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13 African Dog Breeds: Domesticated and Wild Canines (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Dogster Team


13 African Dog Breeds: Domesticated and Wild Canines (With Pictures)

When we think of the animals of Africa, we usually picture elephants, giraffes, gazelles, and big cats. We don’t often realize that many dog breeds also originated on the continent. This list will familiarize you with the many diverse and beautiful breeds of dogs from Africa.


The 13 African Dog Breeds

1. Abyssinian Sand Terrier

Abyssinian Sand Terrier
Image Credit: Linda Hughes Photography, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Temperament: Fearless, loyal, affectionate
Height: 15.5 to 20.5 inches
Weight: 21 to 39 pounds
Colors: Black, gray, sand, bronze, mottled

The Abyssinian Sand Terrier is an active dog that loves playing with children and running. They are also affectionate and loyal to their families. This loyalty makes them quite protective of their homes. However, they get along well with other dogs and pets. These medium-sized dogs are hairless, giving them an unusual look. An interesting fact about these dogs is they are often unable to bark unless they are kept near other breeds and learn the behavior.

2. Africanis

Image Credit: YteWabbit, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Temperament: Polite, independent, patient
Height: 20 to 24 inches
Weight: 55 to 100 pounds
Colors: White, brown, black, tan

The term Africanis refers to the aboriginal dogs of South Africa. The breed is believed to have developed naturally, and these dogs have coexisted happily with humans in South African villages for centuries. As pets, Africanis dogs are independent and don’t require as much attention as other dogs. However, they are also friendly and patient and do well with children. They also tend to get along well with other dogs. They need exercise every day and enjoy long walks, runs, and other vigorous activities.

3. African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 11 years
Temperament: Pack animals, wild, hunters
Height: 29.5 to 43 inches
Weight: 39.5 to 79 pounds
Colors: Mottled, multi-color

The African Wild Dog is only found in the wild, so the name is still quite apt. They are not domesticated and thus, are not pets. They hunt in large packs of up to 20 dogs. Their lifestyle is cooperative as they share food and pup care. The African Wild Dog is also very vocal with the pack, using yips and barks to communicate. Unfortunately, these beautiful creatures are now endangered. Their numbers in the wild have dwindled due to overhunting and human encroachment on their territory.

4. Aidi

aidi dogs
Image Credit: Erik Lam, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 13 years
Temperament: Protective, energetic, affectionate
Height: 20 to 24 inches
Weight: 50 to 55 pounds
Colors: White, red, tawny, black

The Aidi was originally bred as a guard dog, so they make loyal and protective family dogs. Even though they are guardians by nature, they are very affectionate with their families. Because of their protectiveness, the Aidi should receive plenty of obedience training from puppyhood through adulthood to prevent unwelcome aggression. These dogs are also very energetic and love long walks and the freedom to roam in large, fenced yards.

5. Azawakh

Azawakh close up
Image Credit: pattyplex, Pixabay
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Temperament: Protective, loyal, independent
Height: 23.5 to 29 inches
Weight: 33 to 55 pounds
Colors: Sand, red, white, black, blue, gray, brown, brindle

The Azawakh has been used as a hunter and guard dog in the Sahara Desert for centuries. They also make great companions and are loyal family dogs. The Azawakh generally does not like strangers and can be very protective of their families and homes. They love to run and chase due to their hunting background. If you are considering an Azawakh, you should have a fenced area where they can run freely. It is also important to note that the Azawakh has very little body fat and will need a sweater or jacket in cold weather.

6. Basenji

Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Temperament: High-spirited, curious, stubborn
Height: 15 to 17 inches
Weight: 22 to 24 pounds
Colors: Red, black, white, tan, brindle

The Basenji is an active and energetic dog. They like to chase, watch, and fetch. Unusual features of the Basenji are that they can climb quite well and do not bark. Instead, they will howl and yip when they want to be vocal. The Basenji can make an excellent pet with care and consideration of their needs. The Basenji may not do well with other smaller pets such as cats and rabbits. They do not like to be left alone for long periods. Regular mental and physical exercise is a must to keep the Basenji happy and non-destructive.

