Wild Dog

Where to see Wild (Painted) Dogs

Wild Dog. Okay yes it looks like a dog, but the African wild dog, or painted dog (so called because of their mottled coat pattern), is quite endangered and is a special sighting on any safari. Good populations exist in parts of Botswana including Chobe, Savuti and the Linyanti/Selinda area, in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, the Selous in Tanzania and the Niassa Reserve in Mozambique. It is also possible to catch a glimpse of these lively, social animals in the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa, the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania.

Did you know?

  • Wild dogs are also called: Painted Dog, Painted Hunting Dog, African Hunting Dog, Cape Hunting Dog, Spotted Dog, Ornate Wolf, Painted Wolf, Wildehond (Afrikaans), Mbwa Mwitu (Kiswahili).
  • Painted dogs live in packs usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair. The female has a litter of 2 to 20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack.
  • They hunt in cooperative packs of up to twenty dogs and with 80% of hunts ending in a kill, they are one of the most efficient and successful predators in the world.


It is estimated that around 7000 – 8000 painted dogs roam the open plains and sparse woodlands throughout East and Southern Africa. While happily this is up from only 3000 in the 1990s, they are still special sight on safari. There resurgence is a victory not only for the species but for conservation as a whole because, as midsized carnivores, a healthy population of painted dogs is indicative of healthy populations of both their herbivore prey and of other major carnivores with which they compete. Painted Dog Conservation works in Hwange National Park with the largest population of pained dog remaining in the wild. The second largest population of wild dog remaining in the world today are able to move between Tanzania and Mozambique via the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor. You can find out more about this important corridor and the great work of the Niassa Carnivore Project here.