Ok someone might have to cut back on the calories.

Midge is the little guy who was very tiny for his age and kept trying to bite me. He was so small that I hardly felt the bites. He finally got used to me and his last bite attempt was hilarious. He SLOWLY chomped down on my finger, looked at me, released my finger and then walked away. He’s become very sweet and a shoulder-rider.

I don’t know his morph but he has very vibrant colors and would be considered as nonbreedable because of his stunted size.

A cute picture of Bubba (Coyote) - Akiyama no Roushya Daikokuten go - thinking over his food. This little guy is a hopeful for a breeder friend in Finland.

Now… before I go, I have some other thoughts - as a new breeder trying to do right by my dogs and right by the people interested in them.

Breeding animals is, and should be, a calculated effort one takes to replicate something cherished and desired by others, as well as themselves. Something that cannot be replicated, otherwise.

All of my puppies are generally sold before I breed so I know all of them will be accounted for. As Kishu Ken are rare in the US and every dog is valuable from a preservation standpoint, I do not encourage owners to surgically alter their pets, but do have them sign a contract outlining standards of behavior, a nonbreeding compliance, and what I will hold myself accountable for if their puppy ever falls ill. 

From the moment they are conceived, these puppies are someone else’s - and that is a great burden, at times, to know I am taking care of someone else’s puppy. They are trusting me to rear that puppy well and keep them safe until they come of age to be transported.

If you don’t that’s stressful, also consider this: breeding responsibly loses you money. To produce this litter, I spent 3300 importing the sire from Japan as there were no compatible males available to me in the United States. I was fortunate as I got the dam “for free” (in that she was born in my home), but pre-breeding fees totaled around 500. I have spent around 150 on kibble for the mother during the nearly 4 weeks the puppies have been with us, and around 50 on supplements (fish oil, cottage cheese, pumpkin, and other dietary additives.) Dewormer mom and pups have got so far has totaled around 75 USD. Flights for puppies are generally around 300, with the crate, when things are said and done. Registration fees with NIPPO are around 130-160 for the whole litter. If Genotypes are run, that is 130 per puppy. Plus 700 spent in dog shows and sports or breed booths so far this year… I will probably get around 3400 for this litter, when all is said and done. 

If you think breeding gets you money, you are sorely mistaken. Sometimes, maybe, you break even.

That doesn’t even take into consideration how I told work not to schedule me for two months, so I could commit my time to the puppy care, or how I have to wake up every 3 hours because puppies learned early that eliminating where they lived is a bunch of bullshit (and they would rather do their business outside!) It doesn’t take into account the hours I spend socializing or the money I spend trying to set up new structures and toys for them.

If breeding makes you a significant amount of money, I think you’re doing something wrong.


Common Raven (C. corax)

Genus Name: Corvus

Name Meaning: Raven or Crow

First Described: 1758

Described By: Linnaeus

Cape Crow (C. capensis

ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Eusaurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Orionides, Avetheropoda, Coelurosauria, Tyrannoraptora, Maniraptoriformes, Maniraptora, Pennaraptora, Paraves, Eumaniraptora, Averaptora, Avialae, Euavialae, Avebrevicauda, Pygostylia, Ornithothoraces, Euornithes, Ornithuromorpha, Ornithurae, Neornithes, Neognathae, Neoaves, Passerea, Telluraves, Australaves, Eufalconimorphae, Psittacopasserae, Passeriformes, Passeri, Corvida, Corvoidea, Corvidae, True Crows

