Africanis Dog Breed

  • Other names:
  • African Dog
  • Bantu Dog
  • Hottentot Hunting Dog
  • Zulu Dog
  • African Hunting Dog
  • Tswana Dog
  • Khoikhoi Dog
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Pronunciation: [ Afri•KA•neese]

The Africanis is a primitive dog native to South Africa. Some say it is a landrace and not a breed as defined by Western standards, and others argue it is indeed a breed. These medium-sized, sleek dogs may seem wild but are fairly easy to domesticate, and they are becoming more and more popular outside their native area.

Africanis Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred10-12 yrs.20-24 in.55-100 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Africanis presents many contradictions: they are ancient dogs that can live in the wild as well as be comfortable as domestic companions, they demand a leader but are easy to train, and they are considered both a breed and a landrace. Depending on your personality, they may or may not be good for a first-time dog owner. They are fine having daily tasks, and hunting is one of their best occupations. They can also make excellent companions.

Here are some more African hunting dog facts:


  • High stamina
  • Easy to train
  • Great watchdog
  • Extremely loyal
  • Highly adaptable
  • Reserved attitude
  • Lots of endurance
  • Excellent guard dog
  • Works well in packs
  • Few health concerns
  • Low grooming needs


  • Very territorial
  • Needs a lot of space
  • Can be dog-aggressive
  • Extensive exercise needs
  • Hypoallergenic aspect is unknown
  • Not good for apartments or confined homes

Africanis Breed Description

The Africanis is described as a dog that is somewhat domesticated but also a bit feral in nature. They are hounds that prefer a pack and a very strong alpha. They are also rather adaptable and continue to become popular outside South Africa where they are most commonly found.

These dogs are extremely intelligent, and while they are fine with little human contact, they live and work well enough with people too. The right person can train them for a variety of jobs from hunting, to guarding, to herding.

The one thing these dogs recognize above all else is loyalty to the pack. As the pack is headed up by a master (or alpha), they tend to be extremely easy to train once that hierarchy is established. They can be devoted family companions, fierce territorial watch- and guard dogs, and able to be on their own.

The Africanis has a high drive to survive, and with it comes a very potentially energetic demeanor. They understand the need to conserve this energy, however, so they are not needlessly hyper. They do demand to stretch their legs frequently enough, and they do need long daily walks or a significant run.

Africanis Variations

The nature of variations in the Africanis "breed" may or may not be thoroughly documented, and even calling them a breed is contested. The Africanis Society of Southern Africa argues that the Africanis is not a breed but a "landrace," (meaning bred without a formal registry) whereas kennel clubs — such as the Kennel Union of South Africa (KUSA) — claim that the dog is an emergent breed. There can be a bit of confusion understanding these two views as they are somewhat similar. For example, the former view implicitly states that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed that is an "Africanis" (i.e., landrace) and the latter opinion claims that the big African dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback are not so much breeds in itself as they are part of the breed "Africanis" --along with the Hottentot Hunting Dog and other native South African dog types that many perceive as separate breeds.

Depending on which perspective you believe, there may be an immense variety of Africanis dogs based on geography, purpose and the ethnic groups that fashion the dogs in their region — or there may a single breed with no real variations due to such "variations" being nearly impossible to catalog. The jury is still out on this aspect of these dogs, and it may remain so for some time.

Africanis Health

The Africanis is a very healthy breed genetically. Unfortunately, these dogs have been exposed more and more to foreign diseases, and the pack nature has helped the transmission of them. The result has been a high incidence rate of canine distemper, rabies, and parvovirus, ailments that are not hereditary but transmissible. Cancer is perhaps the biggest genetic concern.

These dogs have developed over several thousand years and along the way have basically built up immunity against most parasites and bred out most congenital health problems. One issue that persists at a very low rate is the ridgeback type; breeding of these types is discouraged but may not be altogether prevented by non-domesticated dogs with this defect.

The average lifespan of the Africanis is 10 to 12 years.

  • Cancer
  • Dermoid Sinus
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies
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