Total length 105 - 150 cm; tail 30 - 40 cm; shoulder height 65 - 80 cm; mass 20 - 30 kg
Unmistakable; similar to Alsatian dog. It has large, rounded ears, long legs and a bushy, white-tipped tail. Body irregularly blotched with black, white, brown and yellowish-brown. Muzzle is black, with black continuing as a line from muzze to between ears. Forehead on either side of black line is pale fawn to white.
AS it hunts by sight it is usually associated with open country. It avoids dense woodland, forests and extensive areas of tall grass.
It is a highly specialized hunter, living in packs usually numbering from 10 to 15 animals although smaller and larger groups have been observed. It is predominantly diurnal, undertaking most of its hunting in the cooler morning and late afternoon hours. Hunting is undertaken by the pack, which move slowly towards the intended prey at first, increasing the pace as the quarry starts to move away. Once an individual has been singled out the pack rarely deviates from its goal and and a chase may contunue for several kilometers. Smaller prey may be pulled down immediately but larger prey is bitten and thorn whilst on the move util it weakens from shock or loss of blood and can be overpowered. Despite its reputation as a wanton killer, the Wild Dog kills only for its immediate needs. During hunts it is able to reach speeds of over 50 km/h. When pups begin to eat solids, the adults regurgitate meat at the den for the pups, as well as for other adults that remained to guard the young and any sick animas unable to take part in the hunts. Wild Dogs do not establish territories but have very large home ranges. The average home range size in the Kruger National Park has been estimated to be 450 km squared, but in arid areas home ranges are considerably larger. It is a very vocal species with a wide range of calls. Normally only a single female comes into breeding condition (oestrus) at any one time and she is mated by the dominant male.
Wild Dogs hunt a wide range of mammals, ranging in size from Steenbok to Buffalo. They also take rodents, hares and birds. Impala is the most important prey7 species in the Kruger National Park, with Springbok being very important throughout much of the Wild Dog's Botswanan range.