Dingo

Dingo strolling on a beach

What does it look like? The Dingo is sandy yellow to red brown above, occasionally darker brown to black. Underside is lighter tan or whitish. Hybrids with domestic dogs are very common, but cannot be accurately be distinguished visually.

Where does it live? Historically, found across mainland Australia. Now found across northern Australia, north-west SA and down the east coast to the Gippsland region in Vic. The distribution is somewhat restricted due to the man-made dingo fence, constructed to keep dingoes out of much of the agricultural land in SA, southern Qld and NSW.

What are its habitats and habits? The Dingo is found in a wide variety of habitats from cool mountainous forests, to deserts, where it is active both day and night. It is an opportunistic hunter, normally hunting alone, but will also form small packs, working together to take down large prey. A variety of prey species are taken, including sheep and young cattle, which has led them to be shot and baited by landholders. It will also feed on carrion. Attacks on people are relatively common in areas where illegal feeding by the public occurs, and some have proved fatal.

Interesting fact: There are many proponents for the Dingo to be classified as a separate, distinct species, Canis dingo, and it is indeed often regarded as a native species in some Australian texts. The ancestry of both dingoes and domestic dogs is, however, unclear and the Dingo shares many morphological characteristics, and cross-breeds with the domestic dog.

Scientific name: Canis familiaris

Size: 90cm

Do you want to know more about Australia’s mammals? Check out our latest book “The Naturalist’s Guide to Mammals of Australia” – available for purchase through our secure online store