African Wild Dog/Painted Dog

African Wild Dog/Painted Dog Lycaon pictus

Type of Animal:

Plains, savanna, woodlands, mountainous areas, semi-desert, desert, grassland, shrubland, forests

Most of E. and Southern Africa, found in pockets of C. and W. Africa excluding rainforests, some desert, & very high altitudes.

Tall, lean animal, looks very similar to Spotted Hyena but much smaller, colorful, patchy coat, large, bat-like ears, bushy tail.

Favorite prey hoofed mammals: gazelles, impala, antelope, pigs, giraffe calves, sheep, goats, cattle, zebras, donkeys, horses, rhino calves, buffalo. Also eat birds up to size of ostriches, rodents, rabbits, hares, hyraxes, mongooses, hedgehogs, foxes, servals, pythons, lion cubs, leopard cubs, tortoises, monitor lizards, & elephant calves.

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife parks. Captive breeding programs in African reserves & re-introductions into parts of former range.

Packs consist of alpha pair, 2 litters of 5-12 pups each & 2-20 subordinates (majority being older offspring & brothers of alpha male. Sometimes, alpha female only member of her sex in same age group but often, she has sisters acting as subordinates). Females leave earlier than males. Some males stay in same pack for life. 

Additional Info:


Male-40-77 lbs
Female-40-66 lbs
Young-0.9-1.25 lbs

Gestation: 2-3 months

2-2.5 ft, same for both sexes

Body Length:
2.5-3 ft, same for both sexes

Life Span: 10-13 years

Tail Length:
1-1.3 ft, same for both sexes

Only predators of adults are crocodiles & occasionally, rock pythons. More often, wild dogs kill/eat pythons. Lions & hyenas only prey on pups.

Endangered due to diseases such as distemper/rabies/anthrax, poisoning, killing of dogs as livestock killers, habitat loss, human encroachment, & loss of prey.

Very peaceful within pack w/ pups eating first & fights over food being rare.

Captive breeding program in place at Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania.

Prey disemboweled while still alive which is actually quicker than biting on neck, which is what cats do. Prey feels very little pain.

Fun Fact(s):
Feed quickly to avoid kill being stolen by hyenas & lions.

Due to pattern, also known as African Painted Dog. Other names are Painted Wolf, African Hunting Dog, & Cape Hunting Dog.

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