Painted Dog Species Profile

Population numbers: 6,500 (+/-)

Geographical Range: Sub-Saharan Africa

Habitat: Savanna, Shrubland, Grassland, Forest, Semi-Desert

Whilst the African Painted Dog is mostly found in Savanna and arid areas, they tend to avoid forest areas, because of their hunting preferences. However, they will travel to all areas in pursuit of their prey and have been documented in forests and wetlands throughout Africa.

Taxonomy/Genus: Lycaon Pictus

Other Names: African painted dog, African painted wolf, African wild dogs, Cape hunting dog

Major Threats: Habitat reduction, human persecution and disease outbreaks

Pack numbers: 2-30 dogs, but around 6 is the minimum for a successful hunting or breeding pack.

Pack Structure: Each pack is run by an ‘alpha’ male and female which make the decisions and take responsibility for the survival of the pack.

What do Painted Dogs eat?

Painted dogs mainly prey on small-medium sized antelope such as kudu, impala and duiker. They will sometimes prey on bigger animals such as buffalo, however these killings are rare and require a far higher energy output and strategy. Painted dogs will rarely scavenge, but have been observed to eat carcasses from other animals or those trapped in snares.

Are Painted Dogs hyenas?

Many people often confuse the painted dog with hyenas; however, they would be wrong. Whilst hyenas are related to cats, painted dogs are mottled with big ears and share a common ancestor with jackals, wolves and coyotes.

Which animals eat Painted Dogs?

Painted dogs don’t have a large number of predators; however, lions have been recorded as a source of mortality for both adults and pups. Their strong pack culture makes them a fierce adversary to hunt and most predators will avoid them.

How long do Painted Dogs live?

African dogs will typically live up to 11 years old in the wild without threats from human-wildlife conflict or encroachment.

How to Help Painted Dogs

Please help us protect painted dogs: