About the Author

Bruce Arnott

Field Guide

Bruce grew up on a plot of farmland in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. He always had a passion for the bush and the outdoors, having been camping and fishing since he was a young boy. He attended school in the Natal midlands after ...

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26 Comments

on Why Do So Few First Time Safari Goers Know of Wild Dogs?

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Darlene Knott
Senior Digital Ranger

Wild dogs are one of the most interesting species to observe! We love watching them interact. They are very playful with each other, but when they hunt, they are all business!!! Intriguing animals. Beautiful photos,
Bruce!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Darlene thank you for the comment! I agree with you in that watching the pack interact is one of the most fascinating things to observe. The adults make it tough for the youngsters but it all benefits them in the end; they learn how to stick up from themselves as adults when hyenas and other threats are around!

Gregg Higgs
Explorer

We were fortunate to see a pack of wild dogs (including a bunch of pups) during our visit to Londolozi. You can really see that sense of community among the pack. The adults fed (quite a unique feeding technique), played and really looked after the inquisitive pups. A leopard came near the pack and was promptly chased up a tree! Quite a viewing.

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Gregg that is a rare, almost once in a lifetime sighting; I’m glad you were able to see something like that here!

Denise Vouri
Digital Tracker

Good blog! I’ve always enjoyed observing these dogs and whilst they are very social, once a prey has been taken down, it’s every dog for himself!!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Thanks very much Denise!

Leonie De Young
Explorer

A really interesting blog Bruce and thanks for sharing with us. These animals are beautiful and have fought great odds to survive. Not pleasant watching them on a kill, however, as you point out, it is quick and over in seconds. Love the social aspect of their packs and they all work together for their survival. Thanks again, really enjoyed the pics and your explanation.

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Leonie thank you very much, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and story!

Ian Hall
Senior Digital Ranger

They are fabulous to watch and they are highlighted in the new BBC wildlife series Dynasties. I could not believe the intricacies of a wild dog hunt until Simon Smit’s incredible driving over the three kilometres through bush and plain culminated in the spectacle of wild dogs eating on the banks of the sand river. Amazing driving.
Sad that many first time visitors are not aware of these amazing animals, whereas for many frequent visitors they are pretty much top of the tick list. They are certainly very high on my list
Apart from the caracal

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

It’s scary how many people don’t know about wild dogs! I was recently at a talk hosted by Gerry Van Der Walt who said that when he shows a picture of a wild dog to an American audience, the majority of the room more often than note calls it a hyena!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Yes, that happens all too often on the vehicle! Hopefully we can raise the awareness of tourists over time.

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Hopefully! The more people that know, the sooner that the wild dog becomes more recognisable than a hyena (and people will notice the obvious size and posture differences)!

Henk Slettenhaar
Digital Ranger

Good story!

This is a wonderful article, thank you very much. We need to find these beauties next time I am there! Which is not soon enough 🙂

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Next time we will do our level best to find them for you Nicki! Looking forward to it!

Susan Strauss
Digital Ranger

I love wild dogs…seeing them is always a delight. Thanks for the insightful writing!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Thank you Susan!

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Digital Tracker

Thanks for the further education, Bruce!

Lachlan Fetterplace
Digital Ranger

There have been packs 50 strong? Wow! Is the reason they need such large home ranges that there isn’t enough suitable prey in an area the size of say Londolozi? or they the prey becomes wary or moves off in response to their presence if they stay too long? or something else?

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

A large pack needs a vast area to roam in with enough prey in that home range. Buy nature they do not mark a territory in the same way that lions and leopards do. The home range size problem comes from there not being enough land for them to operate within. What we need is more natural protected land for these animals to roam!

Gawie Jordaan
Senior Digital Ranger

Thanks Bruce! I hope I can see some wild dogs one day. One for my wish list at the moment.

Vin Beni
Explorer

We’ve been fortunate enough to see them on all of our trips. Our most interesting experience, however, was in Botswana where we went for a thrill ride in the vehicle as we followed them pursuing impala. Breathtaking ride and ferocious ending as described.

Brian Love
Explorer

Good post and it’s spot on. I am a wildlife fanatic since as early as I can remember and it stuns me how many people go on safari and have no idea about the African Wild Dog even to the point where one lady, after we had done our mad as hell drive following hunting Wild Dogs asked…….is it unusual to see them?

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Thanks Brian, great story! It has happened to me a number of times as well. Let’s hope it changes!

Wendy Macnicol
Explorer

Thank you, Bruce! These “Painted Dogs” are indeed beautiful animals with their own, very distinctive, colouring. I heard somewhere recently that they are not of the same species as our dometic dogs but have their own zoological genus. Is this true? We have NEVER seen Wild Dogs in all our many years of being in the Bush! We are green with envy when we hear about other people’s sightings! Wendy M

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Wendy, I hope you see them next time! That just shows how rare they are! And yes, the wild dog and domestic dog cannot interbreed and the wild dog cannot be domesticated. They both descended from wolves but have taken very different evolutionary paths.

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