While coyotes are closely related to wolves and dogs, they are different animals and generally do not interbreed with these other species. Within the coyote’s historical western range where they coevolved with much larger gray wolves, there is no interbreeding and wolves will chase away and/or kill any coyotes caught trying to scavenge for food.
Scientists have recently documented wolf-coyote hybrids, known as coywolves, in Ontario’s Algonquin Park region through DNA analysis.
As coyotes migrated east, they encountered smaller and fewer gray wolves and some hybridization did occur. This mixing of genes is thought partially to explain why eastern coyotes tend to be larger than western coyotes.
A similar scenario probably happened in the Southeast as migrating coyotes encountered dwindling red wolf populations, leading to some interbreeding. Red wolves were driven to near extinction by the late 1970s and they are now found only in coastal North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as part of a reintroduction effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Interbreeding between red wolves and coyotes does occur in this area, but this is the only place where the two species come into contact with one another.