African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are highly social and live in large packs of around 100 animals. A pack is formed by a group of brothers from one pack meeting with a group of sisters from another. A dominant pair emerges and breeds. Females will fight each other for the top breeding position.

These dogs are truly nomadic carnivores. They are on the move all the time to mark their territories and to avoid conflict with lions. Movement is reduced when there are small pups in the den. Unlike most canids which howl to show their presence, wild dogs use scents that last for months. When packs contain about 20 adults, the older offspring leave to form subgroups and hunt independently.

Individual dogs are capable of killing large prey such as impala, although most hunting is done in packs. Pups typically leave at two to three years of age but sometimes stay to help rear more young. Packs stay together for no more than six years, usually two, when the founder members die. The remaining dogs separate into single-sex groups to find new opposite-sex groups and start all over again.


ARKive photos and videos of the African wild dog

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