Dogs, wolves and dingoes

According to retired anthropologist Pat Shipman from Penn State University, dingoes and their closely related New Guinea singing dogs, are not dogs. They are not wolves either, but fall into their own class.

Domestic dogs arrived in Australia in 1788 with the first ships of convicts. The dingoes were already there for at least 4000 or more years prior to that. Genetically and behaviorally, they are more like wolves with their inability to digest starches and their inability to bond with humans. Dogs on the other hand have no difficulty digesting starches and do bond with people.  

Dingoes can survive in the Australian outback where domestic dogs that are feral have a difficult time or cannot survive.

What makes it difficult to separate the lines between wolves, dogs and dingoes is that genetically they can hybridize and have fertile offspring unlike horses and donkeys who typically produce infertile mules.

Shipman feels that a dingo is a wolf on its way to becoming a dog but never made it.

Dingo – free photo dreamstime