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Bush dog

These stocky carnivores are members of the dog family that hunt in family groups. They originate from eastern Central America and north-eastern Argentina.

The species is particularly difficult to find in the wild, standing at just 30cm tall and being instinctively elusive it can be difficult to find in the forests. They often live close to rivers and have partially webbed feet making them great swimmers.

Bush dogs are currently classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Fast Facts

  • Status

    Near Threatened

  • Size

    30cm tall and 58-75cm long

  • Weight

    5-7kg

  • Gestation

    65-70 days

  • Young

    up to 6 pups per litter

  • Lifespan

    up to 10 years in captivity

A bush dog stands outdoors at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
A bush dog stands outdoors at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

In the wild

Mainly small mammals such as armadillos and rodents and sometimes birds. Diet depends on where they are living and what prey is readily available. They generally occur near water sources, particularly small streams where the likelihood of finding prey is greater.

Bush dogs are normally found in forest, savannah or grassland, close to water where the likelihood of finding prey is greater. They originate from a broad area from eastern Central America and north-eastern Argentina. Their range is decreasing due to land being used for housing and urban areas, wood and pulp plantations and farms/ranches.

Bush dogs mate throughout the year and can give birth to anything from 1-6 pups in a litter. Young will stay with the family group, which will be made up of a monogamous couple and their offspring. The young from previous litters stay with the family to help hunt, carry pups and guard the den.

Bush dogs have no natural predators.

The main threat to bush dogs is habitat loss through residential and commercial development as well as the creation of farms and ranches and wood and pulp plantations. They are also particularly susceptible to diseases contracted from domestic dogs. Illegal poaching of their prey also poses a risk to bush dogs who are having to survive on remaining prey.

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