WHERE THE WILD DOGS ARE: A CASE STUDY ON ALPHA FEMALE DOMINANCE IN AFRICAN WILD DOGS
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDominance and social behaviors are extremely important for many wild canid species, including African Wild Dogs. As African Wild Dogs have a matriarchal social structure, the highest ranking individual in any pack or female social group is the alpha female. This study seeks to understand the social changes in a captive single sex group of African Wild Dog female litter mates in terms of dominance. An additional goal was to identify the rank of each individual, and specifically to identify which individual is the alpha female. In this social group, keepers and staff have observed possible moments of “co-dominancy” and fluctuations between which dog acts as the alpha in certain situations. As one of the AWDs is intact and the others are spayed, this study also seeks to understand if ovariohysterectomies have a role in female dominance patterns. The data for this research was completed via ethogram and behavioral observations. It was found that the suspected alpha female is most likely the alpha, while the beta female appears to be fluctuating between a beta female and possibly an alpha male role. As this study was geared towards observing alpha female behaviors, further research could be used to identify the extent that the beta female is acting as an alpha male.
Degree ProgramVeterinary Science