The minimum number of adult dogs in a pack which can successfully hunt and breed is 6 dogs. Painted dogs are intensely sociable animals living most of the time in close association with each other. This has obvious benefits but has drawbacks as well. All too often a member may contract a disease which can wipe out a whole population.
Packs can be as small as a pair or number as many as 30 including adult and yearlings.
New packs are formed when same sex animals leave their natal packs and join up with sub groups of the opposite sex that have also left their natal group to form a new pack.
Any young born to the new pack may either stay or leave as young adults.
Sick or injured animals are usually looked after by the other pack members.
Most Painted Dog packs have a single dominant male and female. The dominant female is generally the mother of the pups although it has been known for other females within the pack to have puppies.
The dominant female selects a denning site, which can be an abandoned hole made by an aardvark or she digs it herself with assistance from other members of the pack. On average 10 to 11 pups are in the litter.
The pups are born black with irregular white spots.
For about the first 12 weeks the puppies are nursed in and around the den site. At first the mother and then a "baby sitter" remains with the litter and is fed by other pack members by regurgitated food. Later food for the puppies is regurgitated by all pack members after a successful hunt.
Depending on the size of the pack, mortality in the pups is high and there is some evidence to show that with more helpers the survival rate is better. But not always.
All pack members are involved in the caring for the puppies when they leave the den.