The dogs have helped cheetah conservation in Africa. "For the first time in 30 years, the cheetah population in the wild is on the rise because ranchers don't have to shoot them anymore. They don't need to shoot them. The dog is that effective at keeping the cheetah away from the herd," Rose-Hinostroza said.
Not every zoo that breeds cheetahs uses dogs. The St. Louis Zoo, where Grisham is based, has seven cheetahs but does not use dogs. More than 30 cubs have been born at that zoo.
Visitors can still watch the skittish cats and learn what all the fuss is about, Grisham said.
"It helps us understand the plight of animals in nature. In Africa, cheetahs were treated as vermin for years, like people in the United States treat coyotes," Grisham said.