There are two species of Wild Dog that we will cover here – the African wild dog, which is a canid native to Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Indian Wild Dog, commonly known as the Dhole which is a canid native to Central and Southeast Asia.
The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) is the largest of its family in Africa and the only member of the genus Lycaon, having fewer toes and teeth than normal canines. The wild dog is classed as an endangered specie with the decline ongoing and primarily caused by habitat fragmentation and reduction, human persecution, and disease.
The African wild dog is a highly gregarious animal and lives in large packs with separate dominance hierarchies for both males and females. Unlike many other social carnivores it is the female as opposed to the male that leaves the pack once they are sexually mature. They also allow their young to feed first on kills and carcasses and like other canids, they will regurgitate food for their young, but will also extend this behaviour to other adults in the pack. Wild dogs have evolved into being specialised diurnal hunters of antelopes, making these a major part of their diet. They do not have many natural predators, although lions and hyenas are a major source of mortality.
The Indian wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is also known as the whistling dog, Asiatic wild dog, and red wolf and is genetically close to other species within the genus Canid. Like the African wild dog it is a highly social animal, living in large packs of up to 40 dogs, without a rigid dominance hierarchy. Each pack can also contain multiple breeding females. Again like the African specie it is a specialised diurnal hunter which will target medium and large sized ungulates. In some areas, particularly in tropical forests, the dhole will compete with tigers and leopards on certain prey species.
This is another endangered specie with populations continuing to decrease and with numbers currently estimated at less than 2,500 adults. The main factors contributing to the continued decline include habitat loss, loss of prey, competition with other species, persecution, and disease.
South Asia / South-East Asia – Nagahole National Park (South-West India), Satpura Tiger Reserve (Central India) and Kanha Tiger Reserve (Central India).