The dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a canid native to Central, South, and Southeast Asia. Other English names for the species include Asian wild dog, Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling dog, red dog, and mountain wolf. It is genetically close to species within the genus Canis, but distinct in several anatomical aspects: its skull is convex rather than concave in profile, it lacks a third lower molar and the upper molars sport only a single cusp as opposed to between two and four. During the Pleistocene, the dhole ranged throughout Asia, Europe, and North America but became restricted to its historical range 12,000–18,000 years ago.
The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans without rigid dominance hierarchies and containing multiple breeding females. Such clans usually consist of 12 individuals, but groups of over 40 are known. It is a diurnal pack hunter which preferentially targets medium- and large-sized ungulates. In tropical forests, the dhole competes with tiger and leopard, targeting somewhat different prey species, but still with substantial dietary overlap.
It is listed as Endangered by the IUCN as populations are decreasing and are estimated at fewer than 2,500 adults. Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss, loss of prey, competition with other species, persecution due to livestock predation and disease transfer from domestic dogs.
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