Our African painted dogs are fascinating to watch - each member of the pack has a unique and mesmerising pattern on their gorgeous coats.

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

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 an endangered 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.

We support 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 a member, you help us to continue with that support.

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status Endangered
Where they live Mainly southern Africa but also found throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Habitat Grassy plains, savannah woodland and semi desert areas.
Size 75cm shoulder height
Weight up to 35kg
Threats Habitat destruction; conflict with humans which leads to active persecution of animals; infectious diseases from domestic dogs eg. canine distemper.