About Wild dogs

Quick facts

  • Economic impact – $89.3 million on average, per year in lost agricultural productivity (McLeod, 2016)
  • Environmental impact – threat to 14 endangered or vulnerable native mammal, reptile and bird species listed under the EPBC Act (NWDAP 2020-2030)
  • Social impact – wild dog predation on livestock causes serious emotional and psychological damage to landholders and their families (NWDAP 2020-2030)

Wild dogs (which by definition include all wild-living dogs, such as dingoes, feral dogs and their hybrids) prey on a variety of animals including mammals, birds and reptiles of all sizes from insects to water buffalo. However, they prefer to eat small and medium-sized mammals when available, including native mice, dunnarts, bandicoots and wallabies. Wild dogs have been implicated in the decline of several species, both historically and in the recent past.

Image by Yi Zhai

Dingoes originated in Asia where they were present possibly 10 000 to 14 000 years ago and were derived from wolves.  Aboriginal people brought the dingo to Australia approximately 4000 years ago. The dingo never reached Tasmania. Domestic dogs were brought into Australia by Europeans in 1788 and their release into the wild has continued since. Both dingoes and wild domestic dogs are the same species, Canis familiaris.

In December 2019, ABC Landline aired a series called Meet the Ferals which looks at the devastating impact feral animals have on Australia’s environment and agriculture and how farmers control introduced pests like cats, goats, pigs, rabbits and wild dogs.

Produced and presented by reporter Prue Adams, the content has been gathered from the three decades Landline has been on air, with background information and support provided through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. The below episode focuses on wild dogs.

Much of the information within the PestSmart wild dog toolkit has been updated with thanks to funding from: Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Animal Control Technologies Australia, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the National Wild Dog action Plan.


Want to a quick and easy digest of management information for wild dogs? Our printable glovebox and field baiting guides are available to order here but please note that printing and postage charges will apply in most situations.

Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs Field Guide to Poison Baiting: Wild Dogs and Foxes
CISS-Glovebox-Guide-Wilddog-cover CISS-Glovebox-Guide-Wilddog-baiting-cover