Dingo Dog Breed

Ding Dog on Beach
  • Other names:
  • Mirigung
  • Australian Native Dog
  • Warrigal
  • Australian Dingo
  • Boolomo
  • Noggum
  • Maliki
  • View all 7...

Pronunciation: DEEN-goh

The Dingo (scientific name: Canis lupus dingo) is an animal native to Australia and Southeast Asia. Though nearly identical to dogs in appearance, Dingoes are a separate species; a majority of these animals live in the wild, either alone or in packs. Throughout history, some Dingoes have been domesticated, though many of these are, in reality, crossbreeds produced by mating purebred Dingoes with dogs. As pets, adult Dingoes have proven to be wholly unpredictable and difficult to live with; if raised with humans from a very young age, Dingoes can be affectionate and loyal, but may become troublesome as they mature.

Dingo Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred14-16 yrs.20-24 in.20-45 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Dingo is a species believed to descended from wolves. Domesticated Dingoes--which are often actually hybrid offspring of purebred Dingoes and domesticated dogs--are part of the Hound group. Dingoes have lived in the wild for thousands of years; the few purebred Dingoes that are actually domesticated are not good for families, and should only be owned by people with a great deal of experience handling dogs. Dingo attacks upon humans are not uncommon.

Dingo Facts:

  • Lives almost exclusively in Australia and Southeast Asia
  • Able to survive in wide variety of habitats, from deserts to mountainous regions
  • Rarely barks; is more prone to howling
  • Can live alone, or with a pack
  • Omnivorous, meaning their diets consist of both animals and plants
  • Majority of domesticated Dingoes are actually hybrid breeds (Dingo/domesticated dog)

Dingo Pro's:

  • Incredibly healthy
  • Sheds minimally
  • If raised from a very early age, can be affectionate, friendly and loving
  • With a great deal of training, can be utilized as work or shepherd dogs

Dingo Cons:

  • Instinctive desire to live in the wild
  • Suspicious of and skittish around humans
  • Incredibly difficult to train
  • Extreme ability to escape from enclosed areas
  • Not good with families and children (unless raised with them from puppyhood)

Dingo Breed Description

A Dingo is an animal that has lived in the wild in Australia and Southeast Asia for thousands of years. In reality, though very similar in appearance, a purebred Dingo is not the same species as a dog. Some Dingoes have been domesticated, though many of these animals are actually crossbreeds of Dingoes and dogs.

Whether feral or domesticated, Dingoes are extremely intelligent and ingenious, probably due to centuries of work discovering how to locate food. Domesticated Dingoes, for example, have been known to learn how to use a knob to open doors, or to move furniture to use as a "stepladder" in order to reach food in kitchen cabinets. In any case, Dingoes are logical and cunning--much more so than domestic dogs.

In the wild, Dingoes live both alone and in packs. If domesticated, a Dingo will likely be suspicious of and standoffish towards humans, and will have an instinctive desire to escape "captivity." If raised in a household as a puppy, a Dingo might be lovable, loyal and affectionate to its family--but this loving behavior may disappear as the Dingo matures.

Dingoes are extremely athletic animals. Because of their wolf ancestry and centuries of hunting, these creatures possess incredible strength and stamina; any Dingo that is kept as a pet will need a great deal of exercise.

If you have any interest in joining a club for or with your Dingo, several links can be found on the wiki page of the Dingo. These clubs and organizations often offer a wealth of information and description of Dingoes.

Dingo Breed History

Though many believe it originated in Australia, the exact origin of the Dingo is unknown. The most popular theory among archaeologists and historians is that an early form of the breed was introduced to the Australian continent by Asian explorers some 4,000 years ago. This hypothesis of Dingo origin is further reinforced by the fact that the Dingo can be genetically linked to an Asian variant of the Grey Wolf. Though some DNA tests suggest that the Dingo may have existed in Australia for much longer--as many as 18,000 years, some scientists believe--the earliest archaeological finding for a Dingo's existence on the continent dates to about 1,500 B.C.

