African Wild Dogs vs Wolf

Who would win in a fight between these two cunning creatures?

Despite their widespread English names and scientific name, Lycaeon pictus, which translates to “painted wolf,” African wild dogs are neither wolves nor dogs.

Wild African dogs belong to the same canine family as wolves and dogs.

However, while gray wolves, coyotes, dogs, and jackals all belong to the genus Canis, the only extant species of African wild dogs are the ones in Africa.

Gray Wolves are noted for their ferocious appearance, superior hunting skills, and pack mentality.

Wolves are prominent creatures in many myths and fairy tales, with a howl that can travel great distances through the wilderness, a beautiful fur coat, and the ability to adapt to a wide range of environments.

Size and Body Description

The average dog weighs 44-55 pounds (20 kg) in East Africa and 54-72 pounds (24-32 kg) in South Africa.

They measure approximately 24 to 30 inches (31 cm) at the shoulders, 28 to 44 inches (71 cm) in length, and 11 to 16 inches (28 cm) in the tail.

The species lacks dewclaws and has fused middle toe pads in most cases. In addition, it has peculiar lower teeth that are bent and blade-like.

The fur of African wild dogs differs from that of other canids. The coat is entirely made up of stiff bristles, which the animal loses as it grows older.

There is no underfur.Body markings vary from dog to dog, but most dogs have a black muzzle and a black line on their forehead.

They have a long, narrow body with broad, rounded ears.

The wolf is the biggest of the wild dog family species. Females have a smaller body size than males. Males’ have larger feet and longer legs.

Gray wolves have gray fur with black markings and paler underparts, but they can also be black, brown, red, or even white.

Gray wolves have a thick fur of a coarse outer coat and a softer undercoat.

Furthermore, their long legs allow them to take extended steps, resulting in increased speed during the chase. Gray Wolves weigh between 75 and 125 pounds as adults (34 to 56 kg).

The gray wolf stands between 27 to 32 inches (68- 82 cm) at the shoulders. Wolves can look significantly larger than they truly are due to their long fur. The gray wolf is 50 to 70 inches (127 to 177 cm) long from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail. One-third of its length is due to the length of the tail.

Habitat and Environment

African wild dogs were once common throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and many other regions, apart from tropical ecosystems and the harshest deserts.

However, they have been eliminated from most of their historical territory.

They’ve vanished in North and West Africa, and their populations are few in Central and Northeast Africa.

South Africa and southern East Africa are home to most wild dogs. Grasslands, savannas, and arid zones are the most common habitats for wild dogs.

Because trees can hamper their hunting skills, they usually avoid forested areas.

Wild dogs hunt in the open rather than stalking prey, which requires dense foliage for cover.

Gray Wolves’ original range extended from the Arctic to 20 degrees South, covering most of the Northern Hemisphere, passing through central and southern Mexico, North Africa, and South Asia.

Gray wolf populations are now only found in a few places in the contiguous United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and Eurasia owing to habitat degradation, climate changes, human hostility, and other impediments to population development.

They live in a wide range of environments, including arctic tundra, forest, prairie, and dry terrain.

Research has shown that the whole ecosystem benefits from having wolves re-established in the wild, where they once roamed.

Diet and Nutrition

The African wild dog is a hyper carnivore, which indicates that meat makes up more than 70% of its diet.

Packs prefer antelope, but will also take down wildebeest, warthogs, rodents, and birds. But, again, the prey determines the hunting strategy.

Antelopes are hunted by the pack sneaking up on the herd and then rushing down an individual, biting it on the legs and belly until it is weak.

Wild dogs can run at speeds up to 66 kph and hunt for 10-60 minutes, amazing isn’t it.

They have a high hunting success rate, with 60-90% tracking ending in kills.

Gray wolves eat meat and are carnivores. They pursue prey alone, steal meals, or scavenge carrion in groups

In packs, wolves hunt giant prey such as moose, elk, bison, musk oxen, and reindeer.

When these large ungulates are attacked, the wolf bites the torso, flanks, and shoulder areas. Wolves can consume up to 9 kg of animal flesh in a single serving.

Lonely wolves usually prey on small prey such as beavers, rabbits and other small mammals, forming an integral part of their diet.


African wild dogs exist in packs of seven to fifteen members, with some packs having as many as forty members. These dogs have a distinct social structure inside the group.

They work together to care for injured and sick members, and there is little intimidation among the pack’s members. A dominant pair exists in every hunting group. They’re frequently the lone couple who stays together for the rest of their lives.

Both males and females care for and feed the young.

The pack’s hunters return to the den and regurgitate food for the nursing moms and their offspring.

Gray wolves live in groups led by the alpha pair and are territorial.

The alpha pair’s pack usually includes 6 to 8 offspring, which may also have some unrelated wolves. A pack’s region can be as expansive as 13,000 square km.

Howling, body language, and scent are all ways gray wolves interact with one another.

The howl is used to bring the pack together, communicate with other packs, and establish territorial borders.

The wolves use facial expressions, postures, and tail positions to communicate emotions and status within the pack.

Back to our original question who would win a fight between an African wild dog and a wolf?

Gray wolves are more prominent than wild dogs in terms of size. However, the bite force of both species is equivalent, with the wolf having a slight advantage.

Wolves’ prey is larger and more dangerous than African wild dogs, making them more hazardous to hunt. However, wild dogs’ hunting technique is far superior, which has a hunting success rate of 81 percent.

Both Canidae family members hunt in packs, but here we are looking to investigate a possible one-on-one fight.

Wild dogs are experts. They focus on and execute a particular goal with efficiency.

They target the weak prey in a group and use speed and stamina to overwhelm them and kill them quickly.

The gray wolf also looks for the weakness in its prey. But they use their numbers and patience to tire their prey until they finally bring them to the ground.

Wild Dogs hunt prey that is larger than them, but they do not attack retaliating prey.

Gray Wolves hunt rugged and dangerous prey such as deer, elk, moose, and even bison.

They also regularly injure and kill lone wolves or wolves from competing packs. However, wild dogs rarely kill each other.

Gray Wolves are tough, rugged, and built for battle. African Wild Dogs are lean, agile, and quick. If a wild dog encounters a gray wolf, the dog will flee.

Finally, I believe that if an African wild dog and a Gray wolf fight, the wolf will win.

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