Wild dog

The term 'wild dog' refers to purebred dingoes, dingo hybrids, and domestic dogs that have escaped or been deliberately released and now live in the wild.

Wild dogs cause stock losses and prey on native wildlife

You can support national wild dog mapping by reporting wild dog populations.

You must manage the impacts of wild dogs on your land.

You must not move, keep, feed, give away, sell or release wild dogs into the environment.

Scientific name

Canis familiaris, C. familiaris dingo, C. lupus familiaris, C. lupus dingo

Other names

  • Feral dog

Similar species


  • Dingoes, hybrid dingoes and domestic dogs that have escaped or been released.


  • Found in varied habitats.
  • Uses roads, creeks and fence lines as travel ways.
  • Higher activity in autumn (mating season).
  • Prefers more inaccessible areas during whelping and rearing seasons (winter and spring).


  • Found throughout Queensland.
  • In far western areas, many wild dogs/dingoes are purebred.
  • Close to settled areas, most dingoes are hybrid dogs.

Life cycle

  • Usually breed once a year, usually April-June.
  • 9-week gestation.
  • Usually 4–6 pups in a litter.

Affected animals

  • livestock
  • domestic dogs
  • humans
  • native animals



  • Competes directly with dingoes for food and living spaces, particularly in refuge areas.
  • Preys on small remnant populations of native species such as bridled nailtail wallabies, koalas and tree kangaroos, threatening biodiversity.
  • Hybridisation between dingoes and other wild dogs is swamping dingo gene pool.


  • Causes stock losses.
  • Lowers profitability from bitten stock.
  • Creates risk of disease being spread to domestic animals (e.g. hydatidosis, neospora).


  • Can spread hydatids (a parasitic disease that can result in human health impacts) and has potential to spread exotic diseases that affect human beings (e.g. rabies).
  • Can attack children in urban areas, particularly if public contributes to habituation and socialisation of wild dogs.
  • Can be nuisance to householders and tourists.
  • Can attack pets in urban fringe areas.


  • Effective control requires integrated, collaborative approach. Can be achieved using national approach, where control methods are applied across all tenures by all stakeholders at landscape (rather than property) level in cooperative and coordinated manner.
  • Control methods include shooting, trapping, fencing, baiting and livestock guardian dogs combined with land management.


  • Shooting is opportunistic method, mostly used for control of small populations or individual problem animals.


  • Trapping is time-consuming and labour-intensive. Success of trapping (using leg hold traps and snares) depends on operator's skill. Trapping is predominantly used in areas with low populations and to control 'problem' wild dogs.
  • Only padded or offset laminated jawed traps are acceptable
  • May be used in conjunction with trap alert systems to ensure trapped dogs are attended to quickly.
  • Can be used in urban fringe areas.
  • Minimal impact on non-target species if used correctly.


  • Fencing can be used to exclude wild dogs but does require maintenance to repair damage caused by fallen timber, floods and animals to be effective. Properly maintained fences can restrict movement back into an area where wild dogs have been controlled.
  • Electric fences suitable for wild dogs have been developed.

Livestock guardian animals

  • Guardian dogs, alpacas, lamas and donkeys are used to protect livestock from predators.
  • Livestock guardian dogs have been used to protect livestock from predators in Europe, Asia and America. Some producers in Queensland have decreased predation on sheep and goats using this method. If trapping and poisoning is also used, care must be taken to protect guardian dogs.


  • Poison baits are an economical and effective control method. Processed manufactured baits or fresh meat baits can be laid quickly by hand, vehicle or from air, with large population reductions recorded from monitored baiting campaigns.
  • There are 2 poisons that can be legally used for wild dog control:
    • 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate)
    • PAPP (para-aminopropiophenone)
  • These poisons are restricted chemical products also known as S7 poisons. The possession, supply and use of S7 poisons is regulated under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 and associated regulations and Queensland Health regulations. Read Queensland Health medicines and poisons for more information.
  • Commercial manufactured 1080 or PAPP baits may be purchased from licenced S7 retailers subject to the buyer fulfilling the requirements of the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019.
  • Some local government agencies (LGA) provide a baiting service for landholders in their area. Contact your LGA for further information.
  • Baits must always be used in accordance with the product label directions or the conditions of an Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) minor use permit and the of the requirements of the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 and other Queensland Health departmental standards.
  • Poison baits can be effective for the control of wild dogs. Animals that avoid baits can then be trapped, shot or fenced out to provide additional control.
  • Baits may be selectively positioned to avoid killing non-target species, as wild dogs' keen sense of smell enables them to find baits intentionally buried in sand or otherwise hidden. Baits may also be tied to prevent their loss to non-target species.
  • Allow a full month for major effects of baiting to be realised.

See the wild dog fact sheet (PDF, 7.2MB) for more information.

Legal requirements

  • The wild dog is a category 3, 4 and 6 restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • You must not move, keep, feed, give away, sell, or release into the environment. Penalties may apply.
  • You must take all reasonable and practical measures to minimise the biosecurity risks associated with dealing with wild dogs under your control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on wild dogs. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local council for more information.

Further information