American Crow (C. brachyrhynchos

Referred Species: C. albus, C. albicollis, C. bennetti, C. brachyrhynchos, C. capensis, C. caurinus, C. cornix, C. corone, C. corax, C. coronoides, C. crassirostris, C. cryptoleucus, C. dauuricus, C. edithae, C. enca, C. florensis, C. frugilegus, C. fuscicapillus, C. hawaiiensis, C. imparatus, C. insularis, C. jamaicensis, C. kubaryi, C. leucognaphalus, C. macrorhynchos, C. meeki, C. mellori, C. monedula, C. moneduloides, C. nasicus, C. orru, C. ossifragus, C. palmarum, C. rhipidurus, C. ruficollis, C. sinaloae, C. splendens, C. tasmanicus, C. torquatus, C. tristis, C. typicus, C. unicolor, C. validus, C. violaceus, C. woodfordi, C. galushai (extinct), C. larteti (extinct), C. praecorax (extinct), C. simionescui (extinct), C. hungaricus (extinct), C. moravicus (extinct), C. pliocaenus (extinct), C. antecorax (extinct), C. betfianus (extinct), C. fossilis (extinct), C. neomexicanus (extinct), C. antipodum (extinct), C. impluviatus (extinct), C. moriorum (extinct), C. pumilis (extinct), C. viriosus (extinct)

Northwestern Crow (C. caurinus

Corvus is a huge genus of Neornithean dinosaurs that evolved around 17 million years ago, in the Burdigalian age of the Miocene epoch of the Neogene period. The group evolved in Central Asia, originally, but now has extended to almost all major landmasses, except for South America. A group of crows is called a flock or a murder, though I formally propose combining them into a Murder Flock. There are around 60 species both extinct and extant of the animal, around a third of the members of the group Corvidae, but they all do share some common features. 

Torresian Crow (C. orru

Corvus are usually all black or with some white and grey feathers, depending on the species. They’re usually quite large and stout, with strong beaks and legs, and have limited sexual dimorphism. They gather in large, communal roosts between 200 and tens of thousands of individuals. They usually gather during the nonbreeding months, especially winter, near large food centers. They make a wide variety of calls and vocalizations and even respond to calls of other species, which is a learned behavior depending on region. Though they have complex vocalization, it is unclear what these vocalizations mean, and there is no real clear understanding of Corvus language. 

Chihuahuan Raven (C. cryptoleucus

Corvus is the smartest genus of dinosaur, and certain species top the avian IQ scale. Many species of Corvus engage in play, an activity characteristic of high intelligence. They often can be seen sliding down snowbanks, engaging in games with other species, and performing spectacular displays in the air. They even can make toys, breaking off twigs to play with socially. Wild Hooded Crows have learned to use bread crumbs for bait-fishing, and many crows engage in mid-air jousting to establish pecking order. They engage in sports and games, tool use, and they hide and store food across seasons. They even have Episodic-like memory, encoding and retrieving information about what, where, and when events occurred. 

Tamaulipas Crow (C. imparatus

The New Caledonian Crow manufactures and uses tools in its daily search for food, mainly by plucking, smoothening and bending twigs and grass stems to procure food. Crows in Queensland have learned to eat cane toads by flipping the toxic amphibian onto its back and stabbing the throat in the thinner part of the skin, allowing access to nontoxic food in the frog itself, and they use their long beaks to get all of this food. Some species have Nidopallium, a region of the bird brain used for executive functions and higher tasks, similar in size and functionality as the neocortex in chimp and humans. 

Pied Crow (C. albus)

Crows can distinguish individual humans by recognizing their facial features. They are also capable of displacement, aka communicating about things that are happening in a different space or time from where they are. The smartest and type species of Corvus, the Common Raven, may be the second smartest species of animal in the world, only following humans - debate reigns due to differences between the Avian and Mammalian brains, and the difficulty in measuring absolute intelligence levels. Crows are capable of solving problems through invention rather than trial and error, and are also capable of deceiving other crows - while that may seem morally wrong to us, lying is an excellent measure of intelligence of animals, as the animal has to pretend that something else is happening than reality. I’m just saying, we don’t know what they’re saying, and they’re really smart - they’re plotting against us. 

