Painted Dog

General Description:

The African Painted Dog is a slender, long-legged carnivore with large round ears.  They have a body length of 120 cm (3.9 feet).  Their coats are blotched with orange-yellow, brown, and black with white throats.  They are highly social animal, living in packs with separate dominance hierarchies for males and females.  

The species is a specialized diurnal hunter of antelope, which it catches by chasing them to exhaustion. They regurgitate food for its young, but this action is also extended to adults. It has few natural predators, though lions are a major source of mortality, and spotted hyenas are frequent kleptoparasites.

Their population is currently estimated at approximately 6,600 adults in 39 subpopulations, of which only 1,400 are mature individuals. Population size is continuing to decline because of ongoing habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and infectious disease.


They hunt by approaching prey silently then chasing it in a pursuit at 66 km/h (41 mph) for 10 to 60 minutes. The average chase typically only goes as far as 2 km (1.2 mile), during which time the prey animal is repeatedly bitten until it stops running, smaller prey is simply pulled down and torn apart. Small prey is eaten entirely, while large animals are stripped of their meat and organs, with the skin, head and skeleton left intact. The African wild dog is a fast eater with a consumption rate of 1.2–5.9 kg (2.6-13 lbs.) per African wild dog a day. 


Wild dogs live in packs of six to 20. The dogs have a rather playful ceremony that bonds them for a common purpose and initiates each hunt. They start the hunt in an organised, cooperative manner. When prey is targeted, some of the dogs run close to the animal, while others follow behind, taking over when the leader is tired. They are the most efficient hunters.   They have elaborated greeting rituals, accompanied by twittering and whining. Their large range of vocalisations includes a short bark of alarm, a rallying howl and a bell-like contact call that can be heard over long distances.


Mating Season: Throughout the year peaking between March-June.
Gestation: Around 70 days.
Litter size: 2-19 pups.

Pups are usually born in an abandoned den.  Only the alpha female breeds.  Weaning starts at 2 weeks and is completed at 10 weeks.

Fast facts:

  • Height:  75 cm (2.4 feet)
    Weight: 20-36 kg (44-79 lbs.) 
  • Speed: 66 km/h (41 mph) 
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

Did you know?

  • The African Wild Dog is listed as Endangered.
  • The African Wild Dog is also known as Painted Hunting Dog or Cape Hunting Dog. 
  • No two wild dpgs are marked the same.  
  • No two wild dogs are marked exactly the same, making it easy to identify different individuals. 
  • Wild dogs are usually on the move in their range except when there is a litter born, then they will limit their travelling.