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.

Wild dog is a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

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

Other names

New Guinea singing dog, Thai dog

Similar species

Description

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

Habitat

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

Distribution in Queensland

  • 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

Impacts

Environmental

  • 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.

Economic

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

Social

  • 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.

Control

  • 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.
  • Watch the wild dog trapping method video.

Shooting

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

Trapping

  • 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.
  • May be used in conjunction with strychnine to ensure quick death (should only be used in remote areas where traps cannot be checked daily).
  • Can be used in urban fringe areas.
  • Minimal impact on non-target species if used correctly.

Fencing

  • Fencing suitable to exclude wild dogs is expensive to build and requires continual maintenance to repair damage caused by fallen timber, floods and animals. However, properly maintained fence 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.

Poisoning

  • Baits poisoned with 1080 are most economic, efficient, humane and effective method of controlling wild dogs, especially in inaccessible or extensive areas. Baits can be laid quickly in large numbers by hand, from vehicles and from aircraft.
  • Currently 2 poisons are legally available for wild dog control. These are 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) and strychnine.
  • Queensland Health permit is necessary to purchase strychnine. 1080 poison can be obtained only through licensed Biosecurity Queensland officers and local government operators.
  • Poison baits will control majority of wild dogs. Problem 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. Heavy rain within 2 weeks of baiting can leach 1080 from bait.

See the Wild dogs in Queensland fact sheet (PDF, 566KB) for more information.

Legal requirements

  • Wild dog is a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be moved, kept (if a dingo), fed, given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.
Last updated
01 September 2016