9 Historical African Dog Breeds List ( With Photos )

Did you know that Africa is home to one of the most expensive dogs in the world?

But wait- there’s more!

One of African dog breeds is probably the oldest dog that has existed for more than 9000 years!

Africa is not famous for its dogs, but rest assured it contains some of the world’s popular and historical canines.

Read on to find out more about them.

Let’s get started:

1. Abyssinian Sand Terrier

Abyssinian Sand Terrier standing on the lawn

Highlights: Sensitive, Playful, Friendly

This hairless breed of dog is extremely rare and found only in some areas of Southern Africa.

Their bat-like pointed ears and black to grey hairless skin with a few markings gives them a distinguished look.

Due to their hairless bodies, they require special attention so that they do not get cold.

Good News:

This dog is a perfect choice for people with allergies. They are comfortable when indoors, love being active and always on the move.

Abyssinian Sand Terriers can grow up around 40 pounds, so space would not be a problem.

They are affectionate towards children and love to be around them. They are devoted, loving and always trying to make their owners happy.

Did You Know?

Many people believe that the Abyssinian Sand Terrier led to the development of the current hairless dog breeds like the Chinese Crested Dog.

2. Africanis

Africanis standing in the backyard

Highlights: Protective, Creative, Loyal

Unlike most other dogs that came with their foreign owners, the Africanis was born and bred in Africa.

So, what am I talking about?

Africanis is practically an umbrella term for a variety of aboriginal dogs in South Africa.

Africanis itself means “the dog of Africa.”

Being a landrace bred only by nature, there exists a much more significant variation in these dogs in comparison to modern organized breeding.

This natural breeding gives them better health and a lesser chance of getting genetic diseases.

These medium to large-sized dogs have long slender legs and lean physique . Africanis have a long curved tail and erect ears that make them look fairly agile.

Their short-haired coat is easy to groom.

Being a hunting companion to man for thousands of years, they are protective of their family, territorial, and always active.

They are easy to train and require about an hour of exercise to stay fit. They are a highly intelligent breed with an impressive problem-solving abilities.

Did You Know?

The Africanis has a proven lineage going back about 7000 years.

3. Aidi

Aidi photographed against a white background

Highlights: Sharp, Energetic, Inquisitive

Aidi is a dog native to the Atlas Mountain Range, present mostly in rural areas of modern Morocco.

Historically, it is used to employ its keen sense of smell to help its quicker partner, Sloughi, hunting. These two African breeds make a formidable duo.

So, what is so special about this dog?

Aidi is a perfect guarding dog and dislikes strangers. Being a guard or protective dog means training and socialization should start  at a young age.

It has a thick double coat that helps it survive the cold mountain weather. Its coat also act as an armor from predatory animals when guarding the family home.

The Aidi is not a good fit for first-time dog owners because it does not respond well to conventional training methods and tends to become stubborn and aggressive.

Did You Know?

Aidi is also known as the “Atlas Mountain Dog.”


4. Azawakh

Azawakh walking on the beach

Highlights: Aloof, Elegant, Gentle

This graceful sighthound hails from Southern Sahara, especially the Sahel region around Mali and Niger.

Being sighthounds, they can locate their anything/prey through their tremendous vision rather than the sense of smell.

With their slender physique, they are best suited for hunting in the wild, with speeds reaching about 40 miles an hour. This makes them the perfect jogging partners.

At home, though, they prefer to remain quiet, enjoying their “me-time”.

Azawakh have thin coats and can withstand hot temperatures with ease.

However, they do not fare well in extreme cold. Grooming-wise, they only need brushing once a week. Being a versatile dog, the Azawakh is also an excellent watchdog.

It is aloof to strangers but loves its family dearly. It responds well to affection and  positive reinforcement.

Did You Know?

  • The Azawakh is considered one of the most expensive dog breeds in the world with pups costing about $3k and above.
  • This breed of dogs is not suitable for city life. This is due to their urge for more athletic opportunities.

5. Basenji

Basenji at the park

Highlights: Stubborn, Independent, Alert

Considered one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world, these dogs date back to about 7000 BC and originate from Egypt.

But you know, what else?

They are athletically built and are known to be great hunting companions. At home, they are caring dogs for their family.

However, they are known to be aloof at times and do not always follow instructions.

Due to their hunting capabilities, Basenji make tremendous watchdogs. They are also extremely active and need an hour of exercise every day. They become incredibly destructive if they are denied that routine.