7. Boerboel

Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Temperament: Intelligent, playful, protective
Height: 22 to 28 inches
Weight: 110 to 200 pounds
Colors: Fawn, red, black, brown, brindle

The Boerboel’s large size makes it a great guard dog, while their gentle and playful personality makes them wonderful family pets. Because of their protective nature, the Boerboel can be overaggressive with strangers. They also need plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Their large size requires a yard with a tall, sturdy fence. The Boerboel likes to please their people, so they do well when they have a job or other engaging activity to focus on.

8. Chinese Crested Dog

Chinese Crested Dog
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 13 to 18 years
Temperament: Playful, affectionate, sensitive
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
Colors: Mahogany, blue, lavender, copper

Despite their name, these dogs truly do originate from Africa, not China. In fact, their original name was African Hairless Terriers. If you are looking for a dog to be your constant companion, the Chinese Crested is the right dog for you. These little dogs have large personalities. They are known to be loyal, playful, and affectionate but also stubborn and sensitive. If you are not someone who spends most of your time at home, the Chinese Crested would be a poor choice. For the right owner, however, they make loving friends. They also require surprisingly little exercise and are quite content to lay next to you on the couch. There are two kinds of Chinese Crested. The Hairless Chinese Crested has hair on their feet, head, and tail. The Powderpuff Crested has silky hair covering its entire body.

9. Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 14 to 17 years
Temperament: Playful, gentle, friendly
Height: 8 to 12 inches
Weight: 8 to 13 pounds
Colors: White

The Coton de Tulear is a wonderful, easy-going, friendly pet. They love to be around people and get along well with other animals. They also have very low dander and are low shedding. The Coton is intelligent and playful. They love human attention and happily perform tricks. They are also quite active, so a fenced yard or long walks will keep them happy. Because they love people and attention, they do not do well when left alone for long periods. They will resort to chewing and barking when lonely.

10. Greyhound

Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 10 to 13 years
Temperament: Sweet, sensitive, affectionate
Height: 27 to 30 inches
Weight: 60 to 70 pounds
Colors: Black, white, brown, red, fawn, blue, tan, liver, brindle

The Greyhound is the fastest breed of dog. They can run 40 to 45 miles per hour. They were originally bred as hunting dogs and now also do well in agility and other dog sports. Despite their speed, the Greyhound is a quiet, calm pet. Once they are past puppyhood, the Greyhound needs a surprisingly low amount of exercise. They enjoy cuddling on the sofa as much as they do long walks. Because they are naturally very thin, Greyhound requires a sweater or jacket in cold weather.

11. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, stubborn
Height: 24 to 27 inches
Weight: 64 to 90 pounds
Colors: Gold, red

Once used to hunt lions, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is now a fairly popular pet dog in both South Africa and the United States. These intelligent and active dogs do require a significant amount of exercise and training. Their large size can make them appear intimidating, and their protective nature requires training to harness. With time and effort, the Ridgeback can be a wonderful family pet. They can also live peacefully with other dogs and even cats if they are properly socialized from an early age.

12. Saluki

Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Temperament: Aloof, shy, devoted
Height: 23 to 28 inches
Weight: 35 to 70 pounds
Colors: White, cream, gold, tan, black, fawn

The Saluki is almost as fast as the Greyhound, running at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. They love to be clean and shed very little. They also have thin, bony bodies and need soft and cushioned places to sleep. Salukis love running and require enough space to run at a full sprint every day. When they are not exercising, Salukis like to relax with their humans. They bond with their family and can become distressed if left alone for a long time. One thing to be aware of is the Saluki’s prey drive. Because of this, they will try to hunt small pets. Salukis can live with other dogs but not those with strong, dominant personalities.

13. Sloughi

Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Temperament: Protective, intelligent, affectionate
Height: 24 to 29 inches
Weight: 40 to 63 pounds
Colors: Light sand, red sand

The Sloughi is another very fast dog. They come from North Africa and their speed made them ideal for hunting. Sloughis have a very strong prey drive and should not be unsupervised around smaller animals. They do well with older children and are quite affectionate with and protective of their family. Sloughis need a lot of exercise and firm, consistent training to harness their boundless energy.



The decision to bring a dog into your family is not one to take lightly. Each breed comes with unique personalities, needs, and quirks. The best way to find the right dog for you is to research. Hopefully, this list has provided some insight into the different African dog breeds and given you some ideas about the best choice for your next furry companion.

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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