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African Village Dog

African Village Dog

African village dogs live in many different environments: desert, plains, forest, woodland, mountains, and more. As such, African village dogs vary as widely as African cultures. Despite their differences, they all tend to be independent and resourceful, and can make excellent companions if adopted young and raised in the right environment.

Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club

Quick Facts


Height

Male: 14-19in

Female: 13-18in

Weight

Male: 25-45lb

Female: 19-39lb

Fun Fact

While Basenjis are related to African village dogs and don't bark, most African village dogs do bark.

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About this Breed

Dogs first arrived in Africa over 6,000 years ago. They came from the Middle East and seemed to flourish immediately in Africa. They can be found in Egyptian artwork on pots, in heiroglyphics, and even buried next to Egyptian royalty. They served several important roles in Egyptian society including companionship, hunting, and guarding. The Egyptians held dogs as important in religious and cultural ceremonies. Their god of the afterlife, Anubis, has a dog’s head with a man’s body, and nearly 8 million dogs were buried in the catacombs of Anubis in ancient Egypt, probably to help their owners’ journeys into the afterlife.

Dogs traveled south with humans through the Sahara and then throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, reaching the southernmost parts of Africa well over a thousand years ago. In between, they adapted to many different environments. Dogs in the Sahara and Sahel regions are adapted for hot, dry weather, having lankier bodies. Dogs in the Congo forest basin became somewhat smaller, to run through dense forests after prey (and away from predators) all the better. Dogs in the vast grasslands of southern and eastern Africa are generally a bit larger and adapted to run fast — away from lions!

People across Africa value dogs for companionship, hunting, and guarding to this day. Although most dogs live free (off leashes and outside), many go back to the same house each evening to sleep and serve as guards.

Village dogs in Africa generally live near humans, but also interact a lot with the wildlife. While most of their nutrition often comes from trash or discarded scraps, they do sometimes hunt or scavenge prey. They have been important in contributing to rabies and distemper outbreaks in humans and endangered wildlife (like lions, African wild dogs, and jackals) throughout the continent, but vaccination programs are having increasing success.

African Village Dogs on Embark

Explore some Embark dogs that share African Village Dog ancestry.

  • Naya

    Naya

    Purebred

    Safú

    Safú

    Purebred

    Natasha

    Natasha

    Purebred

    Moose

    Moose

    Purebred

  • Amido

    Amido

    Purebred

    Lolly

    Lolly

    Purebred

    Hope

    Hope

    Purebred

    Kim

    Kim

    Purebred

  • Togo

    Togo

    Purebred

    Simba

    Simba

    Purebred

    Allie

    Allie

    Purebred

    Dobby

    Dobby

    Purebred

Common Locations

  1. Nairobi County, Kenya
  2. Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania
  3. Virginia, United States
  4. Chad
  5. Central Region, Uganda
  6. Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
  7. Montserrado, Liberia
  8. Kajiado County, Kenya
  9. Sao Tome, São Tomé and Príncipe
  10. São Tomé and Príncipe

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