African Wild Dog | Description, Habitat, & Facts

What do African wild dogs look like?

Wild dogs grow to the size of a medium to large dog. When fully mature, they weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and reach a height of 30 to 43 inches at the shoulder. Unlike other dogs, they have four toes instead of five. They also have rather large ears, long, thin legs and a long tail.

Their most unique feature is probably their plumage. It is speckled with spots of various colors, including white, brown, black, red and yellow. They are often called painted dogs because of their coat. Each wild dog has a unique pattern.

Highlights of African Wild Dog:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Canidae
Genus Lycaon
Species L. pictus

Where do African wild dogs live?

Today, wild dogs are mainly found in eastern and southern Africa. They once roamed a much larger area in Africa. They mainly live in savannah grasslands, but can also be found in forested and mountainous areas of Africa.

What do African wild dogs eat?

Wild dogs hunt in packs and can take down some large animals. They will eat almost any mammal they can catch and kill, including antelope, antelope, wildebeest, antelope, and even large birds like ostriches.

Living in a Pack

Wild dogs live in organized flocks like wolves. A typical pack will have 6 to 20 dogs, but there are larger packs. Packs hunt together and provide protection from predators. They know how to help each other, share food and take care of the weaker members. The herd is led by a dominant male and female pair.

Are African wild dogs endangered?

Yes, wild dogs are an endangered species. There were once close to 500,000 animals living in Africa, but today there are only about 3,000 to 5,000 left in the wild. The main threat is habitat loss due to human population. A pack of wild dogs needs a large enough hunting territory to survive. When their territories overlap with farmers, they are often killed to protect livestock.

Interesting Facts about the African Wild Dog

They will usually live about 11 years in the wild.

They are one of the most successful hunters, taking down about 80% of their target prey. This compares with lions that typically only capture about 30% of their target prey.

Other names for these animals include African Hound, Painted Hound, and Ornate Wolf.

They have one of the strongest bites for their body size of any animal in the world.

A typical litter will have about 10 puppies but can have as few as 2 and as many as 20.

Before the herd started hunting, they jumped excitedly. They danced and dived under each other, letting out cries of joy.

The flock is always on the move, rarely staying in one place for more than a day or two.