African wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs live in savanna, grassland and open range in dispersed areas of sub-Saharan Africa. They are carnivores. The dog's scientific name means "painted wolf" in Latin for the distinctive patches of black, yellow, white and dark brown that mark its coat.

African wild dog behavior and facts

  • The dogs prey primarily on medium-sized antelope such as impala, Thompson's gazelle or reedbuck, but also hunt larger animals such as kudu and wildebeest.
  • When hunting, the dog pack approaches a herd until it stampedes. The pack singles out a weaker individual and chases it until it is exhausted. Wild dogs can run at speeds of 30 miles per hour for up to 3.5 miles.
  • They live in tightly knit social groups in which only the dominant male and dominant female are allowed to breed.

From birth to death

  • Gestation: 70 days
  • Litter: 6 to 10 pups
  • Pups feed on regurgitated food brought to them by all pack members.
  • Lifespan: 10 years

Vital statistics

  • Height: 23 to 30 inches
  • Length: 30 to 40 inches with a 12- to 16-inch tail
  • Weight: 40 to 80 pounds


Listed as Endangered by the World Conservation Union and the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Wild dogs, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's wild dogs Widdle and Wooster live in the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit. They were born in 2006.

In the wild, the African wild dog is endangered due to conflicts with humans.