African Wild Dog Vs Hyena: Who Wins the Savage Battle?

This post contains affiliate links, we'll earn compensation if you make a purchase using them at no additional cost to you  😊

In Africa’s wild lands, two interesting animals that often get mixed up are African wild dogs and hyenas. Plus, the African Wild Dog vs Hyena fight is a heated topic among many wildlife enthusiasts.

They’ve both been around for a very long time and are important for nature to stay balanced. Even though they look similar and live in the same places, African wild dogs and hyenas are very different from each other.

In this article, I’ll share all the details of their differences. In addition, we’ll look at how they hunt, live together in groups, and how they affect the world around them. 

So, let’s dive into the details!

Comparison Of African Wild Dog vs Hyena: In A Nutshell

When comparing African wild dogs and hyenas, it’s fascinating to observe their differences and similarities, which are often misunderstood due to their shared habitat and predatory lifestyle. 

Below is a brief overview highlighting the key parameters of both species, like their scientific terms, physical appearance, diet, and much more.

ParametersAfrican Wild DogHyena
Scientific NameLycaon pictusCrocuta crocuta (Spotted Hyena)
Size30 inches at the shoulder; 55-70 pounds28-35 inches at the shoulder; 90-190 pounds
Lifespan10-12 yearsUp to 25 years
Social StructureHighly social, packs of 10-20Clan-based, up to 80 members
DietCarnivorous, primarily antelope and rodentsOpportunistic feeders, carrion, and live prey
Reproduction2-20 pups per litter, monogamous2-4 cubs per litter, less monogamous
Conservation StatusEndangeredLeast Concern (Spotted Hyena)

In case you need more in-depth information, here is a closer look at the comparison between African wild dogs and hyenas.

Bonus: Here’s a video of these creatures clashing over food to get a thrilling experience of the African wild dog vs hyena fight.

Morphology: African Wild Dog vs Hyena

African wild dogs have colorful, patchy coats and big ears built for long chases. Hyenas have strong bodies with big jaws and uneven legs, making them great at breaking bones and eating leftovers. 

Let’s check out the comparison in detail to understand how their physical traits influence their survival strategies.

African Wild Dog

Known for their distinctive mottled fur with patches of red, black, brown, white, and yellow, large rounded ears, and lean build. They are built for endurance running to chase down their prey.


Spotted hyenas have a unique physique with a strong front and a sloping back because their front legs are longer than their rear legs. They have rough, spotted fur and a powerful jaw capable of crushing bones.

Hyena Morphology

Distribution: African Wild Dog vs Hyena

African wild dogs live in parts of Africa but are losing their homes and facing danger from people. Hyenas are found in more places across Africa, doing well in different areas because they can adapt easily. 

Let’s check out the comparison in detail to explore how their presence impacts the ecosystems they inhabit

African Wild Dog

Found in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in savannas and lightly wooded areas. Their populations are separated into different parts and mostly found in protected areas due to habitat loss and human conflict.


Spotted hyenas are all over sub-Saharan Africa and are adaptable to a variety of living conditions, including savannas, woodlands, forests, and deserts.

Habitat: African Wild Dog vs Hyena

African wild dogs like open spaces and light woods to chase their prey. Hyenas can live in many places, like grasslands, woods, and even deserts, because they’re good at finding food anywhere. 

Some of the best dog movies have shown a glimpse into the habitat of these deadly predators to learn about them. You can check these movies out on platforms like Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video, etc.  

Now, let’s check out the comparison in detail to see how each species has adapted to its environment.

African Wild Dog

The African wild dog favors open plains and lightly wooded areas as its habitat. These types of environments allow it to hunt through long chasing of prey across long distances effectively. 

African Wild Dog Habitat

African wild dogs require vast open spaces to roam and hunt, which makes preserved national parks an ideal habitat match. 

The light tree coverage also provides visibility to coordinate hunting in packs.


In contrast, the hyena is much more adaptable to different habitats than the African wild dog. Hyenas can thrive in arid desert environments as well as dense forests. 

Hyena Habitat

However, they prefer savannas and woodlands that provide optimal scavenging and hunting opportunities. Arid desert areas can provide leftover carcasses as handy food sources for hunting hyenas. 

Dense forests offer cover for stalking prey at close range. But savannas and woodlands best optimize their abilities to hunt and scavenge.

Behavior: African Wild Dog vs Hyena

African wild dogs work closely together in groups to hunt and share food. Hyenas, which some people think only eat leftovers, are actually good hunters, too. They live in big groups with strict order and care a lot about their family. 

Let’s check out the comparison in detail to understand these fascinating animals’ social dynamics and survival tactics.

African Wild Dog

Known for their extraordinary teamwork and social structure, wild dogs hunt in packs and exhibit unique behaviors such as regurgitating food for members not present during a hunt.


Often misunderstood as solely scavengers, hyenas are effective hunters. They live in large clans with complex social structures and exhibit strong social bonds.

Related Read:

Conclusion: African Wild Dogs And Hyenas Are Extreme Predators With Distant Traits!

African wild dogs vs hyenas is a never-ending battle. They are extreme predators essential for maintaining ecological balance. 

Despite their distinct physical traits, pack dynamics, and hunting strategies, both species face threats from human encroachment and habitat destruction. 

Conservation initiatives are crucial to protect these unique animals and their role within African ecosystems.


Do African wild dogs fight hyenas?

African wild dogs and hyenas compete over territory and food, leading to conflicts. Hyenas often try to steal kills from wild dogs, and clashes can occur.

What dog can beat a hyena?

No domestic dog breed is a match for a hyena in terms of strength or bite force. Hyenas have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom, designed to crush bones.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *