Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

CAVS: 1905

Species Canis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758

Common Dog, Dingo, Domestic Dog


Miscellaneous Literature Names

  • Canis lupus familiaris Linnaeus, 1758 [But see Freedman et al. (2014) who demonstrate through molecular analyses that Canis lupus and C. familiaris are separate lineages].
  • Canis dingo F.A.A. Meyer, 1793 [recognised as valid species by some authors (e.g. Crowther et al. 2014)].
  • Canis lupus dingo F.A.A. Meyer, 1793 [as subspecies].



The systematic position of the dingo is currently unresolved, with no consensus at species and subspecies levels. The dingo is variously referred to as Canis lupus, Canis lupus dingo, Canis familiaris and Canis familiaris dingo in the literature (see for recent examples Van Dyck & Strahan 2008, Woinarski et al. 2014, Jackson & Groves 2015). In addition, there are various taxonomic synonyms for dingoes (examples include Canis dingo Meyer, 1793; Canis antarticus Kerr, 1792; Canis australiae Gray, 1826 and others documented herein). Currently, there is evidence to support the contention that dingoes are an introduced species from a relatively small founder population, as evidenced in the restricted gene flow observed in mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomes of dingoes (Savolainen et al. 2004, Ardalan et al. 2012). While there has been recent research on the morphology of dingoes and domestic dogs (i.e., Crowther et al. 2014), the results presented substantial overlap in the morphometric comparison, which does not support dingoes as being a different species from dogs as postulated. Moreover, dingoes readily hybridise with dogs (Woinarski et al. 2014), and the genetics of dingoes align more closely with domestic dogs than with wolves (Savolainen et al. 2004, Ardalan et al. 2012). Hence the current taxonomic treatment for dingoes is Canis familliaris, not C. lupus, or C. dingo. This is supported by analysis of morphological, genetic, ecological and biological data, as studied by Jackson et al. 2017.




Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia

IBRA and IMCRA regions (map not available)


ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA: Australian Alps (AA), Arnhem Coast (ARC), Arnhem Plateau (ARP), Avon Wheatbelt (AW), Brigalow Belt North (BBN), Brigalow Belt South (BBS), Ben Lomond (BEL), Broken Hill Complex (BHC), Burt Plain (BRT), Central Arnhem (CA), Carnarvon (CAR), Channel Country (CHC), Central Kimberley (CK), Central Mackay Coast (CMC), Coolgardie (COO), Cobar Peneplain (CP), Central Ranges (CR), Cape York Peninsula (CYP), Daly Basin (DAB), Darwin Coastal (DAC), Desert Uplands (DEU), Dampierland (DL), Davenport Murchison Ranges (DMR), Darling Riverine Plains (DRP), Einasleigh Uplands (EIU), Esperance Plains (ESP), Eyre Yorke Block (EYB), Finke (FIN), Flinders Lofty Block (FLB), Flinders (FLI), Gascoyne (GAS), Gawler (GAW), Gibson Desert (GD), Gulf Fall and Uplands (GFU), Geraldton Sandplains (GS), Great Sandy Desert (GSD), Gulf Coastal (GUC), Gulf Plains (GUP), Great Victoria Desert (GVD), Hampton (HAM), Jarrah Forest (JF), Kanmantoo (KAN), King (KIN), Little Sandy Desert (LSD), MacDonnell Ranges (MAC), Mallee (MAL), Murray Darling Depression (MDD), Mitchell Grass Downs (MGD), Mount Isa Inlier (MII), Mulga Lands (ML), Murchison (MUR), Nandewar (NAN), Naracoorte Coastal Plain (NCP), New England Tablelands (NET), Northern Kimberley (NK), NSW North Coast (NNC), NSW South Western Slopes (NSS), Nullarbor (NUL), Ord Victoria Plain (OVP), Pine Creek (PCK), Pilbara (PIL), Riverina (RIV), Sydney Basin (SB), South East Coastal Plain (SCP), South East Corner (SEC), South Eastern Highlands (SEH), South Eastern Queensland (SEQ), Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields (SSD), Stony Plains (STP), Sturt Plateau (STU), Swan Coastal Plain (SWA), Tanami (TAN), Tasmanian Central Highlands (TCH), Tiwi Cobourg (TIW), Tasmanian Northern Midlands (TNM), Tasmanian Northern Slopes (TNS), Tasmanian South East (TSE), Tasmanian Southern Ranges (TSR), Tasmanian West (TWE), Victoria Bonaparte (VB), Victorian Midlands (VM), Victorian Volcanic Plain (VVP), Warren (WAR), Wet Tropics (WT), Yalgoo (YAL)

Other Regions

Christmas Island terrestrial & freshwater, Lord Howe Island terrestrial & freshwater, Norfolk Island terrestrial & freshwater

Ecological Descriptors

Gregarious, noctidiurnal, predator, terrestrial, territorial.

Extra Ecological Information

Extensive hybridization between the dingo and the more recently introduced domestic dog has occurred in SE Australia.


General References

Ardalan, A., Oskarsson, M., Natanaelsson, C., Wilton, A.N., Ahmadian, A. & Savolainen, P. 2012. Narrow genetic basis for the Australian dingo confirmed through analysis of paternal ancestry. Genetica 140: 65-73

Brown, G.W. & Triggs, B.E. 1990. Diets of wild canids and foxes in East Gippsland 1983-1987, using scat analysis. Australian Mammalogy 13: 209-213

Brunner, H., Stevens, P.L. & Backholer, J.R. 1981. Introduced mammals in Victoria. Victorian Naturalist 98: 5-17

Bueler, L.E. 1974. Wild Dogs of the World. London : Constable 274 pp.

