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Dingo, Wild Australian Dog

Updated on November 28, 2015
Dingo Perth ZOO
Dingo Perth ZOO | Source
At Trumler Station
At Trumler Station | Source

The Dingo is a wild free roaming dog mostly found in the outback of Australia. It is generally believed to have come with humans from Southeast Asia thousands of years ago At that time dogs were not domesticated to the extent they are now. According to Wikipedia the dogs then would have been closer to the Asian Grey Wolf, Canis Lupus. Features and instincts of the Dingo differs from other canines due to being isolated from both humans and other dogs. Australia's ecology also contributed to its development as a species.

Dingoes closest relatives from Southeast Asia and the Pacific is Canis Lupus Dingo and different from the domestic dog (Canis Lupus famiTiaris) there are, however, some scientific reconsideration about the classification of domestic dogs because the DNA evidence of the relationship of dogs to wolves.

As Australia's biggest predator the Dingo is a problem for the sheep industry because of attacks on livestock. The control methods employed by the sheep industry, however, conflicts with efforts to conserve Dingoes. The cattle industry may benefit from the dingo holding down some cattle predators,

They are now considered a sub species of the Grey Wolf but were previously considered a sub species of the domestic dog. It seems unsettled whether they are wolf, dog or neither in terms of scientific consideration. Generally the status of the domestic dog is being reconsidered since the advent of DNA. That evidence suggest a closer relationship between wolves and dogs but I think the sampling has been too small, so far, to be conclusive.

Rare photo of White dingo
Rare photo of White dingo | Source

he name “dingo” traces back to early European colonization in New South Wales and may have come from the word “tingo” used by aboriginals of Port Jackson for camp dogs, according to the website “subspecies of the dog.” Dingoes might be called Alpine Dingoes, Desert Dingoes, Cape York Dingoes. In modern times, Australian Native Dog or Australian Wolf.

The Dingo in Australia is physically a lot like both the domestic dog and pariah dogs in southern Asia. According to “Subspecies of the dog:” They have:

  • relatively broad head

  • pointed muzzle

  • erect ears eyes-yellow yellow over orange to brown

  • longer canine teeth than domestic dog

  • longer muzzles than domestic dogs

  • flatter skull

  • fur is short, bush on tail

  • color of fur is sandy to reddish brown

  • an unusual characteristic of the Dingo is lack of dew claws

Dingoes generally remain in one area and do not migrate seasonally,

Dingoes at Phillips Island
Dingoes at Phillips Island | Source

According to dingoes

  • weight 50-70 lbs

  • height 19-23 inches

  • lifespan 18 yrs.

The Dingo might be the basis for hundreds of modern dog breeds.

The website Australian Animals. Net dingo Australia's Wild dog tells me that the dingo is not a pack animal. If true, that is very different from wolves and according to some dog trainers it is different from domestic dogs. The article says that they live and hunt alone or in pairs of small family groups. On the other hand, ”Dog Breed Info Center”says:”They have strong cooperative instincts and live in packs.” However, they go on to say Dingoes seldom hunt in packs..

Dingoes as pets

In Australia there are Dingoes being raised for the purpose of selling for pets. But at the time of their publication the Dingoes are not available as pets, outside of Australia and not exported. Those who do have them asspets need to have a calm, firm authority. They are not recommended for apartment life and must have a secure fenced enclose. When walking or in a park they should not be taken off leash.. They need long walks with a firm human leader.

Their coat is weather resistant and does not require much grooming.

Interesting facts and theories s about Dingoes

  • It is thought that Dingoes were brought to Australia as long ago as 15,000 years ago. Some current evidence indicates that Aborigines and Dingoes came at different times. Dog Breed Info states that the Dingo came to Australia 4,000 years ago.

  • Dingoes could be the base stock for 600 true dog breeds, according to Dog Breed Infor Center

  • Dingoes could be related to semi wild dogs of southeast Asia and got to Australia with sea farers who used them for trade and/or food. According to

  • As hunters the dingoes hunt mostly at night and eat mammals but will eat reptiles and insects.

  • They mature sexually at one year and mate for life.

  • According to Dog Breed dingoes have been reported to be able to do agility and general obedience tasks.


Should wild dog breeds like the Dingo be sold as pets?

See results
  • They climb trees, a trait they have in common with New Guinea Singing Dog and the Finnish Spitz, both of which are closely related to the Dingo, according to dog breed Info Center.

  • Their life expectancy can be over 20 years.

In summary, the dingo is a wild dog brought to Australia long ago. Theories vary as to how long. It may be a offspring of the Grey Wolf, although it was recently believed to be from the dog category biologically. Having been isolated from other dogs for a long time they have some features that differ from other dogs. There is some interest in developing them as pets but that is in the beginning stages.

Copyright 2012 Don Hoglund

Sources of information for this article are::

Dog Breed Info Center,

Wikipedia article on Dingoes, Dingo Australia's Wild Dog

© 2012 Don A. Hoglund


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    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      kittythedreamer,I'm glad you enjoyed reading about dingoes. Thanks for commenting and voting.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      I had no idea they could climb trees. Super interesting. "The Dingoes ate my baby!" :) Voted up and awesome.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      jessica May 

      6 years ago

      The dingo definitely does play an important roll in our environment an as our top order apex predator,should not be eradicated in such a horrific manner as trapping an baiting with 1080.

      Barry Oakman obviously over 60 years experience,doesn't account for much,if your been bitten every year!! I have been working with dingoes for many,many years an never been bitten.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Dusty. I agree that wild dogs are interesting and have a place in the scheme of nature.

    • Dusty Snoke profile image

      Dusty Snoke 

      6 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Interesting read. I did not know much about the dingo, but love learning about wild animals, especially wild dogs. Thanks for sharing.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting Rod. I agree with all your points.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 

      6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      I'll vote up. I once knew a miner who had a dingo as a pet. Since he lived in isolation this was okay. Wild dingos don't bark but they can be taught to do so. Barking isn't the ideal thing for a predator who relies on speed and cunning to catch his prey.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Frog, it seems that all dogs are related to wolves, the Dingo maybe closer than most. You are probably right about leaving them be. We certainly have enough breeds to choose from now.Thanks for commenting.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Very interesting reading. I take it that it is our version of a wolf. If so, the wildness may never leave even through breeding. Let them roam the outback.

      The Frog

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks JKenny. I do recall something about the Tasmanian Tiger and the Ding. I don't recall the context though. It seems the Dingo has become identified with Australia.

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Great Hub Don. Its strange to think of the Dingo as a foreign invader, as in many ways they have become as Australian as the Kangaroo. I remember reading that the Dingo played a significant role in the extinction of the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) and also the decline of the Tasmanian Devil which was common right across Australia.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      caseworker, Yes, that would be a consideration. They are an animal that needs to be controlled and have room for exercise. It was similar to the discussion when I wrote about wolf/dog hybrids.Not for the casual dog owner.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi pandula. I've always wondered about wild dogs like the dingo, so I decided to investigate a little.Thanks for commenting and glad you found it interesting.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image


      6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Quite an interesting hib, I guess the question must be whether the animal can become domesticated- I am not sure I would want one iving next door to me

    • pandula77 profile image

      Dr Pandula 

      6 years ago from Norway

      A all in one hub regarding the Dingo. Its interesting to read and great hub for those who like wildlife such as myself. Thanks for sharing!


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