African Wild Dog
African Wild Dog

Average Mass:
27 kg (60 lb)

Average Shoulder Height:
65 cm (25 ")

Rowland Ward:


Wild Dog Spoor

Track: 64mm (2 1/2 ") x 90mm (3 1/2 ")

Wild Dog Distribution

Taxonomic notes

Five subspecies (L. p. lupinus, L. p. manguensis, L. p. pictus, L. p. sharicus, L. p. somalicus) are recognised in Ginsberg & Macdonald (1990).

IUCN threat category

Endangered (EN: criteria C1).

Available information

This is one of the most endangered large carnivores in the world, and in the last years a great effort has been addressed to preserving the species from extinction. Distribution, density, and population structure have been investigated throughout the continent, together with habitat and area requirements, diet, and behavioural aspects of its ecology. Ginsberg & Macdonald (1990) give a detailed picture of the distribution, status and ecology of this species. In the last few years, wild dog populations have been constantly monitored in most of the range of their occurrence.

Southern Africa : Population structure, density, dispersal patterns, and some aspects of the ecology of this species in the Kruger National Park are discussed by Mills (1991) and Maddock & Mills (1994). Aspects of the ecology of the species in this sub-region are also described by Reich (1977, 1978). Data on population structure in the eastern Transvaal lowveld are discussed in Maddock & Mills (1994). A sound account of the species' ecology in the sub-region is found in Mills & Hes (1997) and in Skinner & Smithers (1990). Data on the species' presence, status, and notes on its ecology are available for most of South Africa (Lynch, 1989; Pringle, 1977; Rautenbach & Nel, 1978; Rowe-Rowe, 1978, 1992; Stuart et al., 1985), Angola (Crawford-Cabral & Paias Simoes, 1990), Namibia (Hines, 1990; Viljoen, 1982), and Zimbabwe (Childes, 1988)

West Africa : Distribution and status of the species have been recently investigated (Sillero-Zubiri, 1994, 1995). The author also reported on its ecology.

East Africa : Status, density, and ecology have been intensely studied. Particular attention has been given to behavioural aspects (Frame & Frame, 1976; Frame et al., 1979; Fuller et al., 1992; Malcolm & Marten, 1982) and to hunting strategies (Fanshawe & Fitzgibbon, 1993; Fuller & Kat, 1990, 1993; Malcolm, 1980; Malcolm & Van Lawik, 1975).

Substantial work has been done especially in East and South Africa to define causes of decline and conservation strategies and a substantial amount of literature on this matter is available (Alexander et al., 1992; Anonymous, 1992; Burrow et al., 1994; Creel et al., 1995; Fuller et al., 1992; Gascoyne et al.,1993; Ginsberg, 1994; Van Heerden et al., 1989).

General information on the species' ecology and distribution are found in Clutton-Brock et al. (1976), Estes (1991), Kingdon (1997), and Stuart & Stuart (1997). Status, threats, and distribution are discussed in Ginsberg & Macdonald (1990). An action plan for the conservation of this species is in press (Frame & Fanshawe).

This species stretches across sub-Saharan Africa with the exception of the northern desert areas, the western and central tropical rain forests and the southern part of the continent. According to Ginsberg & Macdonald (1990), its exact distribution is difficult to estimate, due to its nomadic movements. Its distribution map was acquired from that one published by Ginsberg & Macdonald (1990) and later revised by Dr. C. Sillero-Zubiri (15 May '97), who suggested its presence in Somalia, western Angola, Nigeria as well as the isolated population between Sudan and Chad, as not certain. The final output after a second specialist’s update ( 24 July '97 ) and literature check is shown in Fig. 3.1.5.a.

Categorical-discrete (CD) distribution model

The species inhabits a wide variety of savanna types, from open, dry plains to montane regions (Ginsberg & Macdonald, 1990; Skinner & Smithers, 1990; Kingdon, 1997; Rowe-Rowe, 1992).