15 Incredible Short-Eared Dog Facts!

Discover fascinating short-eared dog facts about its range, mating, ecology, diet, behavior, and more!

The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) is a distinct dog species that is indigenous and endemic to the Amazonian basin. It is also commonly known as the small-eared dog and short-eared zorro. It ranges between 28.3-39.3 in (72-100 cm) in length. Its coat comprises colors like reddish-gray, coffee brown, dark gray, chestnut-gray, navy blue, and black. It possesses a narrow chest, foxlike tail, and a short coat with bristly and dense fur. The paws are partially webbed due to the aquatic habitat of this species. It has dark colors on its thorax that merge to the red hues on its belly. The short-eared zorro walks exceptionally with a cat-like lightness, unlike other canids. This species can be spotted in regions of South America only, including, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela. It inhabits regions of the rainforest environment where there are no disturbances from humans. They exist in the Amazon rainforest, in moist tropical forests, swamp forests, bamboo regions, and cloud forests. This species is currently threatened and its wild population is decreasing due to habitat loss, diseases, domestic dogs, and human disturbances like hunting. Keep reading to get to know more facts about the ecology, habitat, mating behavior, and more of this species!

If you enjoyed reading these short-eared dog interesting facts, do check out our cool Kunming wolfdog facts for kids and Brazilian terrier surprising facts!

Short-Eared Dog

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Plants, fish, insects, small mammals, frogs, crabs, small reptiles, birds, and wild fruits

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

19.8-22 lb (9-10 kg)

How long are they?

28.3-39.3 in (72-100 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Reddish grey, dark brown, blue, red, and white

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Feral dogs, diseases such as canine distemper and rabies, humans, degradation of natural habitat, and the destruction of tropical rainforests

What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them

Lowland regions like terra firme forests and bamboo areas


Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru (South America)





Scientific Name

Atelocynus microtis





Short-Eared Dog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a short-eared dog?

The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) is a dog. Commonly known as the small-eared dog and short-eared zorro, this dog is omnivorous and its diet comprises plant and meat. It feeds upon insects, small mammals, and fish mainly. It is also known to feed upon crabs, frogs, birds, wild fruits, and reptiles.

What class of animal does a short-eared dog belong to?

The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) belongs to the class Mammalia. It was in 1883 when this species was described for the first time. It is the single member of the Atelocynus genus. It is related to the bush dog (Speothos venaticus), which is also a forest fog. These two species co-exist in the same sites in the Amazon basin.

How many short-eared dogs are there in the world?

The IUCN Red List has not provided the wild population number of this species. However, according to research, the population size is less than 10,000 individuals based on the patchy range of its distribution. The most significant threat to the wild population of short-eared dogs is due to feral dogs that facilitate the spread of rabies and canine distemper disease. Humans also contribute to the decline in the population number as they degrade the natural habitat of this species by destructing the tropical rainforests.

Where does a short-eared dog live?

Short-eared dog lives in the Amazon rainforest region only, which differentiated it from other inhabitants of the Amazon basin that also live in other variety of ecosystems like the tapirs, jaguars, armadillos, and anteaters. It can be spotted in regions of South America including Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, and Brazil.

What is a short-eared dog's habitat?

The amazon short-eared dog occurs in Amazonia and inhabits a range of lowland habitats like bamboo regions. terra firme forests, moist tropical forests, swamp forests, and cloud forests. It prefers to inhabit areas where there are no disturbances caused by humans. The short-eared dog relies on the giant armadillo, a cryptic mammal, for the burrows it makes. This dog has been observed to squat in after the armadillo has finished all the digging. The burrows of the giant armadillo provide a great place for these dogs to take shelter. One small-eared dog has been observed to occupy 13 different burrows in a single day!

This species is partially nocturnal and partially diurnal. Most activity of this species has been observed at dusk and dawn. They have a fixed daily routine which comprises two hours for walking around and then two hours for resting in burrows of giant armadillos. Males of this species are quite territorial about their areas and do not allow other males in their territories.

Who do short-eared dogs live with?

Short-eared dogs prefer a solitary lifestyle in forested regions. They prefer to steer clear of humans in their natural habitat. These animals move in trees in the forest they occupy so that they are distant from humans. Short-eared dogs may be active at night or day. They show sedentary behavior.

How long does a short-eared dog live?

These wild dogs can live for 9-11 years in the Amazonian basin.

How do they reproduce?

