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The Dingo

Updated on August 21, 2014

The Dingo

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

A dingo having a nap at Featherdale Wildlife Park
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.

Would you like to have a dingo as a pet?

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      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      Dingos are beautiful wild dogs. I had a chance to pet one, when I met the keeper taking them out for a walk on leads. I wouldn't want one as a pet, though! They do need protection, and breeding programs that ensure full-blood dingos don't become extinct. Too much cross-breeding with other dogs happens in the wild.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      No, I don't think so but I think they should be protected.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      I love animals but the dingo would probably prefer the wild

    • sulcatamandy profile image

      Mandy 6 years ago from Montana

      I have a Shepard/deer/dingo/pit mix~funny dog I must say. Resembles Santa's little helper from The Simpsons. She is an amazing animal, and still possess many primal instincts. nice lens :)