The planet is a big and wide place filled with various cultures. Just as we celebrate different cultures and peoples around the world, we can also celebrate the diversity of man’s best friends. From New York to Tokyo, there are different dog breeds from place to place.
You might be wondering how many different types of dog breeds exist. The FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) recorded and recognized around 390-400 dog breeds. Knowing each breed will allow us to understand not only the place itself but the ways of life of everyone that lives alongside these dogs.
As the world’s second-largest continent, Africa is home to several exotic and unique animal species in all different shapes and sizes. It’s no surprise that they also have specific dog breeds that thrive in their weather, lifestyle, and land.
Here are five (5) of the most common dog breeds in Africa :
1. Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian ridgeback often referred to as the African Lion Hound, is a native of South Africa. It is known to be gregarious with a quiet and gentle temperament making it an excellent companion. The hallmark of this breed is the ridge on the back.
The ridgeback is easily trained and has above-average tractability. The breed’s history dates back to the 16th century when the first Europeans explored the interior on the Cape of Good Hope where they were bred by the Boer farmers to meet their needs for a hunting dog in the wilds of Africa. They needed a companion that could withstand the rigors of the African bush and handle the drastic changes in temperature from the heat of the day to the freezing night temperatures. This dog was bred to hunt and be a family protector.
Native to Morocco, the Aidi or Chine De l’Atlas is a dual-purpose dog used as both a flock guardian and a hunting companion. The Aidi is also known as the Atlas Mountain Dog was developed in the Atlas Mountains; a mountain range extending 1500 miles across northern Africa through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
Like many ancient breeds of dogs, the true history of the Aidi is shrouded in mystery. Although its true origin may have been lost in time, we do know that the Berber people used the Aidi as a protective guard dog for the family. The job of the Aidi was to watch over livestock and property; keeping them safe from predators and strangers.
Basenjis are one of the smallest hounds. They are an aloof and very affectionate dog that can be fiercely protective of their families.
The basenji got its name from a Mrs. Burn in England around 1936. Known until then as the Congo dog or Congo terrier, the word “basenji” means “dog of the bush” in that region of Africa. They are ancient dogs — tracing their lineage from pariah dogs for the Egyptians and then to hunting dogs for the tribes in the Congo.
This breed is in silent packs and often wore bells to alert their human partners to their whereabouts in the deep jungle. They were, and still are, renowned for their keen eyesight and excellent sense of smell. In the 1980s several Basenjis were imported to the United States from Zaire and added to the AKC gene pool to help combat some health problems.
The Boerboel is Africa’s big lion dog, bred to protect South African homesteads from wild and ferocious predators. They are often found on dangerous breed lists across the world, but they are also gentle giants and are known to have a fondness for children.
“Boer,” a Dutch word meaning “farmer,” was the name given to Dutch, German, and Huguenot settlers of South Africa who began arriving in the mid-1600s. The interbreeding of these and other European bloodlines in South Africa resulted in something called the Boer Dog, which was used by Boer settlers as a big-game hunter and protector.
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. They are hunting and landrace dogs that are thought to have descended from dogs pictured in ancient cave art and on Egyptian murals.
Before the 1990s, this breed was viewed as feral mongrels. But concentrated efforts by the Africanis Society, founded by John Gallant and Dr. Udo Küsel, have improved their status. It is rare to find one outside of Africa.
These are just five of the many dog breeds common in Africa! Their rich culture is truly a fascinating thing to read about.