Wild dogs and wolves are both members of the Canidae family, which makes them very similar in many ways. However, they have a lot of differences as well. While wild dogs are unique to Africa and live in packs of up to 40, wolves can be found in countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, and their packs consist of up to 15 members. Despite these differences, both animals are unfortunately on the endangered species list.
Wild Dog Overview
Wild dogs are commonly known as African Wild Dogs, African Hunting Dogs, and African Painted Dogs. They are typically found in the savannahs and lightly wooded areas of Africa and are very rarely seen outside their protected areas. These social animals live in packs of up to 40 members and hunt medium-sized prey, including gazelles, at speeds of over 40 miles per hour. Wild dogs will share their food amicably between pack members, and they are considered under threat due to being hunted and killed by people, threats to their habitat, and illnesses including rabies.
Wild dogs look similar to hyenas, primarily thanks to their large, prominent ears. However, they are not the same species. They have brown, yellow, and black fur which allows the dogs to blend into their surroundings. Every member of the pack has slightly different markings, making it easier to distinguish pack members. Wild dogs can weigh up to 70 pounds and grow to just over 4 feet in length.
Wild dog packs have a hierarchy and social structure. A breeding pair will be the dominant pack members, and all other members of the pack will follow them. When young dogs reach maturity, it is the females that leave the pack to go and find a mate, while the males remain with the existing pack. The dogs will protect one another when required, and all pack members are responsible for protecting the young. The pack also cares for any member that becomes sick or injured, and when they hunt, they share food with all pack members including those that weren’t involved in taking down the prey.
Wild dogs are highly efficient and effective hunters with a hunt success rate of approximately 80%, which is considerably higher than most other hunting species. When the pack hunts, they spread out and approach the prey. When the lead dog gets tired, another takes over at the front, and the hunt continues. Eventually, the prey tires, and the dogs pounce and take down their quarry.
Wild dogs are considered to be endangered. There were once believed to be half a million wild dogs, but there are now as few as 5,000 left in the wild. This sharp decline in population is due to hunting and killing by people, threats to their habitat, and diseases such as rabies.
Wolves are the largest member of the Canidae family and can be found in countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. They are also known as Gray Wolves or Timber Wolves and are social animals that hunt and have some similar physical features to wild dogs. However, there are as many differences as there are similarities. Wolves are considered endangered, and their numbers are still dangerously low.
Wolves are large members of the Canidae family that grow to 100 pounds in weight and can measure over 5 feet from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. They have very large canine teeth and are colored gray and brown, depending on the type of habitat they reside in. Similarly, the size of the wolf also varies according to where they live.
Like wild dogs, wolves are social animals. A pack will usually consist of up to 15 members, but this can swell to as many as 30. When a pack reaches this size, a number of the wolves will break away to form a new pack, therefore ensuring adequate prey exists for all pack members. Although social animals, wolves do not share their food with one another and can become aggressive after a hunt. Each wolf has a distinctive howl, which enables them to recognize the rest of their pack even over a distance.
Although they tend to hunt alone, wolves can also hunt in packs. They will attack larger animals, including wildebeest and antelopes. Wolves can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and hit their top speed in just a few seconds. Once they catch their prey, they protect their kill and will not share their food with one another, unlike wild dogs.
Wolves are considered an endangered species. There are thought to be between 200,000 and 500,000 wolves left in the world, and their numbers are still too low for comfort.
Differences Between Wild Dogs and Wolves
Although they are both members of the same Canidae family, wild dogs and wolves have a lot of differences. Some of these differences include:
Wild dogs and wolves are the two largest species in the Canidae family, but wolves are larger. They can weigh as much as 50% more than wild dogs and are thicker set and more muscular. Wild dogs have larger ears, and every one has unique markings, which makes recognition within the pack easier.
Pack Social Structure
When it comes to packs, both species are social animals. Wild dogs can live in packs of up to 40, while wolf packs typically only consist of up to 15 members, although this number may increase for a short period before some of the pack breaks off to form a new one. Whereas male dogs remain part of the pack when they reach maturity, both male and female wolves will leave to form or join their own packs. Dogs share their prey, look after the health of ill pack members, and protect all of the young. Wolves do not care for sick pack members and will not share food with one another.
Both species hunt in packs, but wild dogs tirelessly stalk their prey until they are too tired to run, and then they pounce. Wolves will attack as soon as they can catch up to the prey. Wild dogs take down prey and then share the food. Wolves can become aggressive once they have caught their prey.
Wild dogs and wolves may belong to the same Canidae family, but they have a lot of differences that make them unique. While wild dogs are more social and share everything they have with the members of their pack, wolves are larger and more solitary hunters that do not share their food with one another. Both species are on the endangered species list, which is a cause for concern for all animal lovers. It is essential to protect these animals and ensure that their populations thrive for generations to come.