The Australian Dingo or Warrigal is an ancient, free roaming, primitive canine unique to the continent of Australia, specifically the outback. Its original ancestors are thought to have arrived with humans from southeast Asia thousands of years ago, when dogs were still relatively undomesticated and closer to their wild Asian Gray Wolf parent species, Canis lupus.
The fur of adult dingoes is short, bushy on the tail, and varies in thickness and length depending on the climate. The fur colour is mostly sandy to reddish brown, but can include tan patterns and be occasionally black, light brown, or white.
It is often wrongly asserted that dingoes do not bark. Compared to most other domestic dogs, the bark of a dingo is short and mono sounding.
80% of the diet of dingoes consist of 10 species, the Red Kangaroo, Swamp Wallaby, cattle, Dusky Rat, Magpie Goose, Common Brushtail Possum, Long-haired Rat, Agile Wallaby, European rabbit and the Common Wombat.
Today dingoes live in all kinds of habitats, including the snow-covered mountain forests of Eastern Australia, dry hot deserts of Central Australia, and Northern Australia's tropical forest wetlands.
The Dingo Fence or Dog Fence is a pest-exclusion fence that was built in Australia during the 1880s and finished in 1885, to keep dingoes out of the relatively fertile south-east part of the continent (where they had largely been exterminated) and protect the sheep flocks of southern Queensland. It is one of the longest structures in the world and is the world's longest fence.
It stretches 5,614 km (3,488 mi) from Jimbour on the Darling Downs near Dalby through thousands of kilometres of arid land ending west of Eyre peninsula on cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain above the Great Australian Bight(131° 40’ E),near Nundroo. It has been partly successful, though dingoes can still be found in parts of the southern states.
Although the fence has helped reduce losses of sheep to predators, this has been countered by holes in fences found in the 1990s to which dingo offspring have passed through and due to increased pasture competition from rabbits and kangaroos.
Today, the rate at which feral camel are smashing down sections of the fence is fast increasing in Southern Australia. Plans for restructuring the Dog fence to be taller and electric are under process.
Dingoes and Aboriginal culture
Traditionally dogs have a privileged position in the aboriginal cultures of Australia (which the dingo may have adopted from the thylacine) and the dingo is a well known part of rock carvings and cave paintings. There are ceremonies (like a keen at the Cape York Peninsula in the form of howling) and dreamtime stories connected to the dingo, which were passed down through the generations. There are strong feelings that dingoes should not be killed and in some areas women are breast feeding young cubs.