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African Painted Dog

Animal Facts

Painted dogs have a unique hunting system that allows them to catch multiple prey items in a hunt, a tactic that is not widely used by other carnivores on the savanna. They have large ears that serve as both a funnel for sound and also to dissipate heat. The have an extremely strong jaw relative to most other carnivores and their teeth are shaped specifically for shearing meat so that they can consume their prey item quickly, thus avoiding getting food taken by larger predators like lions. They have very large litter sizes averaging about 7-10, though it isn't uncommon for litters to be closer to 14 animals. Their social grouping is led by an alpha pair and the usually the related brothers to the alpha male and sisters to the alpha female. Most often only the alpha pair produces offspring, meaning that the others in the pack play the role of helping to raise the litter.

Painted dogs weigh on average between 50 and 85 pounds

Life expectancy for painted dogs in the wild can range between 4 and 10 years. They are a fairly short lived carnivore. In human care, painted dogs live on average about 10 years.


Originally found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, today populations exist in a few fragmented areas. Their main population strongholds are in southern Africa. However, important populations do exist in East Africa, and a very small population in West Africa.

Lives at Audubon Zoo

Animal Facts