this deceptive creature. Are foxes closer to dogs or cats? Read on, for here is your answer. 

Are Foxes Closer to Dogs or Cats?

Are Foxes Closer to Dogs or Cats? Dog, fox, and cat together in a picture.

In other words, is a fox in the cat family or the dog family? While foxes share some similarities with both canines and felines, they are actually closer to dogs in terms of their biological relationship.

First of all, foxes belong to the Canidae family, which includes dogs and wolves, apart from foxes. 

They are similar to the cat only by way of their behavior, which you will soon see. But bring a cat and a fox together, and you are most likely to have the big fox chasing the poor cat that he is going to send running. 

Stupid fox, ain’t he? So, let’s not insult the cat by saying that the fox is close to them but keep the big fox far from them. 

Both have claws, but you can only guess whose is going to be stronger and, where there is to be a fight, who is going to win in the process. 

How Close Are Foxes To Dogs?

For one, foxes and dogs are a member of the same family, which makes them pretty close. However, things split from there. Dogs are in the Canis genus. Foxes, on the other hand, belong to the genus Vulpes.

Too many scientific terms? Then, let’s make it simpler. 

You can bring a dog home without getting the neighbors worried. Not so a fox. 

Coming to dogs and foxes are not the best of friends either, for the mean nature of the fox will only give him the upper hand and make him more aggressive. 

Also, the mischievous nature of the dog can get in the way of the patience of a fox. It’s not like he is blessed with much of it, so the dog should stay away from them.

Must Read: Are Hyenas Closer To Dogs Or Cats?

Can A Fox Breed With A Dog?

Are Foxes Closer to Dogs or Cats? A pair of white foxes playing on the ground.

No. The answer is simple. The fact is, a fox and a dog may belong to the same family, but they are not compatible with each other in terms of breeding. 

The two have very different sets of chromosomes, which diverged from when they evolved seven million years ago, meaning they cannot come together. 

So don’t try to introduce the two. Just in case you didn’t know, foxes can get aggressive with dogs too. 

Also, the breeding process can be very painful, and the fox can injure the dog in turn. All this for nothing, for in the end, there will be no puppies coming out of this. 

If you still don’t want to give up, there is one kind of fox that you can breed with the dog, the domesticated red fox. These domesticated red foxes are one of the largest of all kinds of foxes, but they can be made to breed with a dog, giving you the hybrid that you are looking for. 

Now you are happy, aren’t you?

Where Did The Fox Come From?

While foxes can be found almost all over Europe and a couple of other continents too (temperate Asia, North America, North Africa, and Australia), you may be curious to know where the animal comes from. 

A fox is a close cousin to the wolf, and hence the dog. Twelve million years ago, these species diverged from the lineage of wolves until you have what you see as the fox today. 

Most foxes were believed to have been born underground, with food being brought to them by a parent, and this is true even in the case of foxes today. 

The first of these is said to have appeared somewhere in North America and soon began to spread through the continent. 

That’s the little one can find and say about the origin of the species known as foxes. 

What Are The Characteristics Of A Fox?

In a lush green background, a light brown fox sticks out his tongue.

Unlike dogs that will live with you for about 13 years, foxes have a lifespan of four years (which is a good thing, to be honest) 

Unlike a dog that will wag its tail, lick you and listen to you, a fox is not so easy to condition and train (not even with the famous reward-based method)

This is because they have a very short attention span which limits their capacity to learn, so you can’t blame them here, can you?

They will pee on that couch again and again and again. It doesn’t matter how many times you punish them. 

Adopting one is at your own risk, but here is a question for you. Why don’t you want a dog instead? 

Foxes are shy. You’ll be surprised to know this, but it is true, and sometimes this could be the reason a domesticated fox could bite. However, that gives us no reason to discount his bad behavior, does it? 

Why Do Foxes Act Like Cats?

Ever felt like a fox has the appearance of a cat? He is not doing it on purpose. Here are the facts. 

Foxes have an optical anatomy that is similar to cats. Its pupils can narrow into slits, making them see better at any time of day, just like that of a cat. There, that was one reason why foxes act like cats. 

  • Hunting Instincts – Like cats, foxes like to hunt too. However, what makes them dangerous is that they won’t just go in search of rats. Let’s not scare you with more but end that there.
  • Paws – It’s not just the whiskers; they have paws too that make them look like a cat and detect objects in the dark, just like cats. The paws end with claws, another similarity to cats, and they won’t fail to use these claws if need be.
  • Claws – Only the claws here can do more harm than that of a little cat. Like the cat, he too can use these paws to climb trees, often moving elegantly and gracefully. Only this is not a graceful animal, for like the cat, he too can pounce, lunge, and stalk. 

And these are some of the reasons why foxes act like cats. That would probably bring to your mind another question. 

