The African wild dog is one of the world's most social and distinctive canids. The short, wiry coat is coloured in blotches of yellow, grey, black and white (2) that give rise to the scientific name of Lycaon pictus
or 'painted wolf-like animal' in Greek (3). The hair is short on the limbs and body and longer on the neck. Each dog has a unique colouration pattern, and this is used by researchers to identify individuals (2). The body is thin and muscular, the tail bushy with a white tip and the legs are long (2) (4). Males are slightly larger than females (2). Unlike the other canid species there are only four, rather than five, toes on the front feet (2) (4). These dogs have large rounded ears, which probably help with heat loss as well as keeping track of pack members by picking up long distance vocal signals (2) (4).