Ten dog breeds the world found first in Africa

Move over Big-5, there are new attractions in town!

This is not just a list of hounds whose lineages trace back to the African continent. If you love, live, and breathe local, and are currently looking for an adorable pooch to pet, this is the list for you.

They’re cute, they’re cuddly and downright adorable. Here’s our list of fabulous furballs the world first fell in love with on the African continent!


Boerboels’ physical strength is only matched by the strength of their devotion to their homes and families.

  • They adapt well to family life, but do not thrive in apartment living conditions.

  • They are friendly to pets, kids, and strangers but can be confrontational with unfamiliar pets.

ORIGIN: South Africa

LIFE SPAN: 9 to 11 years

TEMPERAMENT: Courageous, alert, and protective.

The Saluki

Bred for speed, strength, and endurance, they have all the qualities to become the great hunters they were born to be. It’s purported that Pharaohs hunted gazelle and hares with Salukis. Such was the Egyptians’ love for the Saluki that the dogs were frequently honoured with mummification after their deaths.


HEIGHT: 23 to 28 inches (male), females tend to be smaller

WEIGHT: 40 to 65 pounds

LIFE SPAN: 10 to 17 years

TEMPERAMENT: Aloof, intelligent, reserved and quiet

The Africanis

This one is for the underdog. They’re ordinary-looking medium-sized dogs, sometimes scrawny, with long snouts, pointy ears, short brownish coats, and springy curled-up tails. They’ve been dismissed as mongrels, strays and street dogs – but they have hearts of gold.

  • They adapt well to family life, but need to be walked daily if they are to adapt well to apartment living.

  • They are friendly to pets, kids, and strangers .

ORIGIN: Southern Africa

LIFE SPAN: 9 to 12 years

TEMPERAMENT: Territorial, watchful, friendly, independent and trainable.

The Basenji

Well known as the “barkless” dog from Africa, the Basenji attracts admirers with its short coat, small muscular body, alert demeanour, erect ears, and tail curled tightly over one hip. A wrinkled brow gives it a quizzical and sometimes mischievious expression.

Basenjis normally do not bark, but they can be very noisy, making sounds that include yodels, whines and screams. They do not do well in homes with other small pets, as their instinct to chase may take over.

  • Not recommended for homes with hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, girds or ferrets as pets.

ORIGIN: Congo region of West Africa

LIFE SPAN: 10 to 12 years

TEMPERAMENT: Energetic, clever, stubborn and independent.

The Coton de Tuléar

Cotons are loving, adaptable dogs who get along with just about everybody. That includes kids and other dogs! And it doesn’t hurt that they are the cutest little things in the world.

  • They adapt well to family life and apartment living.

  • Friendly to other pets, kids and strangers.

ORIGIN: Madagascar

LIFE SPAN: 14 to 16 years

TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, playful, intelligent, lively, vocal and trainable.

5 other notable mentions


ORIGIN:  West Africa

LIFE SPAN:  12 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Refined, attentive, aloof, gentle and playful.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback

ORIGIN:  South Africa

LIFE SPAN:  10 to 13 years

TEMPERAMENT: Protective, social, gentle and quiet.


ORIGIN:  North Africa

LIFE SPAN:  10 to 12 years

TEMPERAMENT: Protective, energetic, sensitive and agile.


ORIGIN:  North Africa

LIFE SPAN:  10 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Independent, attentive, sensitive, intelligent and loyal.

Abyssinian Sand Terrier

ORIGIN:  Africa

LIFE SPAN:  12 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Brave, loyal, willing, affectionate, protective, peaceful and quiet.

All dogs require exercise, grooming, nutrition and medical attention. Don’t deny them these basic needs.

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