African wild dogs are highly intelligent, pack-hunting canines, capable of stalking and taking down prey as large as full-grown wildebeests with Velociraptor-esque efficiency. These endangered canines, also known as painted dogs or Cape hunting dogs, live in the open plains of sub-Saharan Africa and have multicolored coats and large ears.
Extremely social animals, the wild dogs operate as a family unit, with a monogamous breeding pair as patriarch and matriarch, and members of the pack caring for one another. Using advanced communication skills on the hunt and within the pack, they are, truly, fascinating and incredible animals. They’re also freaking adorable.
For evidence of the latter point, see the video above. In it, a litter of wild dog pups is released into the outdoor enclosure at their home at the Cincinnati Zoo for the first time. Watching them romping around the zoo’s “big yard,” gleefully playing and exploring, it’s easy to notice just how social and intelligent they are, even at such a young age.
And, as one of the trainers snaps “Lucy, stop eating rocks!” from off screen, it’s also easy to see that despite their wild (and at times ferocious) nature, they’re still just, well, dogs.