African Wild Dog Facts

The African wild dog is an predatory mammal that lives in Africa. It is a social animal, and lives in packs (groups). African wild dogs are members of the Canidae family, which means that they're related to your pet dog! Read on for more African wild dogs facts ...
This page is part of our Endangered Animals series.

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What Does An African Wild Dog Look Like?

African wild dogs are tall, thin canines. They have large, rounded ears, which help them not only to hear very well, but also to keep cool. Their coats are a mixture of brown, black and white fur. Their scientific name, Lycaon pictus, means 'painted wolf'.

African wild dogs are taller than most breeds of domestic dog, standing around 30 - 40" tall. African wild dogs weigh around 20-30 kg. Males are bigger than females.

Watch the video below to see what African wild dogs look (and sound) like.

African Wild Dog Facts - Habitat

Most African wild dogs live in savanna, which is a dry, wooded grassland habitat. They are also found in more forested areas, but their method of hunting (see below) is not as suited to this kind of habitat.

Where Does The African Wild Dog Live?

African wild dogs live in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the area of Africa under (south of) the Sahara desert. African wild dogs used to be far more widespread than they are today, and they are now considered to be extinct in many African countries.

Most African wild dogs now live in South Africa and South-Eastern Africa.

African Wild Dog Behaviour

African Wild Dogs Sleeping
African wild dogs lazing around after a meal.

African wild dogs are pack animals. They live and hunt in packs that number from fewer than 10 to more than 40 members. Pack sizes have shrunk as the African wild dogs became threatened. Each pack is led by a dominant couple.

African wild dogs are diurnal (active during the day). They hunt by sight, exhausting their prey by pursuing it at high speeds over long distances.

The dogs' main prey is antelopes. They will also take a variety of small to medium-sized animals such as hares, birds and warthogs, together with larger species such as wildebeests.

One of the African wild dog's biggest natural threats is lions. This is one dog vs cat battle in which the cat will win! African wild dogs can also have their kills stolen from them by hyenas. Hyenas let the dogs do the hard part before coming in and taking the food for themselves.

What Is The African Wild Dog's Conservation Status?

The African wild dog's IUCN conservation status is 'Endangered'.

Why Is The African Wild Dog Endangered?

The main reason that African wild dogs are endangered is habitat loss. They are also occasionally hunted by farmers, who see them as a threat to their livestock.

How Many African Dogs Are Left In The Wild?

There are fewer than 5,000 African wild dogs left in the wild: their population could be as low as 3,000.

10 African Wild Dog Facts

  1. The African wild dog is a canid (a member of the Canidae family of animals). Other canids include dogs, wolves and foxes. Learn more about canids at wikipedia.
  2. The scientific name for an African wild dogs is Lycaon pictus, which means 'painted wolf'.
  3. African wild dogs are diurnal: this means that they are active during the day.
  4. African wild dogs are pack animals. Their packs range in size from under 10 to over 60 members.
  5. African wild dogs have litters of 2 - 20 puppies. The young are looked after by the whole pack.
  6. African wild dogs live in Africa, and their numbers are greatest in the South and South-East of the continent.
  7. Packs of African wild dogs let the young eat first — even before the dominant male!
  8. African wild dogs are very fast runners: they have been observed running at speeds of over 60 kilometres per hour!
  9. There are fewer than 5,000 African wild dogs left in the wild.
  10. Antelopes from the main part of the African wild dogs's diet, but they also predate larger animals such as wildebeest and smaller animals such as rodents and birds. African wild dogs are near the top of the food chain, but are often predated by lions.

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We hope that you have enjoyed these African wild dog facts.

You can find out about other endangered animals on this page: Endangered Animals List with Pictures & Facts