Fox Species That Can Be Companion Animals (2023)

Foxes can look a lot like domesticated dogs considering they're members of the canine family. They are the only member of the canine family that can adeptly climb trees. Pet foxes can be cute, comical, and sly little escape artists. However, they also have specific needs when being raised in a household from training to use a little box to being socialized with the family and any other pets.

All states have different laws on the books about exotic pets. A pet fox may be considered "a wild canine, small canine, non-domesticated species, exotic animal, or native wildlife," so make sure you are allowed to own one where you live.

Take a look at 10 fox species that have been kept as pet foxes and why some make better companions than others.


Pet foxes have basic needs that you should consider before adopting: Exercise and enrichment, habitat considerations, special diet needs, and regular care by an exotic animal veterinarian. Most foxes have high energy levels, mark their territory with urine, and have demanding enrichment needs. A poor fit for the average pet owner, they require an extremely dedicated owner who can meet their specialized needs and tolerate their natural behaviors.

Fox Species That Can Be Companion Animals (1)

  1. Fennec Fox

    Fox Species That Can Be Companion Animals (2)

    Big-eared fennec foxes (Vulpes zerda) are the most popular type of pet fox. Fennec foxes are privately bred throughout the U.S. and are readily available for several thousand dollars. Its small size, long life expectancy, and sweet personality make it a good choice as a pet fox. It may not be suitable for households with small children or other pets since they tend to get nippy. As the world's smallest fox breed, it is delicate and needs protection from rougher housemates. It also has a large repertoire of vocalizations: Whimpers, growls, shrieks, wails, whines, barks, squeaks, and howls.

    Species Overview

    Length: 12 to 16 inches

    Weight: 2 to 4 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long, thick hair cream or fawn in color; extremely large bat-like ears; hairy feet

  2. Red Fox

    Fox Species That Can Be Companion Animals (3)

    (Video) 10 Fox Species Kept as Pets

    The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is not as popular as a fennec fox for a pet, but those who have them say that they are as sweet as house cats. They are not domesticated and have a few drawbacks. Perhaps their worst offense is that they have the smelliest urine of the fox breeds. Spaying or neutering may help reduce the odor a little bit. They also have a propensity to dig and need much more room to dig and play than other breeds. Silver foxes are a domesticated variety of red fox that has been bred exclusively in Russia. This domesticated fox program has reduced the fox's urine odor and improved upon their overall temperament.

    Species Overview

    Length: 36 to 42 inches

    Weight: 8 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long snouts with large pointy ears; red fur across the face, back, sides, and tail; grayish-white throat, chin, and belly; black feet and black-tipped ears; fluffy white-tipped tail

  3. Silver Fox (Domesticated)

    Fox Species That Can Be Companion Animals (4)

    Also called the tame Siberian fox, the tame Arctic fox, Sibfoxes, the domesticated fox, and other names, the silver fox is a true domesticated fox. Also classified as Vulpes vulpes, it is a different color variation of the red fox. Through a selective breeding program in Russia, these foxes have some different characteristics and slight genetic differences from red foxes. A true domesticated silver fox is only available from Russia. Trying to acquire one can be difficult and can cost up to $10,000.

    These foxes have a dog-like disposition and very little smell. Some dog behaviors bred into silver foxes included tail-wagging when happy, barking and vocalization, and ear floppiness. Care for these foxes is not any different than other breeds of foxes. If you are looking for an easier fox to care for, you may want to consider a fennec or gray fox.

    Species Overview

    Length: 36 to 42 inches

    Weight: 8 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long snouts with large pointy ears; black to bluish-gray to silver coat with a white-tipped tail; silver hairs may be scattered all over

    (Video) We met the world’s first domesticated foxes

  4. Arctic Fox

    Fox Species That Can Be Companion Animals (5)

    The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) is very similar to the red fox but is typically smaller and not as commonly kept as a pet. An animal that has adapted to life in the Arctic, it is sensitive to hot temperatures and may overheat easier than other foxes. Measures to keep it cool may be necessary. Due to a small breeding stock in the U.S., Arctic foxes are overbred and some possess genetic problems.

    Like red foxes, its urine and scenting glands make it a smelly choice for a pet. It is not well suited to life indoors since it scent marks its territory. It also loves to play in sand and dirt and may make their litter box more of a pleasure sandbox than a bathroom spot. As far as foxes go, it can have a pleasant disposition.

