Mammalian Biology

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 79–90 | Cite as

Hybridisation between wolves and dogs in Latvia as documented using mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA markers

  • Žanete AndersoneEmail author
  • V. Lucchini
  • E. Randi
  • J. Ozoliņš
Original investigation


Crossbreeding between wolves and dogs in the wild has been sometimes reported, but always poorly documented in scientific literature. However, documenting frequency of hybridisation and introgression is important for conservation of wild living wolf populations and for the management of free ranging dogs. Here we report the results of molecular genetic analyses of 31 wolf samples collected in Latvia from 1997 to 1999, including six pups originated from a litter found in northern Latvia in March 1999, and six wolves showing morphological traits that suggested hybrid origin. Nucleotide sequencing of the hypervariable part of the mtDNA control-region and genotyping of 16 microsatellite loci suggested that both pups and the morphologically anomalous wolves might originate from crossbreeding with dogs. Causes of wolf-dog crossbreeding, as well as possible management effort to avoid further hybridisation in the wild, are discussed.


Cam’s lupus feral dogs hybridisation Latvia 

Hybridisation von Wölfen und Hunden in Lettland, dokumentiert über mitrochondriale und Mikrosatelliten-DNA-Marker


Über die Kreuzungen von Wölfen und Hunden in freier Wildbahn wurde manchmal berichtet, aber wenig oder gar nicht in der wissenschaftlichen Literatur dokumentiert. Es erscheint aber von Be-deutung, Vorstellungen uber die Häufigkeit derartiger Bastardierungen zu erhalten, da Introgressio-nen von Hundegenen in das Wolfgenom von unmittelbarer Relevanz für den Schutz der Wölfe und das Management von frei laufenden Hunden ist. In dieser Studie wurden von 31 Wölfen molekular-genetische Analysen durchgeführt, darunter waren auch sechs Welpen eines Wurfes aus dem Norden von Lettland. Sechs dieser Wölfe wiesen morphologische Kennzeichen auf, die auf Hybridisation mit Hunden hindeuteten. Die nukleotide Sequenz des hypervariablen Teils der mtDNA und der Genotyp von 16 Microsatellit-Loci deuteten darauf hin, daß. sowohl die Welpen als auch die morphologisch verdächtigen erwachsene Wölfe Hybriden waren. Die Ursache derartiger Kreuzungen und auch mög-liche Managementmaßnahmen zur Vermeidung derartiger Vorkommnisse werden diskutiert.


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Žanete Andersone
    • 1
    Email author
  • V. Lucchini
    • 2
  • E. Randi
    • 2
  • J. Ozoliņš
    • 3
  1. 1.Ķemeri-JūrmalaLatvia
  2. 2.Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna SelvaticaOzzano dell’Emilia (BO)Italy
  3. 3.State Forest ServiceRīgaLatvia

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