It was given the binomial name Canis alpinus in 1811 by Peter Pallas, who described its range as encompassing the upper levels of Udskoi Ostrog in Amurland, towards the eastern side and in the region of the upper Lena River, though he wrote that it also occurred around the Yenisei River, and that it occasionally crossed into China. alpinus itself arose during the late Middle Pleistocene, by which point the transformation of the lower molar into a single cusped, slicing tooth had been completed.
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It is listed as Endangered by the IUCN, as populations are decreasing and estimated at fewer than 2,500 adults.
Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss, loss of prey, competition with other species, persecution, and disease transfer from domestic dogs. The earliest possible written use of the word in English occurred in 1808 by soldier Thomas Williamson, who encountered the animal in Ramghur district.
He stated that dhole was a common local name for the species.
A Tiger Hunted by Wild Dogs (1807) by Samuel Howitt.
Subsequent authors, including Juliet Clutton-Brock, noted greater morphological similarities to canids of the genera Canis, Dusicyon and Alopex than to either Speothos or Lycaon, with any resemblance to the latter two being due to convergent evolution.
Subsequent studies on the canid genome revealed that the dhole and African wild dog are closely related to members of the genus Canis, and that both are more closely related to grey wolves, coyotes, golden wolves, golden jackals, and Ethiopian wolves than the more basal black-backed and side-striped jackals are.adustus (Pocock, 1941), antiquus (Matthew & Granger, 1923), clamitans (Heude, 1892), dukhunensis (Sykes, 1831), fumosus (Pocock, 1936), grayiformis (Hodgson, 1863), infuscus (Pocock, 1936), javanicus (Desmarest, 1820), laniger (Pocock, 1936), lepturus (Heude, 1892), primaevus (Hodgson, 1833), rutilans (Müller, 1839) However, studies on dhole mt DNA and microsatellite genotype showed that there are no clear subspecific distinctions.
Nevertheless, two major phylogeographic groupings were discovered in dholes of the Asian mainland, which likely diverged during a glaciation event.
This is one of the first illustrations of the species, featured in Thomas Williamson's Oriental Field Sports.
The depiction though is based on Williamson's description of the animal as resembling the Indian pariah dog.