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I've read that Russians have been performing selective breeding on Red Foxes for about fifty years, aiming to make them tame. The wikipedia article says
The experiment was initiated by scientists who were interested in the topic of domestication and the process by which wolves became tame domesticated dogs. They saw some retention of juvenile traits by adult dogs, both morphological ones, such as skulls that were unusually broad for their length, and behavioral ones, such as whining, barking, and submission.
I wonder, since dingoes are completely wild dogs that have only relatively recently split off from domesticated dogs, do they show more 'wolf-like' characteristics? That is, has their life in the wild selected against domestication genes?
I think any domestic animal that reverts to the wild is going to experience some genetic change given an evolutionary timescale. As you probably know, dingoes are descended from dogs introduced to Australia by early human migrants. Their ancestors were thus presumably domesticated or at least semi-domesticated.
Also, the Indian wolf is a subspecies of Canis lupus, which ranges across Eurasia and North America both.
I think this article may shed some light on your question:
It sounds like the dingo may have developed some traits that distinguish it from wolves and domestic dogs both.
Behaviourally, you can tell that they made a "side trip" through being dogs ;) but they also have the heightened intelligence and awareness of a wild canid. Remember, dingoes also did not come from the North American wollf… they started as an Asian canid, probably the Indian wolf.
Dogs' Closest Wolf Ancestors Went Extinct, DNA Study Shows
A new genetic analysis of modern dogs and wolves suggests that man's best friend was domesticated before agriculture.
But the origin of this domestication remains stubbornly mysterious. Researchers analyzed the genomes of wolves from three likely sites of domestication (the Middle East, Asia and eastern Europe), and found that modern dogs were not more closely related to any of the three. In fact, it seems that the closest wolf ancestors of today's dogs may have gone extinct, leaving no wild descendants.
"The dogs all form one group, and the wolves all form one group, and there's no wolf that these dogs are more closely related to of the three that we sampled," said study researcher John Novembre, a professor of genetics at the University of Chicago. "That's the big surprise of the study." [10 Things You Didn't Know About Dogs]
The origin of the domestic dog is a persistent mystery. Fossil evidence for domestication dates back as far as 33,000 years, based on the shape of the skull and on ancient DNA analysis. But the presence of a dog-like canine doesn’t prove the origin of modern dogs even if the fossil represents a domesticated dog, it could have been a failed lineage that left no descendants.
Researchers know that dogs regularly lived with humans by about 10,000 years ago, and dogs and people are found buried together as early as 14,000 years ago. Various genetic studies have pointed to China, the Middle East and Europe as the origin for today's domesticated dogs.
Novembre and his colleagues wanted to refine the understanding of domestication using high-quality, full genomes. They gathered full gene sequences from a wolf in Israel, a wolf in China and a wolf in Croatia to encompass the possible sites of the original dog domestication. Next, they also sequenced the full genomes of an Australian dingo, a feral dog species thought to have originated in Southeast Asia, and an African basenji. Neither of these dogs have territories that overlap with wolves, so researchers hoped they would see little of the post-domestication interbreeding that so often confuses the story of how dogs and wolves split.
The researchers also had a previously done full genome sequence for a Boxer.
The high-quality, full sequences allowed the researchers to look at genetic variations across the entire genome. That's important, Novembre told LiveScience, because previous work was limited to snippets of DNA, chosen because they were known to vary from dog breed to dog breed. [The Coolest Animal Genomes]
"When we apply these to looking at dogs and wolves, we don't get a complete picture, because we can't see the variations that existed in wolves but vanished in dogs," Novembre said.
The new results, published today (Jan. 16) in the journal PLOS Genetics, reveal that dogs do not hail from the same lineage as modern wolves — a big surprise, said Novembre, who was hoping to see evidence for either a single domestication or multiple domestication events, where, for example, the Australian dingo would be most related to the Asian wolf and the African basenji would be most related to the Middle Eastern wolf.
Instead, the dogs are all most closely related to each other. The pattern suggests that dogs arose from a now-extinct line of wolves, Novembre said. Later, early in domesticated doggie history, they interbred with still-wild wolves, causing a genetic snarl that frustrates dog genetics researchers to this day.
The sequences also revealed that the first dogs arose from a very small number of the wolves that lived in their day, Novembre said. Around the time of domestication, both wolves and dogs experienced what's known as a population bottleneck — their numbers dropped. Genes can't explain why these drops occurred, Novembre said, but in the case of wolves, human encroachment and competition for large prey probably played a role.