Scientists further theorize that the Dingoes were brought into Australia as semi-domesticated work-dogs, but promptly escaped, formed packs, and multiplied in number. Through the centuries, some Dingoes were domesticated, and were often bred with fully domesticated dog breeds. According to historians, Dingoes were domesticated by Australian Aborigines as far back as the late Paleolithic Age; the aborigines, they believe, trained them to hunt, as Dingoes are depicted in cave paintings and rock carvings to be chasing prey.

In modern times, Dingoes (and their hybrid descendants) have been domesticated all over the world. In the U.S., for example, the Carolina Dog, also called the American Dingo or the Carolina Dingo, is a rare, semi-domesticated breed believed to be descended from Dingoes. Today, though a few purebred Dingoes are kept as pets, most domesticated "Dingoes" are actually crossbreeds; a majority of purebreds inhabit the Australian wilderness.

Dingo Appearance

Since the breed is believed to be a direct descendant of the Grey Wolf, the Dingo has a similar physical makeup: lean, muscular, and lithe. Though smaller than its wolf ancestors, a Dingo is likewise built for speed, which it uses to great advantage when hunting.

The athletic body is a bit greater in length than in height. The head is wedge-shaped, with medium-sized, erect ears; Dingo eyes are almond-shaped and range from yellow to brown in color. The powerful, muscular jaws are quite prominent, and the teeth are strong and a bit longer than those of domesticated dogs. The chest, shoulders and torso are relatively narrow, and the front legs are long, lean, and straight. The hind legs are angled slightly, and the hind feet are long and have no dewclaws. Completing the athletic Dingo appearance is a long, bottle-shaped tail that can be quite bushy.

Though a Dingo's coat type can vary depending on its location, a majority of these animals have short- to medium-length, smooth double coats.

Dingo Coloring

The Dingo typically has a bi-colored coat, and can exist in varying shades of brown, red, black, and white. Most Dingoes have darker colors on the back, head, and sides; the colors are normally lighter on a Dingo's chest, legs, face, and underbelly. Solid-colored white Dingoes are extremely rare, as are other solids; brindle Dingoes are also seen occasionally. A completely red Dingo, for example, might be spotted in the Australian Alps in the southeastern region of that country, while a pure black Dingo could be found in Southeast Asia.

Dingo Size

Though Dingo size varies from region to region, typical height is 20-24 inches at the shoulders; length is 45-60 inches from nose to tail tip. Dingo weight normally ranges from 28 to 45 pounds.

Average Adult Height

20-24 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

20-45 lbs

Dingo Variations

Purebred Dingoes exist almost exclusively in Australia and Southeast Asia. In both areas, the Dingo species has often been crossbred with domesticated dogs; though many refer to these crossbreeds as "Dingoes," they are not true examples of the breed. In Australia, there are differing types of Dingoes depending on geographical location. Though other variants exist, the three main varieties are the Alpine Dingo, which is found in Australia's mountainous southernmost region; the Desert Dingo, of the arid central region; and the Northern Dingo, of the lush, humid northern area. The Asian Dingo is very similar in physical makeup to the Northern Dingo of Australia; finding a purebred Asian Dingo is extremely rare, as most are crossbred with dogs.

The Alpine variety carries a thick double coat to withstand the region's frigid temperatures. The Desert Dingo also has a double coat, though one not as thick as the Alpine's. And both the Northern and Asian Dingoes carry single coats, which are much less thick than their Alpine and Desert counterparts.

As to size: Alpine Dingoes are the largest, most muscular variant, and are about equal to a medium-sized dog. The Desert variant is a bit smaller and leaner; the Northern and Asian varieties are smaller still, and are more compact and "racy" in appearance than the Alpine or Desert types.

Dingo Temperament

As its natural habitat is in the wild, Dingo behavior is quite hard to predict. As wild animals, Dingoes tend to roam in packs, though they prefer hunting alone; they perform much of their movement between dusk and dawn. If raised as a feral animal, Dingo temperament is acclimated to that way of life, so attempts to domesticate an adult Dingo may prove futile, and even dangerous.

However, if a purebred Dingo is introduced to a human household as a newborn puppy, owners stand a better chance. (But good luck securing the puppy from its mother!) Dingoes that have been raised with humans since puppy-hood can be affectionate, if independent and shy. Some domesticated Dingoes have been known to be obedient, trustworthy animals, and may even be good workdogs if on a ranch. As an athletic species, Dingoes will need to be provided with plenty of activities both indoors and out; adolescent Dingoes are known to be rambunctious and restless, and will need a great deal of outdoor exercise.

The problem: as Dingoes mature, even if raised in a domestic environment, their instincts may take over. The call of the wild may prove too great, and if left unsupervised, a Dingo may suddenly disappear and never return. So domesticated Dingoes need to be under constant supervision. Even so, a Dingo's behavior as it ages may be harder to predict than when the animal was a puppy.

Dingo and Children

A Dingo in the wild (its natural habitat) will be suspicious of humans, and will likely turn aggressive if forced to be controlled by people. Baby Dingoes, if they are somehow taken from their mothers and introduced into a human atmosphere, may very well behave like other puppies; they can be affectionate, loving, and calm. Dingo pups have been known to be protective of human children, and have been like typical family pets--but in all these cases, the Dingo pups were raised with humans from near birth. Even so, extra precaution should be taken as a domesticated Dingo matures; adult Dingoes--even those raised with humans--might instinctively behave like wild animals, and may be standoffish, have a tendency to roam, and even be aggressive.

Dingo Photos

Below are pictures and images of Dingos.

Ding Dog on Beach
Dingo Head
Dingo with Puppies

Living Requirements

Without a doubt, having a Dingo as a pet is a risky undertaking--even if it has been raised with humans since puppy-hood. Any domesticated Dingo must be made to feel like a part of the "human pack," so owners will need to make sure their Dingoes spend plenty of time socializing with the family--but unfortunately, this practice runs counter to their most basic instincts. Dingoes are naturally suspicious of humans, and avoid them whenever possible; their instinct tells them to be roaming the countryside, either in solitude or with other Dingoes. So a domesticated Dingo will be a handful. Though it likely won't bark often, it probably won't be friendly--and an adult Dingo is an exceptional escape artist.

Dingoes, as pets, should have access to a large outdoor area, and a tall fence to enclose the area is an absolute must. A domesticated Dingo should also spend some time indoors with the human "pack," but it should never be kept inside permanently. And without a doubt, Dingoes and apartments are a terrible combination! A Dingo will be extremely destructive if left alone inside; its incredibly high prey drive means it will chase other pets, and may harm them. Also, as a Dingo matures, it may try to escape "captivity" if it can, and will probably succeed.

The good news is that a Dingo's weatherproof coat won't shed much. This may not be the case for Dingoes with thicker double coats, as they will lose much of their outer coats in the spring; overall, though, Dingoes' shedding tendency is minimal.

Dingo Health

As a mostly feral breed, Dingoes are extremely healthy and hardy, and can combat many diseases and ailments that domesticated dogs cannot. There are exceptions, though: Canine distemper and heart worms routinely affect Dingoes--both the domesticated and wild varieties. And a majority of Dingoes will be the primary hosts of Echinococcosis (tapeworms) at some point during their lifetimes.

In the wild, Dingoes live an average of 10 years, and often die because of hunters, larger predators, and other natural elements. Domesticated Dingoes, meanwhile, normally live longer; their average lifespan is 14-16 years, though some Dingo pets have been known to live for over 20 years.

  • Canine Distemper
  • Heart Worms
  • Tapeworms

Dingo Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Dingo as a dog breed:

  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • National Kennel Club
  • American Canine Association, Inc.