    Species Overview

    Length: 28 inches

    Weight: 6 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Dark gray to brown to bluish-brown coat in the summer; white or creamy white thick coat in winter; long, bushy tail; short nose; small curled-back ears; short, stubby legs

  5. Gray Fox

    Gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) used to be the most common fox found in the U.S. Over the centuries, human encroachment and deforestation have allowed red foxes to become the most dominant species. Gray foxes are the calmest and friendliest fox species. Usually, most foxes are wary of strangers, however, gray foxes are amiable and affectionate with most people. Grays and most other foxes will never be truly housebroken, even though gray fox urine is not as pungent as other species. They can be troublemakers in the house by digging up carpets, marking territory, and eating or chewing random things that they shouldn't.

    Species Overview

    Length: 31 to 45 inches

    Weight: 8 to 14 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Pepperygraycoat on top, reddish-brown on its sides, chest and back of head; reddish-colored legs and feet; long, bushy tail with a black stripe on top; pointed ears; pointed muzzle; long, hooked claws

  6. Bat-Eared Fox

    A small species, the bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) is an uncommon species to find and to keep. These foxes are native to the plains of Africa. In the wild, they are primarily an insectivorous species with termites and dung beetles making up 80 percent of their natural diet. As pets, they can be fed meat, and vegetables. These foxes have been kept indoors by owners. But, similar to other fox species, bat-eared foxes need an escape-proof enclosure. Beware of digging and scent marking with this fox species, too.

    (Video) 10 Most Beautiful Foxes in the World

    Species Overview

    Length: 18 to 26 inches

    Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Unusually large ears; yellowish-gray coat; black face and legs; black-tipped ears and tail

  7. Swift Fox

    Hailing from the North American grasslands, swift foxes (Vulpes velox) are a small species of fox that are a rare find in the exotic pet trade. This species is known to have a loving temperament and is less noisy and energetic than fennec foxes. Some reports claim this species is easier to train to use a litter box. Swift foxes are omnivores. Its diet includes grasses, fruits, small mammals, carrion, and insects. In the wild, this species lives up to 6 years. As pets, their life expectancy can increase to 14 years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 31 inches

    Weight: 4 to 7 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Dark, grayish, tan coat coloration that extends to a yellowish-tan color across its sides and legs; pale yellow to white-colored throat, chest, and belly; black-tipped tail; black patches on its muzzle; large ears

  8. Kit Fox

    The kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) species is closely related to the swift fox. It is about the same size and is native to southwestern North America. A naturally inquisitive species, it has little fear of humans and can form deep bonds with its owner. In the wild, it is an omnivore. As a pet, it should be fed a combo diet of high quality, protein-rich dog food, cooked or raw meats, vegetables, and fruits for variety. Special treats can include hidden crickets or mealworms to stimulate their foraging instinct.

    Very rarely does this species make noise, but when it does, the sounds can include low barks or growls. This fox species is one of the easiest to litter or potty pad train. Being that foxes like to climb, get this species a cat tree or cat condo. Provide a sandbox for this fox to dig holes, which is one of its favorite activities.

    Species Overview

    Length: 12 to 20 inches

    (Video) 15 Foxes You Won’t Believe Actually Exist

    Weight: 3 to 6 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Big-eared; grayish orange topcoat with a white underbelly; black-tipped tail

  9. Pale (Pallid) Fox

    The pale fox (Vulpes pallida) is native to the Sahara Desert. This species is another rarity in the exotic pet trade. If you can find one, they usually need to be imported and can cost upwards of $4,000. Pale foxes are a low-odor species, easier to train than fennec foxes, and have a friendly disposition. They tend to be vocal and make loud, high-pitched screeches like fennec foxes.

    Species Overview

    Length: 15 to 17 inches

    Weight: 4 to 6 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Pale, sandy-colored coat; whitish underbelly; long-bodied; relatively short legs; narrow muzzle; long ears and rounded at the top; bushy, black-tipped tail

  10. Corsac Fox

    Corsac foxes (Vulpes corsac) hail from northern Asia. Rarely kept as pets in the U.S., you are more likely to find them as pets in the U.K. This species is commonly compared to swift foxes in behavior, care, and appearance. Corsac foxes are much easier to potty-train than most foxes, however, they do tend to scent mark and their urine is pungent. If the fox is not bathed regular, its coat will be smelly. If you keep this species in the home, give it a climbing structure. Expect the fox to heavily shed its coat once a year in the spring.

    Species Overview

    Height: 19 to 24 inches

    Weight: 6 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Thick, soft gray coat with silvery tones and whitish underside; black-tipped tail


What kind of fox can you have as a pet? ›

Unlike dogs, no foxes in the US have been domesticated. All species of fox are considered wild animals, including red, gray, arctic, and Fennec foxes.

Do foxes get along with other pets? ›

Generally, foxes get along well with dogs and cats and often learn their habits.

