The Wolf Intelligencer


Dingo (Canis lupus dingo)

Dingo ( Canis dingo, Canis lupus dingo) – (Meyer 1793)

Common Names: dingo

Overall population:

Dingo density estimates varied from 0.135 animals/km2 (95% CI = 0.127–0.144) during the dry season to 0.147 animals/km2 (95% CI = 0.135–0.159) during the wet season. The 95% bivariate Normal home range sizes were highly variable throughout the year (7.95–29.40 km2).”

Dingo Density Estimates and Movements in Equatorial Australia: Spatially Explicit Mark–Resight Models. Gabriele-Rivet V, Arsenault J, Brookes VJ, Fleming PJ, Nury C, Ward MP. Animals. 2020 May

Physical description:

Original range –Australia
Current range – Australia

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:



“However, there were distinct differences in the composition of arthropod assemblages across the DBF. Scolopendridae, Acrididae and Lepismatidae were more abundant where dingoes were rare, while Tenebrionidae and Blattidae were more abundant where dingoes were common. Our results lend support to the idea that suppression of dingo populations can trigger ≥4 link trophic cascades that extend to arthropod assemblages. We hypothesize that dingo suppression engenders shifts in arthropod assemblages due to a decrease in the intensity of insectivory, changes in habitat structure and alteration of the predatory and competitive interactions between arthropod taxa.”

Top-down effects of a large mammalian carnivore in arid Australia extend to epigeic arthropod assemblages. Contos P, Letnic M. Journal of arid environments. 2019 Jun


red kangaroo ((Macropus rufus or Osphranter rufus), swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor), dusky rat (Rattus colletti), magpie goose (Anseranas semipalmata), common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), long-haired rat (Rattus villosissimus), agile wallaby (Macropus agilis), European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) , common wombat (Vombatus ursinus), cattle

“Dingoes eat at least 229 vertebrate species (66% mammals, 22% birds, 11% reptiles, and 1% other taxa). Dietary composition varied across bioclimatic zones, with dingo diets in the arid and semi‐arid zones (low‐productivity sites) having the highest occurrence of arthropods, reptiles, birds, and rabbits. Medium‐sized mammals occurred most frequently in temperate and sub‐tropical zone diets (high‐productivity sites), large mammals least in the arid and sub‐tropical zones, and livestock most in the arid and tropical zones. The frequency of rabbits in diets was negatively correlated with that of medium‐sized, but not small or large mammals.”

Continental patterns in the diet of a top predator: Australia’s dingo. Doherty TS, Davis NE, Dickman CR, Forsyth DM, Letnic M, Nimmo DG, Palmer R, Ritchie EG, Benshemesh J, Edwards G, Lawrence J. Mammal Review. 2019 Jan

Unique behaviors:

Legal and Cultural Background:


The Dingo for Biodiversity Project (Queensland, Australia)
Dingo Discovery and Research Centre (Toolern Vale, Victoria)
Australian Dingo Foundation (Gisborne, Victoria)
DINGO DEN ANIMAL RESCUE – Dingo Conservation
Dingo Sanctuary Bargo (Bargo, New South Wales)
The Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species Limited (FAME) (North Adelaide, South Australia)
Australian Wildlife Society
Bird Life Australia (Carlton Carlton, Victoria)
Australian Wildlife Conservancy (Subiaco Western Australia)
Australian Geographic

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

“Dingoes from southeastern Australia were found to be morphologically distinct from conspecifics to their northwest, including both desert, tropical and Fraser Island dingoes, being intermediate to New Guinea Singing Dogs. The close resemblance of these results to genetic population subdivisions indicates that dingo morphology likely reflects ancient population substructure related to a complex prehistoric introduction and dispersal scenario, rather than solely introgression from domestic dogs.”

Old dogs, new tricks: 3D geometric analysis of cranial morphology supports ancient population substructure in the Australian dingo. Koungoulos L. Zoomorphology. 2020 Jan

“Here we dissect Smith et al. (2019), identifying misrepresentations, to show that ecological, behavioural and morphological evidence is insufficient to recognise Dingoes as a separate species from other domestic dogs. We reiterate: the correct binomial name for the taxon derived from Gray Wolves (C. lupus) by passive and active domestication, including Dingoes and other domestic dogs, is Canis familiaris. We are strongly sympathetic to arguments about the historical, ecological, cultural, or other significance of the Dingo, but these are issues that will have to be considered outside of the more narrow scope of taxonomy and nomenclature.”

The Dogma of Dingoes—Taxonomic status of the dingo: A reply to Smith et al. Jackson SM, Fleming PJ, Eldridge MD, Ingleby S, Flannery T, Johnson RN, Cooper SJ, Mitchell KJ, Souilmi Y, Cooper A, Wilson DE. Zootaxa. 2019 Mar


Further Reading

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Responses of dingo (Canis familiaris) populations to landscape-scale baiting. Kennedy MS, Kreplins TL, O’Leary RA, Fleming PA. Food Webs. 2021 Jun

 Taxonomy of the Dingo: It’s an ancient dog. Jackson SM, Fleming PJ, Eldridge MD, Archer M, Ingleby S, Johnson RN, Helgen KM.Australian Zoologist. 2020 Dec

What the dingo says about dog domestication, P Shipman – Anatomical record (Hoboken, NJ: 2007), 2020

