Bush dogs



Bush dogs are small, stocky carnivores that are native to South America.  They live and hunt in family groups of up to 12 animals, and their favourite prey is large rodents.

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Distribution: Central and South America
Habitat: Swamp Forest, Temperate Forest, Tropical Forest
Height: 20-30cm
Weight: 5 – 7kg
Gestation Period: 67 days
Lifespan: 10 years
Threats: Habitat loss, loss of prey species and an increase in diseases affecting canines

Scientific name: Speothos venaticus

The bush dog pack at Woburn Safari Park consists of one female and four males; Pongo, Padfoot, Dante, Scrappy Dappy Doo, and Shiloh, aged between seven and 10 years old

The pack is a tight-knit group, so they will often follow each other around the enclosure, feed together, and sleep close to one another. They are naturally quite shy animals, but can be very vocal, so visitors may hear their high-pitched calling noises as they communicate with each other.

IUCN Scale near threatened

bush dog facts

Only the alpha pair breed and the alpha female uses hormones to prevent the other females becoming pregnant!
They produce a strong vinegar-like smell. This has led to them being given the local nickname of ‘cachorro-vinagre’, which means vinegar dog!
Bush dogs have webbed feet that make them well adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle 


Bush dogs are a small, stocky member of the dog family; they only grow to about 25-30cm tall. They have short legs, a stocky body and reddish-brown fur.

They have webbed feet which makes them strong swimmers and means they are well adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle.


Bush dogs are carnivorous and will hunt together as a pack to bring down large rodents such as agouti, capybara and even rhea! They are also known to eat smaller rodents, lizards and birds.


Bush dogs are social animals that live in family groups that are led by an alpha pair. They are most active during the day. They are naturally quite shy animals but can be very vocal and communicate with each other using high-pitched calling noises.

Only the alpha pair will breed and on average they will give birth to four pups. All members of the pack will then help to protect and care for the young.


Bush dogs are classified as a near threatened species. They face a number of threats in the wild including habitat loss for farming, the loss of prey species and an increase in diseases affecting canines.