10 Amazing African Dog Breeds

Exotic and unique dog breeds can be found in Africa. These African dog breeds often surprise pet parents because they are rarely seen in the United States. The breeds all have a unique appearance that sometimes looks unusual. For example, the African Wild dog has large oval-shaped ears that look shocking at first. This same breed also has similar coloring and appearance as a Hyena.

Some of the breeds such as the Aidi are adorable and have kind eyes while other breeds appear to have uniquely shaped tails and body shapes. Some people who have taken Safari tours in Africa mention they noticed an unusual animal in the distance and were told by the guide it was a dog.

A majority of the African dog breeds have made their way to the United States and are available through reputable breeders who are dedicated to preserving the breed.

Pet parents who are interested in having a unique dog breed often lean towards the African breeds. Are you interested in welcoming an African dog breed into your family? If so, continue reading to find out which breed is the best option for you!

10 African Dog Breeds

Coton de Tulear

Let’s start the list with a cute and fluffy breed that is an excellent companion dog. The Coton de Tulear isCoton de tulear running in grass a popular lapdog that the nobles of Madagascar cherished. Coton de Tulear’s were hidden from the world for centuries until the 1960s. During this time a French tourist fell in love with the breed and brought it home with them to Europe.

Key Information

  • Height – 9 to 11 inches
  • Weight – 8 to 15 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have a small body, adorable round eyes, a white coat, and a lively expression.

Abyssinian Sand Terrier

This breed is one that people often find shocking at first sight. Most of their body is hairless except for their head and tail. They are calm, quiet, and enjoy an active lifestyle which makes them a perfect workout buddy. This breed is considered rare but those who are lucky to have this dog as a pet enjoy a loyal, fearless, and eager to please dog.

Key Information

  • Height – 15.5 to 20.5
  • Weight – 21 to 39 pounds
  • Physical Features – The color of their skin can be gray, black, or sand color. They often have different color markings that are exposed in the hairless areas of their body. They have a long snout, sleek body, and ears that resemble a bat.

Chinese Crestedchinese crested dog

This breed is a distant relative of the African hairless dog. The Chinese crested breed originated in Africa but is now more popular in China. Their unique look is sometimes shocking but their personality makes them a great and loyal companion dog. This small dog breed is fun to style because of the hair on their head, tail, and lower portion of their legs.

Key Information

  • Height – 11 to 13 inches
  • Weight – 8 to 12 pounds
  • Physical Features – Most of their body is hairless, their skin can have dark, white, or pink spots and they have a slim body.


This energetic dog is filled with stamina and needs a large amount of exercise and equal amounts of food. Their small compact bodies are filled with energy and they love to stay busy. They are incredibly affectionate and loving towards their owner as well as loyal. This dog breed has been seen on ancient Egyptian artifacts but it’s not clear exactly how far they date back.

Key Information

  • Height – 16 to 17 inches
  • Weight – 22 to 24 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have a short coat, almond-shaped eyes, curled tail, and pointy ears.


This dog has a mysterious history that hasn’t been discovered yet, but so far they have been traced toSloughi dogbreed nomads and Egyptian royalty. They are wonderful dogs that are affectionate and kind towards their owner and others they know well. They are also excellent hunting companions and work side by side with their owners.

Key Information

  • Height – 24 to 29 inches
  • Weight – 35 to 50 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have a slim body, smooth coat, short hair, dark eyes, a pointed nose, and their tail curls up at the end.


This large dog breed has a muscular appearance that is intimidating to those who don’t know the dog personally. While they look scary, they are actually gentle giants that love to play with kids. This dog has African bloodlines and is known as the farmer’s dog because of its natural ability to work hard and protect.

Key Information

  • Height – 22 to 27 inches
  • Weight – 150 to 200 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have a large strong body with visible muscles, a broad muzzle, wrinkled forehead, short hair, floppy ears, and kind eyes.


As mentioned earlier, this adorable dog breed originates from Africa. They have a thick coat that is softAidi breed but very dense. Originally they were bred in Morocco to protect their owners while they worked. Today, this dog is loyal, protective, smart, and sweet. It’s a popular family dog in North Africa but some breeders are located in the United States.

Key Information

  • Height – 20 to 24 inches
  • Weight – 50 to 55 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have a thick medium-length coat that comes in a variety of colors such as tawny, red, white, and black. They have droopy ears, strong jaws, and a large shaped head.

African Wild Dog

As mentioned earlier, the appearance of this dog is shocking and almost scary at first. Their large oddly shaped ears and thin body frame make them extremely unique.

They are often seen roaming the woodlands and plains in sub-Saharan Africa which is why those on a safari often say they saw them from a distance. They travel in packs and often eat vegetables from people’s gardens. They are not ideal as house pets and are currently on the world’s most endangered list.

Key Information

  • Height – 30 inches
  • Weight – 40 to 70 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have large ears, dark muzzles, patches and unique markings, and four toes on each paw.

Rhodesian RidgebackRhodesian ridgeback

The Ridgeback was created by Dutch colonists in southern Africa. They were specifically bred to confront lions and hunt. Their fearless nature makes them experts at chasing away animals such as monkeys, leopards, antelopes while at the same time hunting prey. This hard-working African dog breed is in high demand in the United States and it increases in popularity.

Key Information

  • Height – 24 to 27 inches
  • Weight – 70 to 85 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have a muscular body, long muzzle, short coat, and various markings located on their toes and chest.


This slender dog breed dates back to 7000 b.c. History reveals they were favorite by kings throughout the ages. They have an elegant tall appearance and are incredibly athletic. They began their rise in popularity in the United States when the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1927.

Key Information

  • Height – 23 to 28 inches
  • Weight – 40 to 65 pounds
  • Physical Features – They have a smooth coat, long hair on their floppy ears, deep eyes, narrow head, and long tail.

Bottom Line

African dog breeds are unique and most have an unusual appearance compared to well-known breeds that are popular in the United States. If you are looking to adopt an African dog breed in the US, you need to find a trustworthy and reputable breeder.

Your goal is to find a breeder that has a special breeding program to ensure they aren’t harming the animals like the dogs found in puppy mills. Typically, dog breeders are looking for canines with the best DNA and ancestry to help stay true to the breed and lessen the risk of health issues arising throughout their lifetime.

When choosing an African dog breed for your family, always consider your lifestyle to ensure you will have time to provide them with plenty of exercises. It’s also important that you learn to care for the specific breed properly to meet their nutritional and exercise needs.

African dogs that are domesticated make excellent family pets. However, always beware of unique dogs you never heard of, and make sure you do your own research regarding the specific breed you want to adopt. Become a pet parent to an African dog breed today!

A pet parent herself, Shellie knows the ins and outs of caring for a furry bundle of joy. She has been researching, reviewing and sharing her findings for the best dog products available for a number of years. A valued team member, Shellie's first-hand experience is invaluable.

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