Did I mention my dog is a Dingo?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I was hiking Friday with a group, and this lady said, OMG, your dog is a Dingo!

    I was like, whatever....all I could think of was that line in Seinfield where Elaine exclaims
    "The dingo ate your baby". (Funny line).

    But truthfully I had no knowledge of what a Dingo was or if they even lived in the States.

    But yep - she is a full blooded Dingo! Amazingly cool. Apparently they actually cost a lot, but this little girl was found in the desert somewhere and I got her at a shelter. They are still quite a feral dog, and are supposed to be hard to raise - which makes sense as to why I had all of those posts about her being SO hyper. But she loves her desert. She is building this elaborate sand nest up in a place we sit and mediate - and she will hike miles and miles without stopping.

    The Dingo comes out of the American Deep South and is thought to be a direct descendant of the ancient pariah dogs that accompanied Asians across the Bering Straits land bridge 8,000 years ago. Yep - she is a cute little novelty.

    I personally just think it is cool, because once again, my life seems to lead me to be in sync with the Native American - their land, their animals, their culture.
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Contact Jane -


    I'm not sure what having a dog has to do with being in sync with Native Americans - finding it hard to make that link - but in spirit I guess we're all going to the same Happy Hunting grounds.
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    ACTUALLY.......Marg would be the most EXCELLENT person to talk to about this. Dingo's are from Australia, and she's a scientist. Post a picture here and I bet she'll be able to help.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I wouldn't mind a picture, but I can post a picture in turn.

    I know it sounds odd, but it is possible. The Aussie dingo has been considered a feral pest for many years, only recently have there been efforts to protect them. They technically deserve protected status here because they have been in Australia, it is believed, for about 40,000 years. But because they are a fairly unique breed of dog, they have been put in zoos and private animal collections around the world. Also, they interbreed readily with domestic dogs to a varying extent, so lots of people in Australia who own a mongrel/mixed breed probably have a dog with some dingo in it.

    A pure-bred dingo has a blonde coat, sometimes varying to light brown. They are slightly smaller than a labrador, up to the same size. Like a small short-coated lab. Sometimes they have black markings, like a flush on the coat in some places (such as the muzzle). Ears are often a darker brown. Tail is often white-tipped. Strong-looking jaws (stronger than average dogs) but a fairly standard looking dog muzzle. The angle of the jaw may be slightly wider which gives it strength. Narrowed, wolf-like eyes. Often a lovely, loving, loyal nature but very active and difficult to discipline. Similar to wolves in how to discipline them. They tend to not bark (but can - tends to be less or absent), but have a wolf-like howl, to a lesser extent. They dig. A lot. They also will dig out of a yard. Need a lot of exercise. Get roller blades for yourself.

    We had a dingo for a few weeks/months. A friend's son brought it home, his mother gave it to us because she didn't want it. We were told it was a stray. As I looked at it (ours was very pale, almost white) I was increasingly certain she was a dingo. I then found the article I referred to above which said that there are dingoes all over the place here including the cities. I asked my friend - her son had found the dog while bushwalking and "it followed me home, mum!" I asked where he had been walking, and it was in a national park (second oldest in the world, or oldest depending on how you measure it - same age roughly as Yellowstone, this park) and not far from a small zoo which happen s to also have dingoes. Which sometimes get loose and aren't always found.

    We could not keep ours in, had to find a new home for her. But she was a good dog apart form her wildness and digging. I had a fall one day in the yard, she stayed with mer, licking my face and whining, until I was able to climb up using her back. Sadly, the people I gave her to couldn't confine her either. She got out, got in with a pack of dobermans that used to go hunt in the national park and they were all shot by the rangers for worrying deer.

    When I was a kid, my brother found a dog in the bush. He'd gone in to chop wood, found the dog in the forest, very wild, he said, and managed to tame it. I remember saying a the time, "She's a dingo!" and my family laughed at me. "There are no dingoes here, they only live in the outback!" they laughed.
    But dingo she was. She was one of the blonde ones with a black flush, but had the typical white tip to the tail. And wolfy eyes. At first she was vicious around me (I was only 6 or 7 years old) but over the next couple of years she calmed down and was intensely loyal to my brother and his family. She was brilliant with the kids when they arrived. Lived to be about 12 years old, a much loved family member. But they never at the time accepted she was a dingo. "Must have been a stray," they said. Now, they believe.


