55-100 lbs
Bantu dog, Hottentot Hunting dog, Zulu dog, Tswana dog, Umbwa wa ki-shenzi

The Africanis dog is a recently acknowledged landrace of canine that developed naturally in South Africa. They are a particularly resourceful medium to large-sized canine that has a muscular but streamlined build and a friendly but cautious nature. As this breed developed naturally, there is a great deal more variation within the breed than in most standardized breeds. These dogs still have well-maintained feral populations near many of the primitive towns in South Africa, and until the late 1990s were considered mongrels and treated with disdain, but concentrated efforts by the Africanis Society, founded by John Gallant and Dr. Udo Küsel, have improved their status .

Date of Origin
Ancient Times
Unknown Hound and Pariah-type Dogs

Africanis Health

Average Size
Male Africanis size stats
Height: 20-24 inches Weight: 55-100 lbs
Female Africanis size stats
Height: 20-24 inches Weight: 55-100 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Dermoid Sinus
Minor Concerns
  • Usually Very Healthy
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examination
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging
  • Myelography (Dye And X-Ray to Assess The Spinal Cord)

Africanis Breed History

The Africanis breed of dog developed naturally, without much in the way of human interference, and many feral Africanis dogs still roam freely in the villages and surrounding areas of South Africa. It is impossible to determine the true ancestry of the Africanis dog, but it seems likely that they are the descendants of the wild hounds and pariah dogs that lived in ancient Africa, possibly with some infusions from sighthounds like the Greyhound. They are exceptionally friendly and naturally subservient and are a familiar sight in villages where a traditional South African lifestyle is still maintained. They often work as guardians for both people and their livestock, as hunting dogs, and even as a herding dog in some instances. In 1998, a society dedicated to the conservation of this unique and primitive breed, the Africanis Society, was created by John Gallant, an ardent protector of the breed, and the former director of the National Cultural History Museum, Dr. Udo Küsel. Unlike most breed societies, their intent is not to perfect the breed but to conserve and maintain the breed as it has developed naturally. Advanced DNA testing of registered dogs is standard, and the group maintains a code of ethics, as well as regulations and procedures for registration and breeding guidelines. While a great deal of variation from dog to dog is encouraged in this landrace breed, certain standards have been put in place to prevent the spread of certain genetic disorders, such as issues with dermoid sinus in dogs with ridged backs.

Africanis Breed Appearance

While there is a great deal of variation from dog to dog within the Africanis breed, a comprehensive breed standard has been drawn up by the Africanis Society. These are fairly large dogs who can range from fifty-five to a hundred pounds and tend to be athletic but slender, the ribs will be just barely visible for a healthy Africanis. They have long, slender legs and tend to be slightly longer than they are tall with a wedge-shaped, streamlined head similar to the ancient sighthounds and a long, cone-shaped muzzle. The oval-shaped eyes of the Africanis can come in any shade, although there are recommendations against breeding those rare dogs with blue or double-colored eyes, and their medium-sized, V-shaped ears can be carried erect, semi-erect, or may droop. Their short, easy-to-manage coats are double-layered and come in any color or combination of colors, although the breeding of dogs with blue or diluted colors is discouraged for health purposes, as is the breeding of dogs with ridged backs. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Africanis eyes
amber Africanis eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Africanis nose
Coat Color Possibilities
brindle Africanis coat
sable Africanis coat
pied Africanis coat
white Africanis coat
silver Africanis coat
fawn Africanis coat
isabella Africanis coat
cream Africanis coat
red Africanis coat
brown Africanis coat
gray Africanis coat
black Africanis coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Africanis straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Africanis Breed Maintenance

These dogs have developed a natural resistance to many internal and external parasites and should generally only be bathed as necessary as overly frequent bathing may strip natural oils from the dog’s coat, making it more susceptible to environmental hazards. Brushing this dog every week or so with a slicker or gentle bristle brush or wiping them down with a wet washcloth will help to remove loose hair and help to keep the coat healthy and glossy. The ears of the Africanis dog should be checked regularly to ensure that they are clean, dry, and free of debris or infection. 

Brushes for Africanis
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Africanis requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Africanis Temperament

These dogs have developed next to man rather than being developed by man and their temperament reflects this. While they generally have an exceptionally friendly and patient demeanor when it comes to people of all ages, they still require a sense of space and are sometimes uncomfortable with an abundance of physical contact, and if pushed can occasionally become reactive. Although all interactions between canines and children should be supervised the Africanis dogs are particularly patient and playful with children and can typically be trusted to be gentle. They tend to be amicable with other dogs and although they are watchful and will alert you to any encroachment, they are not generally aggressive canines unless their family is directly threatened. These dogs are independent thinkers who are able to come up with creative solutions to their problems, and if not given enough mental stimulation may invent problems, like how to get to the steak you had planned for supper. Fortunately, they are also highly intelligent and eager to please, so can be easily trained when positive training methods are used.

Africanis Activity Requirements

The Africanis has a great deal of stamina and energy and will typically need at least an hour to an hour and a half of vigorous exercise per day. While long walks and hikes are appreciated, these dogs are happiest if they are given frequent opportunities to stretch their legs and actually run. They may be well suited to activities like rally sport training or freestyle dance, and although skijoring might be a bit too chilly for these warm weather dogs, a high powered activity like bike-jor may help them burn off some of their energy. These dogs can adapt to an apartment-type environment if given enough additional exercise but are generally happier with more room. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
16 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes

Africanis Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Africanis Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Africanis size stats at six months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 54 lbs
Female Africanis size stats at six months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 54 lbs
12 Months
Male Africanis size stats at 12 months
Height: 21 inches Weight: 70 lbs
Female Africanis size stats at 12 months
Height: 21 inches Weight: 70 lbs
18 Months
Male Africanis size stats at 18 months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 77 lbs
Female Africanis size stats at 18 months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 77 lbs

Africanis Owner Experiences

3 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Very energetic but extremely smart. Managed to train her to sit within a few minutes. She plays well with my cat too. She can be very naughty at times and also loves taking chances when nobody is looking
4 months, 1 week ago
10 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Because I live in africa, I have come across a lot of africanis dogs. These dogs are loyal, confident, independent and intelligent. This dogs are bad at police work but good hunters.
8 months, 2 weeks ago
3 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Cody is a rescue dog we adopted at 6 months. He has issues with certain groups of people due to his earlier experiences of physical abuse but after 2 years of loving care from us he has blossomed into a truly beautiful dog reflective of the detailed traits documented above.
9 months, 1 week ago
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