Ghanaian Street Dog
Ghanaian street dogs are free-roaming dogs that typically congregate in cities or large towns where resources are plentiful. Though they're domesticated and share many basic traits with pet dogs, they lead primarily independent lives outdoors.
Middle Eastern and African
Ghanaian Street Dog History
Like all dogs, the Ghanaian street dog descends from the gray wolf. At some point, a number of wolves became domesticated (but experts disagree on exactly when and how). And over time, it became clear that these domesticated canines could perform many useful jobs—from pulling sleds to herding sheep to protecting livestock.
As a result, people began selectively breeding them to strengthen the traits that made them excel in specific areas or conditions. This effort resulted in the many purebred dogs that we know and love today. But the majority of dogs around the world do not belong to a particular breed. This includes Ghanaian street dogs.
Sometimes referred to as Avuvi, Ghanaian street dogs are indigenous dogs from the west-African "Dahomey Gap" region. People don't often keep them as pets, but some use them as guard or hunting dogs. Even when used for such functional purposes, Ghanaian street dogs are typically free-roaming and fend for themselves. They hunt for food using a combination of sight and scent and are skilled at catching rats and birds.
Ghanaian Street Dog Traits
Ghanaian street dogs are muscular, medium-sized dogs. Their bodies are slightly longer than their legs.
Coat and Coloring
Most Ghanaian street dogs have short, fine coats. However, variation does occur, and some dogs have thicker, longer coats or curly hair with fringed tails. Possible coat colors include deep mahogany with or without a black overlay, black, black and white, tricolor, brindle, or cream. Some of these street dogs have white on the feet and the tip of the tail.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Ghanaian street dogs have hazel to dark brown eyes and small ears that can be either erect or floppy. They also have strong necks and balanced, slender bodies. The breed's medium-length, low-set tail bends back to lightly touch the spine.
Ghanaian Street Dog Temperament
Energetic and intelligent, Ghanaian street dogs are natural hunters. As such, they'll dig for and pursue small animals. To prevent this, always keep your dog on a leash or in an enclosed area—where they won't be tempted to give chase—when outside.
These pups communicate using a set of unique, wide-ranging sounds. And they're wary of strangers and not shy about barking or defending their territory. So, they make excellent guard dogs.
Ghanaian Street Dog Care
Free-roaming Ghanaian street dogs' diets typically consist of whatever they can kill or find—small farm animals, scraps from trash cans, handouts from kind strangers, and so on. If you're leaving food out for a street dog, they'll benefit from commercial diets formulated for pet dogs.
Because they fend for themselves, street dogs aren't usually at risk of becoming overweight. However, if you take a street dog under your roof, keep an eye on their food intake to avoid overfeeding. Guidelines on dog food packages are a good starting point when determining daily portions.
If you've adopted a street dog that's comfortable being handled, regular brushing and nail trims will help them look their best. Good dental hygiene is also important for any dog. Professional cleanings and at-home dental care will keep their mouths healthy and reduce the risk of related health issues.
Ghanaian street dogs are active pups that need daily exercise. Long walks on a leash and play sessions inside a fenced yard will help them stay physically and mentally fit.
Though quite smart and trainable, Ghanaian street dogs have an independent streak. For training success, use patient, firm, consistent methods and positive reinforcement.
Reviewed June 16, 2021 by Laura Inman, DVM