White-Necked Raven (C. albicollis

Crows are an omnivorous type of dinosaur, with a very diverse diet. They eat other birds, fruits, nuts, mollusks, earthworms, seeds, frogs, eggs, nestlings, mice, and carrion. Scarecrows in crop fields supposedly work to stop crows from damaging and scavenging in the fields, though they actually often eat insects that are attracted to the crops and perhaps Scarecrow use does more harm than good. They are found in major cities across the world, and are very good at utilizing human-made habitats for their own survival. Because they’re geniuses. And plotting to take us over. 

Rook (C. frugilegus

Crows on the whole reach sexual maturity at 3 years old for females and 5 years for males. They lay between 3 and 9 eggs, which take 20 to 40 days to hatch. Many species of crow mate for life, and young from previous years help nesting pairs protect and feed the new hatchlings. These complex social groups, thus, oftentimes resemble our own. However, in urban environments nestlings face real threats from human-made materials being used in nests, and stunted growth due to poor nutrition. Some crows live up to the age of 20, and the oldest known crow in the wild was nearly 30. However, in captivity, the oldest crow died at 59. 

Collared Crow (C. torquatus

Though crows on the whole are not typically endangered or even threatened, there are many species that are rarer in the wild and threatened. The Hawaiian crow, or ‘alala, is extinct in the wild; conservation efforts in order to increase numbers of this species have not been widely successful. This sharp decline and wild extinction of this species can probably be attributed to, sadly, human causes, as the delicate and isolated ecosystem of Hawai’i was greatly negatively affected by invasive species (both purposeful and accidental) brought over due to human expansion into the region. 

Carrion Crow (C. corone

Given their high levels of intelligence, most species of the bird are adaptable and opportunistic despite human activity. They cause damage to crops and property, dig around through human trash, and very few cheap control methods are available. Hunting of the species is allowed in the United States, though their general intelligence and wariness makes it a difficult activity. To limit crow invasiveness and presence, scare tactics usually work best; trapping is less successful. Crows also may, however, prove useful to humans - an idea presented by Joshua Klein based on crow foraging behavior suggests that crows could be trained to pick up human garbage, deliver it to a vending machine of sorts, which would then give the crow a reward for cleaning up after our mess. While I don’t think we need to involve crows in human capitalism and should clean up our own messes, I doubt the crows would care about the easily available food. 

Little Crow (C. bennetti

Though the group Corvidae originated in Australia, Corvus and other closely related species had already migrated up to Asia by the time Corvus had diverged. However, their evolutionary relationships remain unclear; geographic region and close-relatedness might not actually be correlated, and many species are very similar in appearance. A thorough systematic review of the genus is, therefore, necessary to determine their evolutionary history. Crows are very common in the fossil record of Europe, however, it is unclear how extinct crows are evolutionarily related to modern species. 

Western Jackdaw (C. monedula

There are many species of Corvus, and thus I will go through a brief overview of all of them. C. albus, or the Pied Crow, is an African crow species that is not endangered. It has a length of approximately 46 to 52 centimeters and live in pairs or small family groups, feeding on insects and other small animals. They have characteristic white patches of feathers on the chest and belly. They may be a modern link between Eurasian crows and the Common raven. White necked ravens, on the other hand, or C. albicollis, also are unthreatened and live in Africa. They are only about 50 to 54 cm long, but is one of the larger raven species, and they have a very large distinctive beak and a small patch of white feathers on the back of the neck. They obtain most of their food from the ground and mostly engage in scavenging. 

Thick-billed raven (C. crassirostris

Little crows, C. bennetti, live in Australia and are not endangered; they are only about 38 to 45 cm long with small bills, eating mostly food from the ground and nesting in small, loose colonies. The American Crow, C. brachyrhynchos, is a very common crow that, however, is highly susceptible to West Nile Virus. They live almost entirely in the United States, and there are four subspecies depending on location. They have iridescent black feathers all over the body, and live about 7-8 years in the wild, though in captivity they may live up to 30 years. They are ominvorous, and live in monogamous cooperative breeding families, with mated pairs staying together for many years while offspring help take care of the new young. 

