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Canis lupus dingo

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Dingo • Canis lupus dingo

Canis lupus dingo belong to a group of primitive dogs characterised by short coats, erect ears, characteristic skull shape and teeth. They breed once a year, unlike domestic dogs that breed twice a year. The dingo probably descended from the Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), and is commonly thought of as an Australian wild dog, although it is also found throughout Southeast Asia. The dingo has a ginger colouration, with a whitish chest and paws. They have a bush looking tail. In Central Australia most pure-breed dingoes are of the yellow form, with about one in twenty being coloured black and tan.

The dingo differ from domestic dog in that they howl rather than bark, although the dingo and domestic dog can successfully interbreed. Dingoes whose colouration include streaks of grey, brown or patchy colouration indicate cross breeding.

The dingo is found throughout most of mainland Australia, preferring habitats that include forest or woodlands merging with grassland. They are also found in the arid habitats of Central Australia, although this is only where there is fresh water available. They have been sighted in regions like the:

  • MacDonnell Ranges (NT)
  • Finke Gorge National Park (NT)
  • Dalhousie Springs (SA)
  • Kings Canyon (NT).

Other locations include:

  • Lake Eyre (SA)
  • Nadgee Nature Reserve (NSW)
  • Napier Range (WA)
  • Fraser Island (QLD)

It is though that the dingoes of Fraser Island is the purest strain of the dingo Australia. Here they freely roam the rainforest, bushland and beaches and have become quite accustomed to the presence of humans, both locals and tourist. Indeed it is this familiarity with humans and the tendency of some tourists to feed them, that causes problems. Once they associate people with food, they may attack those whom they perceive as weaker than themselves, that includes young children and babies. Some people have become blas้ about the fact that dingoes are wild animals, and have been ignoring the signs to not feed them, resulting in a number of attacks, resulting not only in people getting hurt, but also in the dingoes being put down.

Be dingo-safe!: Fraser island World Heritage Area - Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have two publications about the subject of dingoes and safety:

It is thought that dingoes were introduced to Australia by the Aborigines over 6,000 years ago. The name ‘dingo’ comes from the language of the Eora Aboriginal Tribe, who were the original inhabitants of the Sydney area in New South Wales, Australia.

The Dog Fence -
In Australia there is a fence stretching some 6,000 km from Queensland’s Darling Downs to the Great Australian Bight in far-western South Australia, which was built to keep the dingoes out of grazing lands. Built in the 1950s, this man made structure is known as the ‘Dog Fence’ and is still being maintained today. One problem the fence faces is the continual trampling of the fence by wild camels.

Some places you can view the fence from include Marree and The Breakaway Reserve near Coober Pedy.

Note: Did you know that the ‘rabbit-proof fence’ referred to in the movie of the same name, is actually the ‘dog fence’. However the ‘rabbit-proof fence’ refers to an 800 km fence built in Western Queensland in the late 1880s in an attempt to prevent the rapidly expanding rabbit population from spreading further north. Part of the fence ran north from the South Australian-Queensland border 20 km west of Eyre Creek to a point 240 km north of Poeppel Corner in the Simpson Desert. It of course failed to stop the rabbits from spreading and now lays half buried by sand, marking part of the Queensland park’s eastern border.


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Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: Canis
Species: C. lupus
Subspecies: C. I. dingo
Trinomial name: Canis lupus dingo
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Other links - Dingo

Dingo Sanctuary • Australian Native Dog Conservation Society • Email
• Welcome to the Dingo Sanctuary at Bargo, home of Australia's Native Dog.
Fraser Island Footprints
• For those who may have seen the ABC Australian Story: Dogs of War, about Jennifer Parkhurst and the Fraser Island Dingoes, check out her website.
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