The vision of the AfriCanis Society of Southern Africa is to conserve the AfriCanis as a heterogeneous landrace. These dogs have shared the rural lives of Bantu and Khoisan people for ages. They are part of their cultural and historical heritage. They don’t need western-style breed improvements.

As Johan Gallant noted:

“The beauty of this dog is embodied in the simplicity and functionality of its build.”

The AfriCanis Society: A brief history

The Society was founded in 1998 by Edith, the late Johan Gallant (writer and dog behaviorist), and archaeologist Dr. Udo Küsel (former Director of the National Cultural History Museum, South Africa).

The Society’s purpose is to protect the AfriCanis as an aboriginal landrace and to uphold the principles of natural selection that have shaped this landrace for thousands of years.

DNA research has proven that there is a specific African dog genome; research is ongoing to isolate this genome.

To promote the AfriCanis as utility dogs: suitable for everyday uses, such as livestock guard dogs, tracker dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

It is not intent on and does not support any moves towards transforming this aboriginal dog into a pure-bred dog breed. It accepts the many physical variations in the AfriCanis and argues that these dogs are shaped by Africa for Africa.

Code of Ethics & Guidelines for Breeders


Motivation of the principles on which this code of ethics and guidelines are based: Within the populations of domesticated animals, a difference must be drawn between animals bred as a commodity (livestock) and those primarily bred as a COMPANION with a complementary function.

Bearing in mind that humans have the moral duty to respect all living creatures, and considering the particular bond which exists between humans and companion animals, it is appropriate that the AfriCanis Society compiles and imposes a code of ethics for all its members and specific guidelines for breeders. These instructions are aimed at co-ordinating and guiding the CONSERVATION of the dogs which have been associated to the rural areas populated by Bantu- and Khoi-speaking peoples. These rules are formulated in respect of the principles of “controlled” natural selection and the laws preventing cruelty to animals.

“Controlled” natural selection implies a method whereby humans primarily play an “observing” role in the breeding of domesticated animals. It is aimed at obtaining offspring with an adapted mental and physical condition, which mainly results from the conditions imposed by nature and environment and not from artificial or forceful selecting on features favoured by fancy.

For many centuries the AfriCanis, as aboriginal or traditional dogs of the Bantu- and Khoi-speaking peoples of Southern Africa have been part of a rural pastoral life style. Over the years they evolved into “ecotypes” adapted to a particular region and the specific conditions under which they lived. As such they suited the needs of the people to whom they belonged.

The AfriCanis are physically and mentally well adapted to the environment, the lifestyle and the tasks which they have to perform. It is the ethical duty of the members of the AfriCanis Society of Southern Africa to PRESERVE, as a cultural patrimony, all inherent qualities which resulted from this quasi natural evolutionary process within a domestic environment.

The most important natural qualities are:

  1. A sound morphology without visible defects.
  2. A locomotion efficiency for their function.
  3. Sharply developed senses.
  4. Natural canine behaviour rooted in ancestral drives and instincts. It guarantees adequate social behaviour with other dogs, livestock and an unconditional attachment to and respect for their custodians.
  5. Unobtrusive and non-demanding in their way of life.
  6. Conditioned to a life in the open air and used to wide spaces.
  7. Easily imprinted on their environment and socialised on all kinds of small and large domestic livestock.
  8. A strong tolerance against sickness and internal and external parasites.
  9. Adapted to the conditions of Africa .
  10. No extravagant nutritional demands.
  11. Natural breeding behaviour.

All members of the AfriCanis Society of Southern Africa agree to abide by the following principles:

  1. Ensure that at all times such dogs are well looked after, properly sheltered, watered, fed, exercised and that they will receive veterinary attention as and when required.
  2. Ensure that they are not reared within the confinement of a kennel. Kennels should only be used as a temporary measure for the safety of the dogs, or for example for the period that a bitch is in season.
  3. Ensure that the correct inoculations, as required by law, are administered at the proper time.
  4. Ensure that no dog kept by them will have its ears cropped, tail docked or be submitted to any form of cosmetic operation.
  5. Will not engage in dog fighting.
  6. Not knowingly misrepresent the characteristics of the AfriCanis, nor falsely advertise or mislead any person regarding the intrinsic characteristics and qualities of the dogs.
  1. Any single dog acquired for breeding from a rural area must be reported to the Society for preliminary record and registration by means of the duly completed application form for registration and the appropriate fee.

  2. Any litter born from A.S.S.A. registered parents must be reported entirely to the Society by means of the proper application form for registration, and be forwarded together with the appropriate registration fee.

  3. The dogs and pups should be reared and kept in sufficiently spacious areas. This is essential for their physical development.

  4. The dogs and pups should preferably live in small group units, in close contact with humans and possibly with a variety of other domestic animals. This is a prerequisite for maintaining sound social behaviour.

  5. Conditions for breeding :

    1. Only dogs and bitches between the age of 12 months and 8 years are to be used for breeding.

    2. Only healthy, active and mentally well-balanced animals may be used in a breeding programme.

    3. Although partnership (Sire and Dam) may be “planned” by the breeder, no “forced” mating or mating performed with human assistance should take place. The pair should be left to interact freely, allowing the bitch to accept the male or not. This to avoid that AfriCanis lacking libido or showing disturbed sexual behaviour procreate in an ‘artificial’ manner.

    4. The pregnant bitch must have the opportunity to get used to a well sheltered and enclosed whelping box. This surrogate lair must be so constructed that it maintains the natural heat emanated from the bodies of mother and pups. No artificial heating devices to be used. They disturb the natural biotonus and the indispensable urge of packing together which is at the basis of the social behaviour of the domestic dog.

    5. Bitches which display serious difficulties while giving birth or require a caesarean will not be used for further breeding purposes, neither will their offspring. This applies also to bitches which display hectic behaviour in the whelping box and don’t show enough care for their young.

  6. Rearing the pups :

    1. Pups are preferably reared in company of pack members (youngsters and adults) and it is important that they can freely interact with them.

    2. It is strongly advisable that pups grow up with, and are imprinted on a variety of livestock.

    3. Ample socialisation with humans is essential together with all kinds of environmental adaptation.

  7. Releasing the pups :

    1. No pup is released to a purchaser until it has reached the age of 8 weeks and it has been dewormed.

    2. Ensure that all persons acquiring a puppy clearly understand their responsibility for the care, welfare and further socialisation and environmental adaptation of such dogs and that the new owners have the time and facilities to undertake their obligations and responsibilities as explained in the code of ethics.

    3. Provide everyone who acquires an AfriCanis with written details about all dietary requirements together with relevant practical advise.

    4. Not knowingly sell any AfriCanis directly to commercial dog wholesalers, retail pet dealers or directly or indirectly allow any AfriCanis to be given as a prize or donation in a contest of any kind.

    5. Membership of A.S.S.A. can only be granted after the applicant has stated that he/she has read and fully understands the above code of ethics and guidelines for breeders and will adhere to it.