The elusive short haired dog has many names in the local languages where it is endemic, such as: cachorro-do-mato-de-orelha-curta in Portuguese, zorro de oreja corta in Spanish, nomensarixi in the Chiquitano language, and uálaca in Yucuna.
The short-eared dog can be found in the Amazon rainforest region of South America Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and possibly Venezuela). There is a single report of "three slender, doglike animals" of this species sighted in the Darien region of Panama in 1984 by German biologist Sigi Weisel and a native Embera nation Panamanian.
Some have speculated the reason for the lack of sighting is the fact that it lives the heavily forested jungle which has little human presence.
Combining any eyewitness reports that are on record and along with small snippets of film (Like the one below) taken from camera traps, scientist have a pretty good understanding of what the short-eared dog looks like
The short-eared dog has been described as short with slender limbs with short, rounded ears.
The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) has a distinctive fox-like muzzle and bushy tail. It ranges from dark to reddish-grey, but can also be nearly navy blue, coffee brown, dark grey or chestnut-grey until to black. The coat is short, with thick and bristly fur. Its paws are partly webbed, owing to its partly aquatic habitat.
It moves with feline lightness unparalleled among the other canids. It has a somewhat narrow chest, with dark color variation on thorax merging to brighter, more reddish tones on the abdominal side of the body.
It's diet is similar to what any dog would eat, the dog is mainly a carnivore, with fish, insects, and small mammals making up the majority of its diet with Birds, crabs, fruit and reptiles filling out its overall diet.
As for its linage, the short eared dog is somewhat of a mystery to most. It is believed that about 2.5 million years ago canids which is a lineage of carnivorans that includes domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, dingoes, and many other extant and extinct dog-like mammals migrated from North to South America.
Over the 2.5 million year the short-eared dog's ancestors adapted quite well to a life lived in tropical rainforests, developing the requisite morphological and anatomical features.
Apart from its superficial resemblance to the bush dog, the short-eared dog seems not to be closely related to any fox-like or wolf-like canid So it shall continue to remain a mystery for the foreseeable future.
Footage provided by NatGeo