Despite their simple name, African wild dogs are fascinating animals, and the Bronx Zoo knows all about these endangered canines. Even though they are only distantly related, African wild dogs have similar characteristics to domestic dogs and wolves, such as their social nature and pack mentality. They often interact with one another through elaborate “greeting ceremonies,” which include face licking, tail wagging, squealing, and roughhousing. They are also known as “painted dogs” because of their brown, black, and white-dappled fur. No two African wild dogs have the same color pattern on their fur, which makes it easy to identify individuals.
African wild dogs can give birth to litters of 6 to 12 pups, but may have as many as 18. The entire pack helps take care of the pups, which are born between March and June, and do not open their eyes until nearly two weeks after birth. By the time they are a year old, the pups are able to hunt and run 48 mph for over an hour at a time.