There are many canines roaming through nature that aren't dogs, but that resemble man's best friend. These members of the Canidae family include wolves, foxes, coyotes and more. They are fierce predators that have adapted to wilderness in almost every corner of the world. Read on to learn more about Earth’s wild dogs, and be thankful that they are not sitting in your living room right now.
AFRICAN WILD DOG
The African wild dog is an endangered species. This dog’s Latin name, Lycaon pictus, means "painted dog." It refers to the animal's dappled fur in various shades of brown, white and red. Each dog’s fur pattern is unique. African wild dogs also have only four toes per paw. Most wild dogs have five. African wild dogs lives in packs with up to 20 dogs. Packs are led by a monogamous male and female. (Source)
Sometimes known as the American jackal, the coyote is an adaptable animal. Once inhabiting prairies and deserts, the coyote now roams American mountains and forests. It forms packs with others during the cold season, and locates its members by howling. The coyote has sharp eyesight and a strong sense of smell that make it a skilled hunter. It can also chase down its prey while running up to 40 miles an hour. (Source)
One of Australia’s most famous animals is the dingo. Dingoes can live either alone or live with a pack, and they communicate with each other using wolf-like howls. The continent is home to such a large number of these wild dogs that many Australians consider them pests. There is even a “dingo fence” in place that runs for more than 3,000 miles. It exists to prevent prowling dingoes from picking off herds of sheep. (Source)
Standing 3 feet tall at its shoulder, the maned wolf is the largest canid of South America. Maned wolves range from Brazil to Argentina. Breeding pairs mate for life, but they only meet during the breeding season. They live alone otherwise. They enjoy being in large, open spaces like savannas or open forests. When hunting, they rotate their ears to listen for prey in the grass before attacking. (Source)
The dhole (pronounced “dole”) is also known as the whistling dog, red dog and Asiatic wild dog. An excellent jumper, it has a vertical jump of 7 feet. The dhole resembles a fox in its appearance, but it is roughly the size of a German Shepherd. It is also capable of making a variety of sounds, including whistling, screaming, mewing and even clucking. (Source)
Native to South America, the bush dog is a pack animal. It hunts well with others, and larger packs can take down large prey. Bush dogs communicate with their pack members using various vocalizations. They are also exceptional swimmers, and their webbed toes allow for a semi-aquatic lifestyle. (Source)
The Arctic wolf lives in the Arctic regions of Greenland and North America. Its unique white fur helps insulate it against the freezing temperatures. It is the only sub-species of wolf not threatened by hunting or habitat destruction, but it faces a threat from climate change that affects its prey. The Arctic wolf's main sources of food include Arctic hares, caribou and muskox. (Source)
There are three different types of jackals, all found in Africa and southeastern Asia. The golden jackal, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal all hunt at night. They spend their days sleeping in burrows and feed on plants, small mammals and animal carcasses. Males and females work together to care for their young, which number two to four cubs per litter. (Source)
Pictured: Black-backed Jackal
The Ethiopian wolf is the most threatened canid species, numbering less than 500 in the wild. It is the only wolf species in Africa, and lives in mountainous regions. Ethiopian wolves form close-knit packs, living in small groups with strong bonds to one another. They sometimes venture out on their own to forage for food. (Source)
Next: How Do You Love Your Dog?
The raccoon dog is similar in looks to a raccoon, but is a member of the canid family. It is about the size of a fox, and has long, thick, dense fur. The raccoon dog is monogamous during mating season, and both parents help to raise their young. It is the only canid species that goes into torpor (a state of inactivity) during the winter months. (Source)