Finally, the comparisons suggest that wolves and dogs split between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago, with a likely interval being between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago, before the rise of agriculture. Those findings are in line with the fossil record, Novembre said.
Previous research had suggested that perhaps dog domestication got a push from a genetic mutation that made it easier for modern dogs' ancestors to digest starch — meaning they could scavenge from human garbage piles. The new study looked at that gene mutation and found that it certainly occurred, but likely after dogs were already domesticated. Dingos, for example, are unquestionably dogs and not wolves, but they have few copies of the starch-friendly gene.
"You had domestication occurring in the context of dogs hanging around human hunter-gatherer groups, and only later, when these groups began to switch to farming, did they change their diets," Novembre said.
More answers coming?
However, there are still many questions left to answer. The reason for such a wide range of 25,000 years for the origin of domestication is that researchers had to base the estimate on rates of mutation in the genome. Mutations are rare, Novembre said, and estimating how often they happen is a tricky proposition. The best way is to compare the genomes of parents and offspring, but that work has not yet been done with dogs. Once it's done, Novembre said, the team will be able to refine its estimates.
However, the discovery that modern wolves and modern dogs seem to be more like sister groups than ancestors and descendants means that modern DNA sequences likely won't reveal the origin of domestication. To answer that question, Novembre said, ancient DNA analyses will be necessary.
So far, DNA sequences extracted from fossils are incomplete. But just as researchers have now sequenced a complete Neanderthal genome, they're on the cusp of sequencing full genomes from fossil dogs and wolves.
"Several groups are hammering away" at the problem, Novembre said, adding that a full ancient dog genome could be as few as nine months away.
Animal Diversity Web
Canus lupus dingo is common throughout Australia and in scattered groups across Southeast Asia. The primary wild populations are found in Australia and Thailand, though groups have been located in Myanmar, Southeast China, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Borneo, the Philippines and New Guinea (Nowak 1999 Corbett 1995).
Canis lupus dingo is found throughout Western and Central Australia in forests, plains and mountainous rural areas. They may also be found in the desert regions of Central Australia where cattle waterholes are available. Natal dens are made in caves, rabbit holes or hollow logs, all in close proximity to water. Most Asian populations are found near villages, where humans provide food and shelter in exchange for protection of their homes (Corbett 1995).
- Habitat Regions
- Terrestrial Biomes
- Other Habitat Features
Australian adult males of C. l. dingo are generally larger than females, weigh between 11.8 and 19.4 kg, and have an average body length of 920 mm. Females weigh between 9.6 and 16.0 kg and average 885 mm in body length. Shoulder heights range from 470 to 670 mm. Southeast Asian dingos of both sexes are smaller than dingos found in Australia, likely due to an essentially carbohydrate diet as compared to the high protein diet of Australian dingos.
Dingos are typically ginger-colored with white points in Australia, but black and tan, or black and white pelage patterns of purebred individuals may be found. Southeast Asian dingos are also commonly ginger-colored, though higher numbers of pure black individuals are found in Southeast Asia than in Australian (Straham 1983 Corbett 1995).
- Other Physical Features
- bilateral symmetry
- Range mass 9.6 to 19.4 kg 21.15 to 42.73 lb
- Average length 885-924 mm in
A single, dominant pair breeds in a dingo group. Dominant females will kill the young of other females in the pack. Dominant pairs tend to mate for life. Other pack members help in caring for the young of the dominant pair.
Dingos produce one litter of pups per year. Mating seasons in dingos varies depending on latitude and seasonal conditions. In Australia dingos mate from March to April, in southeast Asia they mate from August to September. The gestation period is 63 days, with common litter size of 1 to 10 individuals, averaging 5.4 young per litter. Males and females pair during their third year and often mate for life (Riddle 1979 Corbett 1995)
Dingos and domestic dogs interbreed freely and wild populations are largely hybridized throughout their range, except in Austalian national parks and other protected areas (Straham 1983).
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding season Breeding season varies with region.
