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African Wild Dogs 

Read below to learn more about these amazing creatures we have come to know and love; the African wild dog. They are also commonly referred to as African painted dogs, and less commonly known as painted wolves, painted hunting dogs, African hunting dogs, and Cape hunting dogs.  



  • Endangered

    • Second most endangered large carnivore in Africa, after the Ethiopian Wolf.

    • Most endangered large carnivore in Southern Africa.

    • Critically endangered in Namibia


  • Endemic to Africa only

    • FAMILY - Canidae​

    • GENUS - Lycaon

    • SPECIES - Lycaon Pictus

  • The last remaining member of the genus, Lycaon

  • Highly social, led by an Alpha Male & Female unit


  • Currently there are an estimated 6,000, and only an estimated 1,400 mature adults worldwide.


African wild dogs eat a large variety of prey, often times eliminating the sick or weak animals. During their hunts the African wild dogs can reach speeds over 40 MPH, often making their pray unable to outrun these skilled hunters. Their diet can include but is not limited to:

  • Impalas

  • Gazelles

  • Warthogs

  • Kudu

  • Duiker 

  • Antelopes

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The African wild dog use to span all of Africa, however today they can be scarcely found throughout the southern and eastern region of Africa in countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania and northern Mozambique. 

  • They tend to live in arid zones and in the savanna

  • African wild dogs also live in the woodland, scrublands and mountainous habitats

  • The dogs can travel up to 12-18 miles a day


Many threats are affecting the current status of the African wild dog including but not limited to:

  • Habitat loss

  • Diseases such as distemper 

  • Human/wildlife conflict 

  • Vehicular collision 

The Pack 

​The African wild dogs have an extremely intelligent, well-organized and close-knit pack led by an alpha male and an alpha female. The alphas are the only members of the pack to breed, though the entire pack works together to take care of the young. In addition to the entire pack taking care of the young, they also all work together to care for any injured or elderly pack members. They truly work for survival of the pack, not survival of the fittest. 

  • African wild dogs have a gestational period of 60-80 days

  • Alpha females typically have a litter size ranging from 8-10 pups on average 

  • An average pack size is 10 African wild dogs, however can be as few as 3 and as many as over 30

  • The dogs have very distinct vocalizations they use, including their most well known call; the "hoo-call"


© 2023 Kalahari African Wild Dog Conservation Project

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