The Short-eared dog is a unique and elusive canid species native to the Amazonian basin. It ranges from dark to reddish-grey, but can also be nearly navy blue, coffee brown, dark grey, or chestnut-grey to black, and the coat is short, with thick and bristly fur. Its paws are partly webbed, owing to its partly aquatic habitat. The Short-eared dog moves with feline lightness unparalleled among the other canids. It has a somewhat narrow chest, with a dark color variation on the thorax merging to brighter and more reddish tones on the abdominal side of the body.
Short-eared dogs can be found in South America including Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and possibly Venezuela. They live in various parts of the rainforest environment, preferring areas with little human disturbance. They occur in Amazonia and in tropical moist forests, as well as in swamp forests, stands of bamboo, and cloud forests.
Short-eared dogs are solitary animals and prefer moving in trees away from human and other animal interactions. They may be active at any time of the day or night. When excited males spray a musk produced by the tail glands and if agitated they raise the hairs on their backs.
Short-eared dogs are omnivores and eat both meat and plants. However, fish, insects, and small mammals make up the majority of their diet. They will also gladly feast on frogs, crabs, small reptiles, birds, and various wild fruits.
Short-eared dogs give birth to their young in May and June. The pups are raised by the female inside the hollow log or in the burrow made by other animals. They become reproductively mature at 3 years of age, which is relatively late compared to other canid species.
Feral dogs pose a prominent threat to the population of Short-eared dogs, as they facilitate the spread of diseases such as canine distemper and rabies to the wild population. Humans also contribute to the extermination of Short-eared dogs by the degradation of their natural habitat and the destruction of tropical rainforests.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Short-eared dog total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.