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Alternative Name

Lycaon pictus

Basic Information

Distinguished from both domestic dogs and gray wolves, the Lycaon pictus, commonly known as the African wild dog, boasts unique characteristics. Notably, this species possesses specialized sharp shearing teeth, large round ears, and only four toes on its front feet, setting it apart from its more conventional counterparts. Each individual wild dog exhibits distinctive markings of yellow, black, brown, and white, adding to the species' visual diversity. With a weight ranging from 20 to 40 kilograms and a height of up to 80 centimeters at the shoulder, these creatures embody a remarkable combination of strength and agility.

Additional Information

In addition to its unique physical traits, African wild dogs are known for their almost exclusive carnivorous diet. They exhibit prowess in hunting various types of antelope and small mammals such as warthogs, occasionally even targeting larger prey like ostriches, rhinos, or elephants. However, their hunts are not without challenges, as encounters with hyenas and lions often lead to the loss of their catch.


The reproductive habits of African wild dogs contribute to the species' sustainability. Typically, only the dominant male and female breed, with the female giving birth to litters that average around ten pups. The entire pack collaborates in raising the pups, providing them with regurgitated food. This communal effort proves crucial for the survival of the pups, as packs with fewer than four members rarely succeed in raising any offspring. Both male and female members leave the pack when they reach the ages of one to two years. The life expectancy of these captivating creatures extends up to approximately 11 years.


African wild dogs display a fascinating social structure. Their packs, typically consisting of seven to ten adults, include males related to each other and females forming their own familial ties. Surprisingly, the male and female members within the packs are not related. This distinctive pack composition, with more male than female members, sets them apart from other canine species.


The African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, finds its roots in the vast landscapes of Africa, where it has carved a niche as a unique and resilient species.


While historical accounts mention packs of over 100 African wild dogs gathering during spring migrations, contemporary observations reveal a shift in pack dynamics. Today, the average pack size has reduced to approximately 10 members, showcasing the species' ability to adapt and thrive in changing environments.