Vulpes Fox Project

The Vulpes Fox Project was started in 2021 after 30+ years with th Dire Wolf Project. The goal: To create a companion dog that resembels a fox. Why? Because hundreds of folks want such a dog and because Lois can. For more information, email schwarzkennels@aol.com.

Lois takes pure bred dogs and mixes them together in breedings to get a foundation (starting) line of dogs that will continue to rebreed consistantly. First Lois sets up the 'temperament, conformation and looks' on paper. This is then called the standards of the breed. Next, she breeds to obtain the goals.

Starting a NEW BREED of dogs, or any animal, takes a long time. It is a PROJECT that takes perseverance and dedication as well as knowledge. For our many clients, this means 'WAITING' which is so very hard to do.

Please know that you might be confused at the breeding of particular dogs as you have not been breeding animals for over 50 years. It may sound like a simple thing to do and that anyone could do such a thing and many have tried and have created new breeds of dogs, but the difference is that Lois knows what she is doing. So if you are curious, hold on to your hats and sit back and watch what happens.

First we Study the Fox

The genus Vulpes is made up of 12 extant species referred to as the “true foxes.” There are 6 species known from fossils. Foxes are part of the Family Canidae which also includes wolves, coyotes, and dogs. Foxes are distinguished by their small size, flattened skulls with pointed snouts, and a large bushy tail.

“Vulpes” means fox in Latin. Foxes can live up to 21.3 years old. Adult foxes can be killed by: coyotes, bears, and wolves. The young face a broader range of threats from large birds of prey such as eagles, which is why they must remain in the den and out of sight for weeks.

Red foxes are found from North America, Europe, and India to Japan. Foxes are not found in tropical regions.

Foxes are found from the desert (fennec fox) to the Arctic (arctic fox) and from high elevations in the mountains to the open plains.

All Carnavore evolved from an animal called a miacid 'Miacidae', which was a small tree-living mammal. During the mid-Eocene times carnivores split into two suborders that we know today as Caniformia, the dogs, and Feliformia, the cats.

Caniforms diverged into three lineages or subfamilies: 1. the Hesperocyoninae (western dogs) 2. the Borophaginae (bone-crushing dogs), and the only extant group, 3. the Canidae which includes dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, etc. The canid group branched out on its own around 10 millian years ago. Vulpes is made up of 12 species, but there are about 27 extant species of foxes spread over 9 different genera'

Foxes have a dog-like appearance, but on average are quite a bit smaller in size compared to most other canids. They have shorter legs with a slender body, a distinct flattened skull with a pointed snout known as a “fox face” and varying sizes of upright pointed ears. Like all canids, foxes have a muscular frame, strong jaws, and teeth for grasping prey. Blunt claws are primarily useful for gripping the ground when chasing down their meal. Contributing to the foxes’ lengthy appearance is its long bushy tail.

Tail: makes up about one third of its body length and consists of a black tip at the end. The tail can also be used for the purpose of keeping warm by wrapping it around their bodies.

Size: from 39*43 inches in length (including tail) and weighing around 7-15 lbs. (Males are larger than females).

Arctic fox: has a very dense insulated coat and small ears.

Fennec fox: has a very thin coat and large ears.

They say foxes are solitary animals. Foxes have been seen in groups of around ten. Fox species tend to breed from January to late March. Gestation is 63 days same as a dog. (Once a year). Underground dens are built and lined with grass and other leaf litter to create a soft warm enclosure for the litter. These dens are randomly spaced, occupied year after year, and are located in highly vegetated and covered areas. Litters are born in March and April after a gestation period lasting 7 to 8 weeks. Females have a litter annually ranging in size from 1 up to 11 pups, with most averaging 6.

  • Newborn fox cubs are blind, deaf, dark-grey in colour and weigh about 120g.
  • After 14 days, their eyes open. Their pupils are slate-blue. Guard hairs appear, giving cubs a fuzzy appearance. They have small, floppy ears and weigh about 350g.
  • After four weeks, the cub’s pupils are grey flecked with brown. The muzzle starts to lengthen. White fur appears around the mouth and patches of red on the face.
  • The coat is still woolly, but the ears are now erect.
  • After eight weeks, the pupils become amber-coloured and the cub’s face approaches adult proportions. Its fur is largely adult colour but still looks woolly
  • Throughout the summer, cubs are very similar to adults but have thinner coats and a lankier appearance. They become indistinguishable from the adults by late September or early October, once their winter coats are fully grown.
  • From late September, the family group breaks up and some or all of the cubs disperse.

Foxes are territorial animals, usually staying within a certain area. As population density of fox species increases there is an increase in social groups. These groups consist of one dominant pair and a few other subordinate adults that are related. Foxes primarily feed on rodents. The fox launches vertically into the air then falls on the prey killing them quickly.

Foxes are vocal animals. Unlike other canids they do not vocalize as a group. They use several different vocalizations to stay in contact with relatives because each individual has its own unique voice. A single voice is capable of spanning over a range of five octaves. The most well-known fox call is similar to a kind of bark that usually lasts for three to five syllables and resembles, “Wow-wow-wow”. This vocalization is used at all distances, is high pitched.

Another sound created by foxes is a basic alarm bark that consists of only one syllable. It is very sharp when heard at long distances, but is somewhat of a cough in close quarters. This is mainly used by parents to alarm pups of danger nearby.

There is also a vocalization known as gekkering, which is a stuttering noise that resonates from the throat. This sound is mainly heard during mating season or during any aggressive interactions.

Lastly there is the vixen’s wail or scream, a long, drawn-out, single note that is usually heard during breeding season. Thought originally to only be made by females in heat trying to call upon an available mate, it has also been observed being produced by males.

Foxes are in the order Carnivora but they are actually considered to be omnivores. They eat: carrion and small rodents, berries, fruits, and seeds. Some of the most common prey items are mice, voles, and hares when hunting, but foxes are also known to steal the eggs of birds, and turtles or kill the young of other small mammals as a meal. Social groups may hunt cooperatively to surround prey, while individuals tend to cover an area over and over finding prey using their keen senses of smell and sound.

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