BACKGROUND: The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) is an endangered African canid threatened by severe habitat fragmentation, human-wildlife conflict, and infectious disease. A highly specialized carnivore, it is distinguished by its social structure, dental morphology, absence of dewclaws, and colorful pelage. RESULTS: We sequenced the genomes of two individuals from populations representing two distinct ecological histories (Laikipia County, Kenya and KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa). We reconstructed population demographic histories for the two individuals and scanned the genomes for evidence of selection. CONCLUSIONS: We show that the African wild dog has undergone at least two effective population size reductions in the last 1,000,000 years. We found evidence of Lycaon individual-specific regions of low diversity, suggestive of inbreeding or population-specific selection. Further research is needed to clarify whether these population reductions and low diversity regions are characteristic of the species as a whole. We documented positive selection on the Lycaon mitochondrial genome. Finally, we identified several candidate genes (ASIP, MITF, MLPH, PMEL) that may play a role in the characteristic Lycaon pelage.