African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered (CR)

Physical Description

Long legs with an unusual four toes per foot, these painted dogs have patched fur in black, brown, white and yellow. Large rounded ears, used for picking up the sounds of prey and piercing canines, the African Wild Dog is a machine developed for stamina.
Weight 55 to 70 lb
Size 75 to 110 cm
Lifespan (wild) 11 years
Lifespan (captivity) 13 years


An alpha female manages the pack with strict hierarchy. Wild Dogs are mostly submissive and will not challenge the alpha unless circumstances allow.

Social and Reproduction

African wild dogs live in packs that are usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair. The female has a litter of 2 to 20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack. These dogs are very social, and packs have been known to share food and to assist weak or ill members. Social interactions are common, and the dogs communicate by touch, actions, and vocalizations.

Mating System Monogamy
Breeding interval 12 to 14 months
Breeding season No fixed seasonJanuary to May
Gestation 60 to 80 days
Number of offspring 2-20

Habitat and Food


African wild dogs are found mostly in arid zones and in the savanna. They can also be found in woodland and mountainous habitats where their prey lives.


They usually hunt in the early morning and again in late evening, prettying on gazelles and other antelopes, warthogs, wildebeests calves and rat and birds. They may raid domestic stock, but as wild dogs seldom stay in one place for long, this damage is not extensive


Major threats to the survival of wild dogs include accidental and targeted killings by humans, viral diseases like rabies and distemper, habitat loss and competition with larger predators like lions.

Conservation Challenges

Fragmented habitat; contact with domestic dogs can lead to disease transmission; lack of prey can lead to conflict with farmers

Naankuse Solutions

Naankuse works in collaboration with conservation projects across Namibia to help ensure to survival of the African Wild Dog. We are passionate about their survival and hope to pioneer new and innovative solutions to see them become a successful species once more.


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African Wild Dog at Naankuse sites