12 Dog Breeds That Originated in Africa

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Written By Betty T.

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12 dog breeds that originated in Africa include the Basenji, Boerboel, Coton de Tulear, Azawakh, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Sloughi, Africanis, Chinese Crested Dog, Aidi, Abyssinian Sand Terrier, Saluki, and African Wild Dog. These breeds have rich histories and unique characteristics that make them highly sought after by dog enthusiasts worldwide.

From the ancient Basenji to the noble Boerboel and the elegant Azawakh, these African dog breeds showcase the continent’s diverse cultural and geographical influences. Whether you’re looking for a loyal guardian, a swift hunter, or a friendly companion, these African dog breeds offer a wide range of temperaments and abilities to suit any owner’s needs.

Discover the fascinating world of African dog breeds and find the perfect canine companion that embodies the spirit of Africa.

12 Dog Breeds That Originated in Africa

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The Oldest Dog Breed In Africa

The Basenji is an ancient breed with a rich history that can be traced back thousands of years in Africa. This breed is often referred to as the “barkless dog” due to its unique vocalization, which sounds more like a yodel or a howl rather than a typical bark. The Basenji’s origins can be found in Central Africa, particularly in regions that are now part of Congo, Sudan, and other surrounding areas.

Basenji: An Ancient Breed With A Rich History

The Basenji’s history dates back to ancient times, where it was developed by African hunters to assist in hunting small game in dense forests. This breed was highly valued for its ability to navigate through thick underbrush and its excellent hunting skills. The Basenji’s small size, agility, and keen sense of smell made it a crucial companion for African hunters.

Interesting Facts about the Basenji:

  • The Basenji is one of the oldest known dog breeds in the world.
  • It is a small to medium-sized breed, typically weighing between 22 to 26 pounds.
  • Basenjis are known for their unique intelligence and independent nature.
  • They are naturally clean dogs and exhibit cat-like grooming habits.
  • The Basenji’s distinctive vocalization, often compared to a yodel, is caused by their laryngeal anatomy.

Basenji’s Adaptability:

The Basenji’s rich history and adaptability have made it a beloved breed among dog enthusiasts around the world. While they were originally bred for hunting, Basenjis have successfully transitioned into family pets and excel in various activities, such as agility, obedience, and even therapy work.


The Basenji’s ancient origins and rich history make it a fascinating breed. Today, it continues to captivate dog lovers with its unique characteristics and charm. Whether as a loyal companion or an exceptional athlete, the Basenji remains a testament to Africa’s diverse and remarkable canine heritage.

African Wild Dog: The Unique Breed

The African Wild Dog is a unique breed that stands out for its distinct coat. Also known as the painted wolf, this fascinating canine species features an irregular pattern of colors and markings that make it visually striking.

The Painted Wolf With Irregular Coat

The African Wild Dog, scientifically known as Lycaon pictus, earned its nickname “painted wolf” due to its beautifully mottled coat. This remarkable breed showcases patches of red, black, brown, white, and yellow fur, creating a unique and eye-catching appearance.

This irregular coat is not just for show; it also serves as camouflage in the grasslands and woodlands of Africa. The complex color pattern helps the African Wild Dog blend into its surroundings, making it an effective hunter.

Behavioral Traits And Social Structure

In addition to its striking appearance, the African Wild Dog possesses fascinating behavioral traits. These dogs are highly social animals, living in packs that typically consist of 10 to 40 individuals.

Within the pack, there is a strict hierarchy, with an alpha male and female leading the group. This efficient social structure ensures effective cooperation during hunting and defense.

Conservation Status And Threats

Despite their captivating beauty and unique characteristics, African Wild Dogs are currently facing numerous threats. With a declining population, they are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The main challenges these dogs face include habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and infectious diseases. Conservation efforts and raising awareness are crucial to ensure the survival of this remarkable breed.

The Giant Dogs Of Africa

The Giant Dogs of Africa – Boerboel: South African Breed of Mastiff Type

Africa is not only known for its diverse wildlife but also for its unique dog breeds that have been developed over centuries. One fascinating group of dogs that originated in Africa is the giant breeds. These magnificent canines have captured the attention of dog enthusiasts around the world with their impressive size, strength, and loyal nature.