Brown-Necked Raven (C. ruficollis

The Cape crow, C. capensis, is a not endangered crow from Africa, eating grains and other seeds and nesting near the tops of trees. They also can be seen eating small animals such as frogs. It is about 48 to 50 cm long. The Northwestern Crow (C. caurinus) is a very similar bird to the American crow, though it lives primarily in Northwestern Canada. It eats mainly stranded fish, shellfish, crabs and mussels, but they build typically solitary nests. It is about 33 to 41 cm long. The Hooded Crow, C. cornix, lives in Europe and Western Asia, as well as in Egypt. It has extensive white feathers all over the body and is approximately 48 to 52 cm long, eating an omnivorous diet. They nest near the ground, incubated by mated pairs, and is not endangered. 

Fish Crow (C. ossifragus

The Carrion Crow, C. corone, is also not endangered, native to Western Europe and Eastern Asia. It has a black plumage with green and purple sheens, about 48 to 52 cm long, smaller than the Common Raven; it is a very noisy bird, eating many types of carrion and adapting well to urban environments. They build nests in tall trees as well as cliffs and buildings, with older offsprings helping new hatchlings. The Common raven,C. corax, ultimately the most famous type of crow, is also not endangered. It lives extensively in the Northern Hemisphere and is the heaviest Passerine bird, at about 63 cm long. They coexist well with humans and often are kept as pets. They are the second smartest animal after humans (probably), and have large and heavy beaks. They travel in mated pairs while younger birds form flocks, and are omnivorous and highly opportunistic. Juveniles court other birds at a very young age but do not bond for two to three years, and need to gather a territory before breeding. They often steal and store shiny objects, and juveniles are particularly curious.

Little Raven (C. mellori

The Australian raven, C. coronoides, is also not endangered, and has prominent throat hackles (very thick feathers on the throat) that distinguish it from the Australian Crow. It lives in Australia in open woodland and transitional habitats and is an omnivorous animal, with very white irises in the adults. Juvenile Australian Ravens leave their parents and join flocks at 4 to 5 months of age, with adults forming breeding pairs, beginning at three years of age. They are, in general, 53 cm long. The Thick-billed raven, C. crassirostris, is a raven from the Horn of Africa. Its about 64 cm long and has a very large and distinctive bill, feeding on an omnivorous diet. It is not endangered. The Chihuahuan raven is also not endangered (C. cryptoleucus), living in southern United States and Mexico. It’s about 44 to 51 cm long and feeds on grains, insects and invertebrates, building nests in trees, shrubs, and buildings. 

House Crow (C. splendens

The Daurian Jackdaw, C. dauuricus, is not endangered and lives in Eastern Asia. It is about 32 cm long and is a very social species, eating grains, insects, berries, carrion, and nesting in trees. The Somali Crow, C. edithae, is about 44 to 46 cm long, living in Eastern Africa and building bulky nests on trees and telegraph poles. The slender-billed crow, C. enca, is not endangered and lives in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the PHilippines, nesting in tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests and mangroves. 

Hooded Crow (C. cornix

The Flores Crow, C. florensis, lives in Indonesia and is threatened. It lives in tropical dry forests and lowland moist forests, and its habitat is sadly threatened by human activity, leading to its endangerment. The Rook, C. frugilegus, is not endangered and lives in Europe and Asia. It’s about 45 to 47 cm long, with a distinctive blue and purple sheen to its feathers, which are very dense and silky. It eats mainly earthworms and insect larvae, nesting in colonial rookeries. Young birds collect into large flocks in the fall, and has been documented using tools - a rook near a tub of water with a worm at the top of the water that it could not reach figured out that to raise the water level, all it had to do was stick pebbles in the water. Nature is amazing. 

