AskDefine | Define dingo

Dictionary Definition

dingo n : wolflike yellowish-brown wild dog of Australia [syn: warrigal, warragal, Canis dingo] [also: dingoes (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Dharuk dingu, but without the sense of a tame such dog.



  1. A wild dog native to Australia, scientific name Canis lupus dingo.



R. M. W. Dixon, Australian Aboriginal Words, Oxford University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-19-553099-3, pages 65 and 226.



(alternative plural'' dingo)




Extensive Definition

The dingo (Canis lupus dingo) or Warrigal, is a type of Australian canid, probably descended from the Iranian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes). It is commonly described as an Australian wild dog, but is not restricted to Australia, nor did it originate there. Modern dingoes are found throughout Southeast Asia, mostly in small pockets of remaining natural forest, and in mainland Australia, particularly in the north. They have features in common with both wolves and modern dogs, and are regarded as more or less unchanged descendants of an early ancestor of modern dogs. The name dingo comes from the language of the Eora Aboriginal people, who were the original inhabitants of the Sydney area. The New Guinea Singing Dog is also classified as Canis lupus dingo.



Adult dingoes are typically 19–23 inches (48–58 cm) tall at the shoulders, and weigh on average 50–70 pounds (23–32 kg), though specimens weighing 120 pounds (55 kg) have been recorded. Males are larger and heavier than females. Compared to similarly sized domestic dogs, dingoes have longer muzzles, larger carnassials, longer canine teeth, and a flatter skull with larger nuchal lines. The author of the study, Professor Chris Johnson, notes his first-hand observations of native rufous bettongs being able to thrive when dingoes are present. The rate of decline of ground-living mammals decreases from 50% or more, to just 10% or less, where dingoes are present to control fox and cat populations.

Potential extinction

As a result of interbreeding with dogs introduced by European settlers, the purebred dingo gene pool is in decline. By the early 1990s, about a third of all wild dingoes in the south-east of the continent were dingo/domestic dog crosses, and although the process of interbreeding is less advanced in more remote areas, the extinction of the subspecies in the wild is considered inevitable. Although protection within Federal National Parks, World Heritage areas, Aboriginal reserves, and the Australian Capital Territory is available for dingoes, they are at the same time classified as a pest in other areas. Since a lack of country-wide protection means they may be trapped or poisoned in many areas, in conjunction with the hybridisation with domestic dogs the taxon was upgraded from 'Lower Risk/Least Concern' to 'Vulnerable' by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) in 2004.


Dingoes were transported from mainland Asia, through South-East Asia to Australia and other parts of the Pacific by Asian seafarers throughout their voyages over the last 5,000 years. Dingos arrived in Australia around 3,500–4,000 years ago, quickly spreading to all parts of the Australian mainland and offshore islands, save for Tasmania. The dogs were originally kept by some Australian native groups as an emergency food source.
European settlers did not discover dingoes until the 17th century, and originally dismissed them as feral dogs. Captain William Damphier, who wrote of the wild dog in 1699, was the first European to first officially note the dingo. Dingo populations flourished with the European's introduction of domestic sheep and European rabbit the Australian mainland.
dingo in Catalan: Dingo
dingo in Welsh: Dingo
dingo in Danish: Dingo
dingo in German: Dingo
dingo in Estonian: Dingo
dingo in Spanish: Canis lupus dingo
dingo in Esperanto: Dingo
dingo in Persian: دینگو
dingo in French: Dingo (chien sauvage)
dingo in Korean: 딩고
dingo in Indonesian: Dingo
dingo in Italian: Canis lupus dingo
dingo in Hebrew: דינגו
dingo in Georgian: დინგო
dingo in Latvian: Dingo
dingo in Lithuanian: Dingas
dingo in Hungarian: Dingó
dingo in Dutch: Dingo
dingo in Japanese: ディンゴ
dingo in Norwegian: Dingo
dingo in Polish: Dingo
dingo in Portuguese: Dingo
dingo in Russian: Динго
dingo in Simple English: Dingo
dingo in Slovenian: Dingo
dingo in Finnish: Dingo (eläin)
dingo in Swedish: Dingo
dingo in Tamil: டிங்கோ நாய்
dingo in Turkish: Dingo
dingo in Chinese: 澳洲野犬
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