African Wild Dogs
African Wild Dog Facts
*African Wild Dogs are also known as Painted Dogs or Painted Wolves
*They live in matriarchal packs led by one alpha female.
*African Wild Dogs may “vote” on whether to go on a hunt by sneezing.
*African Wild Dogs can run up to 44 mph.
*There are thought to be less than 6500 African Wild Dogs left in the wild.
up to 10 years
40 to 79 pounds
African wild dogs will eat almost any animal that they can kill, but they prefer to eat kudu, wildebeest, gazelle, bushbuck, and impala. They do not regularly scavenge for food, but they will take food from cheetahs and leopards on occasion.
African wild dogs are hunted and killed by both lions and hyenas. They will fight over food with hyenas while the lions will kill the dogs when possible.
The African wild dog, or the painted dog, is the bulkiest of the African canids. Their fur is very different from other canids; its fur is very stiff and consists only of bristle hairs. Painted dogs will actually lose fur over time and are almost naked at old age. Their fur is mostly black, with white and yellow spots of fur around their body. The fur is usually the same for each dog around the head but can differ in areas around the legs. African wild dogs also have long limbs and very large ears.
Painted dogs live in packs consisting of 2 to 27 dogs, consisting of both male and female dogs. Unlike other species, male dogs will stay in the pack for their whole lives, even if they are not the alpha male dog. The male dog hierarchy can even change sometimes, but the old male alpha dog will still stay in the pack. The males will tend to outnumber females 3 to 1 in the pack. African wild dogs are very social and will hunt together in order to take down large prey. They also produce more pups than any other canid with litters ranging from 6 to 16 pups! The pups will stay with the pack even after they mature.
Lions are a major threat to the painted dog population. Habitat loss and fragmentation have also separated wild dog populations from each other, leaving them vulnerable to humans and lions. Trophy hunting has decimated the population as well, killing off much of the painted dog species. Finally, the illegal bushmeat industry also kills many painted dogs annually.
How can you Help?
Learn all you can about the African Wild Dogs and spread the word to others.
Educate communities about poaching and protecting wild habitats.
Use care during tourism involving fragile habitats.