Bush dog

Speothos venaticus

IUCN Red List status: Near Threatened

For more info on classifications, visit www.iucnredlist.org

Near Threatened


Where they live

Central and South America


Forests and wet savannahs


62 cm


6 kg


10 years


Loss of their forests as they are cleared

Did you know...

  • The Bush dog species is so rare that in the past it was thought to be extinct. They were first discovered by means of fossil records in caves in Brazil, and, having never been witnessed prior to this, it was thought they no longer existed.
  • Bush dogs make some strange calls, and, even though they are shy animals, they can be rather vocal when necessary, being one way they communicate with each other and warn each other of danger.
  • The reddish colouring of Bush dogs may be the reason for their other nickname, which is ‘zorro’, meaning fox.
  • They also have the nickname ‘vinegar dog’ because they smell like vinegar.

More about Bush dogs...

Bush Dogs originate from Central and South America and live in the forests and wet savannahs. They are diurnal animals and when living in the wild they would spend the night curled up sleeping in a den either dug by themselves or in a hollow tree trunk.

Bush Dogs are said to be one of the most unusual looking dogs, as they look like Weasels or Otters. This is probable due to the fact that they spend a lot of our time in and around the water they have webbed feet and are very good swimmers.

Bush dogs live within a social group of as many as 12 members.

Bush dogs are carnivores and they prey mostly on large rodents including acouchis, pacas and agoutis, and also sometimes upon larger animals, such as rheas and capybaras.

Bush Dogs have been raised as pets by Native Americans.

Bush Dogs are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List. In the wild, numbers are decreasing as settlement progresses and forests are cleared.

How you can help...

Adopt a Bush dog!

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