- Range number of offspring 1 to 10
- Average number of offspring 5.4
- Average gestation period 63 days
- Average weaning age 56 days
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female) 22 months
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male) 22 months
Pups of C. l. dingo first venture from the natal den at three weeks of age. By eight weeks, the natal den is abandoned, and pups occupy various rendezvous dens until fully weaned at 8 weeks. Pups usually roam by themselves within 3 km of these dens, but are accompanied by adults on longer treks. Both male and female pack members help the mother introduce the pups to whole food (9 to 12 weeks), usually by gorging on a kill then returning to the den to regurgitate food to the pups. The mother waters the pups by regurgitation, as well. Pups become independent at 3-4 months, but often assist in the rearing of younger pups until they reach sexual maturity around 22 months (Corbett 1995 Nowak 1999).
- Parental Investment
- female parental care
- post-independence association with parents
- extended period of juvenile learning
Dingos live up to ten years in the wild and up to 13 years in captivity (Corbett 1995).
- Range lifespan
Status: wild 10 (high) years
- Range lifespan
Status: captivity 13 (high) years
- Average lifespan
Status: captivity 14.0 years Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
- Average lifespan
Status: wild 14.8 years Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
- Average lifespan
Status: captivity 14.0 years Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Dingo behavioral traits are like those of most primitive dogs. Young adults often have a solitary existence during non-mating seasons, though they may form close associations to hunt large prey. Stable packs of 3 to 12 individuals form with various levels of social interaction. There is little interaction between rival packs. Packs typically remain in the territory of their birth, travelling 10-20 km from that area per day. They defend their territory against other packs. There is typically an alpha male and female pair to which other pack members submit. Males are dominant over females. Lower ranking individuals express aggression toward each other as they fight for the various lower ranking positions. Breeding is restricted to one litter annually per pack, born to the alpha female. When lower ranking females become pregnant, her pups are killed by the dominant female (Straham 1983 Corbett 1995 Nowak 1999).
Communication and Perception
The diet of Australian dingos is comprised of 60% mammalian prey, with birds and reptiles comprising the remainder. On occasion dingos may eat kangaroos, wallabies, sheep, and calves, but the majority of their diet is composed of small animals, especially the introduced European rabbit Oryctolagus (Straham 1983 Nowak 1999).
Asian populations all live in close association with humans, so much of their diet is composed of household refuse including cooked rice, raw fruits, and minor amounts chicken, fish, or crab meat. Some individuals in Thailand have been observed hunting lizards and rats, but also lived in close proximity to villages (Corbett 1995).
Dingos are opportunistic predators and hunt small prey alone. They will hunt in pairs or family groups when pursuing large prey (kangaroos, sheep, and cattle) where they hassle the prey from several directions until they can knock it off balance and attack it (Riddle 1979 Staham 1983).
Foods commonly eaten include: rabbits, rats, possums, wallabies, kangaroos, sheep, calves (cows), birds, reptiles, carrion and human refuse.
- Primary Diet
- eats terrestrial vertebrates
- Animal Foods
- Plant Foods
- seeds, grains, and nuts
Dingos are primarily killed by humans, crocodiles, and sometimes by other canid species, such as jackals and domestic dogs. Dingos are also killed by dingos from other packs. Pups may be taken by large birds of prey. They are secretive and will aggressively defend themselves as a group.
- Known Predators
- humans (Homo sapiens)
- crocodiles (Crocodylus)
- dingos ( Canis lupus dingo )
- domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)
- golden jackals (Canis aureus)
- eagles (Accipitridae)
Dingos are the primary mammalian carnivore in Australia. They compete with foxes and feral cats for small animal food sources, but have greater success with catching large prey during times of drought than do foxes and cats. For this reason, dingo populations remain high, and are thought be responsible for the loss of numerous medium-sized Australian mammals, including species of bandicoots, macropodids, and rat-kangaroos. However, some researchers suggest that dingos actually help to maintain populations of small Australian mammals. Dingos are also appreciated for their help in controlling European rabbit populations, which are pests throughout Australia (Corbett 1995, Riddle 1979).
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Dingos pose little economic importance in Asia, athough some regions consume dingos as their primary protein source and sell cuts of their meat at market for edible and medicinal purposes (Corbett 1995).
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
In Australia, millions of dollars have been spent to build and maintain a 3,307 mile long fence to keep dingos out of Southeastern Australia - sheep industry territory. Within the fence boundaries, dingos are considered vermin and are regularly killed for bounty (up to $500). Farmers allege that dingos seek out the sheep for food, though research has shown that dingos prefer natural food sources and only seek out domestic ones when natural food sources are scarce. Sheep and cattle are estimated to compose only four percent of their diet (O’Neill 1997 Corbett 1995).
