Wild dog

The term wild dog includes the dingo and the feral domestic dog, as well as hybrids of these.

Dingoes are protected in the Northern Territory (NT).

You should not interfere with dingoes without a permit to take or interfere with wildlife.

Wild dogs are common throughout the NT, except for the Tanami Desert where they are rare due to the lack of water.

Packs of dingoes exist in this region where watering points have been introduced such as on pastoral properties, in mining areas and near towns.

Impact

There are a number of negative impacts caused by dingoes and wild dogs.

They can do all of the following:

  • prey on livestock by causing economic loss to farmers
  • prey on domestic livestock on rural blocks
  • be a menace to tourists and staff at remote tourist resorts and national parks
  • impact the survival of remnant populations of endangered animals.

Feral domestic dogs and hybrids are often more dangerous to humans and livestock than dingoes.

Wild dogs also spread disease such as hydatidosis in cattle and sheep, and heartworm and parvovirus in pet domestic dogs.

Hydatidosis, an infection caused by tapeworms, leads to offal being rejected from slaughtered abattoir cattle and may cause significant economic losses.

Management

Management is needed to control the numbers of wild dogs, while protecting purebred dingoes in the wild.

In the NT, wild dog control measures have been less intensive than in other states and territories, and there has been little or no change in the distribution of dingoes.

This is largely because livestock in the NT is restricted mainly to cattle, which are only preyed on by dingoes if there is a lack of other prey.

It is thought that over 90% of NT wild dogs are purebred dingoes, with hybrid and feral domestic dogs occurring mainly around urban areas.

Wild dog baiting with 1080 is a common control method for wild dogs.

Alternative methods to baiting include trapping, exclusion fencing and shooting.

Within towns wild dog control is the responsibility of the relevant town council or landholder.

Last updated: 27 June 2017