The Lives of Domestic Dogs (Canis Africanis) in Botswana

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Alice Hovorka
Lauren Van Patter


The objective of this study is to document the roles, value, circumstances, and welfare management of domestic dogs (Canis Africanis) in Greater Maun, Botswana. Findings based on interviews with sixty participants, as well as key informant interviews and participant observation, reveal high incidence of dog ownership with dogs primarily used as guardians and companions at rural villages, cattle posts and urban homesteads. Dogs are particularly valued for their obedience to and security offered owners. Participants care for their dogs by providing them with food, allowing them free access to areas outside of homesteads, and accessing medical attention when necessary. Participants were pleased with veterinary care, sterilization and vaccination services provided by the local animal welfare organization and urge government to become more involved in dog-related services, laws and education for community members. Analysis of these findings reveals emerging trends related to changing dog roles, urbanization, regulation, and breeding are re-orienting dog roles and circumstances, as well as welfare management needs. Ultimately, this study establishes baseline data regarding human-dog relations and is positioned to inform community development and animal welfare efforts in Botswana.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Alice Hovorka, Queen's University

Professor, Department of Geography and Planning

and Director, School of Environmental Studies

Lauren Van Patter, Queen's University

PhD Student, Department of Geography and Planning