The Australian government protects dingos in national parks and reserves only. In many public areas, dingos are considered pests and are subject to control measures. Although the dingo is not considered threatened or endangered, pure populations in Australia and Asia are at risk of complete hybridization due to interbreeding with domestic dogs. Interbreeding often results in offspring that pose a greater threat to the sheep industry (since they breed twice as often as pure dingos) and are more dangerous as pets because of innate aggressive behavior. Australian preservation societies have formed to protect, educate and breed purebred dingo lines. The general public is banned from owning dingos as pets (Corbett 1995).
Fossil and archeological evidence dates dingos arriving in Australia about 3500 years ago. It is hypothesized that they were brought over with Asian seafarers as the dingo is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia (Corbett 1995).
Because its history is not clearly understood, the taxonomy of the dingo has not been consistent. It has been given various species names over the last several hundred years. Corbett notes that in 1982, the designation Canis lupus was recommended over Canis familiaris as species name due to universal usage, though Canis familiaris dingo continues to persist as the subspecies classification in some scientific literature. As of Corbett’s writing in 1995, the current scientific name of dingos was Canis lupus dingo (Corbett 1995 Nowak 1999).
Mary Hintze (author), California State University, Sacramento, James Biardi (editor), California State University, Sacramento.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
helpers provide assistance in raising young that are not their own
ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates
a substance used for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species forms social groups.
living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.
uses touch to communicate
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Corbett, L. 1995. The Dingo in Australia and Asia. . Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th Ed. . Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press.
O'Neill, T. April 1997. Traveling the Australian Dog Fence. National Geographic , 191(4): 18-38.
Oakman, B. "The Australian Dingo Conservation Association Inc." (On-line). Accessed December 01, 2004 at http://www.dingoconservation.org/.
Riddle, M. 1979. The Wild Dogs in Life and Legend . New York, NY: Howell Book House, Inc..
Straham, R. 1983. The Australian Museum's Complete Book of Australian Mammals . Sydney, Australia: Angus and Robertson Publishers.
One of the earliest publications to document the "Indian" dogs of North America was an article by Glover Morrill Allen, in 1920.  Allen postulated that these "Larger or Common Indian Dogs" were descended from Asian primitive dogs:
The probability therefore is, that the Domestic Dog originated in Asia and was carried by ancient peoples both east and west into all parts of the inhabited world. That this migration began in late Pleistocene times seems highly probable. 
Allen cites late nineteenth-century studies of skeletal remains of dogs that could be found from Alaska to Florida to the Greater Antilles and westward to the Great Plains, and were excavated from Indian mounds as well:
Cope (1893) was the first to describe the jaw of this dog from a specimen collected by Moore from a shell-mound on St. John's River, Florida. He was struck by the fact that the first lower premolar was missing and appeared not to have developed. He also noticed strong development of the entoconid of the carnassial.
Moore, in the course of various explorations in Florida and Georgia discovered many remains of dogs, apparently of this type. In a large mound on Ossabaw Island, Georgia, he (1897) found several interments of human and dog-skeletons, the latter always buried separately and entire, showing that the dogs had not been used as food. Other dog-skeletons of a similar sort were found by Moore (1899) in aboriginal mounds on the South Carolina coast . Putnam considered them the same as the larger Madisonville (Ohio) dogs. 
These dogs were publicized by I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., a senior research ecologist at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, who first came across a Carolina dog while working at the Savannah River Site, which was depopulated and secured of all trespass and traffic for decades beginning in 1950. 
Since 1996, Carolina dogs can be registered with the United Kennel Club  (UKC), which has published a detailed, formal Carolina Dog breed standard.  UKC focuses on hunting dogs and other working dogs, and categorizes the Carolina in their "Sighthound & Pariah Group" [a] , along with other breeds such as the Basenji of Africa and the Thai Ridgeback. A breed standard has also been issued by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA).  ARBA includes the Carolina in their Group 5 along with the Canaan dog and the New Guinea singing dog. 
In July 2017, the American Kennel Club (AKC, the largest dog breed registry in the United States) accepted the Carolina Dog breeding program into its Foundation Stock Service (FSS),  the first step toward official AKC breed recognition. AKC has the dog listed under their "Hound" group.
