African Painted Dogs

Hypnotic is the word for our African Painted Dogs. Like a mesmerising abstract artwork, we bet you find it's impossible to look away until you've fully taken in the dazzling dappled patterns of their gorgeous coats.

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You'll also be entranced by their large rounded ears which can pick up the calls of other dogs in the far distance. They use their ears to communicate, moving them in different directions to signal to other dogs which way to go or what to do.

No two dogs have the same pattern of coat. See if you can tell the difference between the markings on our four male dogs and our female, Subira. They look as if a master artist like Van Gogh or Picasso has taken a brush and skilfully painted them yellow, grey, white and black.

In southern and east African countries, researchers have kept track of individual dogs by noting down their coat pattern. In some cases, with dogs they have caught and released back into the wild, they also use microchips to keep tabs on animals.

This is extremely important because African Painted Dogs, also known as Cape Hunting dogs, are Endangered as a species. There are only about 3,000 left in a handful of countries compared to 500,000 across 39 nations at the beginning of last century.

Chester Zoo supports conservation efforts at Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania on the border with Kenya, where these dogs are now closely monitored and protected. By visiting the zoo or becoming an annual member, you help us to continue with that support.

Facts & Info

Interesting facts

Where they live Mainly southern Africa, and in much smaller numbers in central Africa.
Habitat Grassy plains, savannas, forests, semi desert areas.
Size 75cm shoulder height
Weight up to 35kg
Conservation status Endangered
Threats Habitat destruction; conflict with humans; infectious diseases; competition for food with other scavengers including hyenas.