Endangered Asian dogs the newest residents at Dublin Zoo

The dhole is about the size of a German shepherd and looks like a long-legged fox

A pack of dholes, an endangered dog species from Asia, arrived at Dublin Zoo this week, making it the first time the animal has been a resident in Ireland.

The five male dholes, pronounced dole, arrived at the facility from Tierpark Berlin a number of days ago.

The zoo said the animals are “settling into their new habitat very well”.

The pack consists of a pair of six-year-old brothers, a pair of three-year-old brothers and a five-year-old half-brother.


Also known as the Asiatic wild dogs, red dog and whistling dog, dholes were once widespread throughout Central, South and Southeast Asia.

Now scattered populations of dholes live in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.

The dog species are classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, this is mainly due to habitat loss, depletion of prey and disease transfer from domestic dogs.

When fully grown, they are about the size of a German shepherd but look more like a long-legged fox.

Ciaran McMahon, team leader at Dublin Zoo said they are “delighted to welcome dholes”.

“It’s the first time we’ve had this species at the Zoo so it’s an exciting time for all the team. We’re really looking forward for visitors to the Zoo to see the dholes and to get the opportunity to learn more about this type of wild dog,” he said.

“It is estimated that there are between 4,500-10,000 dholes left in the wild with numbers declining, so having them at Dublin Zoo as part of a global effort to preserve the species, raise awareness and educate the public on the threats they face in the wild is hugely important.”

The dhole habitat is located at the Asian Forests, close to the Asian lion habitat.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times