Information On Wild Dogs


Wild Dog Information

People have attacked and killed wild dogs for hundreds of years. Though the wild dog is a hunter, they do not kill as many domestic animals as people think.

Many of the things that people enjoy best about domestic dogs comes from their wild ancestors. The wild dog is as intelligent and as loyal as the domestic dog. These traits help them to become excellent parents.


Females give birth to a litter of two to ten pups. Both parents provide care for the young until they are fully grown. Only one or two pups survive the first year. Their life span is twelve to thirteen years in the wild. As captives they can live for more than twenty years.

There are 35 different species of dogs. The grey wolf is the largest, weighing in at 150 pounds and standing 3 feet tall at the shoulders. The smallest dog is the fennec, a fox from northern Africa. It may stand 1 foot tall at the shoulders and weigh less than 5 pounds. In between these two are a variety of sizes.

The very first dogs lived in North America. Over thousands of years, they spread to every continent except Antarctica. Their bodies gradually developed in different ways to help them adapt to the different terrains and climates.

Deserts and frozen tundras are homes for wild dogs. The main reason they can survive anywhere is that they eat almost anything. If meat is scarce they will eat plants and insects.

The Future of the Wild Dog

Populations of wild dogs once lived in all of southern and western Africa below the Sahara desert, but now viable populations (more than 50 dogs) exist in only 8 African countries: Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Namibia, and possibly Kenya. Although people have spotted wild dogs in other countries, their numbers are too small to become anything more than a passing statistic; many countries have had only one or two packs in the last decade. In many of the countries listed above, national parks are taking an active role in protecting wild dogs, although this can be a monumental task given the large home ranges these animals need.

From the Book "Running Wild : Dispelling the Myths of the African Wild Dog "

by John McNutt, Lesley Boggs, Helene Heldring (Photographer), Dave Hamman.

For millennia, Lycaon pictus, the wild dog, roamed the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. A highly social scavenger, much like the wolf of the Northern Hemisphere, the wild dog served an essential function in the grasslands ecosystem, culling sick and injured ungulates from once-vast herds. With the advent of large-scale farming and livestock production, however, the wild dog was seen as a threat to progress and was hunted out. Only some 5,000 individuals survive today, making Lycaon pictus Africa's most endangered carnivore. This heavily illustrated look at the life of the wild dog makes a well-reasoned argument for its preservation.



Barking Dog Driving You Nuts?!?
Learn the easy solution here!

Wildlife Links

Wildlife Index

Endangered Species

Animal Alert!

Wildlife for Kids

Animal Careers

Wildlife Organizations

Teachers Help

Eco Travel

Wildlife Software

Did You Know?

Other Links,  All Rights Reserved