Painted Dog Conservation


Painted dogs are colourful carnivores that occur across Africa. They are recognisable from their white tails, tri-coloured coat and large ears. 

Relying on teamwork, painted dogs are arguably the best hunters in Africa. They are deeply social animals and remarkably empathetic and loyal to their pack mates – allowing puppies, the sick, old, and injured to eat first at a kill. The heart of the pack is the alpha female, she is their leader and mother to their pups.

For a carnivore so rare, painted dogs (Lycaon pictus) have many other English names, including African wild dog, painted wolf, Cape hunting dog and ornate wolf.

Covering vast home ranges, the greatest threats to painted dog populations across Africa are humans and our ever-growing environmental footprint. Painted dogs are running out of space.

With shrinking habitats and increasingly unsafe protected areas for the painted dog to thrive, population estimates are fast declining. Only 6,500 painted dogs remain across Africa in 39 sub-populations.

Increased exposure to human settlements and domestic animals increases the pack’s susceptibility to conflict and diseases, such as rabies and canine distemper, which can wipe out whole packs in one go, further threatening the survival of the African painted dog.

By donating to DSWF you are helping to save painted dogs from extinction.
You can help by adopting a painted dog today.

Only 6,500 painted dogs remain across Africa in 39 sub-populations

painted dog reflection by matt armstrong-ford

Image Credit: Matt Armstrong-Ford

Photograph of a wild dog facing forwards

Image Credit: Andrew Macdonald

Protecting Painted Dogs

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is helping to protect painted dogs in Zimbabwe. For over 20 years we’ve been funding immersive educational bush camps, alongside anti-poaching teams working on the front line of species protection and community engagement.

Through positive interaction with rural communities and children in Zimbabwe, built on ongoing support from DSWF, the painted dog remains a symbol of strength, unity and perseverance within the area.

Painted dogs are one of the most endangered mammals on the planet and DSWF is committed to addressing the threats faced by this iconic species and offering them a sustainable future in the wild. With a holistic approach to conservation, DSWF Fights, Protects and Engages on behalf of painted dogs and other endangered species.

Find out more about how DSWF is working to protect painted dogs.

Shrinking landscapes and human-wildlife conflict will ultimately see the extinction of the African painted dog if we do not take action now to save this iconic species.

Georgina Lamb, Chief Executive at David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

How to help painted dogs

Thank you for supporting our vital work – your donation will help to paint a brighter future for painted dogs.

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With your donations, DSWF will continue to support the protection of painted dogs,
find out more here.

Thank you