African Painted Dog VS Hyena | The Best Dog House

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Africa’s savannas are home to two fascinating and powerful predators: the African painted dog and the black-spotted hyena. Although these animals are similar in some respects, they differ remarkably in their sizes, behavior, methods of hunting, and social structures. The comprehension of African painted dog vs Hyena is sure to enhance your admiration for their contributions to the African environment.

Key Points of African Painted Dog VS Hyena

  • African painted dogs and hyenas are both land mammals living in similar areas, hunting small and medium-sized animals, and having unique coat patterns.
  • People may mistake them due to similar features, but they are not related; African painted dogs belong to the canine family, while hyenas belong to the hyena family, more related to mongooses.
  • Hyenas have four species, including spotted, brown, striped, and aardwolves.
  • African painted dogs are smaller than hyenas, being the largest canines in Africa, while hyenas vary in size, with spotted hyenas being the largest.
  • Both animals have unique coat colors and patterns; African painted dogs’ fur comes in various colors, while hyenas’ fur varies depending on the species.
  • African painted dogs are carnivores, mainly preying on small to medium-sized animals, while hyenas are omnivores, hunting and scavenging a variety of prey.
  • African painted dogs live in social packs, hunting and raising pups together, while hyenas’ social structures differ among species, with spotted hyenas being the most social.
  • Both prefer similar habitats, living in open savannahs and grasslands. Are you enjoying the african painted dog vs hyena news? Please let us know.



At a glance, both the painted dog and the hyena could seem to be almost identical due to their spotted coats and powerful jaws. Nonetheless, when scrutinized closely, there are a number of fundamental disparities.

African Painted Dog

  • Much smaller than the hyena, normally measuring 24–30 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 18–36 kg.
  • Thin built with long legs and big, round ears.
  • This breed has a distinctive coat with uneven patches of black, brown, and tan, giving it a unique painted look.
  • The black muzzle and a white tail tip.

Spotted Hyena

  • It is larger than a painted dog and stands 30-36 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 40-86 kg. 
  • Short legged stockier build with sloping back.
  • The spotted coat is brown and black-marked and less diverse than the painted dog’s coat.
  • Dark brown muzzle and a black tip of the tail. Are you enjoying the african painted dog vs hyena news? Please let us know.

african painted dog vs hyena

Social Structure

Painted dog and hyena have significantly different social structures.

African Painted Dog

  • Highly social animals in groups of two to twenty.
  • Generally, packs are comprised of a breeding pair and their offspring, assisted by older siblings in raising the younger siblings.
  • This led to strong co-operative hunting strategies where pack members would combine to herd and kill their prey.
  • Strong social bonds and complicated communicative practices.

Spotted Hyena

  • Live in bigger matriarchal clans with more intricate social structures.
  • Clans can have between ten and eighty members, female being a leader.
  • Some opportunistic hunters and scavengers, with strong jaws to smash bones and rob kills of other hunters.
  • Engage in less cooperative behaviors and simpler social interactions.

Hunting Techniques

Although they are both carnivores, their method of hunting differs greatly.

African Painted Dog

  • They are mainly meat-loving and feed mainly on medium-sized herbivores such as antelopes.
  • Chase down prey in long, tiring chases, relying on their speed and endurance.
  • It is believed to have a hunting success rate of about 80%.

Spotted Hyena

  • Other, more opportunistic feeders, feeding on carrion and stealing kills.
  • They will also hunt and will target stronger prey such as zebras and wildebeest.
  • They have a hunting success rate which is lesser than that of colored dogs but not by more than 50%.

Conservation Status

The painted dog and the hyena are both in danger.

African Painted Dog

  • IUCN Red List – endangered.
  • It is currently threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation, and competition with other predators.
  • Conservationists try to conserve their habitats, lessen human-wildlife conflict, and educate the world about their plight.

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Spotted Hyena

  • IUCN Red List classified as least concern.
  • More adaptable than the painted dog and relatively less susceptible to the effects of habitat loss.
  • On the other hand, populations may be affected negatively by human persecution and inter-predatorry competition.

Wrap Up

At first sight, they look similar but the painted dog and spotted hyena are two separate species with different adaptations and behaviours. This understanding helps us to appreciate the roles that these ecosystems play in the whole African ecosystem. These animals deserve our continued conservation efforts so that they can continue to exist for generations and centuries.

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