Jackal, a species of wild dog, living in troops in the warmer parts of Asia and Africa, gener-| ally placed in the genus cants of authors, but raised to a genus of its own (sacalius) by Hamilton Smith. These animals live under great varieties of climate, in the moist jungles of Asia, the dry deserts of northern Africa, in forest and plain, and wherever the warmth is sufficient; like other dogs, they are voracious, feeding with avidity even on decomposing matter, and in this way, with the hyaena and vulture, are of considerable advantage to man in hot climates. They are generally harmless, but make night hideous by their dismal howlings; they dwell in burrows which they excavate themselves, and in caves; they are said to disinter dead bodies, and occasionally when pressed by hunger to attack man. Though exceedingly timid, they are easily tamed, and rarely snarl at the hand which caresses them; this character gives great probability to the opinion that the jackal has mingled its blood in many of the races of our domestic dog, though perhaps not to the assertion of Pallas that it is the chief original of this useful animal.
The organization of the jackal does not differ from that of the dog, and the habits of digging, living and hunting in troops, and feeding on carcasses are the same in both in the wild state; the former, at least in some of the species, possesses a disagreeable odor from which the latter is free. The pupil of the eye is round, as in the diurnal canines; the nostrils open on the end of the muzzle; the ears are pointed, with a tubercle on the external edge; the tongue is very soft, and the upper lip and sides of face provided with bristly whiskers; the feet are four-toed, with a rudiment of a fifth on the anterior on the inner side, and the nails are short and thick; the dentition, habits, movements, and instincts are those of the dog; the hair is thick, the tail being nearly as bushy as that of a fox. The jackal is often seen in attendance on the lion, and has been supposed to run down animals for him, contented with a small share' for itself; but it follows for the sake of the pickings and stealings in the train of the lion, who perhaps is often led to his prey by the howlings of a troop of jackals hunting for themselves.
The common jackal or jungle koola of India (canis aureus, Linn.) is of the size of a small dog, reddish gray above, darkest on the back, and lighter beneath; the tail is bushy and dark at the end. It inhabits the warmer parts of S. Asia, N. Africa, and S. E. Europe. The African jackal or dieb (C. anthus, F. Cuv.) is of a yellowish gray above, lighter beneath; the tail yellow, with a longitudinal black line at the base, and some black hairs at the tip. It is found in Egypt, Nubia, Senegal, and other parts of Africa. The average height of the jackal is about 15 in., the length of the body 14 in., and of the tail about 10 in. The above species have been known to breed together, producing five young after a gestation of about 60 days; and they will also intermix with domesticated dogs; in fact, the agency of the jackal in the production of the southern dogs can no more be doubted than that of the wolf in the case of the northern, and the crossings of these jackal dogs and wolf dogs, either by accident or design, would explain satisfactorily a great number of our domestic varieties. (See Dog.)
Common Jackal (Canis aureus).