    Note that in these photos, the dingoes are fairly skinny. They can get fat like any dog. My brother's dog was chubby especially in later years. She was skinny to begin with.

    How would an Aussie dingo get to the US desert?
    It is possible. Quite possible, by their very nature. First, as I said, a lot of Aussies don't realise that their pet dog that one day followed them home, or was born to a friend's dog who one day followed THEM home, could be dingo, or have dingo blood. Second, they are more difficult to manage unless you are good with dogs, so they are more likely to wander (males interbreeding with whatever they find on heat - producing more hybrid dingo pups on some unsuspecting family pet) or simply not come home one day. Or get lost while on holiday. Third, a zoo dingo can escape. The fences needed are quite robust. Wild dingoes (even ones in zoos) are scary. Some more so than others. Our local zoo later on made an effort to socialise their dingo pups. I have a photo of daughter in law (she and difficult child 1 met at the local zoo where they were both working) with some young dingo pups, playing with them.
    The pups are cute, like a lot of pups. They look a lot like corgi pups, without the short legs. It is very possible that someone had some pups in Australia as pets, then moved to the US. Or they could have been smuggled to the US for sale to a collector or zoo, and then escaped into the desert.

    They tame fairly easily, and for wild dingoes, that is a problem. They lose their fear of man and become dangerous. They scavenge at campsites, they will even attack if you don't hand over the food, like a mugger on the street. They will be more likely to attack a small child - they hunt. Obviously a well-fed pet feels no need to hunt a child.

    The Seinfeld episode you refer to was spoofing Meryl Streep's role as Lindy Chamberlain in the movie "Evil Angels" (possibly called "A Cry in the Dark" in your neck of the bush). Lindy was a Seventh Day Adventist pastor's wife who went camping with the family (husband, two sons and baby girl) when her daughter was six weeks old. They often went camping and were having a break to bond as a family. They had travelled to the Red Centre and were camped at Uluru (formerly known as Ayer's Rock). People are not allowed to camp there any more. She had put her kids to bed for the night, including the baby. Was returning to the tent to get some beans when she saw a dark shape coming out of the tent with something in its mouth. She checked on the kids - the baby had been at the far end of the tent, the creature had stepped over the boys to get the baby, who was gone. They later found a fine spray of blood on the tent wall there. That's when she emerged and screamed, "Help, someone - a dingo's got my baby!"

    It was a tragic case, badly handled. Two inquests, the first said a dingo did it, the second blamed the mother as murderer with a pair of scissors (they found the baby's jumpsuit, never found the baby. The baby had also been wearing a matinee jacket, the mother said. Prosecution case insisted no matinee jacket.) Lindy went to jail. By this time she had another baby - another girl. They took the baby off her. Then a few years later, they found the soiled, bloody matinee jacket, which cleared Lindy, showed she had told the truth. She was released. it had been a horrible time - while in prison, one of her boys lost an eye in an accident (and she was not permitted to see him). The jail was thousands of miles away from family. Her marriage broke up a few years after she was released. Remitted, not exonerated. Exoneration took another few years. She has remarried (so has her husband) and now lives with her new husband in WA. Sadly, I don't think she and her youngest daughter have ever bonded well, because she was not there for the first five years or more of her life.

    I was a sceptic, I also did not believe it was a dingo. But I also did not believe she was guilty. However, one day when difficult child 3 was about 3 years old and we were on holiday up on the border (where we were last week), we visited a wildlife park there (Fleay's). There, they do not socialise their dingos (a mistake, I think). The dingo fences in the pens are very high, curved inward. Like big cat enclosures. There is a raised boardwalk running through the enclosures. difficult child 3 was out of his stroller and running ahead on the boardwalk and I saw the dingoes in their enclosure begin to stalk him. it was one particular group in their own pen, the Fraser Island dingoes, I think. Then as he got close, they attacked, throwing their bodies against the wire fence. it was silent, except for the sound of the fence going clang and difficult child 3 laughing at the funny doggies. I was horrified and very upset - first at the really scary behaviour of the dingoes - it was like silent lions trying to attack you through a fence - and at myself, for what I had believed of Lindy Chamberlain, wrongly, for so many years. Here I was seeing dingoes behave as I had insisted they never did.