Hawaiian Crow (C. hawaiiensis

The Brown-headed crow, C. fuscicapillus, is a near-threatened bird from Indonesia that lives in moist lowland forests and mangrove forests. As such, it is near threatened due to habitat loss. The Hawaiian crow, C. hawaiiensis, or ‘alalā, is extinct in the wild. It is about 48 to 50 cm long with rounded wings and a thick bill. It has strong flying abilities and is resourceful, and probably has been made extinct due to introduced diseases from human movement into Hawai’i, such as avian malaria and fowlpox. It is omnivorous and a generalist, and its disappearance has had a major impact on the Hawaiian ecosystem, with many plants relying on it for seed dispersal. Restoration programs and breeding efforts have been unsuccessful, with low clutch size and many infections and diseases. Hopefully, new avenues will be tested to try and restore this species, given its importance to the Hawaiian ecology. 

White-necked Crow (C. leucognaphalus) (it is, I swear…)

The Tamaulipas Crow, C. imparatus, is found in northeastern Mexico and Texas. It is not endangered and is about 34 to 38 cm long, with dark bluish plumage and a slender bill. It feeds on insects and fruits and berries, building nests in trees and large bushes. The Bismark Crow, C. insularis, is not endangered and lives in New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The Jamaican Crow, C. jamaicensis, is about 35 to 38 cm long and not endangered; it lies solely in Jamaica and is sooty grey in color, feeding on fruit and invertebrates and living in pairs and small groups, nesting in tall trees. The Mariana Crow, C. kubaryi, is critically endangered. About 38 cm long, it lives in Guam and Rota, inhabiting second growth and mature forests, eating many times of plants and animals. Its decline, sadly, can be attributed to the human introduced brown tree snake. 

Australian Raven (C. coronoides

The white necked crow C. leucognaphalus is about 42 to 46 cm long, and is vulnerable in its conservation status. It lives in the Caribbean, specifically Hispaniola. It is black with a bluish purple gloss, and has a dark grey patch of skin behind the eye. It eats large amounts of fruit and builds nests solitarily. The Jungle Crow, C. macrorhynchos, is an Asian species of crow that is not endangered and actually is considered a nuisance. It has a very large beak, and is about 46 to 59 cm in size, with glossy black wings. It is very versatile in its diet and has food cashing behavior. it makes nests out of platforms of twigs, and they are gregarious with many thousands of birds at roost sites. Breeding pairs may defend their territory during the day, but at night they roost with the group, and they have dominance hierarchies in the group based on the recognition of individuals. 

Daurian Jackdaw (C. dauuricus

The Bougainville Crow, C. meeki, is a non-endangered crow from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It is a heavy crow, 41 cm long, with a huge black bill and living in lowland forests and montane forests. The Little Raven, C. mellori, is a non-endangered raven from Australia. Only about 48 to 50 cm long, it has all black plumage and forms large flocks, roaming over large areas looking for food. It has harsh vocalizations and eat mainly insects and invertebrates, using tools to find more food. They nest in loose colonies of up to fifteen pairs, living in communal groups mostly above the ground. The Cuban Crow, C. nasicus, is a non endangered crow from the Caribbean, about 40 to 42 cm long living in Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud. It has a long, deep bill and eats fruit and insects, with a strange liquid bubbling song. 

Fan-Tailed Raven (C. rhipidurus

The Western Jackdaw, C. monedula, is a very common jackdawfrom Europe and Asia. It is an omnivorous and opportunistic feeder, eating many plants and invertebrates and waste from urban areas. It’s approximately 34 to 39 cm long, the second smallest member of Corvus, with shiny black and purpleish plumage. They show interest in shiny objects like jewellery, and are extremely gregarious, with communal roosting during the autumn. They form monogamous pairs, and have a linear hierarchical group structure, with mated pairs occupying the same rank in the hierarchy and higher ranked birds dominating the lower ones, establishing dominance via pecking orders. They have social displays such as supplanting, fighting, and threat displays as well, and they preen their mated partners on the head and neck. They feed mainly on the ground in open areas and mate for life, laying eggs in colonies. 

