The painted dog of Africa now on the endangered list of the IUCN due to the relentless unprovoked and unnecessary persecution of humans.
This being coupled with the loss of their habitation and the spread of disease from so-called domesticated dogs, have been instrumental in driving down the population of these magnificent creatures.
The situation seems so bad that many conservation societies have directed their efforts at saving the remainder of these dogs from total extinction.
Considering the fact that the numbers of these dogs has dwindled from an estimated 500,000 to below 5,000 and this just over the past century.
Since the effort began is can be said that the outlook for many countries does not look promising, however, in places like Zimbabwe there appear to be signs of hope.
This is mostly where with the efforts of local communities based project aimed at conservation that there is an indication that the numbers have almost doubled the population of these dogs, e.g. in one instance doubled from 350 to over 700 individual dogs.
According to the popular beliefs domestic dogs first arrived in South Africa with the early Iron Age people, namely the Bantu tribes, leading to an enhance gene pool of the Africanis or painted dogs with the wide variety of local hounds.
In tribal areas there can still be found pure breeds of Africanis that have not been touched by modern influences. The decline in these dogs popularity as pets is also another factor that has led to them being endangered, one might say.
This is partly why the Kennel Union of Southern Africa decided to recognized these dogs as the emerging breed that they are.
The preservation of these dogs is the utmost priority of the organization in the preserving of the natural characteristics of these dogs and not concern with the developing of new breeds.
Considering the fact that these dogs have been around for thousand of years, it is not hard to see why this effort to preserve is so vitally important.
The earliest remains of these dogs were found in South Africa and are dated as being 570 AD on the border of Botswana.
It was only following colonization of places like Zululand and the Marby areas in the 19th century that there was a kind of foreign influence of these dogs.
This was very likely through laborers who brought their western pets with them that led to the mixing of the breeds.
One particular or favorite dog of these foreign migrants was the greyhound, whose speed was highlighted as being an ideal match or would be ideally suited for hunting dogs to crossbreed.
The people of Zululand had a name for this unusual cross breeding which was Ilohanzi and therefore not considered as the traditional dogs.
Today the Africanis still lives amongst the rural villages where traditional life has existed for centuries, but the changing environment and the general dislike for these dogs is a real and growing treat to the survival of this indigenous species.
These dogs are much respected for their uniqueness by those who know them, that the Africanis society was established for the conservation of the species in 1998 by Johan Gallant and Dr Kusel of the national cultural history museum.
Sighting that the Africanis was part of Africa’s heritage and so warrants protection and needs to be recognized for their unique cultural biodiversity, with the sole aim of preserving this natural dog and to keep the breed pure without any artificial or selective breeding
. It have setup guidelines and regulations for registration and it also provides help to people wanting to own one of these dogs. According to Gallant, ‘these dogs are great as pets and excellent house dogs who will steal your heart’.