Painted Dog

The Painted Dog is also known as the African Wild Dog and Cape Dog. At the turn of the century there were tens of thousands roaming 39 African countries. Today, there are estimated to be fewer than 5,500 in the wild.

Little understood, persecuted by landowners and regularly killed by snares set by poachers, the dogs now survive in isolated pockets across Africa and are one of the continents most endangered carnivores.



Up to 20-30kg




c 5,500


Mainly Southern and Eastern Africa

Where in the world?

Once found across 39 African countries, viable painted dog populations are now only found in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation supports painted dog conservation in Zimbabwe. Since funding began dog numbers have risen from 400 to c.750 in Zimbabwe, an upward trend not replicated elsewhere in Africa.


The capital of Zimbabwe is Harare.

DSWF supports anti-poaching, community outreach and education programmes to help protect the painted dog in Zimbabwe. The education programme reaches over 1,000 children a year helping them understand the importance of painted dogs and sharing that information with their families.

Learn more about this project



Painted dogs live in tight knit family units. Only the alpha male and female breed but the whole pack takes responsibility for looking after the pups.


Despite their sometimes savage reputation as efficient hunters, all members of the pack take it in turns to look after sick and injured individuals, and pups are allowed to feed first.


Before the packs set off hunting they will greet one another with high pitched whimpers and will twitter with excitement once they have caught their prey.


The sprint speed of a painted dog is 70 kmph - they can maintain speeds of up to 60 kmph for as far as 6 kilometres. They take it in turns at the front of a hunt and team work makes them some of the most effective hunters in Africa.

Discover more about Painted Dogs

You can help save Zimbabwe's painted dogs by supporting the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation's work either by fundraising as a school or an individual or entering our annual art and poetry competition. For more information you can download our animal fact sheets and posters too!

Photography courtesy of Nicholas Dyer, Will Burrard-Lucas, PDC