Can You Own A Pet Jackal?

Can you have a jackal as a pet? Many people wonder if jackals can be kept like dogs. It is indeed possible to tame a jackal puppy but it will never be a domesticated pet. In some states or countries, you will also face legal issues what makes the project even more difficult. In this article, you will learn what to consider before you make your decision.

young jackal

Are Jackals Dogs?

Unlike hyenas, jackals belong to the family Canidae. Our house dogs, wolves, foxes and jackals are close relatives as they all belong to the same family.

It’s even possible to interbreed jackals with dogs or wolves. The result is a canid hybrid, you can learn more about this breed on Wikipedia.

How Many Jackal Breeds Do Exists?

There are four breeds of jackals which are:

  • The golden jackal which is found in parts of Europe and Asia
  • The side-striped jackal which lives in Africa
  • The back-blacked jackal which has his habitat in Africa too
  • The coyote which lives in north and central America

Additionally, there are subspecies like the Simien or the Egyptian jackal. Both are subordinated to the mentioned breeds.

Coyotes differ from other breeds due to their larger size. They are also stricter carnivores than the other.

Is It Legal To Keep A Jackal?

Yes and no. The answer depends mostly on where you live. In some countries, you are allowed to own exotic animals and others prohibit them. The same stands for states within the US.

But beware, only because your state allows a pet jackal doesn’t mean, that your county or city will also be on your side.

However, most states that don’t prohibit exotic animals will ask for a permit or license. Sometimes this document is easy to get and you just have to pay a few dollars. But it’s more likely, that you would need to show that you are able to take proper care.

That means you have to prove your financial ability as well as your knowledge about the species you want to keep. Be prepared that someone will visit your house and inspect everything.

Sanctuaries, zoos and animal parks have no problems getting licensed. But there are many hurdles for private persons.

Do Jackals Make Good Pets?

No, jackals make terrible pets. They are not domesticated and if you think you can keep one just like other people keep dogs, you are on the wrong end. Many factors contribute to this fact.

#1 You Need A License

As I mentioned before, it is likely that you would need a license which could be difficult to get.

#2 You Need Much Outdoor-Space

Jackals should spend most of their days outside. They are not made for living in our apartments and your furniture would suffer soon anyways.

Without a house and a large garden, there is no way to get a pet jackal. The animals are diggers and you would have to build a sturdy high enough fence which also reaches deep into the ground.

An enclosure that provides shelter when weather conditions are harsh is an absolute must. As well as some trees and enough space for running.

Jackals are very active and they forage and hunt the whole day. In a small habitat, they get bored quickly. It would be up to you to ensure enrichment. Especially smells, yet food are the areas where owners can vary without much effort.

#3 You Need The Right Food

Yes, jackals are dogs but common dog food doesn’t do the job in this case. You would need to cater meat, whole animals like rabbits and rats as well as some veggies, beets and bulbs. 

#4 Jackals Are Very Social

Many people don’t know this, but jackals are actually very social. They like to spend their days with a conspecific and even mate for life. The companionship or contact with other animals is also something many jackals enjoy.

Sadly interaction with humans belongs not on the list. The animals have fear and avoid us. Coyotes in America on the other side live relatively close to humans and like to search for food in the trash.

#5 Veterinary Care

If you decide on a pet you will always need a vet in your travel distance. Even if your four-legged friend stays healthy all his life (what’s very unlikely) you need someone who does regular checkups.

Not many people keep jackals as pets and so there are not many vets who are qualified for treating them. Additionally, many stay away from exotic animals at all. The risk on the side of the veterinarian is just to high.

#6 Jackals Are Not Domesticated

Jackals are not domesticated. And many people get the term wrong as it has nothing to do with taming. However, dogs were selectively bred over hundreds of years.

This process made them the companions we know today. They serve our needs and we adopt them as a part of our families. Jackals are very different.

If you are absolutely sure, that you want a jackal under all circumstances, I recommend searching for jackal-dog cross-breeds. So you get at least some influence from domesticated dogs in your pet.

Can You Tame A Jackal Puppy Anyway?

black backed jackal

Yes, of course, you can tame a jackal puppy. The younger the pup is, the more successful you will be. That being said, a wild animal will remain a wild animal.

The instincts of your “pet” can take overhand at any time. Even though their character is playful, you will never know when it decides to kill your neighbors’ livestock or attack their children.

How To Get A Pet Jackal?

There are only a few breeders across the US. You should make your research and pick someone who doesn’t live too far from you. Visit the breeder and his pups a few times before you make a decision.

It’s good to learn more about the breeder as well as the characters of the puppies. A responsible breeder will tell you everything you need to know about the species, including the negative. They want to give their babies into caring hands as well.