Wild dogs are defined as all wild-living dogs including dingoes, feral dogs and their hybrids: all are the same species (Canis familiaris). Scientific evidence suggests the dingo was likely brought to Australia as a semi-domesticated animal from Asia some 3,500 to 4,000 years ago. An ancient breed of dog, the dingo (Canis familiaris) will readily breed with other dogs and this has occurred to varying degrees across the country since the arrival of domestic dogs with the First Fleet in 1788.

Wild dogs are considered a serious established pest animal in Australia and prey on a variety of animals including mammals, birds and reptiles of all sizes from insects to water buffalo. They prefer to eat small and medium-sized mammals when available, including native mice, dunnarts, bandicoots and wallabies.

Image by Yi Zhai

Wild dogs impact natural environments by preying on a wide variety of native fauna and are considered a known or potential risk to endangered or vulnerable native mammal, reptile and bird species. They also carry pathogens and parasites, such as hydatid worms that can have negative impacts on native species like macropods that severely limit their lifespans and reproductive fitness.

Wild dogs impact agricultural production due to livestock predation, disease transmission (such as hydatids) and the costs associated with control. In areas particularly affected by wild dogs, predation limits livestock enterprise choice, with producers often forced to give up sheep and goat production and move into cattle. This can impact regional communities through reduced employment, business opportunities and loss of community services.

Wild dogs impact cultural and social assets by causing serious emotional and psychological damage to landholders and their families. Dingos are an important part of some First Nations cultures, with ongoing and strong associations reflected in songlines, rock carvings and cave paintings and exposure of dingo populations to other modern dog breeds risks their purity through crossbreeding.

To learn more, you can:

  • read about the biology, ecology and behaviour of wild dogs in ‘Further Learning’
  • find worksheets and publications about wild dogs in our Resources section
  • view the Wild Dogs in Australia video below.

WildDogScan allows you to map and monitor wild dogs, record impacts (such as attacks) and document where control has been undertaken. It is a free resource for landholders, Landcare groups, community groups, local Councils, professional pest controllers and biosecurity groups.

FeralScan is committed to protecting users’ data, location and information, with all WildDogScan information managed securely and discreetly as described in our privacy policy.

You can access WildDogScan via www.wilddogscan.org.au or download the ‘FeralScan’ App and follow the wild dog prompts.

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How to record:
  1. Register your name, or simply record data using your email address.
  2. Record where you have seen wild dogs, predation evidence and control actions.
  3. Submit your record and view it on the website.
  4. View other sightings in your local area.

Want a quick and easy digest of management information for wild dogs? Click on the thumbnail images below to download and print our glovebox, field baiting or best-practice management guides free of charge. Use our order form for larger quantities, which can also feature your organisation’s logo. Please note that printing and postage charges will apply to most orders.

Order Management Guides for Wild Dogs in Peri-urban Environments Order Glovebox Guides for Managing Wild Dogs Order Field Guide to Poison Baiting: Wild Dogs and Foxes
CISS-Glovebox-Guide-Wilddog-cover CISS-Glovebox-Guide-Wilddog-baiting-cover

The National Wild Dog Action Plan enables communities to coordinate effective and humane management of wild dogs. It is a livestock-industry driven, nationally-agreed framework that promotes a coordinated approach to managing the negative impacts of wild dogs on primary production, environment and social assets throughout Australia and aligns with the Australian Pest Animal Strategy 2017-2027 and the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity 2012.