Skip to content
16 November 2013 / leggypeggy

Wild dogs make an appearance in Pench National Park

Wild dogs, India

Wild dogs flop in the grass at Pench National Park

Of the four national parks we have visited so far, Pench has given us the greatest variety of wild animals. While we didn’t see tigers or leopards there, we did feel especially lucky to see a pack of four Indian wild dogs on our second safari.

Deepti, who spends a lot of her time in and near national parks, says she’s only ever seen wild dogs once before and that was five or six years ago. This isn’t surprising—according to Anand there are only about 500 wild dogs left in India, and about half of those are in Pench.

Wild dogs, India

Nope, a girl can’t have a pee in private

Known also as dholes, these wild dogs roam through South and Southeast Asia. While they look a lot like domestic dogs, dholes are more closely related to jackals than wolves.

They are classified as endangered because of reduced habitat, depleted populations of prey, competition by other predators and possibly diseases from domestic and feral dogs.

Dholes are highly social. They live in large packs, and sometimes split up to hunt. They communicate through whistles and yaps (they don’t bark), and hunt by running their quarry to exhaustion and then attacking from all sides. Interestingly, adult dholes will let the pups feed first.

The dogs we saw seemed more interested in playing and lounging around than hunting. They loped along behind our Gypsy (small safari 4WD), stopped for a not-at-all-private pee (just like us gawking at a tiger) and flopped down in the grass for a roll and a stretch. Perhaps they were having a post-lunch stroll and mini siesta before they scooted off.

I’ve read that dholes are afraid of humans, but as a pack are brazen enough to take on much larger and heavier animals such as wild boar, water buffalo and even tigers. They eat fruit and vegetable matter too.

Since Pench, we’ve visited three more national parks and had eight more safaris, but no sign of more wild dogs. Here’s a great article about the dogs being endangered.

Tomorrow we’re off to look at birds in Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur.


Leave a Comment
  1. Lesley Snow / Nov 16 2013 9:29 am

    What a neat sighting!


    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2013 11:24 am

      I know they look like some domestic dog, but it really was exciting to know they are so rarely seen.


  2. Sy S. / Nov 16 2013 12:23 pm

    Peggy, interesting to see wild dogs and getting some photos. Quote from you “I’ve read that dholes are afraid of humans, but as a pack are brazen enough to take on much larger and heavier animals such as wild boar, water buffalo and even tigers. They eat fruit and vegetable matter too.”
    They can even go after Tigers, WOW! I read about a dog from an Island in Korea and that the legend says three had taken down a Tiger. The Korean dogs are only about 50 lbs, small compared to a big Tiger…
    Sy S.


    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2013 8:03 pm

      What I read says that when a pack takes on a tiger, usually a couple of dogs in the pack die, but apparently it’s worth the effort and loss.


  3. Joanne T Ferguson (@mickeydownunder) / Nov 16 2013 1:30 pm

    G’day and wow GREAT photo and find Peggy…guess no domestic dogs ate my baby legends? lol For readers unfamiliar with my Aussie humor…comes from “the dingo ate my baby”…Chamberlain story…


    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2013 8:04 pm

      Thanks Joanne. Lots of legends here, but none about wild dogs taking babies.


  4. Debbwl / Nov 17 2013 12:30 am

    Though the tigers the other day were really cool, great photos but the wild Dholes wow.


    • leggypeggy / Nov 17 2013 1:51 am

      Thanks Deb!. We felt so lucky to see them. Still haven’t seen any more.


  5. Mungai and the Goa Constrictor / Nov 17 2013 5:22 am

    These are beautiful creatures. It is such a shame they are endangered.


    • leggypeggy / Nov 17 2013 7:49 pm

      I think the population is recovering in places where they are protected. Now they just have to learn to stay where it’s safe.


      • Mungai and the Goa Constrictor / Nov 19 2013 5:06 am

        I left you a comment about this on another post. I wanted to link your article to mine. I don’t know if you know how to do this, Peggy – I don’t. 😦

        So if you want to do so, here is the link 🙂

        I absolutely love wild dogs 🙂


      • leggypeggy / Nov 19 2013 10:44 pm

        I’m adding your link to the body of the article.
        If you want to link from your blog to mine, first copy the url for my post.
        Then go to your blog post and click edit. Make sure you are in visual mode, rather than text.
        Type whatever words you want to say regarding my blog—such as ‘check this blog for details about wild dogs in India’.
        Then select a short phrase such as ‘check this blog’ and highlight it, then go up to the little icons above the text box and click on the chain link.
        A new box will come up and you can paste the link to my blog (the one you copied to being with) and voila.
        Hope all that makes sense.


  6. lmo58 / Nov 17 2013 11:20 am

    Hi Peggy,
    I’m pleased that you’re happy that you saw the dholes and the photos are really good too. However, I don’t think they look all that friendly. As you know, I’m still very much a beginner dog person. Keep having fun.


    • leggypeggy / Nov 17 2013 1:06 pm

      Oh gosh, you made me laugh, but you are right. They don’t look particularly friendly, but they are cute enough—perhaps even for a beginner dog person. 🙂



  1. Fast Fact Attack: Endangered Species No. 71 – The Dhole or Asiatic Wild Dog | Mungai and the Goa Constrictor
  2. Pench National Park—tops the list as our favourite | Where to next?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: