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Bush Dog

The Bush Dog is a canid found in Central and South America, including Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru (West of the Andes), Ecuador, the Guianas, Paraguay, northeast Argentina (Misiones province), and Brazil (from the Amazon rainforest to the state of Amazonas). In spite of its extensive range, it is very rare; it was originally discovered as fossils in Brazilian caves and thought to be extinct. It is the only living species in its genus, Speothos.

In Brazil it is called cachorro-vinagre ("Vinegar Dog") or cachorro-do-mato ("Bush Dog"). In Spanish-speaking countries it is called perro vinagre("Vinegar Dog"), zorro vinagre ("Vinegar Fox"), perro de agua ("Water Dog"), or perro de monte ("Bush Dog").

Description and habits

The Bush Dog has soft long brownish-tan fur, with a lighter reddish tinge on the head, neck and back and a bushy tail, while the underside is dark, sometimes with a lighter throat patch. Adults typically have of head and body, plus of tail, and weigh . Legs and snout are short relative to body length: the typical height is only . The teeth are adapted for its carnivorous habits, and uniquely for an American canid, the dental formula is for a total of 40 teeth. The Bush Dog is one of three canid species with trenchant heel dentition, a unicuspid talonid on the lower carnassial molar that increases the cutting blade length.

It is a carnivore and hunts during the day, preferably in wet savannahs and tropical and equatorial forests. Its typical prey is the Paca (Cuniculus paca), a large rodent. Although it can hunt alone on occasion, the Bush Dog is usually found in small packs of up to 10–12 individuals, which can bring down much larger prey. It may be the most gregarious of the South American canid species. Bush Dogs have skin growing between their toes, making them the only dogs to have webbed feet, which allow them to swim more efficiently . It uses hollow logs and cavities (e.g. armadillo burrows) for shelter. Pack-mates keep in contact with frequent whines, perhaps because visibility is poor in the undergrowth where the animal typically hunts.

The gestation period is 63 days, and a litter can have up to six dark grey pups. Lactation lasts approximately 8 weeks. The Bush Dog is sexually mature at 1 year and lives for about 10 years.


There are three recognized subspecies:

Speothos venaticus panamensis (Panama)

Speothos venaticus venaticus (Ecuador and Colombia (west of the Andes), Northern Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, Northern and Central Brazil and endangerd in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina)

Speothos venaticus wingei (Southeast Brazil)

See also

Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), one of its closest relatives.

External links

ARKive - images and movies of the Bush Dog (Speothos venaticus)

Detailed Speothos Venaticus PDF article at the Canids Specialist Group (CSG) site (2004).

Another webpage at Animal Diversity Web

ITIS database

Skeletal morphology data from UT Austin

From Lioncrusher's domain – carnivore info.

Cachorro-do-mato-vinagre (In Portuguese)

Cachorro-vinagre (In Portuguese)


Nicole Duplaix and Noel Simon, World Guide to Mammals. Mandarin Publishers Ltd (1976).

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bush Dog

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