Can you have a swift fox as a pet? ›

California. It is illegal to own a pet fox in California, and it is strictly prohibited due to the potential harm it could cause to other animals and property. Foxes are wild animals, so even if they have been domesticated, they can still exhibit aggressive behavior and may even attack small pets or livestock.

Are there domesticated foxes? ›

Russian domesticated foxes are red foxes (vulpes vulpes) from the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk Russia. They are the only scientifically defined domesticated foxes; domesticated for tameness. The Russian domesticated foxes are the result of over 50+ years of selective breeding for tameness.

Are fennec foxes friendly? ›

They are also friendly. Yes, they are wild animals, but they make great friends with humans. The fennec foxes act both like cats and dogs because they like to be treated like a pet, and they love cuddles. If you are planning on adopting a fox you have to have the space for them.

Are all foxes friendly? ›

Foxes are not dangerous and do not attack humans, except when they are rabid, which is very rare, or when they are captured and handled. Even then, a fox's natural tendency is to flee rather than fight.

Can foxes and cats coexist? ›

It's possible but very unlikely. A typical urban fox home range can be also occupied by upwards of 100 cats, and most of these are out at night. Foxes and cats meet many times every night, and invariably ignore each other. When a fight does break out, it's often the fox that comes off worse in the encounter.

Do foxes and ferrets get along? ›

No, absolutely not. A fox will see a ferret as prey and will most likely kill it.

Can dogs and foxes be friends? ›

Foxes are not the most sociable with other pet pals, and dogs are no exception. Foxes are likely to run away at the first glimpse of our four-legged friends (with pooch pals hot on their tails, given half the chance!).

What is the closest pet to a fox? ›

The Schipperke is the most fox-like dog in this list. Their black coat, pointed nose, and black eyes resembles a black fox. According to Dog Time, they are fearless, devoted, and a great guard dog. The Shiba Inu's fur and colors make them look just like foxes, according to the AKC.

How much is a fennec fox? ›

How much does a fennec fox cost? If you decide that you are up for the challenge of owning a fennec fox as a pet you can expect to pay between $2500 - $3500 (plus shipping if you do not live near a breeder).

Can you tame a wild fox? ›

It is generally not a great idea to tame a wild fox, but it may be harmless to befriend a fox that ventures near your home. Another option would be to adopt a domesticated fox if it is legal in your state.

Are pet foxes legal in the US? ›

There are 16 states where pet foxes are legal: Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.

Can you domesticate an arctic fox? ›

Arctic foxes are one of the world's most domesticated and tamed animals. They are known for their loyalty and affection towards humans and make excellent pets. However, they require special care and attention due to their unique needs in captivity.

Do fennec foxes like to cuddle? ›

Fennec foxes are occasionally kept as pets and behave a bit like active, playful small dogs. While they look like cute cuddly dogs, fennecs typically do not enjoy being handled let alone cuddled, and may bite if scared or nervous.

What is a tiny fox with big ears? ›

The fennec fox (Vulpes zerda) is a small crepuscular fox native to the deserts of North Africa, ranging from Western Sahara and Morocco to the Sinai Peninsula. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which serve to dissipate heat and listen for underground prey.

Can foxes bond with humans? ›

Foxes only bond with one or two people and generally do not like anyone else. Of course there are exceptions, but in general being around anyone other than their bonded person for any length of time will stress them to the point of harming their health.

Do foxes like petting? ›

Within 10 generations, the selected foxes behaved like dogs. They were not afraid of humans, liked being petted, licked trainers' hands and feet, whined when they wanted attention and remained calm in tense situations. They even wagged their tails when they were happy.

Will a fox eat a cat or small dog? ›

Fox attacks on dogs are rare because these animals try to evade conflict. However, they will defend themselves against a dog if cornered. Adult cats are usually safe, but a fox may hunt and prey on kittens.

Do foxes fear cats? ›

The truth is that foxes are actually really quite shy and timid animals. Although they are skilled hunters they typically stick to smaller prey that they know they can catch easily and cats just aren't on the menu for them. Most of the time foxes are actually scared of cats and will usually run away.

Who would win in a fight between a fox and a dog? ›

Dogs have the advantage of having more muscular bodies than foxes. While both are canines, dogs have superior bite strength. Stronger jaws, more muscle, and high endurance give dogs the advantage one-on-one.

Will a fox eat a squirrel? ›

Do Foxes Eat Squirrels? Yes, if given the opportunity. Squirrels are certainly small enough for a fox to hunt. The fox would certainly need to catch the squirrel on the ground and some distance from a tall tree.

Do hedgehogs and foxes get along? ›

Foxes. Hedgehogs and foxes can live together peacefully. Foxes sometimes attack hedgehogs, although usually adult hogs are protected by their spines. However, hoglets can be vulnerable to foxes, and we do see leg injuries where a fox or other predator has tried and failed to catch the hedgehog.

Do foxes and owls get along? ›

Foxes hunt and kill owls depending on the season, size, habitat, and availability of owls. These medium-sized, bushy-tailed wild dogs mostly carry out their hunt on owls during the spring and summer seasons; when caring for their young.

Do foxes and raccoons get along? ›

Adult foxes and raccoons are relatively the same size, so it makes sense for foxes to predominantly go after small, defenseless cubs. However, foxes will attack adult raccoons if given the chance. Foxes are smart creatures that are known for their sly and cunning personality.

Can foxes be friends with wolves? ›

They tend to be antagonistic, so they likely wouldn't get along very well at all. Wolves are known to kill foxes during most encounters, so hope that answers your question.

Why is a coyote not a dog? ›

One of the primary differences between a coyote vs. dog is their domesticated status. While both of these animals belong to the canis genus, coyotes are considered wild animals, while dogs are domesticated animals. The same can be said for another member of the canis family, the wolf.

What to do if a fox follows you? ›

Yell, clap your hands, wave your arms, stomp your feet—make your presence felt, but do not approach or chase the animal. You can also carry a whistle, or other noisemaker when walking in known coyote or fox areas.

What is the friendliest type of fox? ›

But today, 58 years after the start of the program, there is now a large, sustainable population of domesticated foxes. These animals have no fear of humans, and actively seek out human companionship. The most friendly are known as “elite” foxes.

Can a fox breed with a coyote? ›

Can a fox and coyote mate? Foxes and coyotes belong to different genera; therefore, they don't mate with each other. However, the coyote mates with wolves and dogs.

What is a fox like small dog? ›

Long-haired chihuahua

These miniature fluffy purse dogs are one of the smaller dogs that look like foxes. Chihuahuas are actually the tiniest dog breed in existence. They require very minimal exercise and grooming, making them one of the most low-maintenance dogs out there.

How aggressive are Fennec foxes? ›

Fennec foxes typically give birth to one litter of pups per year, with between two and five young in a litter. During the four to six weeks of rutting season, males can become extremely aggressive and will mark their territory with urine.

What states are Fennec foxes legal? ›

There are a few states in the U.S. that will allow fennec foxes without any special permitting or licensing. These states include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

How much does a baby red fox cost? ›

The cost of a fox varies greatly. It can be as little as $500 or as much as $6,000.

Do foxes enjoy petting? ›

Many foxes like being petted, held, and snuggled, so they are much more comforting companions than many exotic species.

Do foxes like being alone? ›

Red foxes tend to be solitary, usually hunting alone. They can be active at any time of day, but appear to hunt most often during dawn and dusk. It is not unusual to observe foxes during daytime. They remain active all year and do not hibernate.

Are foxes closer to the cat or dog family? ›

Foxes are a part of the Canidae family of animals, which makes them canines. They are closely related to domestic dogs and wolves.

How much is a Fennec Fox cost? ›

How much does a fennec fox cost? If you decide that you are up for the challenge of owning a fennec fox as a pet you can expect to pay between $2500 - $3500 (plus shipping if you do not live near a breeder).

Can foxes be affectionate? ›

They groom one another, play, and cuddle. And while they hunt alone, foxes live in extremely close and affectionate family units while raising their young.

Is it OK to touch a fox? ›

All encounters should happen on the wild animal's terms and to cross the line and claim a wild fox as “yours” by touching and training them, is a breach of the trust this vulnerable animal puts in you.

Will tamed foxes sit? ›

No, a tamed fox will not run away from you. You can force your tamed fox to stay in one place in the same fashion as a tamed wolf. All you need to do is interact with the fox while holding nothing in your hand and it will proceed to sit in place until told otherwise.

Can foxes purr? ›

Animals that produce purr-like sounds include mongooses, bears, kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, badgers, foxes, hyenas, rabbits, squirrels, guinea pigs, tapirs, ring-tailed lemurs and gorillas while eating. Animals purr for a variety of reasons, including to express happiness or fear, and as a defense mechanism.

Is there a cat and fox hybrid? ›

The "cat-fox," known as the "ghjattu-volpe" in Corsican, is longer than a domestic cat with larger ears, "highly developed" canine teeth and a tail with two to four rings and a black tip, officials from the National Hunting and Wildlife Office told the French news outlet Agence France-Presse.


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