African painted dog facts
African painted dogs are native to western, eastern, and central sub-Sahara Africa, but their population has slowly reduced over most of their range throughout the past 100 years. They currently survive only in isolated populations throughout Southern and Eastern Africa.
In the wild, painted dogs can now only be found in a few countries including: Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Namibia, and Kenya. Reasons for their decline include persecution by humans, predator control programs, habitat loss, and diseases like rabies and distemper. It is estimated that there are as few as 3,000 painted dogs remaining in the wild.
These animals are easily distinguished from other canids by their distinctive yellow, black, and white coats, and their large rounded ears, which help them dissipate heat. In fact, each animal’s coat is as unique as a human fingerprint, allowing the dogs (and us) to distinguish one from another. Researchers believe that the color patterns allow them to recognize each other at distances of 50 to 100 meters.
Their social behavior also sets them apart from other canids. They spend about 80% of their time in close association with one another, more than any other species of wild canid. Due to the closeness of their pack and the participation of all but the young and the babysitters of the pack, painted dogs astoundingly catch their prey 60% of the time (compared to the 10% success rate of other canids).
Their ability to reach and sustain speeds of up to 37 mph allows them to catch many elusive ungulates including gazelles, antelope, impala, kudu, and wildebeest.
The painted dogs in our care
Currently, the Endangered Wolf Center is one of only 38 institutions in the United States to have these amazing creatures.
Selous and Destiny are the parents of Mikumi, Shaba, and Akili. The pack of five arrived to the Center in May of 2016 from the Good Zoo in Oglebay, West Virginia. Right away, it became evident that each had a very distinct personality and appearance.
Selous is the father of the pack and can usually be seen hanging out with Destiny under the trees. Mikumi, Shaba, and Akili are playful siblings who like to run and wrestle with each other. All five dogs love their enrichments and will investigate immediately as soon as it’s placed in their enclosure. They also love to cozy up towards one another, no matter the weather!
The painted dogs seem to be the most inquisitive of all the canids who call the Endangered Wolf Center home. Our Animal Care Team has been busy preparing them for the new Training and Enrichment Experiences that are offered to the public. It is a great way for visitors to meet the African painted dogs up close.
Adopt an African painted dog pack
Visit our Adopt page to learn how you can adopt an African painted dog pack and help contribute to the survival of this rare and wonderful species.