Carolina dogs are a medium-sized height ranges from 17 to 24 inches (45–61 cm), and weight from 30 to 65 pounds (15–30 kg). The ears are characteristic and are erect, very long, and moderately slender, tapering way up to elegantly pointed tips and they can be individually turned to the direction of any sound, providing extremely sensitive hearing.  The dog ranges in build from muscular yet slender and graceful to somewhat stockier animals. The dogs legs are also graceful but strong. The hind midsection is firm and narrow. The overall build in a healthy, properly fed Carolina dog is svelte to somewhat stockier, strong and athletic. Paws are relatively large. The snout and the notably elongated, fox-like ears are spitz-like. The tail is usually upturned and often has a hooked kink in it. The coat is usually short and smooth, characteristic of a warm-climate dog.
Colors vary, and may include reddish ginger, buff, fawn, black-and-tan, or piebald  with or without white areas on toes, chest, tail tip and muzzle. The eyes are at an oblique angle and almond shaped. The eyes vary in color, but are usually dark brown or medium to dark orange. The area along the edges of the eyes is often (but not always) a distinctive black "eyeliner" coloration which becomes more pronounced by contrast in lighter-colored dogs. The lips are often black, even in light-colored dogs. Frequently, puppies have a melanistic mask that usually fades as the adult coat comes in. 
Breeding in the wild Edit
Female Carolina dogs have three estrus cycles in quick succession, which settle into seasonal reproductive cycles when there is an abundance of puppies. This is thought to ensure quick breeding in the wild before diseases, like heartworm, take their toll. 
Brisbin (1997) conjectured that some of the Carolina dog's ancestors arrived with prehistoric Americans. 
In 2013, a study looked at the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) [b] sampled from Carolina dogs. The study showed that 58% of the dogs carried universal haplotypes [c] that could be found around the world (haplotypes [c] A16, A18, A19, and B1), 5% carried haplotypes associated with Korea and Japan (A39), and 37% carried a unique haplotype (A184) that had not been recorded before, and that is part of the a5 mtDNA sub-haplogroup that originated in East Asia.  In contrast, the Australian dingo and the New Guinea singing dog both belong to haplotype A29   [c] which is in the a2 sub-haplogroup,   hence there is no genetic relationship in the mtDNA. Also in 2013, another study of several dog breeds in the Americas – among them the Carolina dog, the Peruvian Hairless Dog, and the Chihuahua indicated an ancient migration from East Asia.  
In 2015, a study was conducted using mitochondrial (female lineage marker), Y-chromosome (male lineage marker), and autosomal genetic markers in 4,676 purebred dogs from 161 breeds and 549 village dogs from 38 countries. The study tested for the degree of admixture with European breed dogs. The study found no yDNA haplotypes [c] indigenous to North American dogs outside of the Arctic. However, the mtDNA of Carolina dogs contained between 10%–35% pre-Columbian ancestry (mtDNA haplotype A184) that clustered with East Asian dogs. 
In 2018, a study compared sequences of fossil North American dogs with fossil Siberian dogs and modern dogs. The study indicates that dogs entered North America from Siberia 4,500 years after humans first arrived, were isolated for 9,000 years, and became extinct after European contact when they were replaced by Eurasian dogs the pre-contact dogs exhibit a unique genetic signature that is now gone, with their nearest genetic relatives being the Arctic dog breeds. Three Carolina dogs in the study exhibited up to 33% pre-contact / arctic lineage, however the study could not rule out this being the result of admixture with modern Arctic dog breeds. 
Canids of North America
The canid family consists of thirty-five living species. Eight of these species inhabit North America. These North American species include gray wolves, red wolves, coyotes, red foxes, gray foxes, kit foxes, swift foxes and arctic foxes. The eight species may be organized in three general categories: wolves, coyotes and foxes.
Wolves are the largest members of the canid family. This is the species from which our pet dogs were domesticated. Wolves were once the most widely distributed, wild terrestrial mammals. They inhabited most of the available land in the northern hemisphere. Due to the destruction of their habitat and persecution by humans, they now occupy only about two-thirds of their former range worldwide, and only about 5-8 percent of the contiguous 48 United States.
Wolves can be found in a variety of climates and habitats. These habitat variations are sometimes seen in the type of morphology, or physical characteristics, seen in gray wolves living in different geographical areas. These differences sometimes differentiate types, or subspecies, of gray wolves around the world.
However, these different types are so subjective that over the years scientists have disagreed as to whether in North America alone there are 24 such subspecies or only four. Current workers generally accept five, but a recent article lumped those into four. Subspecies of gray wolves in North America include the Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos), northwestern wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis), Great Plains wolf (Canis lupus nubilus), Mexican wolf(Canis lupus baileyi) and the eastern timber wolf (Canis lupus lycaon), which is debated by some as a distinct species, the eastern wolf (Canis lycaon). In reality, any differences among all these proposed types are so minor as to be meaningless except to a few specialists.
