Foxes eat dogs

FAQ: Foxes and domestic / farm animals
4.2 Foxes and domestic or "farm" animals
4.2.1 Are city foxes a threat to pets?
If you let your golden hamster, gerbil or dwarf rabbit run around unattended in the unattended garden at night, you will most likely have problems with foxes.
But seriously: foxes are generally not a threat to dogs and cats - foxes and cats avoid each other or ignore each other, dogs are consistently avoided by foxes. Even relatively small dogs or cats are so defensive that a fight with them would bring the fox a considerable risk of injury; a risk that a wild predator would only take in an absolute emergency. Incidentally, the average weight of an adult fox is only slightly higher than that of a house cat.
Very small puppies and kittens can fall prey to foxes, but only if there are no people or adult dogs / cats nearby. All other pets are typically kept in such a way (e.g. in aviaries, cages or in the house) that they are not threatened by foxes.
In isolated cases it happens that foxes try to break into rabbit cages standing in the open air. Even if the cages themselves are "fox-proof", this naturally leads to fear and panic reactions in the rabbits concerned. In these cases it is advisable to fence in the cages more spaciously or to drive the fox out of the garden (see 4.3.2 How do I get rid of the fox in my garden?).
Foxes and cats avoid each other.
In individual cases there have also been cats
observed playing with wild foxes
(Photo: Harry Rutherford)
4.2.2 Are foxes a danger to sheep?
Experience has shown that foxes are not dangerous to adult sheep. Cases in which fox bite marks have been found on dead sheep can always be traced back to the fact that the foxes used animals found dead or dying. It looks similar with young sheep.
Studies from Great Britain show that of those lambs that do not reach adulthood, 40% are stillborn. Another 30% die from cold, starvation or thirst; 20% die from illness, 5% die in the first few weeks of life from congenital defects, and another 5% are killed by accidents or predators. Of this 5%, the majority of animals killed by predators are lambs that were sick and / or abandoned by their mother and would not have survived the following days anyway. Another study in a temporarily fox-free area in Scotland found that foxes were responsible for just one percent of lambs that died in their first few weeks of life.
So if you want to improve the survival rate of newborn lambs, optimizing their living conditions (protection from cold and weather, better food supply) in the first few weeks after their birth would be the method of choice.
Baker, P., Harris, S. & White, P. (2006): After the hunt: The future for foxes in Britain. Report, University of Bristol / University of York.
McDonald, E .; Baker, P .; Harris, S. (1997): Is the fox a pest? The ecological and economic impact of foxes in Britain.
Hewson, R. (1990): Victim of myth - predation by foxes upon lambs in the absence of control. LACS, London.
4.2.3 Are foxes a threat to chickens?
Basically yes, and especially when the foxes are plagued by hunger in winter or while raising their young. However, protecting yourself and your chickens from it is no longer a major problem. At night, chickens should always be in a fox-proof fenced area - "fox-proof" means that there must be a sufficiently close-meshed, high (or roofed) fence that is at least 30 to 50 centimeters into the ground (thus the fox does not dig under). A stable or an area surrounded by an electric fence work just as well, of course. Instead of embedding the fence in the ground, it is of course also possible to line the floor of the stable with close-meshed wire.
The UK has had very good experiences with electric fences, which foxes always respectfully stay away from. Another effective way to protect chickens from foxes is of course to get a (guard) dog.
4.2.4 Is there a risk that foxes will mate with my dog?
Definitely not. Foxes are picky enough to only mate with female foxes, and other than that, foxes and dogs are completely genetically incompatible - they have different chromosome numbers, for example. The danger that the (very unlikely) liaison of a male fox with a female will result in fox-dog hybrids (in contrast to matings between dog and wolf or dog and coyote) is not given.