Flores Crow (C. florensis

The New Caledonian Crow, C. moneduloides, is an all black crow from new Caledonia, and not endangered. It has a distinctive call, like waa-waa or qua-qua. It is about 40 cm long and eats a wide range of food, using small trigs to dig out insects and larvae. They make many types of tools including leaves to probe out insects from crevices, and they show cultural evolution in tool manufacture like primates, passing on innovations to other members of the group. It also can make new tools from materials it did not encounter in the wild. They also have meta-tool use, using one tool on another tool to make a task easier, and rival primates in this ability; many birds can solve complex problems on the first try. They use tools to investigate dangerous objects and also can use mirrors to see things that they cannot see in the direct line of site, though they cannot recognize themselves. The Torresian Crow, C. orru, is also not endangered and lives in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, about 48 to 53 cm long and living in a wide variety of habitats. They are very aggressive, stealing food from other birds, eating just about anything and nesting in high trees. 

Slender-billed Crow (C. enca

The fish crow, C. ossifragus, is not endangered and lives in the Eastern United States. About 36 to 41 cm long, they have a very silky smooth plumage, with dark brown eyes and feeding mainly on crustaceans, crabs, shrimps, and stranded fish. They build nests in high trees and are somewhat resistant to West Nile. The palm crow, C. palmarum, is a small crow that’s near threatened in Hispaniola and Cuba; it is, however, almost extinct in Cuba. The Fan-tailed raven, C. rhipidurus, is not endangered in Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, about 47 to 51 cm long with a thick bill, short tail and large wings. It eats lots of insects and invertebrates as well as fruit. The brown-necked raven, C. ruficollis, lives in the entirety of North Africa as well as the Middle East and Iran, living on carrion, snakes, locusts, and grasshoppers. It is fairly fearless and will often steal food from humans, nesting like common ravens. 

Jungle Crow (C. macrorhynchos

The Sinaloa Crow, C. sinaloae, lives in Western Mexico and is not endangered. It has purple, glossy plumage and takes food from the ground and trees, nesting in tall coconut palms. The House Crow, C. splendens, is not endangered and is about 40 cm long, a relatively slim crow living in the Indian subcontinent and portions of Africa. It lives on small reptiles, insects, and human garbage, nesting in trees and telephone towers, often living near human created habitats. The Forest Raven, C. tasmanicus, is not endangered and lives in Tasmania and Australia. It lives in many habitats but is restricted to forests in Australia proper, and is about 50 to 53 cm long. They are territorial, omnivorous, and forage in pairs or groups of up to 10 birds. They form monogamous pairs in tall trees, and often feed on roadkill. 

Forest Raven (C. tasmanicus

The Collared Crow, C. torquatus, is near threatened and lives in China, about 52 to 55 cm long, feeding mainly on the ground on things such as insects, mollusks and other invertebrates, as well as rice. The Grey Crow, C. tristis, is non threatened, about 42 to 45 cm long and living mainly in New Guinea, feeding on the ground and in trees. The Piping Crow, C. typicus, lives in Indonesia and is nonthreatened. The Banggai Crow is critically endangered, living in Indonesia, with only about 500 individuals remaining. The Long-billed crow, C. validus, is near threatened and lives in Moluccas, with glossy plumage and a long bill. The Violet Crow, C. violaceus, is a crow from Seram. The White-billed crow, C. woodfordi, is a non endangered crow about 40 to 41 cm long, with very glossy black plumage and found in the Solomon Islands, feeding on insects and fruits and remaining hidden in the canopy. 

