Fun African Wild Dog Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun African Wild Dog Facts For Kids

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African wild dogs are canines native to sub-Saharan Africa. The scientific name given to them is Lycaon pictus. The natural habitat of their population is in South and East Africa. African wild dog habitat is very challenging,  full of predators like lions and hyenas. Wild dogs are known for their amazing strength and speed by which they can prey on and cover long distances with ease. They can cover a range of 500 sq. m (1295 sq. km)

They are quite a social species, living in a pack consisting of up to 27 members. They look extremely fascinating with sharp eyes, rounded ears, muscular built, and the dynamic aura they emit. The babies of African wild dogs are known as pups. Pups are taken care of by their mother until they start the search for food on their own.

Their species have given the status of Endangered since their population is noted to have been decreasing. The African wild dog population is less than 5000 today. It was more common to spot larger groups of their species before they were Endangered. Now, the hunting of their species is formidable. African wild dog conservation is taken seriously by the authorities and a good number of their population is in good care in national parks.

To learn more, here are some African wild dog fun facts for you. You can also learn more about fascinating wildlife by reading up more articles on the Siberian tiger and the Borneo elephant.

Fun African Wild Dog Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Antelope, rodents, warthog

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2 - 20

How much do they weigh?

40 - 79 lb (18 - 36 kg)

How long are they?

Body: 28 - 40 in (71 - 112cm)Tail: 11 - 16in (28 - 41cm)‍

How tall are they?

24 - 30in (60 - 76cm)

What do they look like?

Brown, grey, tan, gold, red, black, white, and yellow

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Savanna, And Forests, Open Plains


Sub-saharan Africa









African Wild Dog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an African Wild Dog?

African wild dogs are endangered species of canines. They are also referred to as African hunting dogs.

What class of animal does an African Wild Dog belong to?

African wild dogs, who also go by their scientific name Lycaon pictus, belong to the Mammalia class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many African Wild Dogs are there in the world?

The African wild dogs' population has shrunken down to somewhere between 3000 - 5000 today.

Where does an African Wild Dog live?

African wild dogs live in open plains, deserts, and savannas of East Africa and South Africa. Even in the 19th century, African wild dogs used to be found in 40 different countries in Africa. The number has shrunk down between 10 - 25 today. They are now restricted to national parks today with most of them living in Botswana and Zimbabwe. There is also a record of a pack found in the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro.

What is an African Wild Dog's habitat?

As mentioned earlier, African wild dogs live in packs in savannas and open plains. This habitat preference came due to their hunting habits. This type of habitat gives them an edge while pursuing a target. It is unlikely to spot African wild dogs' packs in forests. However, if you are lucky or one should rather say unlucky, you can spot them in the forest of Harenna.

Who do African Wild Dogs live with?

African wild dogs are known to be a social species. They live and hunt in a pack consisting of 10 - 27 members with the dominant breeding pair leading the pack from the front.

How long does an African Wild Dog live?

The average lifespan of these social species is 10 - 13 years.

How do they reproduce?

There is only one breeding pair consisting of a dominant couple in a pack. They are also the one who leads the pack. The gestation period of African wild dogs is around 70 days and the average litter size is two to 20 pups. The mother doesn't leave her pups for the first few weeks and relies on other pack members for food. They take care of their little ones unless they are old enough to hunt food for themselves. Usually, African wild dog pups leave their den at the age of two to three months.

What is their conservation status?

Due to the dramatically decreasing population, African wild dogs are listed as Endangered species by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The main reason causing this decrease is the loss of their hunting grounds, and so there are fewer than 5000 of them left today. African wild dog Endangered facts are saddening to read.

African Wild Dogs Fun facts

What do African Wild Dogs look like?

African wild dogs hunt in packs.

African wild dogs are considered the strongest of all African canids. Their fur is quite special as they do not have any underfur and it only consists of stiff-bristled hair. They are of various colors for example golden, brown, tan, red, black, and more. Every wild dog possesses a unique pattern in its fur. They have long muzzles, round ears, and legs with four toes on each foot.  This feature makes them very special as other canines have five of toes.

