Reproduction

Like wolves, usually only the dominant or alpha male and female in a pack reproduce. The alpha female is usually the oldest in the group, and she gives birth in a den after a 3-month pregnancy. The timing of birth varies among ecosystems, depending on patterns of prey availability. The pups are kept at the den for the first 3 months of their life. The alpha female generally stays with the pups to guard them, sometimes with another member of the pack, while the other members of the pack leave the den twice a day to hunt.

When they return to the den, the pups and their mother solicit food, and all members of the pack regurgitate food for them. Wild dog pups leave the den once they are 3 months and travel with the pack, joining them at kills. They are usually allowed to eat first at a kill, while the rest of the pack waits until they have finished eating before feeding themselves.

Once they reach adulthood, the new pups may choose to remain with their natal pack, or disperse. Wild dogs generally disperse in single sex groups, and either make contact and join another pack, or meet another set of opposite sex dogs and form a new pack. They are old enough to reproduce after 2 years, but rarely do so until they have achieved sufficient status in the dominance hierarchy.