About the size of a collie, with smoother tawny hair and a white tip on the tail, and usually on the paws also. Formerly classified as a distinct species Canis dingo, it is now recognized as merely a variety of domestic dog under the name Canis familiaris.
Dingoes are a menace in sheep country, where they worry the flocks at night and frequently kill sheep. Crosses between dingo and domestic breeds have produced some very valuable new types of working dogs. but interbreeding with domestic dogs gone wild has produced some notorious "rogues" in various parts of the country.
'Blue' an Australian Alpine Dingo
Description of a Dingo
Dingo, or warrigal, is a wild dog found on the Australian mainland, but not in Tasmania or on other islands. It is grouped with the dog family Canidae.
Dingoes are creamy yellow or reddish brown in color, with large pointed ears and whitetipped bushy tails. They are large dogs, about the size of a cattle dog. They do not bark, but produce a mournful howl. Australian cattle dogs and sheep dogs have dingo blood in them.
Dingoes generally hunt in packs. They feed on kangaroos, wallabies and rabbits. They are regarded as pests by most farmers because they kill sheep and calves, often in large numbers.
Poison bait and traps were set to kill dingoes, and a government bounty was paid for their scalps.
Dingoes were greatly reduced by these measures, but they are still troublesome in some areas.
The origin of dingoes is uncertain, but it is thought that they are descended from the plains wolf of India, or possibly the Indian wild dog. They were probably introduced into Australia as domestic dogs by early Aboriginals.
The dingo cannot bark; its cry is a yelp.
A dingo having a nap at Featherdale Wildlife Park
- Size: Up to 70cm
- Diet: An opportunitic feeder, dingoes will eat a variety of mammals, birds and reptiles.
- Habitat: Any habitat is utilised but prefers woodlands and grasslands adjacent to forests.
- Breeding: A litter of tree to four young are born between August and November.
- General Information: The dingo differs from the domestic dog in that it does not bark and only breeds once a year.