    In Australia we now know dingoes will attack, mainly wild dingoes in p-acks, especially where they have lived near tourist spots where they scavenge or are hand-fed by idiots. We've especially had problems with the white dingoes on Fraser Island - a rare, endangered sub-breed. Kids have been killed there so tourist safety has been tightened up as a result.

    A pet who is a dingo, is probably not going to be a problem this way. But there is always a wildness to them in some way, even though once they bond to you, they are intensely loyal and protective.

    Check out the photos, Steely. See if they look familiar.

  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Wow, Marg. Amazing.

    Can I come visit? lol
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Now I'd not have guessed there were Dingos in the US except in Zoos. Nor would I have imagined they'd be so hard to contain.

    The Dingo attacking the infant makes sense. A pack will go for the most vulnerable and easiest prey, which of course is one that can't fight back. I have a vague memory of reports of packs of strays here (US) attacking small children. And in this area they're having issues with packs of feral and stray dogs.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the difficulty containing them part. Rowdy is contained only when he wants to be unless he's on a lead, which had better be plenty strong. His kennel is 6 ft high and I have his house set so there is no way he can use it to go over the top. He doesn't need to use it to go over the top. Thankfully, he only pulls that stunt in protection mode. I actually caught him doing it once.....amazing. He basically jumped it, using his front paws on the upper bar to propel himself over. He's not a small dog by any means, but not that tall either really, more stocky build.

    Steely.........at least you know you'll always have an exercise buddy. lol
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The Aussie dingo is more closely related to the Asian wolf than the domestic dog, but will still readily interbreed with the domestic dog. With speciation the goalposts keep moving. In my student days we were told that the definition of "species" was based on how well two different animals could interbreed to produce fertile offspring. Then in my final; years at uni, this was seen to be more complex because there are varying degrees of fertility in the offspring and where is the dividing line? But with dingoes, they readily interbreed. However, they diverged from domestic dogs for tens of thousands of years. So while their wilder behaviour is more wolf-like, it is still different to the wolves you are more familiar with.

    There are other breeds of dog which have lived in isolation from domestic dogs for long times - Cape Hunting Dogs, for example.

    When I was at uni, dingoes were classified as Canis familiaris. I was interested to read the Wikipedia reference which says they're currently described as Canis familiaris dingo (meaning, dingo sub-species) but this looks like being changed to Canis lupus dingo.

    Species definitions have always been rather subjective, based on various features observed at a macro and micro level, physiologically and behaviourally. Embryology often comes into it too - it gives clues that can be hidden in the adult individual. But I think DNA is going to need to be considered in determining species. But when they do, it will really challenge a lot of people - we might find chimpanzees being included in the genus Homo, for example! A lot of people really don't want to go down that road!

  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    like star, i would more suspect you have a carolina dog or some sort of wolf hybred but perhaps it is a dingo cross. I also dont get the link to Indians but I will say Hi to you from all of the Lumbee's here! I dont have to wonder if I am drawn to the culture, I cant get away from it ....lol.
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Being in the States I'd think a coyote hybrid would be far more likely than a dingo, or even a wolf. There's now some populations of wolf/coyote hybrids running around in some areas to the point where consideration is being given to calling them a different name on their own. Coyotes and wolf/coy hybrids are also known for breeding with local feral dog populations as well.
    If you're really curious and have the money, you could look into a DNA test like breeders use, your vet should know a reputable lab for it.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    It can often be difficult to look at a mixed breed dog and figure out what breeds have mixed too. This is especially true if you have a couple generations of mixing going on. lol

    We had a dog in the neighborhood that actually looks like those pics Marg put up......except he had very short legs like a basset or corgi. Actually I think he was something mixed with a corgi, as did his owners, but for what he was mixed with it was really difficult to tell as he was a 3rd/4th generation mix. Sweet dog, dumb as a box of rocks though. Corgi's, being herders, are very hyper dogs.

    Rowdy looks pure bred, enough to fool a few vets. But he's not. He has some chow in him to go along with the lab. He has the distinctive black markings on the tongue.....otherwise you'd never guess. Betsy, his daughter, has some black marks on her tongue as well.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Occasionally at the shelter here we get Carolina Dogs. They are NOT for everyone, and require a different mind set for care than say an easy going Lab, or Mutt. They are extremely stubborn in nature, clever, incredibly smart. I put the link up to the lady here in SC that knows more about them than anyone and could easily look at the picture of your little pup and tell you what you have.

