Species: C. lupus (or C. familiaris)
Suspecies: C. l. dingo (or C. f. dingo)
Common Names: Dingo
Dingoes are often solitary animals, though breeding pairs and their offspring may form packs.
Dingoes are meat-eaters that prey upon a wide variety of animals including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, and occasionally insects and other invertebrates.
Dingoes can live in a wide range of habitats, as long as there is sufficient water to sustain them.
Dingoes breed once a year, with mating usually happening between March and June. Females reach maturity around two years of age. Pregnancy lasts around 60 to 70 days. Litters can be as few as one pup to as many as ten pups.
The dingo is medium-sized for a dog, averaging around 30 pounds and measuring around four feet in length. Its coat is short and ranges from reddish brown to nearly white. Dingoes are lean, flexible, and built for speed.
Compared to most other dog types, their heads are large for their body size. Their skulls are more similar to domestic dogs than to wolves, although like wolves, their brain size is larger than most domesticated dog breeds. Their ears are large and pointed, and their tails are long and straight.
The word “Dingo” comes from the Indigenous Australian language known as Dharug.
There is much debate over the origins of dingoes. Some experts believe them to be feral (wild) descendants of domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris), though some others have in the past classified it as a subspecies of the wild gray wolf (Canis lupus).
Dingoes were first encountered by colonial settlers in the early 1600s, when they observed indigenous Australians associating with the dogs. The dingoes hunted with the indigenous people and slept in their camps, but were not pets and could roam freely and independently.
It is thought that dingoes first arrived in Australia around 4,000 years ago, brought by explorers from Asia.
Recent DNA studies indicate that dingoes may be a mixture of both feral dogs and truly wild wolves.