Foxes, The “New Dog”?

Like many other people, I love dogs. I absolutely adore domesticated canines and I can see why they’re such popular pets and good companions to have at home. But, what if there’s a new pet which people might call “man’s best friend”? Let me introduce you to the domesticated Russian Silver Fox. Bred as an experimentation in Russia in the 1950s, the Silver Fox was chosen to see if over a short time it could become domesticated and alike to the very canines we hold so dear. The breeding project was created by a Russian scientist by the name of Dimitri Belyaev. He died in the 1980s unfortunately, but the experiment still continues to this day and although it still isn’t complete it has shown amazing results.

The foxes produced from the 50 year experiment have shown to be incredibly tame and at times quite affectionate. After a number of generations were bred, domesticated behaviors like tail wagging, which is seen in many dog breeds, also appeared in the foxes when people approached them. They’re also becoming a most wanted pet by many in Russia and elsewhere. The population of domesticated foxes created by the experiment are few in number though so they’re quite expensive to purchase. They cost around $7,000 and depending on where you live they may be seen as illegal to own.

The experiment has been of high interest in the scientific community due to the results as shown by the change in the foxes behavior and physical appearance. It should be interesting to see how the experiment continues and how the fox might become another big family pet alongside the cat and dog. I know I’d love to own one of the little guys. From the various pictures and videos around the net it looks like the tamed Silver Fox will be an adorable contender as a pet.

We’ll hopefully see more of this fascinating species in the future when they become more abundant as the experiment continues in Russia.

Sources:

https://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/early-canid-domestication-the-farm-fox-experiment/1

http://www.npr.org/2012/03/18/148758624/domesticated-foxes-mans-new-best-friend

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2 thoughts on “Foxes, The “New Dog”?

  1. I’ve heard quite a bit about these foxes too. What really fascinates me is the change of physical characteristics in the domesticated foxes, such as floppy ears and lighter, spottier coat patterns (I think shorter muzzles might have been one too?), which I believe are due to changes of certain chemicals in the brain…?
    Furthermore, I wonder what would happen to the physical and mental traits of the foxes if those that were originally bred for aggressive behavior as a counter experiment were continued to be bred. Would they become bulkier and develop new behaviors not usually associated with foxes?

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