Life in a wild dog pack
Lean, lethal and yet surprisingly loving, these tenacious dogs have mastered the art of survival
African wild dogs hunt in cooperative, wellcoordinated packs of up to 20 animals. As a result, they are probably Africa's most effective predators, boasting an 80 per cent success rate on hunts, which is far higher
than the 30 per cent rate of lions.
Wild at heart
Wild dogs have never been successfully domesticated. They are naturally distrusting
of humans, or indeed any animal not in their own pack. As for their own, they will care for old, ill and wounded pack mates, and mothers will fiercely defend their pups against all comers until they are old enough
to defend themselves.
Complex social system
The social hierarchy of African wild dog packs is intricate and well established. There is an alpha breeding pair in charge of each pack,
although pups always feed first at kills.
Few natural enemies
Humans are by far the biggest threat to African wild dogs. As for natural enemies in the wild, lions will kill these dogs, which means areas of high lion density generally have low populations of wild dogs. However, it's not all one-sided: if it has to, a hungry
pack will take on a lion to access food.
Although wild dogs share a common ancestor with wolves and other canines, they are not genetically compatible,
so interbreeding is impossible.