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Can African Wild Dogs Breed With Dogs?

Can African Wild Dogs Breed With Dogs?

With his musky-colored coat, bushy tail, and large bat ears, the African wild dog is a sight to behold. If you’ve ever got a glimpse of one, you will agree with us.

The coat comes in striking patterns of yellow, black, white, and grey.

The patterns are so distinct that no two dogs look exactly alike according to National Geographic.

The canine is also called the painted wolf or the painted hunting dog because of the appearance of his coat.

With these awesome characteristics, the African wild dog attracts the curiosity of animal lovers.

Some wonder if these dogs can interbreed with domestic dogs.

So, Can They Breed With Domestic Dogs?

The Short Answer:

Wild dogs and domestic dogs cannot interbreed since they belong to different species. Animals of different genera cannot breed with each other.

The Long Answer (aka Detailed Explanation):

Although the painted wolf and the domestic dog are closely-related in looks, they belong to different genus classifications.

Typically, the former is neither dog nor wolf. He comes about as a result of evolution and is a distinct species.

Dogs and wolves belong to the genus Canid while the African wild dog is classified under the Lycaon genus.

Animals of different genera are simply unable to breed with each other. Wild dogs cannot mate with wolves either despite being their descendants.

With that said, both species have a total of 78 chromosomes each. Each pair contains 39 chromosomes.

Because of this, it is safe to say that if they bred, they would produce puppies. Their DNA is closely-related as well, meaning they would give birth to viable offspring.

This is the same story for the dog and the fox. Despite being different, they can hybridize, meaning they can mate and produce a hybrid.

 In a bid to improve the quality of certain dog breeds, breeders experimented with dog-wolf hybrids.

That is why we have the Alaskan Malamutes and the Siberian Huskies. But then again, the wolf and the dog essentially belong to the same genus.

Since time immemorial, African wild dogs have never bred with domestic dogs – either naturally or through man’s intervention.

There’s a pretty good reason for this. They are simply different species.

The painted wolf is biologically named as a special wolf-dog that deserves a genus of his own.

Other Reproduction Differences between Dogs and African Wild Dogs

African wild dogs are notorious for giving birth to extremely large litters of 2-20 pups.

There have been reports of these canines giving rise to 27 puppies in Zimbabwe. Our domestic pups only produce an average of 5-6 puppies.

Now imagine crossing a female domestic dog with a male African wild dog. The female may have too many puppies than her tiny stomach can accommodate.

Plus, painted dogs tend to give birth to heavier and larger puppies than domestic dogs.

Some are also slightly taller and may have a hard time fitting in the stomach of your lovely doggie.

Secondly, the mating habits of both predators are pretty different from each other.

African wild dogs become sexually mature at about 12-18 months but they don’t mate until much later. This is because only two dogs in a pack can breed.

Dogs get into action as soon as they are mature and can mate with any willing party at one single time.

That’s not all – painted hunting dogs differ from domestic dogs in that they don’t experience the usual ‘copulatory tie’ during mating as is the case with our canine friends. The tie is put in place by nature to increase the chances of fertilization.

Clearly, these wild canines don’t need help as they have proven to be competent in terms of reproduction.

We point out these things to say that African wild dogs are not as compatible as you may think.

Sure, they share the same number of chromosomes but they have plenty of physical variations that breeding them would be impossible.

The fact that no dogs of either genus have bred in the past may suggest that they are also not sexually attracted to each other.

When you put a horse and a donkey in one spot long enough, they will eventually mate and produce a mule. Not our two dog species. That also says a lot about them.

More About the African Wild Dogs

In simple terms, the African wild dog is a large striking canine from the African continent.

He is mainly found in the southern and southeastern parts of the continent, especially in Hwange National Park in South Africa, Okavango Delta in Zimbabwe, Laikipiain Kenya, and Liuwa Plains in Zambia.

He mainly dwells in grasslands, savannas, and open woodlands.

Although rare, the dog’s habitat also includes mountainous and semi-desert regions. 

The painted hunting dog is now endangered, meaning getting a sighting is pretty much difficult now.

He mostly looks like the domestic dog except that it has four toes instead of the usual five on each paw.

He also comes with 40 teeth as opposed to the domestic dog with 42 teeth. Their large Mickey Mouse ears also make them quite special.

Another fascinating thing about the African wild dogs is their social skills.  

These dogs exist in packs much like their cousins – the wolves. They are so bonded in the pack that when some of the members are sick or injured, the healthy ones will rally and take good care of them.

They are also known to greet each other with plenty of excitement. After a hunt, everyone is invited to partake even those who didn’t pitch in during the hunt.

Unlike other predators, painted wolves do not show any aggression during mealtimes. They simply eat in peace until everyone has had a bite.

That’s not all—in a single pack, only the dominant male and the dominant female mate to produce offspring. The rest (even those who are sexually mature) only watch over the young ones.

Parting Thoughts

Can African wild dogs breed with dogs? Not really.

Although they are both from the Canidae family, they are of different genera.

Also, they have various other physical differences that make them incompatible.

If you want wild blood in your doggie, try breeding it with a wolf, coyote, or jackal. Those are viable options to consider.

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