The Dingo an Australian Icon – listed as “Vulnerable” Posted on 31 Mar 12:43

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

I have come across many a Dingo in my travels throughout Australia and feature them throughout my books, The Adventures of Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

My very first encounter with a real live wild outback dingo was when I was 14 weeks old and knee high to a grasshopper. I was piled into the back of our Range Rover to go on a six week photographic expedition to Central Australia.  We had spent half a day looking for the entrance (two tyre tracks mind you) to Walkers crossing which is the shortest route from Birdsville QLD to Innamincka SA a whole 340km which takes you through beautiful rich red sand dunes. 

As we finally entered the Walkers Crossing track, a pair of handsome Dingo’s were making their way along the sandy trail.  I hung my head out of the window to get a better look at these magnificent creatures and couldn’t help but notice their intelligence. They were regal, proud and resilient and so much a part of Australia.  They tracked the car for about two kilometres as we slowly meandered along the dusty gibber track.  I desperately wanted The Mum and The Dad to stop so I could play with them but we had been warned that it was best that I look at them from a distance, a much safer option, as they would make mince meat out of me.

Sadly the news I bear is not good for us and our future generations. The Dingo is under the very threat of survival and I feel dismayed that our children of tomorrow will not be able to experience this unique and wonderful Australian icon.

Here are a few facts about these beautiful wild dogs:

Conservation Status of the Dingo

  • The Dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia, and plays an important role as an apex predator. However, the dingo is seen as a pest by livestock farmers due to attacks on animals. Conversely, their predation on rabbitskangaroos and rats may be of benefit to graziers. But instead of protecting these special creatures the Australian Government considers them a ‘pest’ and POISONS them with 1080 a most deadly and torturous way to die.
  • While they have been instrumental in keeping down the populations of rabbits, feral pigs and other farming pests, there have been continued attempts to eradicate the Dingo because of its threat to the domestic animals it hunts. These actions have been largely unsuccessful.
  • Today, threats to the Dingo also come from their contact with the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris. The push of urban settlement from coastal areas and into outback Australia allows for increased interbreeding between the two. This most likely will lead to the dilution of the Dingo gene pool and quite possibly to the ultimate extinction of the Dingo subspecies.
  • The Dingo has been listed as 'vulnerable' with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ICUN). 

About the Dingo:

  • The Dingo is Australia’s wild dog though are not native to Australia
  • Dingoes arrived in Australia about 4,000 to 18,000 years ago brought here by Indonesian Seafarers and are thought to have descended from a family of wild Asian dogs
  • Dingoes can be found throughout mainland Australia and Fraser Island but not in Tasmania.
  • Dingoes howl as they cannot bark
  • Dingoes have unique wrists in the canine world, capable of rotation. This enables dingoes to use their paws like hands and turn door knobs.
  • A dingo can turn its head through almost 180 degrees in each direction
  • Dingoes are the largest of the native carnivores
  • Dingoes play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem
  • Colours vary from sandy yellow to red ginger, and there are a small percentage of dogs that are black, black-tan or white. Usually dingoes will also have white markings on their feet, tail tip and chest. Their overall body shape is very lean. They have pricked ears for good hearing and a bushy tail.
  • After European colonisation and the growth of pastoralisation, there was a concerted effort to remove Dingoes from farming areas. As a result, Dingoes are mostly absent from many parts of New South Wales, Victoria, the south-eastern third of South Australia and from the southern-most tip of Western Australia.



    • Subspecies:     I. dingo
    • Species:           lupus dingo
    • Genus:             Canis
    • Family:             Canidae
    • Order:              Carnivora
    • Class:              Mammalia
    • Phylum:           Chordata
    • Kingdom:         Animalia