How cute are they?

African wild dogs can be considered cute. They have prominent unique ears that add to their beauty.

How do they communicate?

As discussed earlier, African wild dogs are a social species that does everything in a pack. They communicate with each other with help of touch and sound. They often lick each other to portray gratitude or affection. Rubbing noses with each other and wagging their tail are the most common way of communication between them. They live a crepuscular lifestyle and howl out loud before going hunting.

How big is an African Wild Dog?

African wild dogs are the bulkiest of all African canids. They stand tall at 24 - 30in (60 - 76cm) at their shoulder with a body length of  28 - 40 in (71 - 112cm) and a tail length of 11 - 16in (28 - 41cm). By body measurements, they are slightly smaller than the great gray wolf, amongst canids.

How fast can an African Wild Dog run?

While chasing their targets, African wild dogs can achieve speeds of more than 44 mph (70.8kmph) and cover long distances. Fast and deadly, aren't they?

How much does an African Wild Dog weigh?

Wild dogs from Africa weigh around  40 - 79 lb (18 - 36 kg). Females are generally 3-7% smaller in size when compared to males.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no particular names given to male and female wild dogs. So they are referred to as male African wild dogs or female African wild dogs.

What would you call a baby African Wild Dog?

A baby wild African dog is called a pup.

What do they eat?

These carnivorous predators prey on large animals in a group.  The African wild dog diet includes greater kudu, gazelle, impala, bushbuck, and the blue wildebeest being their favorites. Do not think that they only prey on these animals as their diet chart also includes oribi, duiker, waterbuck, ostrich, buffalo calves, and smaller prey such as spring hares, dik-dik, and cane rats. Their preferred prey size is between 33 - 41 lb (15 - 200 kg). However, it is observed that packs living in Serengeti can hunt plains zebras, which can weigh up to 530 lb (240 kg). It is their speed and stamina that increase their success rate in preying on large animals.   Scavenging is rare among African hunting dog packs. Whatever they hunt is equally distributed between members of the pack.

Members of the pack are also responsible for providing food to pregnant females.

Are they dangerous?

It has been said that even a lion changes its path when it spots a large pack of wild dogs. However, they do not pose any threat to humans at all. They tend to avoid humans and don't approach humans even for livestock. Locals do not get even bothered by their presence.

Would they make a good pet?

It's advisable to not even think about adopting an African wild dog. There is a reason they have the word 'wild' in their name and you can't make them obey you.

Did you know...

The African wild dog scientific name was given by paleontologist George G. Simpson

African wild dogs sound like the chirps of a canary bird when they do it collectively.

African wild dog vs hyena is a common scenario. Most people believe a pack of wild African dogs can overpower a pack of hyenas due to their superior strength and speed.

If African wild dogs go extinct, it will disrupt the whole ecosystem. As it resides in the middle of that food chain pyramid.

African wild dog puppies need extra care during their first few weeks. The more these pups are taken care of the more are the chances of their survival.

African wild dog adaptations are extremely good in the game of survival. For example, teamwork is the first thing they learn when they grow up. The reason being African wild dog predators, like lions, are extremely strong and they need proficient teamwork to survive.

African wild dog breeds differentiate from each other by the pattern made of their fur.

The South African wild dog is also known as painted lycaon.

Can African wild dogs be pets?

Domesticated African wild dogs are a myth. You can never keep an African wild dog as a pet.  They are considered African wolves and are not ideal for being pets.

What is being done to save the African wild dog?

Their vulnerability to diseases spread from life stock, poaching, and loss of hunting grounds are reasons they are so less in number in our world today. After they were declared as endangered species, wild dog conservation was taken as a serious agenda and now a good number of African wild dog packs are in the watchful eyes of national parks and sanctuaries of southern Africa.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including buffalo and the eastern red wolf.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our African Wild Dog coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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