Sinaloa Crow (C. sinaloae

Though there are many extinct species of Corvus, only four are well described. The Puerto Rican Crow, C. pumilis, lived on Puerto Rican and the US Virgin Islands. It is only known from an almost fossilized ulna. The Chatham Raven, C. moriorum, lived in New Zealand and was probably a fruit eater. The High-billed crow, C. impluviatus, was a crow on Maui and Hawai’i that was pushed to extinction due to humans and human brought pests like rats. Finally, the New Zealand raven, C. antipodum, was a raven in New Zealand that went extinct in the 16th century, and they had long,b road bills that were not very arged like the Hawaiian crow. 


All images come from Wikipedia and are used under a Creative Commons license 

Text based on all pages linked here and the main Corvus page

Shout out goes to @saladcreamisthebestcream​!

November 13, 2015 - Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Requested by: @kinglets

These sandpipers breed on the Arctic tundra, migrating long distances to most of the world’s sandy beaches for the winter. They eat marine invertebrates, plucking them from wet sand uncovered by receding waves. During the summer they also eat flying insects and will eat plant material, such as shoots, grasses, algae, and moss when their invertebrate prey is not available. Pairs defend a nesting territory together and both incubate the eggs, though females probably select the nest sites and build the nests. Though usually monogamous, some females may breed with several males during a season. Nonbreeding birds usually stay on their wintering grounds for the whole year, avoiding the 1,800 to 6,000 mile (2,896-9,656 km) trip to the Arctic.


♀ Long-tailed Duck @ Queens Quay, Toronto (February, sunny with wind chills of -21°C).

Unlike other waterfowl, the Long-tailed Duck wears its “breeding” or Alternate Plumage only in the winter. It gets its “nonbreeding” or Basic Plumage in the spring and wears it for the breeding season. Most other ducks wear the non-breeding plumage only for a short period in the late summer.

sulamoon  asked:

Koryos, sorry if this is not pertinent, but maybe you can answer me. Is there any good places to read about pack behavior, specially the ones with alpha males? Is there real gender segregation between packs? Is it only the alpha that get to mate?

I have written an article about canine dominance behavior, mostly on the misconceptions and issues with the pop-culture interpretation of it, so if you’d like you can start there. It also very much depends on what species you’re looking at. Coyote social organization is different from wolf social organization is different from African wild dog social organization. Even within individual species, there is not always one set structure; animals are perfectly capable of being flexible.

For example, I’m in the camp that says that the only appropriate time to use the term “alpha” is when there is more than one breeding member of one sex in a group (and even then, I prefer using “dominant breeder”). But different people, even scientists, can and have used the term differently.

As far as gender segregation goes, that again depends on the species. I’m assuming we’re only talking about canines here, and canines do live in mixed-sexed groups (those that live in groups, anyway). Of the species in which there are sibling lines- African wild dogs and dholes, for example, often form packs by joining one group of brothers to an unrelated group of sisters- there is generally at least a loose hierarchy within each sex but not between them. The only thing they have to really fight over, after all, is who gets to breed.

Usually only one pair breeds within canid groups. Sometimes there are exceptions, because there are exceptions to everything. If there are two females that give birth, the dominant breeding female may kill the pups in the other litter, put them with her own litter (though as far as I know, this has only been seen in African wild dogs) or leave them alone. It all depends on the availability of resources and the personalities of the individuals involved.

Jane Goodall and her husband were involved in a study of a wild dog pack where THREE females gave birth. One male-female pair split away from their pack to raise their puppies alone. The dominant female killed all but one of the other breeding female’s pups, and attempted to creche the remaining pup with her litter. (It didn’t work, and Goodall actually intervened- it’s an interesting story, and I suggest reading either Solo: Story of an African Wild Dog or Innocent Killers if you want to know how it ended.)

So, the answer to your question, as usual, isn’t simple, but I hope you now have a place to start thinking from. Most canid social behavior was certainly designed around having a single, monogamous breeding pair with nonbreeding family around to help if necessary, but things actually rarely work out just that neatly.