Dhole, Asiatic Wild Dog, Indian Wild Dog, Red Dog

(Cuon alpinus)


Dhole, Asiatic Wild Dog, Indian Wild Dog, Red Dog IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

The dhole is a medium-sized dog of light and graceful proportions. The head-body length ranges from 75-110 cm, the tail from 41-50 cm, and the body-weight from 10-20 kg.


The muzzle is shorter than in most other dogs, with a large nose pad. There are 40 teeth, two less than in the lower jaw than above, the 3rd lower molar is absent. The ears are erect and rounded. The sexes look alike. The female has 16 teats instead of the usual 10 of Canis.


The coat is uniform, dorsally red or yellow or rust, the underparts and throat are whitish. The back of the ears, neck and shoulders are slightly duller but the same colour. The dorsal guard hairs are 25-30 mm long. They are shorter in southern animals. The tail is darker than the body and usually black-tipped. The outer parts of the legs are of the same colour as the body, the inner sides are pale and the paws can be white.


Dholes are highly social animals living in packs and hunting cooperatively. A pack consists of usually 5 to 12, sometimes up to 20 members and contains a dominant monogamous pair. After a gestation period of 60-62 days, the female gives birth to a litter of usually eight pups, which are born in a den built near riverbeds or among rocks. Birth season is from November to March. Subordinate pack members help care for the young of the dominant pair. The pups reach sexual maturity at about a year.


The dhole is an opportunistic feeder eating berries, fruit, insects, lizards, and mammals from small rodent to large deer size, including hares, wild boar, various ruminants, and even monkeys.

Did you know?
That the dhole has some extraordinary vocal calls - it can whistle, scream, mew- and even cluck like a chicken, and that it can pee while doing a handstand on its front two legs?


Name (Scientific) Cuon alpinus
Name (English) Dhole, Asiatic Wild Dog, Indian Wild Dog, Red Dog
Name (French) Dhole, Chien sauvage d'Asie, Cuon d'Asie
Name (German) Rothund
Name (Spanish) Cuon asiático, Perro salvaje asiático
Local names Gujarati: Kol kutta
Hindi: Dhole, Son, Ram, Jangli kutta, Ban kutta
Kashmiri: Kadu nai, Chira nai
Tamil: Chen nai, Kattu nai
Tibetan: Sidda ki
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Ber' Zophus



Range Central and eastern Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Viet Nam
Habitat The dhole is found in a wide variety of vegetation types, including: primary, secondary and degraded forms of tropical dry and moist deciduous forest; evergreen and semi-evergreen forests; dry thorn forests; grassland–scrub–forest mosaics; and alpine steppe (above 3,000 m). They are not recorded from desert regions (IUCN Red List 2006)
Wild population It is estimated that fewer than 2,500 mature individuals remain in the wild and the declining population trend is expected to continue. Main threats to the species include ongoing habitat loss, depletion of prey base, interspecific comeptition, persecution and possibly disease transfer from domestic and feral dogs.(IUCN Red List 2006)
Zoo population There are at least 110 dholes in captivity, and the sex ratio is approximately even. Except for some captive populations in India heterozygosity appears to be good, but there is little chance of breeding the putative subspecies as animals from diverse geographical origins have been widely interbred (M. Boeer, pers. comm.). 163 reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Dhole, Asiatic Wild Dog, Indian Wild Dog, Red Dog


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 82 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by

Why do zoos keep this animal

The dhole is an endangered species in the wild with a small and declining population. Building up and maintaining an ex situ-reserve population is therefore of conservation interest. But the species is also of educational value because of its complex social life.