The Near Threatened maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus is a South American endemic canid occurring mainly in grassland-dominated regions. We compiled and mapped recent and historical data to compare the species’ present and historical distributions and propose hypotheses for range shifts. There has been recent range expansion in eastern Brazil associated with the deforestation of the Atlantic Forest and conversion of habitat to grasslands for cattle range. The northern, north-eastern and eastern sectors of the species’ range have not yet experienced significant modifications, and the species persists in central Brazil, northern and eastern Bolivia, and south-eastern Peru. The largest range contractions have occurred at the species’ southern limits but maned wolves are still present in north-eastern, central and eastern Argentina, and there are a few records of the species' occurence from Uruguay and north-eastern and southern Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. Historically the species occupied nearly all of Rio Grande do Sul, Uruguay and south to at least the 38th parallel in Argentina. The probable causes of the southern range loss are intense anthropogenic pressure combined with limiting abiotic factors such as temperature and humidity. We highlight the need to revise the view of how habitat modifications are influencing the range of C. brachyurus so as to improve and coordinate range-wide conservation strategies.