Boerboel: South African Breed Of Mastiff Type

The Boerboel is a remarkable South African breed of dog that falls under the Mastiff type category. This giant dog breed is highly regarded for its formidable appearance and unwavering loyalty.

The Boerboel is known for its large and robust body, characterized by a strong bone structure and well-developed muscles. With a short, dense coat that requires low maintenance, the Boerboel boasts both elegance and power.

Originally bred as a reliable and fierce guardian, the Boerboel is a natural protector and an excellent family dog. Its instinctive nature to guard and protect makes it highly suitable as a loyal companion and an effective watchdog.

This giant breed demands experienced ownership and proper socialization from an early age. Adequate training and regular exercise are vital for the Boerboel’s physical and mental well-being. With the right care and guidance, the Boerboel can become a gentle and affectionate member of the family.

In conclusion, the Boerboel is an impressive giant dog breed that originates from South Africa. Its strong physique, coupled with its loyal and protective nature, make the Boerboel a standout companion for those seeking a formidable yet loving companion for life.

12 Dog Breeds That Originated in Africa

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Other Notable African Dog Breeds

In addition to the well-known African dog breeds like the Basenji, Boerboel, and Rhodesian Ridgeback, there are several other remarkable breeds that originated in Africa. These breeds have unique characteristics and histories that make them deserving of recognition. Let’s take a closer look at some of the lesser-known African dog breeds that have made their mark.

Coton De Tulear: A Companion And Show Dog

The Coton de Tulear is a small and fluffy breed that hails from Madagascar. With its cotton-like coat and endearing personality, the Coton de Tulear has become a popular choice as a companion and show dog. Known for their friendly and playful demeanor, these dogs are great with families and get along well with other pets. Their luxurious white coats require regular grooming to keep them looking their best.

Rhodesian Ridgeback: A Versatile Hunter

The Rhodesian Ridgeback, also known as the African Lion Dog, is a versatile hound breed originally developed in Zimbabwe. These majestic dogs were bred to be both skilled hunters and loyal protectors. They have a distinctive ridge of hair along their backs, which sets them apart from other breeds. With their athletic build and clever hunting instincts, Rhodesian Ridgebacks excel in various activities such as tracking, lure coursing, and agility competitions.

Africanis: The Original Dog Of Africa

The Africanis can be considered the true original dog of Africa. These dogs have been living on the continent for centuries and have adapted to thrive in diverse environments. They are known for their intelligence, resilience, and loyalty. Africanis dogs come in a range of sizes, colors, and coat types, reflecting the localities they originate from. They make excellent working dogs, companions, and protectors, which is why they are highly valued by the people of Africa.

12 Dog Breeds That Originated in Africa

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Frequently Asked Questions For 12 Dog Breeds That Originated In Africa

What Breed Of Dog Originated In Africa?

The Basenji is the breed of dog that originated in Africa. It is an ancient breed with a rich history that dates back thousands of years.

What Is The Oldest Dog Breed In Africa?

The Basenji is the oldest dog breed in Africa, with a rich history dating back thousands of years. It originated in Central Africa and was developed by African hunters for small game hunting in dense forests.

What Breed Is The African Wild Dog?

The African wild dog is also known as the Cape hunting dog or painted dog. It has a mottled coat with patches of red, black, brown, white, and yellow fur.

What Are The Giant Dogs In Africa?

The Boerboel is a giant dog breed in Africa, known for its strength and protective nature. It is used as a family guard dog due to its large size, muscular build, and short coat.


Africa is home to a variety of dog breeds with unique origins and characteristics. From the ancient Basenji to the protective Boerboel, these dogs have played important roles in African culture and history. Whether you’re looking for a loyal companion or a skilled hunter, there is a dog breed from Africa that can meet your needs.

Explore the fascinating world of African dog breeds and discover the rich diversity that this continent has to offer.

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