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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. S. Bate   1 March 1869

My dear Sir

I have by a friend been asked if there be any known case of Hybridism between the Fox & the Dog: I said yes but only could recall a far back recollection of having been informed that a specimen that I saw was the case & on turning to your [recent] work I find that you state vol 1 p 31 that Female dogs will take the male Fox, & in page 151 vol II you state that there is no case on record of a fox breeding in confinement—1

The Question which has caused some litle discussion here is Whether there be any undoubtful case of a young animal the result of a cross between a fox and a dog: It is here among Hunters generally denied— Am I asking too great a favor, in requesting you to answer this question for me—

an acquaintance of mine here has a white cat with blue Eyes   I believe that it is not deaf— would particulars be of service to you2

I am dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | C. Spence Bate

March 1/69 | Plymouth


Bate refers to Variation 1: 31 and 2: 151.
In Variation 2: 329, CD referred to deafness in blue-eyed white cats in his discussion of correlated variability.


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


On hybridism between the fox and dog; asks whether CD knows of a reliable case of offspring from this cross.

Does CD want details on a white cat with blue eyes, but not deaf?

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Spence Bate
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 54
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6637,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17