Red wolves are only found in a small area of coastal North Carolina. They are a North American species of wolf not found elsewhere. Their social and predatory behaviors are the same as gray wolves.
The Dingo has intense eyes that vary in color from yellow to orange. The very mobile, small, rounded ears are naturally erect. The well furred, appearing bushy, tail is relaxed and has good length. The hindquarters are lean and muscular. The coat is soft. Its length, density, and texture vary according to climate. Typical coat colors are yellow-ginger, but can occur in tan, black or white, including an occasional brindle albinos have also been seen. All purebred Dingoes have white hair on their feet and tail tip.
The Dingo is a breed that has never been fully domesticated. It is almost never kept as a companion. This is partly due to its remote isolation, but also through lack of human intervention. Untrained Dingoes are unsuitable child companions and cannot easily be obedience trained. Obedience training is best accomplished by kindness, patience, and a firm but gentle hand. Dingoes can be kept as pets if they are taken from the litter before 6 weeks of age. At this young age they can be tamed, but once over 10 weeks they should not be taken out of the wild. If properly trained and cared for the Dingo can make a very nice, unique pet. They are said to be able to perform agility and general obedience. The Dingo has some unusual traits&mdasha great tree climber and at times a bit aloof, but these are interesting traits and are in the same category as the Dingo&rsquos nearest cousins, the New Guinea Singing Dog and the Finnish Spitz, but displaying the same characteristics. They do not have the same degree of tooth crowding and shortening of the jaw that distinguish dog breeds from their ancestor, the Indian Plains Wolf. Also like the wolf, the female Dingo has only one breeding cycle each year. Unlike dogs, the Dingo chooses a mate for life, sometimes mourning itself to death after the loss of its partner. Often a litter of pups is found in the hollow of a tree, totally protected from all sides, with the dam guarding the front. Even so, pups frequently fall prey to snakes. Families of Dingoes can be heard vocalizing together before a hunt. They have strong cooperative instincts and live in packs. These groups habitually hunt by night. They work silently and only learn to bark from association with other canines. They communicate by a distinctive yelp or howl. The Dingo may hunt alone or in family units, but rarely in packs. Water is a barrier to Dingoes and most will only wade, not swim. Wild Dingoes shy from man and have reverted to the wild. To survive in the wilderness, they have learned to play possum, shamming death. The Dingo rarely shows aggression. Years of persecution have developed a flight rather than bite temperament. Male Dingoes kept as pets are very restless during breeding season. Puppies and breeding season is around May/June. As of right now puppies are only available inside Australia and not for export, however this may change as Dingo fanciers push to educate people about this unique animal. Puppies cost from $500 -$1000 Australian. A Dingo Farm in Australia has over 100 dingoes and is breeding the dog to ensure it is around for prosperity in the 'pure bloodline.' Owners of the Dingo need to display a natural authority. Calm, but firm, confident and consistent with the rules. Proper communication is essential.
Height: 19 - 23 inches (48 - 58.5 cm)
Weight: about 50 - 70 pounds (23 - 32 kg)
However, dogs up to 120 pounds (55 kg) are documented.
The Dingo is not recommended for apartment life. They are wild dogs that if taken into a family, must not be chained up in a backyard, but should be taken in as part of the family. A securely fenced enclosure is a must. A Dingo needs activity and space. As pets they should not be taken off the leash in a park. They can withstand hot climates.
The Dingo is an undomesticated animal that should get plenty of exercise. When in captivity they need to be taken on a daily, long walk or jog, to satisfy their natural migration instinct.
How Wolves Became Dogs — and Dingoes Didn’t
Scientists agree on little about the process that turned wild wolves into our furry friends. Genetic evidence suggests that dogs were first domesticated somewhere between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago, although archaeological evidence of possible semi-domesticated dogs began appearing more than 30,000 years ago. Nor is it clear where dog domestication first happened, or whether it occurred once or repeatedly.
