ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on August 14, 2009

The dingo was the only member of the mammalian order Carnivora in Australia before European colonisation,

In one sense the dingo is not a native mammal of Australia for it was introduced about 10,000 years ago by one of the later groups of Aborigines. The Tasmanian Aborigines did not possess dingoes.

The dingo is close to the line which led from the first domesticated dogs, almost certainly derived from wolves, to the modern dogs but there is controversy about the identity of its closest relatives.

If a dingo pup is captured young enough, it can be trained as a hunting dog or kept as a pet. Wild dingoes, however, destroy great numbers of livestock, and the Australian government is conducting a vigorous campaign against them.

Dingoes are often destroyed by shooting, trapping and poisoning because of the threat they pose to livestock. However when the destruction has been thorough it has sometimes been followed by increases in the number of other animals, such as rabbits; in New England there have been troublesome increases in the number of wallabies after dingo baiting, and in western Queensland feral pigs have become greater pests.

Physical Characteristics

The color of pure-bred dingoes varies but a typical specimen is tawny yellow above with paler underparts and usually with white on the tail-tip and paws. The ears are erect and the general shape is wolf-like. Dingoes in the wild carry their tail at a droop but pet dingoes often hold them erect, exposing the anus, in the manner of domestic dogs but unlike wolves.

The dingo differs from a domestic dog in various small ways: the feet, for example, are relatively large, the teeth are bigger and the last carnassial (shearing) tooth is relatively larger than the others; and dingoes never bark, they howl.

The dingo stands about 24 inches (60 cm) tall at the shoulder and is 3 feet (90 cm) long, not counting its 12 inch (30cm) long bushy tail.

The dingo is found mainly in inland South Australia and New SOuth Wales, the eastern highlands of New South Wales and Victoria, and in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.


Dingoes can interbreed with domestic dogs. Some experts have argued that this rarely, if ever, occurs in the wild but recent research by the CSIRO shows that it is a common occurrence and that there are very few, if any, purebred dingoes left in the Eastern Highlands. Pure-bred dingoes mate between April and June (a little earlier in the north).

The gestation period is about 63 days (the same as that of the domestic dog), and the average litter is five. At other times of the year both sexes are virtually infertile but as a result of interbreeding with domestic dogs some 'dingo' populations now breed at various times of the year. Consequently, some of the resulting packs (of which about 75 per cent are hybrid and include some feral domestic dogs) are larger and more permanent than the normal dingo group, and, consequently, more troublesome.

Pure-bred dingoes are usually solitary but they are known to sometimes hunt in groups of two or three. Grouping often takes place at breeding time when non-mating adults help to raise the pups, or in times of stress when small game is scarce and the animals must take larger prey.

Dingoes still occur throughout most of Australia, apart from the densely populated districts, but the proportion of pure-bred animals is falling constantly. There is now a movement for popularising dingoes (or, as breeders prefer to call them, Australian native dogs) as pets.


  • Concise Australian Encyclopaedia, Second Edition, 1986, Angus & Robertson. Page 148.
  • Merit Students Encyclopedia, Volume 6, P.F. Collier Inc, 1979. Page 2. 
  • Australian Encyclopedia, Collins Publishers, 1984. Page 180.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)