    The shelter gets a number of dogs in that have a Carolina Dog look, and some even have a wolf look to them. We even had one we called "Giggles" because for all intents and purposes? It looked (I thought she was cute) like a hyena.

    I would think if you do have a Dingo breed Steely, it would be very beneficial to find out now while it's young so that if there any special care needs for it? You will be better prepared. What has your vet said? In any event from what Marg posted about being strong headed? I'm thinking a good trainer is going to be a must. Sounds like without it? You're going to be in for a strong willed child that could give you some behavior problems.

    They sure are beautiful.
  12. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Very cool! My dog might even have a little of that Carolina Dog. She came from a SC shelter. She looks just like them. She's got lab in her, because she has the webbed feet, but I though she might have been part beagle. Now that I'm looking at those pics of dingos and Carolina dogs, you've got me wondering. She's definitely got a mix of a few dogs. She is only 25 pounds. I love her. I thinks she's gorgeous!
  13. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    See above - they traveled with the Asians across the Bering land bridge, later taking up with the Native Americans in the deep South. (Thus the Native American connection.:))

    So that is how the Dingo got from Australia to the US. Or so they think. Actually the American Dingo, is a registered breed with the AKC, and is shown in dog shows. I could be making some mula - haha

    I have looked at every and all pictures I can find, and she actually does not look like a Carolina dog, but an American Dingo. Who knows. Anyway - she is 5 months old, and does everything that articles talk about. Digs elaborate nests, is stubborn, somewhat independent - but a total sweetie.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Well!!!! Lets see her picture!!!!! This isn't fair we have a furniece or nephew and no lookie loos!
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    MAYBE THE DINGO TAKES YOU HIKING!!!!!!! OMDOG STEELY SHE IS ADORABLE!!!!! She's a bright one for sure - those eyes! She's figuring things out way before you know it. I would so invest in obedience lessons.

    OMG is she ever adorable.....Thank you for sharing! She of course now needs a Native name. lol.
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Her name is Tesla (from Tesla the inventor)- and she fits that SO well - all electricity.
    I named her when I got her at 6 weeks and they told me she was a sheperd mix - or else I would have for sure given her a Native American name:)
    She is SO bright, and so tenacious - and absolutely the best hiker ever. She is like a little gazelle up all the rock here, and then on a hill where we sit she is digging this elaborate nest. Fascinating to watch. I am glad I have her here where she can tap into her wild side, because otherwise I would be in trouble.
  17. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    She does indeed look like a Shepherd mix. We had a Shepherd/golden lab mix that looked very similar in body but a lot more blonde.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Looks shepard mix to me too. lol Looks like a lot of the pups that go through our shelter too as we have a rather largest population of both sheperds and labs.........and evidently they tend to like to get together.

    But whether she is or not she's beautiful!!!

    I will say that Molly had that "intelligent" look. We had to keep her busy. She's much much too smart for our own good. I don't even really give her commands........I just talk to her and she does what I want. But I did make sure she had the basic training and manner training down pat because with a dog as smart as her they can get into tons of trouble if they're not trained.

    And you know, working with her on this might be excellent therapy for you. Molly has always been very tuned in to our emotions/physical conditions. After katie disappeared with the grands (very very bad time for me) she was my buddy. She wouldn't leave me alone except to sleep with Nichole. Can't tell you how many times when I'd be having a really really bad day she would do something totally goofy and crack me up (I totally think it was on purpose) or grab her leash and whine at me to take her on a walk......

    Once all my furbabies have gone I used to have like a list of breeds I'd like to have. But honestly if I can find a sheperd pup with a similar personality, I know I'd bring it home.

    Beautiful beautiful wittle baby girl!!
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Couldn't find anything at the AKC site about American Dingos, but I did find a site on "Carolina Dogs" that also refers to them as "American Dingos". Preliminary DNA testing shows that there is a possible genetic link to the Australian Dingo.

  20. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yea, it gets confusing doesn't it. I guess maybe they are one in the same and I am just putting too much info into my brain and it is getting muddled - no big surprise:)
    I do know for sure she is not a german sheperd because she has very unusual mannerisms, and has a particularly unusual jaw - people meet her and are intrigued.
    Who knows.