“Their evolutionary history hasn’t yet been fully untangled,” said Kylie Cairns, a conservation geneticist and ecologist specializing in dingoes at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
What scientists do know is this: The high-calorie, easily digestible food waste left in and around prehistoric human camps attracted nearby gray wolves. Many of the animals avoided the habitats of their two-legged competitors, but a few had the courage to begin scavenging from the pile of leftovers. As time passed, humans began to realize that the relationship had benefits. Wolves could help warn about predators and assist with hunting. But the traits that enabled a wolf’s survival in the wild — characteristics like aggression and wariness — weren’t always conducive to life with humans. Gradually, like clay molded by an invisible hand, wolf behavior gave way to something more doglike. Domestication, Cairns emphasized, was a two-way street. Humans didn’t set out to domesticate wolves, but both parties found the new arrangement beneficial.
As humans continued their spread around the world, they brought their proto-pooches with them. One theory holds that the ancestors of dingoes arrived in Australia approximately 4,000 years ago, when a group of seafaring people from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi arrived in Australia with their canines other evidence suggests the animals arrived with settlers by other means and twice as long ago. But however and whenever they arrived, those canines — no longer wolves but not quite dogs — returned to their wild roots after reaching Australia.
“These dogs weren’t domesticated in the sense that we think about,” Cairns said. “They weren’t like a pet Labrador, and humans weren’t breeding them or controlling which ones bred. Dingoes are probably what dogs would have looked like before humans started messing with them.”
James McIntyre, director of the Southwest Pacific Research Project, is one of the very few scientists ever to have studied the New Guinea highland wild dog, a descendant of those canids that first arrived in Papua New Guinea and a close relative of the Australian dingo.
“No matter how you try to raise them, they’re very predatory. Even if you get them as puppies, their instincts kick in as they become adults,” he said.
Both dingoes and highland dogs returned to a wild state after their initial sojourn with humans. In Australia, dingoes emerged as the continent’s mammalian apex predator. Though dingoes are admired and revered by many Aboriginal peoples, European settlers took a much grimmer view of them, instituting eradication campaigns and erecting a dingo-proof fence across thousands of kilometers of the harsh outback in the early 1900s.
“Australia is now culturally very intolerant of dingoes,” said Mike Letnic, an ecologist focusing on conservation and wildlife management at UNSW. “There’s a deep sense of antipathy in most cases.”
Australians installed thousands of kilometers of dingo-proof fence across the outback in the early 1900s in efforts to control and eliminate the animals.
Wolves have many ways in which they behave and communicate with each other.
Wolves have a variety of expressions and moods that can be defined by subtle body movements like a shift in body weight to more obvious ones such as rolling on their backs on the floor in a submissive position.
Below are some of the ways wolves show their behaviour towards each other and towards others such as predators or other threats.
Dominant Wolf – A dominant wolf stands stiff legged and tall. Their ears are erect and forward and the hackles bristle slightly. Often the tail is held vertical and curled toward the back. This display shows the wolfs rank to all others in the pack. A dominant wolf may stare penetratingly at a submissive one, pin it to the ground, ‘ride up’ on its shoulders, or even stand on its hind legs.
Angry Wolf – An angry wolfs ears are erect and its fur bristles. Their lips may curl up or pull back and the incisors are displayed. The wolf may also snarl.
Aggressive Wolf – A aggressive wolf may snarl and crouch backwards ready to pounce. Hairs will also stand erect on its back.
Fearful Wolf – A frightened wolf will try to make its body look small and therefore less conspicuous. Their ears flatten down against the head and the tail may be tucked between the legs, as with a submissive wolf. There may also be whimpering or barks of fear and the wolf may arch its back.
Defensive Wolf – A defensive wolf lays its ears back flat against its head.
Suspicious Wolf – A suspicious wolf will narrow its eyes and pull back its ears. Its tail will be pointed straight outwards parallel to the ground if it suspects danger.
Relaxed Wolf – The tail of a relaxed wolf will hang down relaxed or it may wag. The more its tail hangs down, the more relaxed the wolf is. The wolf may also sit like a sphinx or roll on its side.
Happy Wolf – A happy wolf will wag its tail just like a dog and will have its tongue lolled out.
Playful Wolf – A playful wolf holds its tail high and wags it. The wolf may frolic and dance around, or bow by placing the front of its body down to the ground, while holding their rear high, sometimes wagged. This is reminiscent of the playful behaviour displayed in domestic dogs.
Hunting Wolf – A hunting wolf will be tense and have its tail pointing straight out.
