|Skill Level 1|
|Year of Introduction: 1950|
1. Give the scientific name of the dog family.
The scientific name of the dog family is Canidae, or Canine.
2. Name five distinctive characteristics of the dog family.
- Canines have 42 teeth.
- They walk on their toes.
- They have four claws on their hind feet, and five on the front.
- They have two coats – an outer coat of coarse hair, and an inner coat of fine hair.
- They have a keen sense of smell.
- They have excellent hearing due to ear flaps called leathers.
- They can see colors but not as clearly as we can.
3. Identify from pictures or personal observation five wild members of the dog family.
We present here several species of fox, but as the instructor, you should feel free to present them as one “member.” This is also true of the jackal.
The dhole or Asiatic Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus) is about the size of a border collie (12–18 kg), but looks quite different. The coat is usually a rusty red colour, but varies regionally from sandy yellow to dark grey. See our dhole map page for details of regional colour variation (frame-compliant browsers only). Usually it has a black bushy tail and white patches on its chest, paws and belly. Its ears are rounded, and its hooded amber eyes portray an intelligent nature.
Within the canid family the dhole is something of an enigma. It doesn’t fit neatly into any of the sub-families (i.e. the foxes or wolf-like dogs) and is classified in a genus of its own – Cuon. Among its unusual features is a strange whistle call which it uses to re-assemble the pack when animals become separated in dense forest. The dhole also has more teets than most other dogs and has a shorter jaw with one less molar on each side of its lower jaw.t
Description: The gray fox is small and has a pepper brown back, tawny sides, neck and legs, a white belly, and a black stripe along its back and tail. Another black stripe crosses its face from the nose to the eye and continuing to the side of the head. Standing about 12-16 inches at the shoulders, weighing up to 16 pounds and having an overall body length of up to 47 inches, the gray fox is an agile canid able to scurry up and down trees with relative ease.
Description: The Arctic fox, also known as the polar fox, is a small fox native to cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Arctic foxes will eat pretty much anything. Their prey includes voles, lemmings, hares, ground squirrels, and bird eggs. Foxes living on the coast also eat shellfish, sea urchins, dead seals and fish, beached whales, and nesting seabirds. In winter when food is scarce, they may follow a polar bear and after the bear makes a kill, eats and leaves, they will steal what ever scraps of meat are left. In winter, their light coat protects them from predators, esp. polar bears, by blending in to the white snow.
Description: The Pale Fox is a species of fox which inhabits the Sahel from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east. It is widespread throughout the Sahel but its environmental status is described as “data deficient” due to lack of intensified study of the pale fox in the wild. The pale fox is long-bodied with relatively short legs and a narrow muzzle. Its ears are long and rounded at the tip. Its tail is bushy and black-tipped. The upperpart of its body has a pale sandy color, while the underpart is whitish. A dark ring surrounds the fox’s eyes.
Description: The Cape Fox has black or silver gray fur with flanks and underside in light yellow. The tip of its tail is always black. The Cape Fox is found in Southern Africa from Zimbabwe to Angola. It prefers the open savanna and semi-arid regions in southwestern Africa, from Southern Zimbabwe to the Cape province.