Until recently, when a conservation biologist was able to film this short-eared dog inhabiting the Amazon rainforests , it was rarely seen by humans. The dog ranges over Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela, never anyplace near humans. It is sometimes called the short-eared zorro.
Interestingly, the short-eared dog is not only more cat-like in appearance, but it’s movements are more feline than canine. It’s body shape is similar to, but somewhat larger than that of the jaguarundi. The jaguarundi is a small feline, weighing anywhere from 6-20 lbs. that inhabits Northern Mexico, Central and South America, Texas and by accidentally let loose, in Florida.
The short-eared dog has small rounded ears, is a bit narrow in the chest, legs that are short and slim and a fox-like muzzle. Paws are partially webbed to accommodate to the wetlands it inhabits. The short coat is thick and rough. Colors can be reddish-grey, chestnut-grey, dark chestnut, coffee color and all inbetween shades. Females are up to a third larger than males.
Because the short-eared dog avoids humans, little is known about its habits although it appears to be solitary. Natives report that males have a strong odor emitted from their anal glands and if threatened, they will bare their teeth and growl. There is no information on their breeding habits.
This dog is a carnivore, but also known to be prey to ocelots, jaguars and pumas. Their diet is said to consist of fish, crabs, frogs, reptiles, insects, small animals, birds and fruit.
These rare dogs are classified as “Near Threatened” due to encroachment by humans of their habitat and diseases such as distemper and parvovirus transmitted by domestic dogs.