A dingo is a wild dog of the species canis lupus dingo thought to be related to the wolf. Dingoes share some traits with wolves and others with domestic dogs. The animal is widely associated with Australia, but is not indigenous to the country. It can also be found in Southeast Asia.
This species often has a golden tone to its coat, although some may be more reddish. White areas on the tip of the tail, feet, and chest are common. Some Southeast Asian dingoes may be black, and dogs of this color are far more common in Asia than Australia. The dingo has a larger head and teeth and a thinner muzzle than the domestic dog.
Dingoes usually live in packs of up to 15 dogs, but may also live by themselves. They are said to be less social than domestic dogs. Dingoes mostly eat small prey such as mice, birds, rabbits, and lizards, but may also eat larger animals including sheep, deer, and kangaroos. Most animals are quite flexible, and can often climb trees. Unlike domestic dogs, dingoes mate only yearly. The average litter is five pups.
Also unlike a domestic dog, dingoes don't bark, but they do howl like wolves. Hybrid dingoes, which are those that were crossed with domestic dogs, are fairly common in Australia. Many experts say that purebreds can only be domesticated when they are puppies, and some Australian states have laws that ban keeping dingoes as pets.
Dingoes are wild animals, so people who come face-to-face with one should not make eye contact at all, according to experts, but look down at the ground. It's also important for the person to stop moving. The dingo may leave if it feels no threat, but could approach and sniff the trespasser. In many cases, they will be scared off by a loud noise.
The Eora people of early Australia kept dingoes as companion animals to help them in hunting. European settlers began killing these wild dogs when they interfered with sheepherding. The Dingo Fence was built in the 1880s to protect Queensland sheep from the animals, but it did not wipe out the species. So many Australian dingoes breed with domestic dogs that purebreds are becoming increasingly rare, however.