This animal is a hybrid creature with a strange form that seems incapable of flight

They have a streamlined, mammalian head, and the neck is long and flexible like a bird. However, it is much thicker than in birds, and has a more dog-like shape. The body is also mammalian and streamlined, with a small keel-bone for the wing muscles. It has 4 long legs as well as a pair of wings on the back. These wings are hawk-like, and are behind the front legs, roughly a third of the way to the pelvis.

However, unlike hawks the wing-raising muscles are on the back, as in bats and other mammals. The wings have flight-feathers in the usual place, but the rest of the wing (and the body) has medium-length mammalian hair covering the body in a canine-type pattern (i.e. more or less everywhere except the foot-pads and nose).

Its tail is long and hairy, without feathers. It is a lot like that of a dog, and is held horizontally. It is about a metre long, with a wingspan of 1.5m, and weighs around 4kg

Based on the aerodynamics of its anatomy, is it realistic that this animal could fly in modern Earth-like conditions?

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    $\begingroup$ You have a knack for simultaneously providing too much detail and not enough. If I understand you correctly you're asking could a small winged dog fly? Can you edit this post so that you're providing fewer extraneous details so that it's easier for people to understand and meaningfully answer your questions. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 25, 2021 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings What details do I need to add? $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2021 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing reread the my comment. Provide fewer extraneous details. Don't add information take away information that isn't needed. Do you think that the shape of the head is relevant? Do you think that extra legs will affect flight performance, besides extra mass? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 25, 2021 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings While this could be written more clearly, the only important details are already present: wingspan, weight, "mammal". Even the gravity and atmosphere are communicated when he asks for "modern Earth-like conditions". $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Oct 25, 2021 at 21:44
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings I took out details that I felt could be removed. I left in details about the legs and muscles because those seem relevant to how it'd move and stay balanced in the air. I also kept in the note about its fur, as this seems like it would be relevant to the efficiency of the wing and on drag $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2021 at 21:54

2 Answers 2


The weight/wingspan ratio is the only thing that really matters about your description. It is at the outer range of currently flying birds (black vulture: 3kg, 1.6m; red tailed hawk: 1.6kg, 1.4m), so i am not very hopeful about the flying abilities of your creature, especially since there is a lot of extraneous (i.e non-flying-related) anatomy that would need to be extremely lightweight to not detract much from the flying, and would also need to stow well. As you mostly described the look of the various features (i.e. 'thick neck' - but can it shake its prey to death?), it might be possible to have the head and neck and legs be mostly hairy air-sac that can effortlessly fold into aerodynamical shapes.

You featured a 'small' keel bone though, so i am going to predict this to only ever be a bad glider, not an aerobatics champion.

The decision about the hairy torso and legs is uncritical, as long as the hair is not detracting from the aerodynamics.

The tail has not enough area and is another nail in the coffin of aerobatics, but maybe your creature can fold its hind legs horizontally (like some dogs can while laying on the ground), and thus approximate a big steering area?

The attachment point of the wings does not need to matter that much, as we can prescribe the wings to be swept back or forward in flight to make the center of gravity match the center of lift.

I read nothing specific about the feet, but surmise that they are dog-like, which begs the question whether this can work as a bird-dog of prey: The thick neck is probably not bendable enough to bring the weight of prey in the yaws backwards, and the claws are not meant for holding prey, so... maybe it just feeds on the killing ground.

The wingshape is ok for a rather heavy area/weight ratio (not too elongated)

Resumé: This creature either has near-non-functional mammalian-looking features that are built (bones, muscles, teeth) extremely lightweight and thus do not work like their lookalikes, or it has an only somewhat brittle anatomy (still no way near a normal dog) but can at least fly like a bird of prey that has a uber-heavy load in its claws, i.e. awkwardly, and for short distances.

You might want to look into this being a normally-rugged dog, with wings that allow it some sort of swoop-attack from cliffs, without being able to gain height or even really glide.


The only challenge to believability that I see is the mid-body mounting of the wings. That seems to leave a lot of heavy system in the forward section.

  • The skull and brain
  • Jaws, teeth and jaw muscles
  • The heart and lungs
  • The forward legs and upper body musculature.

That leaves the back end with only

  • The digestive track
  • The reproductive organs
  • Hind legs and musculature
  • The Tail

That also requires three complete sets of limb muscles, one for the forelegs, one for the hindlegs and a new one for the wings. I think that moving the wings forward would allow the foreleg muscles to serve double duty and would also put those muscles, the forelegs themselves and the heart/lungs at or behind the balance point.

The freed up forward weight would allow for a larger brain and larger/stronger jaws. In all ways, making your flying wolves more dangerous and deadly.


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