African Dog Breeds
The Canidae family is a prolific one and it seems that our canine friends have touched mankind in almost every corner of the world. Dogs have been used as hunting partners, herding animals and pets to our ancestors for tens of thousands of years.
It’s interesting to see where different breeds come from and many native breeds have even grown to resemble the humans (& other animals) that have developed alongside them. Today we want to introduce breeds from the African continent, the place that spawned mankind is also home to a variety of canine breeds.
Thought to have come with the French to Madagascar, the Coton de Tulear is a bichon-type (probably interbred with local animals). They are a relatively rare breed, and generally only found in wealthy households in their native country. However they were re-introduced into Europe in the last 20 years and are growing in popularity.
Also called Tuareg Sloughi, this is a breed clearly well-suited to hot, desert climates, with its lean frame, long legs and regal bearing. The Azawakh comes from the Sehel region of Africa where they were traditionally bred by nomadic tribesmen for hunting, guarding livestock and companionship.
Also called Chien de l’Atlas, Atlas Sheepdog & Atlas Mountain Hound the Aidi comes from Morocco where it has been bred to protect both its owner and their property. This is thought to be a desert dog originating in the Sahara and while the name erroneously implies they are sheepdogs, these animals are not necessarily known for their talent as herders.
Also called Arabian Greyhound, Arabian Sighthound, Sloughi Moghrebi & Levrier Marocain the Sloughi is another breed that looks the desert part. Their origins are unknown, however they are thought to date before the 13th century in Morocco. Bred by nomadic Berber tribes, ownership of the Sloughi has traditionally been reserved for the likes of chiefs & kings.
Also called the Congo Dog, the Basenji is thought to come from ancient Egyptian animals – their likeness has been found in tombs that date back 5,000 years. Traditionally the Basenji was used by natives as a guide, a guard dog and a hunting partner. However their intelligent, alert nature and energetic spirit has made them a name worldwide.
Also called Hottentot Dog, African Dog, Unbwa Wa Ki-Shenzi, Bantu Dog, Khoikhoi Dog & Zulu Dog the Africanis comes from South Africa. While these animals are thought to be of ancient origin they are not a strict breed nor do they follow any set lineage. Africanis is more of a blanket name for non-specific dogs of Southern Africa.
As with many of the African breeds, the origins of the South African Boerboel are a mystery. However it is thought to have started with powerful Mastiff types brought by the Dutch, later to be influenced by the Bull Mastiff imported by De Beers in the 1930’s to guard diamond mines. Today they are a breed in their own right and considered native South Africa.
Also called the Lion Dog & African Lion Hound the Rhodesian Ridgeback comes from Zimbabwe and their ancestors come from Boer animals imported during the 16th & 17th centuries. Originally used by local tribesmen as hunting dogs, retrievers and guard dogs. It was later discovered that in packs they made excellent hunters and were bred to assist lion hunters.
That’s all we could find for the African dogs, (and this list is pretty small so we have to be missing some). Please let us know in the comments below if we’ve missed any dog breeds of African origin & stay tuned to meet the dogs of Asia.