Submissive Wolf (Active) – In active submission, the entire body is lowered and the lips and ears are drawn back. Sometimes active submission is accompanied by muzzle licking, or the rapid thrusting out of the tongue and lowering of the hindquarters. Their tail is placed down, or halfway or fully between the legs and the muzzle often points up to the more dominant animal. Their back may be partially arched as the submissive wolf humbles itself to its superior. (A more arched back and more tucked tail indicate a greater level of submission.)
Submissive Wolf (Passive) – Passive submission is more intense than active submission. The wolf rolls on its back and exposes its vulnerable throat and underside. Their paws are drawn into the body. This is often accompanied by whimpering.
Did You Know?
Wolves have a vast communication repertoire including vocalizations, scent marks, visual displays, facial and body postures and rituals. Wolves communicate with each other more by harmony and integration rather than by aggression and submission
Wolf-Dog Hybrid Test
A wolf-dog hybrid
Wolf-dog hybrids have been produced by crossing wolves with wolf-like dog breeds such as Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, and Alaskan Malamute. Occasionally natural wolf-dog hybrids occur, usually when a female dog in estrus strays and is mated by a wild male wolf. Many states in the US restrict wolf-dog hybrids as pets, due to the unpredictable temperament of these canids. It has been estimated that there are upwards of 300,000 wolf-dog hybrids in the US.
The VGL wolf-hybrid test consists of 3-4 types of assays (depending on whether animals are female or male) and analyses: Y-chromosome haplotype, X-chromosome haplotype , wolf-specific DNA markers and population analysis of DNA markers. Below is a more detailed description:
- Males are tested with Y-chromosome markers and results compared to our database of known wolf and dog haplotypes. Results are reported as Dog, Wolf, Inconclusive (if found in both dogs and wolves) or Not-Applicable (if female).
- Males and females are tested with X-chromosome markers and results compared to our database of known wolf and dog haplotypes. Results are reported as Dog, Wolf, Hybrid (if female).
- We test for 22 DNA STR (short tandem repeat) markers that have variants specific to wolves. Results are reported as Present (if wolf variants are detected) or Not Detected (if no wolf variant is observed).
The dog-wolf hybrid test is powerful enough to detect hybrids within 3 generations. Because of the close genetic relationship among dogs and wolves, wolf ancestry beyond 3 generations may be undetectable by these tests.
Wolves are ready to mate at about two years of age. However, that doesn’t mean they are going to. It can be up one year after they are actually able to do so. Here is the reason why that occurs.
When it comes to the actual mating, only the lead male and female will actually do so. This is why it is often hard to get the number of wolves to increase. While a pack may have up to twenty members in it, only two of them are actually taking part in the mating process.
There are studies out there though that show other members of large pack mating as well. It could be that it is allows when there is enough food and the pack is thriving. The exact conditions that have to be in place for that to be acceptable though isn’t fully understood yet.
Research also shows that when there isn’t enough food or roaming area for a wolf pack that the alpha male and the beta female may not even mate at all. This is to ensure that those in their pack don’t have more to care for or more to share food with. As a result of this though it can be very hard to get numbers of species in danger of extinction to increase.
The time of year when breeding occurs depends on the region where these animals live. It can be any time from January through March. The wolf makes once a year instead of twice. The females will carry the pups for about two months before giving birth. Generally she will have from four to six pups per litter. However, some have been noted to have up to fourteen of them at a time!
She will give birth to the pups alone in her den. They are very small and vulnerable at birth. She will feed them milk from her body for the first month of life. It will be after the first month of life when they emerge from the den with her.
Wolves seem to do very well when it comes to reproducing in captivity. Many programs out there are helping to structure this by keeping one male and one female together instead of a pack of wolves. Through such programs reintroduction of wolves into the wild has been a success with many different breeds.
It is the responsibility of all the wolves in the pack to help to raise the offspring. They will take turns caring for them while other members go out to hunt. Making sure the young get plenty to eat is important if they are going to be able to thrive.
Even with the entire pack caring for them, less than half of all pups survive the first year. If the mother had poor nutrition during the pregnancy they can be very small at birth. A lack of food for the entire pack to survive on can mean not enough is available for the pups.
The pups in a wolf pack have a great deal of freedom and privileges. In fact, they are often able to do more and to benefit more than some of the adults within the pack that have a very low ranking.
When they are about two years old they are mature, and then they have one of two things occur. They may stay within their own pack and be given a place on the social ladder. They can also leave that pack and go to form one of their own. Males often leave while females choose to stay in the pack they were born into.
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