AfriCanis is an umbrella name. It refers to all Southern African aboriginal dogs. This name has been brought into being by the AfriCanis Society in 1996. It covers all denominations used for the dogs in the various Southern African languages. To use all these names would incorrectly create the impression that we are dealing with so many different types of indigenous dogs.
The name 'AfriCanis' is a junction of ‘Africa’ and 'Canis' (the Latin word for dog). It stands for 'dog of Africa' and refers to the subequatorial native African dogs, namely the aboriginal dogs which for centuries have been an integral part of the life of the Bantu and Khoisan speaking people in Southern Africa.( read ‘History’) Like all other dogs the AfriCanis forms part of what the taxonomist Linneaus classified as Canis familiaris or the domestic dog.
The AfriCanis has never been subjected to homogeneous streamlining. It is a product of natural selection. It is heterogeneous in essence as it has never been genetically manipulated in view of obtaining cosmetic uniformity. The differentiation which exists is primarily the result of environmental adaptation.
Over the years these dogs have been shaped by Africa for Africa. They are the result of a relentless natural selection. Generation after generation only the strongest and best adapted survived and reproduced. Natural selection is still the best recipe for creating individuals which are adapted to their environment, tolerant of parasites, resistant to common diseases and less affected by hereditary diseases. It is under such conditions that over the centuries it acquired and developed its abilities and proved its utility.
Therefore the AfriCanis must be understood and maintained as a natural landrace or a geographical race.
The Africanis is in essence a companion. If correctly socialized / imprinted with livestock it will coexist with all domestic animals which traditionally are found in and around African homesteads. Living harmoniously with chickens, goats, piglets, etc. While growing up it becomes territorial and develops the urge to protect the homestead and all what lives in and around it. Although the combination of its genes and environmental imprinting make it safe with livestock, the AfriCanis has a high chase response. This makes it an asset in traditional subsistence hunting.
In conclusion we may say that the Africanis, since its ancestors arrived on the African continent, has adapted to the conditions of Africa. In its rural environment it has survived and still does today without any form of veterinary care or sophisticated feeding schemes.
AfriCanis are genuine dogs which display uncorrupted behavioral patterns. Over the years they have learned to serve humankind in a multitude of applications. They are very attached to their people, adaptable, extremely intelligent and hardy. They are eager to work, and in need of physical and mental stimulation.
Today, the true AfriCanis can only be found in traditional isolated rural regions, where the occurrence of exotic breeds is improbable. It is essential to understand that AfriCanis which made their way to townships are most likely become crossed with all kind of dogs from unidentified origin.