Its erect ears, wrinkled brow, and curved tail give the Basenji a peculiar look. The Basenji is a very clean dog, a character it shares with cats. Its posture and muscular build makes it a popular show dog.

Did You Know?

The Basenji doesn’t bark. Instead, it makes other types of sounds like yodels and howls. The sound that it usually makes is called a “baroo.”

6. Boerboel

Boerbel walking in the bush

Highlights: Powerful, Protective, Loving

The name Boerboel means Farmer’s dog. These large dogs have been companions to farmers for centuries.


They are powerful, with one of the strongest bite strength in the world .

They have a strong protective instinct for their family, so it is imperative to start training and socialization early.

This also helps them bond with their family before becoming dominant grown-ups.

Boerboel loves the company of their family and are prone to separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods.

Their ideal family should have a spacious home with teenagers to play with. They have a short, smooth coat, so brushing would not be difficult. Brushing once a week is enough.

Due to their large size, they are known to have hip and elbow joint deformities. Lifespan is around 11 years.  As with any large dog, they will require veterinary care from time to time.

Did You Know?

  • The Boerboel protected the homes and ranches of South African farmers from fierce predators like lions and hyenas as well as trespassers and thieves.
  • It’s likely, although unconfirmed, that Boerboels originated as a cross between domestic breeds and African wild dogs.
  • Boerboels have been used to guard everything from farms, homesteads, and ranches to huge African diamond mines.
  • In 2010, the Boerboel was banned in Denmark because its fierce loyalty and large size makes it a likely candidate for a fighting dog.

7. Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear image against a white background

Highlights: Cheerful, Amusing, Friendly

This fluffy lap dog hails from an ex-colony of France- The  Madagascar.

Their French name and signifies their cotton-like coat and origin city of Tulear. Coton de Tulear is an amiable breed and loves their family.

They will do anything to please their owners and are famous for being a friendly breed.

That is right.

Coton de Tulears are extremely vocal and love to “chat” with their family, quite like teenagers.

They do not like being alone for long periods, so keep this in mind if you’re living on your own. Regular grooming is required to maintain its coat.

Did You Know?

Coton de Tulear used to be known as “the Royal Dog of Madagascar.” This was because only the elite class of Madagascar was allowed to pet them.

8. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback standing on a stump tree

Highlights: Confident, Muscular, Loyal

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the most popular African breed, ranking 42nd on AKC’s list of the best dog breeds.


Its unique name comes from its Zimbabwean (Rhodesian) origin and the distinct ridge of hair on its back growing backward.

Lauded for its bravery for years, this dog is a quick runner and loves to be outdoors. It weighs about 85 pounds and is exceptionally well-built.

If you put in the time to know this dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is known to be an affectionate friend.

The ideal owner of the Rhodesian Ridgeback should be an outgoing, athletic person who has the time for training, exercise and socialization.

Did You Know?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback ‘s former name was the African Lion Hound because of its ability to fend off lions.


9. Sloughi

Sloughi standing behind tall grasses in the field

Highlights: Soft-Hearted, Lively, Vigilant

This lean dog shares roots with several others on this list.

That’s right!

It is a sighthound like the Azawakh and a hunting partner of the Aidi in Morocco.

The exact historical lineage of this breed is unknown; however, Many reports said that it has been around for centuries in Morocco and other areas of Northern Africa.

This dog can reach top speeds of 55 kilometers per hour and originally used to catch a game.

Like other hounds, Sloughi is incredibly loyal to its family and aloof to strangers. It has a short coat, which means maintenance will be minimal.

Being natural hunters, don’t ever leave them alone with smaller animals because they might see them as prey.

It is a very sensitive dog and can get depressed with negative reinforcement.

Did You Know?

The Sloughi is nicknamed as the “Arabian Greyhound” or “the Lord of the dogs.”


Africa is known for its abundance of wildlife across the gambit.

Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are a variety of interesting breeds indigenous to the continent.

Even still, the previous occupation of different European countries managed to introduce other breeds that eventually worked its way into the fold.

If you want to get one of them, the general rule would be to get them as a puppy and start socialization and training as soon as possible.

This will strengthen your bond with your new best friend and lead to a loyal companion for the rest of their life.

Today, many African dog breeds are mixtures of European and African descent,  growing in popularity from security purposes to family pets.

Feeling adventurous?

You’ll find more fascinating dog breeds from other continents in the links below:


About the author: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.