The Africanis is a dog breed developed from a landrace of dogs that occur across southern Africa.[1]

Africanis (1).jpg
Other namesAfrican Dog
Bantu Dog
Hottentot Hunting Dog
Khoikhoi Dog
Tswana dog
Zulu Dog
OriginSouthern Africa
Height 55–62 cm (22–24 in) ± 3 cm (1.2 in)
Coat Short, compact, harsh and thick double-coat
Colour All colours or combinations of colours
Kennel club standards
Kennel Union of Southern Africa standard
Dog (domestic dog)


Africanis dogs resting in the grass and enjoying the sun.

A basic variety of landrace dog can be found distributed across Africa; within this broad grouping there are regional variations, believed to be the result of isolation and a limited degree of deliberate breeding, the name Africanis has been given to these dogs found in southern Africa.[2][3] Some modern writers describe the Africanis as a pariah dog, this is considered an inappropriate classification as that term typically denotes an ownerless, free-ranging dog; whilst considered a landrance with limited human interference in their breeding, the Africanis was typically maintained by human owners.[2]

The Africanis, is a medium-sized, lightly-built dog with a long slender muzzle and usually a short coat, it has been described as resembling a cross between a Greyhound and a Dingo.[2][3] It can be found in almost any colour or combination of colours, although fawns, browns, brindles and blacks with various white markings are common.[2][3] It usually stands between 55 and 62 centimetres (22 and 24 in), being a landrace minor variations in appearance are common, but the Africanis is known to breed very true to a recognisable form.[3]


All indigenous dogs in Africa descend from ancient Egyptian dogs found throughout the Nile Delta from the 5th millennium BC,[note 1] it is believed the descendants of these dogs spread throughout Africa with tribal movements, first throughout the Sahara and finally reaching southern Africa around the 6th century AD.[note 2][2][3]

The Africanis has almost always been attached to human settlement in southern Africa, it was used variously to assist in herding sheep, goats and cattle, guard against the many predators found in Africa and to assist in hunting.[2][3]

Whilst generally looked down upon by European settlers who preferred their imported dog breeds, the Africanis was held in higher esteem by Europeans in Africa than the Indian pye-dog was in India.[2]

In recent times efforts have been made to protect, preserve and promote these dogs, and prevent them from being split into a number of different breeds based upon different distinguishing physical features.[3][6] The Africanis Society of Southern Africa based in Pretoria was established to do just this, these dogs are recognised as a single diverse breed and it is now recognised by the Kennel Union of Southern Africa (KUSA) as an emerging breed.[3][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The oldest dog remains to be found in Africa date 5,900 years before present (YBP) and were discovered at the Merimde Beni-Salame Neolithic site in the Nile Delta, Egypt. The next oldest remains date 5,500 YBP and were found at Esh Shareinab on the Nile in Sudan. This suggests that the dog arrived from Asia at the same time as domestic sheep and goats.[4] The dog then spread north to south down Africa beside livestock herders, with remains found in archaeological sites dated 925–1,055 YBP at Ntusi in Uganda, dated 950–1,000 YBP at Kalomo in Zambia, and then at sites south of the Limpopo River and into southern Africa.[5] Archaeologists working in Africa have difficulty distinguishing ancient domestic dog remains from those of jackals, there are only a few distinguishing skeletal parts and those diagnostic parts are not always preserved.[2]
  2. ^ The earliest skeletal remains of dogs in southern Africa were found at archaeological sites in Limpopo Province, South Africa and date from around 570 AD.[2]


  1. ^ KUSA breed standard
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Moggs, Tim; Sealy, Judith (2008). "Africanis: the pre-colonial dog of Africa". In van Sittert, Lance; Swart, Sandra (eds.). Canis Africanis: a dog history of Southern Africa. Leiden: Brill. pp. 35–52. ISBN 978-90-04-15419-3.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Morris, Desmond (2001). Dogs: the ultimate guide to over 1,000 dog breeds. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square Publishing. pp. 685–686. ISBN 1-57076-219-8.
  4. ^ Gautier, Achilles (2001). "The Early to Late Neolithic Archeofaunas from Nabta and Bir Kiseiba". Holocene Settlement of the Egyptian Sahara. pp. 609–635. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-0653-9_23. ISBN 978-1-4613-5178-8. refer page 620
  5. ^ Clutton, Juliet; Driscoll, Carlos A. (2016). "1-Origins of the dog:The archaeological evidence". In James Serpell (ed.). The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions with People (2 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-107-02414-4.
  6. ^ a b Arman, Koharik (September 2007). "A new direction for kennel club regulations and breed standards". Canadian Veterinary Journal. 48: 953–965. PMC 1950109. PMID 17966340.

External linksEdit