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The Dingo Dog Breed Profile

Jun 21, 2008
The dingo is a wild dog of Southeast Asia and Australia. It is commonly known as the Australian wild dog. The dingo is believed to have originated in Asia and brought to Australia by Austronesian traders some 3,000 years ago. They flourished upon introduction, and quickly spread out across Australia, quite possibly with human assistance. Within a short period of time the dingo had occupied the entire continent and became a dominant predator, likely contributing to the extinction of marsupial carnivores such as the Thylacine.

In recent generations, the dingo has become seen as a pest species, and many measures, including an extensive fence, have been made to stem its encroachment on human property/welfare. Also, because of its inbreeding with dogs introduced by European settlers, the dingo gene pool is also considered to be increasingly "polluted". Thus, its present-day status is considered "Vulnerable", with some believing its extinction to be inevitable.

Physical Description:

The dingo weighs between 22 and 53 pounds roughly, being usually smaller the wolves of the northern hemisphere. It stands at about 17 - 25 inches at the shoulder, and measures approximately 34 - 48 inches long. Although fur coloring differs slightly, dingoes are usually ginger in color. It has a lean muscular build with erect ears. Although the dingo does not generally occur in packs (more often existing in pairs or small family groups), it is capable of forming larger groups to hunt.

Diet:

Dingoes predate on a variety of animals. Most of its prey species are small or medium in size, including lizards and rodents. However, the dingo will also take larger prey, including sheep and kangaroos. The dingo is opportunistic, and in addition to hunting is also known to eat fruits and plants and scavenge from humans.

Habitat:

Modern dingoes are distributed primarily in small pockets of forests in Southeast Asia and in many portions of Australia. In Australia, it occurs mostly in the north. The "Great Dingo Fence" was begun in the 1880s, and meant to keep dingoes out of the relatively fertile southeast of Australia and to protect sheep. Although it has managed to stem the dingo from existing in larger numbers, some dingoes can still be found in the southern portions of the continent today.

Reproduction:

Dingoes breed once per year, generally between March and June. Pups are born after about 63 days, and litter sizes range from 4 to 6 offspring. The young may be left on their own after only a few months, or they may stay with their parents for up to a year before independence. Males reach sexual maturity by the age of one, and females become capable of breeding at about the same age.
About the Author
For more information on the dingo or a complete list of dog breeds visit this Dog Behaviour website.
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