African painted dog in exhibit

African Painted Dog

Scientific Name

Lycaon pictus






Sub-saharan Africa


Savannas, deserts, and mountainous regions

Estimated Wild Population

African painted dog in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered

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Physical Description

African painted dogs have a richly patterned coat with yellow, white, brown, black, and red markings. Adults are roughly the same size as large domestic dogs, weighing up to 80 pounds and reaching three and a half feet in length. They live and hunt in packs of up to 30 members that allow them to capture much larger animals, including gazelles, impalas, and zebras. The alphas of the pack are typically the only members to breed, although parenting duties are shared by the pack.

Interesting Fact 1

African painted dogs have large round ears that help them regulate body heat and communicate with packmates over long distances.

Interesting Fact 2

Packs have a strict hierarchy formed around a dominant male and dominant female. Females compete fiercely for the dominant role.

Interesting Fact 3

Their midday greeting, where packmates gather to vocalize and thrust their muzzle into each other's face, helps reinforce their social bond.

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