Know Your Breed: Africanis

Unlike most of the breeds that we’ve covered in our “Know Your Breed” series, Africanis owe their existence to Mother Nature rather than selective breeding by humans. In fact, according to the Africanis Society of Southern Africa, the breed is a result of centuries of natural selection and adaptation with no or little human interference.

This makes the Africanis breed one of only a handful of natural aboriginal dog breeds still left in the world. It’s as African as our soil and has been by man’s side since as early as 570 AD when it roamed the Southern African plains with local Khoi- and Bantu-speaking tribes.


The Africanis breed can be described as quite plain looking. But for lovers of the breed, this simplicity forms part of the dog’s appeal.

They are a medium-sized breed with a slender, yet muscular build and come in a wide variety of colours. Other characteristics include a small cone-shaped head, ears that can be pointy, half-erect or droopy, and a thin tail that curves upwards.

These dogs average a height of 50-60cm and can weigh between 25-45kg when fully grown.


Africanis are a no-fuss kind of dog and easy to get along with. They are very unobtrusive and love hanging out with their human family. However, they are also quite independent and like having loads of space to explore.

The breed is slightly territorial and has a natural tendency to guard and protect livestock. This makes it the perfect dog to have around other animals. It is also very intelligent, which means it can be trained with ease.

Africanis are very playful dogs too, which makes them great to have around kids.

At Home

As said earlier, Africanis like their space, so they will do great in a home with a large yard. You should, however, ensure that fences are high enough to prevent the dog from escaping and exploring. They will also do okay with apartment living should they be exercised enough.

The Africanis breed has a very high stamina and a primal instinct to walk. If kept in residential areas, they should be taken on daily walks and given regular chances to run around freely and play.

This breed is an average shedder and their short coat is easy to groom. They do have a bit of a problem with the cold and might need to be moved indoors during Winter.


Their natural breeding means that Africanis are extremely healthy animals. They have developed a natural resistance to internal and external parasites over the years and, with no special dietary needs, are considered a very cost-effective dog to own.

Your Africanis will be part of your family for about 9-12 years.


Sign up for the JOCK Newsletter.

We will keep you up to date with legendary and hero stories.