Recommended Reading: Why do cats like the pspsps sound?

Are Foxes Related To Cats?

The baby fox sits and stares at you.

Foxes come with whiskers, which often give them the appearance of a cat. But then, they have a snout too. And then, there is the fact that they act like cats, but this they may not be doing to confuse us. 

Foxes are related to dogs. They just act like cats, cunning creatures that they are in every way. 

You will see as soon as the fox opens his mouth. He doesn’t mew like the cat; he barks and sometimes even howls. 

He is territorial, just like a doggie, but will get more fierce if you threaten to take his territory. 

He has a strong nose, too, so beware. Like the dog, he is a good hunter but wilder. He can come for you too. 

His ears are also very sharp, and like the dog, he can hear well. He will wag his tail like the dog, and a dog lover may often find it cute. 

Yet, despite all this, beware, for this is not a dog that you are dealing with but a deadly fox. 

Can A Fox Breed With A Cat?

A canine and a feline cannot breed, and why would you want to introduce the fox to the poor cat? 

Chances are he is going to pounce on him and eat him, so the suggestion here is to spare the cat and don’t try mixing breeds. 

There are various other foxes in the world out there with which it can breed to create more nasty foxes in the world. 

Let them not mix with other kinder breeds. 

Do Foxes Eat Dog Food Or Cat Food?

A person is feeding a wild fox that he has captured.

Why not offer two bowls and see? On a serious note, foxes will eat almost everything. A fox in the wild will eat anything from earthworms and insects to small mammals (they are too small to eat large mammals).

A fox in your home (goodness, this is so scary) will again eat anything from tinned food, dog biscuits, and even scraps of veggies that you feed him. 

So, it doesn’t matter whether you serve him dog food or cat food. He will eat both. He’s probably chewing from both the bowls you placed before him if you took the joke above seriously. 

A major portion of a fox’s diet is meat protein, which should not come as a surprise, should it?

Apart from this, they also like fruit, cheese, and peanuts, which means if you have one domesticated in your house, you will have to share some with him. 

You’re okay with that, aren’t you? On a more serious note, just get rid of that fox; if you are wondering why, read on to know. 

Can You Have A Fox As A Pet? (Just Like Dogs & Cats) 

Foxes are wild animals. They have the needs of a wild animal, which does not just include significant daily exercise like a harmless dog.

These are animals with strong hunting instincts, always on the lookout for prey, which makes them undomesticated predators and inherently dangerous, which is why adopting one is not permitted in certain states. 

Imagine the neighbors around whispering in your direction, “Careful, they have a fox in that house.” 

That said, make sure that you put up a board outside that says, “Beware of the fox.” 

Now, go ahead and decide whether you want to adopt a fox. But first, make sure that it is legal in your state. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Are Foxes Dangerous?

Ans: Yes, haven’t you read enough stories in school to know this, or do you simply find them cute? A fox can be so dangerous that he can pounce on you and feast on you. So, do yourself and the neighbors a favor and keep them at the zoos.

Q2. Are Foxes Pack Animals?

Ans: No, they are solitary reapers that do not walk together like wolves. A Fox is more of an animal that is going to be alone, hiding somewhere, and looking for its prey. Perhaps because he doesn’t want to share his big feast with anyone, let him be; he doesn’t deserve friends anyway.

Q3. Are Foxes More Closely Related To Cats?

Ans: They are not more closely related to cats. Instead, they are closely related to dogs. This may be hard to believe with their whiskers, paws, claws, and all those feline moves, but watch it for longer, and you will agree too. 

Q4. Are Wolves Cats Or Dogs?

Ans: Why did you remember the wolf now? To answer your question, both wolves and foxes are dogs, and both are not so harmless and impossible to domesticate and tame dogs. So, forget the two of them, will you? Dogs are so much better for you!

Q5. Is A Coyote A Dog Or A Cat?

Ans: Now, you are thinking about a coyote. Okay, it is a dog, and a word of advice would be to stay away, for it is a dog that is very similar to the wolf. Guess that should be enough with these wild canines. In short, they are all too dangerous for you to be with them. 

Closing Thoughts: Are Foxes Closer to Dogs or Cats?

Perhaps you like cats, perhaps you like foxes. Either way, know that foxes are no member of the cat’s family, so don’t be deceived by their looks. 

And yet, at the same time, it’s not as friendly and playful as the dog too. But coming back to your question. 

Are foxes closer to cats or dogs? They are closer to dogs, but that does not mean you adopt one in your home unless you want additional problems to begin for you. 

You wouldn’t want that, do you?


Hey there, pet lovers! I'm Pratik, a lifelong animal lover, and pet care expert. My passion for animals began at a young age and has only grown stronger over the years. Through my blog, I hope to share my knowledge and expertise with other pet owners and provide them with valuable information on pets.