Dhole

The wild dog of Asia was once found throughout much of the continent, but this species is now endangered and has a much restricted range.

A lone dhole photographed next to a river in eastern Cambodia rel=
A lone dhole photographed next to a river in eastern Cambodia
© WWF-Canon / Martin von Kaschke

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Key Facts

  • Common Names

    Dhole, Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, red dog

  • Scientific Name

    Cuon alpinus

  • Status

    Endangered (C2A(i)) CITES Appendix II

  • Population

    Fewer than 2,500 mature individuals

Physical Description
The dhole has a broad skull and a short, broad muzzle. The fur on the back and flanks is reddish brown, while the neck, chest and undersides are white or lightly coloured.

Size
The dhole is 90cm in length, 50cm in shoulder height and has a tail of up to 45cm. It weighs between 12 and 20kg.

Ecology & Habitat
The dhole is found in a wide variety of habitat types, including deciduous and evergreen forests and alpine steppe.

Population & Distribtion
The declining population trend is expected to continue, and the range of the dhole is much fragmented and reduced.

Although its range in Cambodia is still unclear, this species has been photographed recently in Srepok wilderness area, Virachey National Park and Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary.

Moreover, the survey team of WWF Cambodia's AREAS project also confirmed the fact that it is widespread in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary.

Threats
Main threats to the species include ongoing habitat loss, depletion of prey base, persecution and possibly disease transfer from domestic and feral dogs.

The main prey for the dhole are ungulates, which have also suffered high depletion of their population across the dhole's range. Many ungulate species are now extinct in the region and others are extremely rare, mostly due to excessive hunting and habitat loss.

 / ©: Wikimedia Commons
Dhole range. Red shows current range, green shows probable range and pink shows historic range.
© Wikimedia Commons

Range States

Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Lao PDR; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nepal; Russian Federation; Tajikistan; Thailand; Viet Nam

What is WWF doing?

WWF's work focuses on protecting vital habitat which in turn will support prey species for predators such as dhole. It works with local communities and governments to establish and manage protected areas and wildlife sanctuaries, Work to protect priority species such as elephants, rhinos, tigers and leopards has a positive knock-on effect on other endangered species such as dhole.

Priority regions

How you can help

  • Donate funds to help protect these magical areas - see how you can help the Srepok Wilderness Area
  • Spread the word! Click on the button to share this information with others via email or your favourite social networking service.

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Did you know?

    • Dholes featured in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, as the ferocious red dogs.
    • Dholes are very social, living in packs of around 10 animals.
    • When hunting as a pack dholes can subdue prey 10 times their body weight.

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