Catling, P.C., Corbett, L.K. & Westcott, M. 1991. Age determination in the dingo and crossbreeds. Wildlife Research 18: 75-83

Clutton-Brock, J. 1981. Domesticated Animals from Early Times. London : British Museum 208 pp.

Corbett, L.K. 1985. Morphological comparisons of Australian and Thai dingoes: A reappraisal of dingo status, distribution and ancestry. Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia 13: 277-291

Crowther, M.S., Fillios, M., Colman, N. & Letnic, M. 2014. An updated description of the Australian dingo (Canis dingo Meyer, 1793). Journal of Zoology, London [Date published 27 March 2014]

Daniels, M & Corbett, L. 2003. Redefining introgressed protected mammals – when is a wildcat a wildcat and dingo a wild dog? Wildlife Research 30: 213-218

Dickman, C.R. 1996. Impact of exotic generalist predators on the native fauna of Australia. Wildlife Biology 2: 185-195

Fleming, P.J.S. & Korn, T.J. 1989. Predation of livestock by wild dogs in eastern New South Wales. Australian Rangeland Journal 11: 61-66

Fox, M.W. 1971. Behaviour of Wolves, Dogs and Related Canids. London : Jonathan Cape 214 pp.

Fox, M.W. 1978. The Dog its Domestication and Behavior. New York : Garland STPM Press viii 296 pp.

Freedman, A.H. et al. 2014. Genome sequencing highlights the dynamic early history of dogs. PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science) [Date published 16 January 2014]

Fuller, J.L. & DuBuis, E.M. 1962. The behaviour of dogs. pp. 415-452 in Hafez, E.S.E. (ed.). The Behaviour of Domestic Animals. London : Baillière, Tindall & Cox.

Jackson, S. & Groves, C. 2015. Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Melbourne : CSIRO Publishing 520 pp.

Jackson, S.M., Groves, C.P., Fleming, P.J.S., Aplin, K.P., Eldridge, M.D.B., Gonzalez, A. & Helgen, K.M. 2017. The wayward dog: is the Australian native dog or dingo a distinct species? Zootaxa 4317(2): 201-224

Jones, E. 1990. Physical characteristics and taxonomic status of wild canids, Canis familiaris, from the Eastern Highlands of Victoria. Australian Wildlife Research 17: 69-81

Jones, E. & Stevens, P.L. 1988. Reproduction in wild canids, Canis familiaris, from the eastern highlands of Victoria. Australian Wildlife Research 15: 385-394

Letts, G.A., Bassingthwaighte, A. & de Vos, W.E.L. 1979. Feral Animals in the Northern Territory. Report of the Board of Inquiry 1979. N.T. : Govt. Printer xvi 234 pp.

Long, J.L. 1972. Introduced birds and mammals in Western Australia. Agricultural Protection Board Western Australia Technical Service 1: 1-30

Lunney, D., Triggs, B.., Eby, P. & Ashby, E. 1990. Analysis of scats of dogs Canis familiaris and foxes Vulpes vulpes in coastal forests near Bega, New South Wales. Australian Wildlife Research 17: 61-68

Mahon, P.S., Banks, P.B. & Dickman, C. 1998. Population indices for wild carnivores: a critical study in sand-dune habitat, south-western Queensland. Wildlife Research 25: 11-22

May, S.A. & Norton, T.W. 1996. Influences of fragmentation and disturbance on the potential impact of feral predators on native fauna in Australian forest ecosystems. Wildlife Research 23: 387-400

McIlroy, J.C., Cooper, R.J., Gifford, E.J., Green, B.F. & Newgrain, K.W. 1986. The effect on wild dogs, Canis f. familiaris, of 1080-poisoning campaigns in Kosciusko National Park, N.S.W. Australian Wildlife Research 13: 535-544

Meek, P.D. & Triggs, B. 1998. The food of foxes, dogs and cats on two peninsulas in Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 120: 117-127

Peel, L. & Tribe, D.E. 1983. Domestication, Conservation and Use of Animal Resources. Amsterdam : World Animal Science, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. Vol. A1 xii 357 pp.

Rolls, E.C. 1969. They All Ran Wild. The Story of Pests on the Land in Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 444 pp. 21 pls.

Savolainen, P. Leitner, T., Wilton, A.N., Matisoo-Smith, E. & Lundeberg, J. 2004. A detailed picture of the origin of the Australian dingo, obtained from the study of mitochondrial DNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101(33): 12387-12390

Triggs, B., Brunner, H. & Cullen, J.M. 1984. The food of the fox, dog and cat in Croajingalong National Park, southeastern Victoria. Australian Wildlife Research 11: 491-499

van Dyck, S. & Strahan, R. 2008. The Mammals of Australia. Third Edition. Sydney : Reed New Holland 887 pp.

Woinarski, J.C.Z., Burbidge, A.A. & Harrison, P.L. 2014. The Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012. Melbourne, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 1038 pp.

Woodall, P.F., Pavlov, P. & Tolley, L.K. 1993. Comparative dimensions of testes, epididymides and spermatozoa of Australian dingoes (Canis familiaris dingo) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris familiaris): some effects of domestication. Australian Journal of Zoology 41: 133-140


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
03-Nov-2015 Canis Linnaeus, 1758 15-Dec-2017 MODIFIED
03-Nov-2015 Canis Linnaeus, 1758 03-Apr-2014 MOVED
16-Oct-2013 13-Dec-2010 MOVED
12-Feb-2010 (import)