There is not much information about the mating habits of this species as it is quite elusive and rare. However, we do know that these female dogs give birth in May and June, which is the fruiting season's peak. The movements of the female are nearby the fruit species she likes. The young, known as pups, are cared for by the female inside a burrow or a hollow log which are built by some other animals in the forest. The female leaves the pups when they are 6 months old and finds a new place for shelter away from them. Male short-eared dogs attain sexual maturity at the age of three years when they produce sounds and their testicles descend, which is quite late comparatively.

What is their conservation status?

The short-eared zorro has the conservation status Near Threatened as per the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The population trend of this species is decreasing. The short-eared dog is considered Vulnerable in Brazil as the wild population of this species is declining. This fragile species is facing numerous threats, due to which this species can go extinct if conservation efforts aren't made.  

Short-Eared Dog Fun Facts

What do short-eared dogs look like?

The short-eared dog is a distinct species of the Amazonian basin that ranges between 28.3-39.3 in (72-100 cm) in length. Its coat comprises colors like reddish-gray, coffee brown, dark gray, chestnut-gray, navy blue, and black. It possesses a narrow chest, foxlike tail, and a short coat with bristly and dense fur. The paws are partially webbed due to the aquatic habitat of this species. It has dark colors on its thorax that merge to the red hues on its belly.

The short-eared dog has a short coat with bristly and dense fur!
*Please note that the second image is of a bush dog, and not of a short-eared dog. If you have an image of a short-eared dog, please let us know at

How cute are they?

Short-eared dogs are quite magnificent to look at. They have a short coat that defines their body structure perfectly.

How do they communicate?

They produce complicated calls which resemble that of owls. The female comes to the male after hearing these calls. The young are quite silent and only roar and make whining sounds when they are around humans they don't like. Males emit a musk when they get excited. This musk is produced by the glands present in their tail.

How big is a short-eared dog?

The short-eared dog ranges between 28.3-39.3 in (72-100 cm) in length. Its length is similar to that of the Tibetan sand fox!

How fast can a short-eared dog run?

The speed of these dogs has not been evaluated yet. However, they are known to walk exceptionally with a cat-like lightness, unlike other canids.

How much does a short-eared dog weigh?

The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) ranges between 19.8-22 lb (9-10 kg) in weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Like all the other dog species, males of this species can be referred to as dogs and females as bitches

What would you call a baby short-eared dog?

The baby of a short-eared dog can be called a pup.

What do they eat?

Short-eared dogs are omnivorous animals that consume plants as well as meat. Their diet mainly comprises insects, small mammals, and fish. However, they have also been observed feeding upon small reptiles, crabs, frogs, wild fruits, and birds. Even though these dogs are major fruit-eaters, they prefer meat over fruits. They consume many fruits as well as hunt birds. They are skilled predators that can easily tackle large birds as well as small invertebrates. However, short-eared dogs fall prey to animals like jaguars, boa constrictors, human hunters, ocelots, pumas, margays, feral and domestic dogs, and peccaries in their region.

Are they dangerous?

Short-eared dogs are quite suspicious animals. They are delicate instead of dangerous. They have never proven to be fatal to humans. If males feel troubled they raise their back's hairs.

Would they make a good pet?

These animals are classified as near threatened in all the regions they inhabit, namely, Bolivia, Brazil,  Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru. It wouldn't be advisable to keep this endangered species as a pet. However, these dogs are captured by local inhabitants and sold as pets to people and zoos.

Did you know...

These dogs play an essential part in the ecosystem of the Amazon basin as they disperse the seeds of many fruits they eat!

They have different local names in the region where it is endemic, like zorro de oreja corta in Spanish, uálaca in Yucuna, nomensarixi in the Chiquitano language, and cachorro-do-mato-de-orelha-curta in Portuguese!

The English Foxhound is the rarest dog breed in the United States of America!

Why is the short-eared dog endangered?

The short-eared dog is endangered as its survival and health depend upon the tropical forest it inhabits, which is at risk due to road-building, mining, deforestation, climate change, and fossil fuel exploitation. Apart from forest loss, It is also at risk due to feral and domestic dogs as they carry diseases like parvoviruses and distemper. The population of the short-eared dog has faced a significant decline in recent times.

What breed of dog has two noses?

The Catalburun dog breed is one of three unique breeds that have a characteristic split nose. The other two species are the Andean Tiger-hound and Pachon Navarro. This breed is indigenous to Turkey.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these whale facts for kids and Sumatran elephant surprising facts pages!

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dog coloring pages!



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