Phenotypic variation and promiscuity in a wild population of pure dingoes (Canis dingo).Tatler J, Prowse TA, Roshier DA, Cairns KM, Cassey P.Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 2020 Sep

Fighting like cats and dogs? Dingoes do not constrain spatial and temporal movements of feral cats. Kreplins TL, Kennedy MS, O’Leary RA, Adams PJ, Dundas SJ, Fleming PA.Food Webs. 2020 Oct

There is no Dingo dilemma: legislation facilitates culling, containment and conservation of Dingoes in New South Wales. Fleming PJ, Ballard G, Cutter N.Australian Zoologist. 2020 Oct

The Elusive Dingo Shipman, Pat. American Scientist 2020 Sep/Oct

Introgression does not influence the positive ecological and functional role of dingo populations, MS Crowther, KM Cairns, LM van Eeden, M Letnic – Australian Zoologist, 2020

A historical review of Australian aerial vertebrate pest control, targeting dingoes and wild dogs 1946-2019. Philip J. Australian Zoologist. 2020 Mar

Predators intersect: dingoes, wedgies, and humans. Both S, Paine CT. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2020 Mar

Geographic hot spots of dingo genetic ancestry in southeastern Australia despite hybridisation with domestic dogs. Cairns KM, Nesbitt BJ, Laffan SW, Letnic M, Crowther MS. Conservation Genetics. 2020 Feb

Maternal protectiveness in feral horses: responses to intraspecific and interspecific sources of risk. Watts ET, Johnson CN, Carver S, Butler C, Harvey AM, Cameron EZ. Animal Behaviour. 2020 Jan

The Australian dingo: untamed or feral?. Ballard JW, Wilson LA. Frontiers in zoology. 2019 Dec

The dingo menace’: an historic survey on graziers’ management of an Australian carnivore. van Eeden LM, Smith BP, Crowther MS, Dickman CR, Newsome TM. ‘Pacific Conservation Biology. 2019 Sep

Attitudes towards dingoes (Canis dingo) and their management: a case study from a mining operation in the Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia. Smith BP, Vague AL, Appleby RG. Pacific Conservation Biology. 2019 Sep

Pets and pests: a review of the contrasting economics and fortunes of dingoes and domestic dogs in Australia, and a proposed new funding scheme for non-lethal dingo management. Brink H, Purcell BV, Letnic M, Webster HS, Appleby RG, Jordan NR. Wildlife Research. 2019 Aug

A scoping review of dingo and wild-living dog ecology and biology in Australia to inform parameterisation for disease spread modelling. Gabriele-Rivet V, Arsenault J, Wilhelm B, Brookes VJ, Newsome T, Ward MP. Frontiers in veterinary science. 2019

What should we do with wild dogs? Taxonomic tangles and the management of dingo-dog hybridisation. Van Eeden LM, Dickman CR, Newsome TM, Crowther MS. Australian Zoologist. 2019

Reconstructing body mass of the Australian dingo (Canis dingo) from two simple measurements of the hard palate. Lucas T, Smith BP, Norris RM, Henneberg M. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 2019 Feb

Continental patterns in the diet of a top predator: Australia’s dingo. Doherty TS, Davis NE, Dickman CR, Forsyth DM, Letnic M, Nimmo DG, Palmer R, Ritchie EG, Benshemesh J, Edwards G, Lawrence J. Mammal Review. 2019 Jan

Diurnal pattern of preweaning den visits and nursing in breeding pairs of captive dingoes (Canis dingo). Hudson R, Rödel HG, Elizalde MT, Kennedy GA, Smith BP. Mammalian Biology. 2019 Jan

Dingo baiting did not reduce fetal/calf loss in beef cattle in northern South Australia. Campbell G, Coffey A, Miller H, Read JL, Brook A, Fleming PJ, Bird P, Eldridge S, Allen BL. Animal Production Science. 2019 Jan

[PDF] A roadmap to meaningful dingo conservation
BL Allen, LR Allen, G Ballard, SM Jackson… – Canid Biology & …, 2017

Dingo baiting did not reduce fetal/calf loss in beef cattle in northern South Australia
G Campbell, A Coffey, H Miller, JL Read, A Brook… – Animal Production Science

[HTML] Prey use by dingoes in a contested landscape: Ecosystem service provider or biodiversity threat?
DS Morrant, CM Wurster, CN Johnson, JRA Butler… – Ecology and Evolution, 21 September, 2017

 The Wayward Dog: Is the Australian native dog or Dingo a distinct species?; SM JACKSON, CP GROVES, PJS FLEMING… – Zootaxa, 2017

Recreational fishing alters dingo foraging behavior on Fraser Island; EC Déaux, T Crowe, I Charrier – The Journal of Wildlife Management,

Human–dingo interactions on Fraser Island: an analysis of serious incident reports; R Appleby, J Mackie, B Smith, L Bernede, D Jones – Australian Mammalogy, 7 August 2017

Do female dingo–dog hybrids breed like dingoes or dogs?; MS Cursino, L Harriott, BL Allen, M Gentle, LKP Leung – Australian Journal of Zoology; 25 July 2017

The dingo debate: origins, behaviour and conservation. Smith B. Csiro Publishing; 2015 Aug

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