About animals

Bush Dog


A shrub dog is one of the most unusual dogs, because outwardly it resembles an otter or other semi-aquatic animal. Her physique is heavy, dense, her body is elongated, her limbs are short. On the feet of the membrane. The tail is short, covered with thick hair. The head is large, with a short, dull muzzle. Ears are small, as if chopped off. The eyes are quite large.

The coat is long, smooth, and stiff. The color darkens from reddish-brown on the head to a dark brown, almost black tail. The legs and stomach are also darker than the rest of the body, sometimes there is a bright spot on the throat. In puppies, the fur coat is darker than in adult animals.

The shrub dog is small in size: body length 57–75 cm, tail 12-15 cm, height at the withers 25-30 cm, weight 5-7 kg.

It has the smallest number of teeth in the canine family — there are only 38–40 of them. During evolution, the size of the shrub dog decreased, and the skull shortened and the number of molars decreased.


Distributed in Panama, Venezuela, Guyana, southeast Peru, eastern Bolivia, northern Paraguay, in the extreme northeast of Argentina (Misiones province) and in Brazil (from the Amazon forests to the state of Santa Catarina). An isolated population is found in Ecuador and Colombia, west of the Andes.

Despite its wide range, a shrub dog is very rare. Initially, it was considered an extinct species, since it was known only for the fossilized remains found in Brazil.

Lifestyle & Nutrition

Shrub dog most often settles in moist tropical and gallery forests, choosing the most sparse, open areas of the forest. It is also found in the savannah. Keeps close to the water. The lifestyle of this species under natural conditions has been little studied, information about it was obtained mainly from observations of animals in captivity.

Shrub dogs lead a nocturnal lifestyle, spend the day in a hole that they dig themselves, or in a natural shelter. Sometimes the burrows of other animals (armadillos) occupy. These animals are perfectly adapted to life in dense thickets: they are squat, short-legged and densely knocked down, which allows them to freely get through the thicket. In addition, shrub dogs swim and dive perfectly, which, in general, is uncharacteristic for dogs.

These are the most social of the South American dogs: they keep and hunt in small flocks (from 4 to 10-12 individuals), less often in married couples. They feed mainly on large rodents: akushi (Myoprocta), agouti (Dasyprocta) and pack (Agouti) A flock can attack animals that exceed them in mass - capybaras and ostrich nandus. The meat is swallowed without chewing, which is functionally associated with a decrease in the number of molars and poor development of the remaining ones.

The sounds made by bush dogs are very diverse. Usually they make high sounds, similar to barking, through which they communicate with each other in a dense forest.


As with many canids, the dominant female in shrub dogs suppresses other females, preventing their reproduction. Females in captivity have a heat in captivity twice a year, which lasts for 4 days, but in nature its timing is most likely determined not by the season, but by social factors. After 63–67 days of pregnancy, the female gives birth to 1–6 puppies in the den. She feeds them milk for up to 8 weeks. Males bring lactating females food. At the age of 1 year, young dogs become sexually mature, live up to 10 years.


  1. Sokolov V.E. The bilingual dictionary of animal names. Mammals Latin, Russian, English, German, French. / edited by Acad. V. E. Sokolova. - M.: Rus. lang., 1984. - S. 95. - 10,000 copies.
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Adult shrub dogs have a soft, long, brownish-brown fur, with a lighter reddish tint on the head, neck and back and a fluffy tail, while the lower one is dark, sometimes with a lighter throat patch. Younger individuals, however, have black fur over their entire bodies. Adults, as a rule, have a head body length of 57-75 cm (22-30 inches), with a tail of 12.5-15 cm (5-6 inches). They have a shoulder height of 20-30 cm (8-12 inches) and weigh 5-8 kg (11-18 pounds). They have short legs relative to their body, as well as a short muzzle and relatively small ears.

The teeth are adapted for their carnivorous habits. Unique to American Canids, the dental formula is


a total of 38 teeth. The bush dog is one of three species (canine two others being Dhole and African wild dog) with a sharp heel bite, having a single point of return on the talonid lower predatory teeth of the tooth, which increases the length of the cutting disc. Women have four pairs of nipples and both sexes have large odorous glands on either side of the anus. Bush dogs have partially webbed fingers that allow them to swim more efficiently.

Distribution and habitat

Bush dogs are found from Costa Rica in Central America and throughout much of South America east of the Andes, as far south as central Bolivia, Paraguay and southern Brazil. They mainly live in flat forests up to 1,900 m (6,200 ft) high, wet savannahs and other habitats near rivers, but can also be found in the Cerrado dryer and open pastures. The historical range of this species can be extended as far north as Costa Rica, where the species can still survive in a suitable habitat.

There are three recognized subspecies:

  • bush dog south america ( Speothos venaticus venaticus ) - southern Colombia and Venezuela, in Guyanas, most of Brazil, East Ecuador and Peru, Bolivia, northern Paraguay
  • panama bush dog ( Speothos venaticus panamensis ) - Panama, Northern Columbia and Venezuela, Ecuador Western
  • south bush dog ( Speothos venaticus wingei ) - in southern Brazil and Paraguay, extreme northeastern Argentina


Bush dogs are carnivores and hunt throughout the day. Their typical prey are pacas, agouti and capybaras, all large rodents. Despite the fact that they can hunt alone, shrub dogs are usually in small packages. Dogs can bring down much larger prey, including bakers and nanda, and a pack of six dogs even reported hunting for 250 kg (550 pounds) of tapir. When hunting for Pak, part of the pack drives him to the ground and part of him waits for him in the water, where she often retreats.

Bush dogs appear to be the most sociable South American canine species. They use hollow logs and a cavity, such as an armadillo burrow for shelter. The packages consist of one docked pair and their immediate family, and there is a home range of 3.8 to 10 square kilometers (1.5 to 3.9 square miles). Only an adult pair of breeds, while the rest of the pack obey, and help with the upbringing and protection of any puppies. Keep single-tying in contact with frequent whines, perhaps because in conditions of poor visibility in the undergrowth, where they usually hunt. When eating large prey, parents position themselves at both ends of the animal, making it easier for puppies to gut it.


Bush dogs mate throughout the year, estrus lasts up to twelve days and occurs every 15 to 44 days. Like many other canids, a bush dog mating involves a copulative relationship during which animals are locked together. Urine labeling plays a significant role in their pre-copulative behavior.

Pregnancy lasts from 65 to 83 days, which usually leads to the birth of a litter of three to six puppies, although large litters of up to 10 have been reported. Cubs are born blind and helpless and initially weigh between 125 and 190 g (4.4 to 6.7 ounces). The eyes open after 14 to 19 days and the puppies first exit the Christmas lair shortly afterwards. Young take away at about four weeks and reach puberty at the age of one year. They can live up to 10 years in captivity.