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African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

African Wild Dog
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

African Wild Dog
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

African Wild Dog Range Map (Africa)
African Wild Dog Range Map (Africa)

Latin Name Lycaon pictus
Conservation Status Endangered
Location Africa
Colour Dark Brown/Black/Yellow
Length 76 - 110 cms (30 - 43 inches)
Tail 30 - 41 cms (12 - 16 inches)
Weight 17 - 36 Kgs (37 - 79 lbs)
Life Expectancy

Approx. 10 Yrs

Main Characteristics

African Wild Dogs have a body length between 76 and 110 cms (30 - 43 inches), a tail length between 30 and 41 cms (12 - 16 inches) and they weigh between 17 and 36 Kgs (37 - 79 lbs).

Their coats are coloured, black, tan and white and they each have unique, irregular markings. Their hair is fairly sparse and their skin is black in colour.

They have long, slender limbs and they are unique canids, in that they only have four toes. Their head is large, with big, rounded ears and a short, powerful muzzle and they communicate using chirping or squeaking sounds.

When hunting they can reach speeds up to 72 km/hr (45 mph) and and they are among the top ten fastest land animals in the world.


African Wild Dogs are found in the savannah, plains, swamps and semi-desert areas of Africa. They once ranged widely throughout Africa but now have a patchy distribution with the most viable populations being in Southern Africa.

They are very social animals and they live in large family groups consisting of approximately 30 individuals, although in the past these packs could have consisted of 100 individuals.

The pack has a large territory that ranges from 200 - 2000 Sq Km (124-1243 Sq Miles).


African Wild Dogs are exclusively carnivorous and they mainly feed on gazelle, zebra, impala, wildebeest, hares, rodents and other small animals.

They hunt as a pack and they pursue their prey in a long open chase. Unfortunately for their prey the kill is not quick, and they mainly die from their injuries.

The pups are the first ones to feed at a kill and members of the pack will regurgitate food to feed those that stayed at the den, such as a the alpha female with pups or any old dogs that cannot keep up.


After a gestation period of 69 - 72 days, 2 - 16 pups will be born (usually 7) in a den. When they are born they are helpless, coloured black and white, and their eyes and ears are closed.

For the first month they will feed on milk but after this the pups will eat regurgitated food. At 3 months old the pups are weaned and at 6 months old they will join the pack to hunt.

Only the alpha male and female breed but all members of the pack will look after the pups. Breeding takes place year round but mainly pups are born in the second half of the rainy season.


African Wild Dogs have no natural predators however their main threats are disease and habitat fragmentation.


Subspecies of the African Wild Dog are:

Lycaon pictus lupinus
Lycaon pictus manguensis
Lycaon pictus pictus
Lycaon pictus sharicus
Lycaon pictus somalicus

Interesting Facts

African Wild Dogs are also known as:
Hunting Dog
Painted Dog
Cape Hunting Dog
African Hunting Dog
Painted Hunting Dog
African Wild Hunting Dog

African Wild Dogs are the only species in the canid family to lack dewclaws on their forelimbs.

Their latin name, Lycaon Pictus, means painted dog.

There are approximately only 4,000 African Wild Dogs left worldwide.

Similar Animals

Red Wolf
Grey Wolf
Golden Jackal
Side-Striped Jackal
Black-Backed Jackal


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