The dingo is one of Australia's most controversial animals but are they really a pest do they just get a bad rap? Our book, The Dingo Debate, explains more.

A picture of a man holding two dingo pups

Dr Bradley Smith holding two dingo pups

Animal behaviour expert, Dr Bradley Smith says dingoes are no pest. Photo: Red Collins

When we’re talking iconic Aussie animals, we jump to the kangaroo, the emu and, of course, the cuddly koala. But the dingo is probably the most controversial and misunderstood of the Australian animal kingdom.

Dingoes are not even what many people claim them to be – our native dog. Truth is they’re not dogs at all (more closely related to wolves) and some experts suggest they’re not actually native to Australia.

A photo of 3 dingoes standing on rocks

Dingoes standing on rocks

Australia’s native dog…or is it?

The infamous death of baby Azaria Chamberlain in the ‘80s cast the dangers of dingoes into the spotlight. And they get a bad rap from farmers for being a pest responsible for killing livestock. So can humans really live side-by-side with these wild animals?

The Dingo Debate: Origins, Behaviour and Conservation answers some of these questions and gives a real insight into the animals’ behaviour. The book from our publishing team picks apart the myths and stereotypes to reveal the real dingo in our midst.

The book’s editor, Dr Bradley Smith, a comparative psychologist at Central Queensland University and the Director of the Australian Dingo Foundation says that no other Australian animal elicits such strong emotions of fear and hatred, or attracts such controversy.

“And yet here is a highly intelligent and adaptable species which plays a significant role in our ecosystems – only to find itself classified as a pest in some parts of Australia, and protected in others,” he said.




Dynamite dingo facts

  • Dingoes are found through most of mainland Australia, but are absent from Tasmania.
  • They can help to eradicate feral cats and foxes and some studies have found that reintroducing dingoes into degraded areas could help to return balance to the ecosystem.
  • Apart from fear and misunderstanding, the biggest threat to the dingo may be ‘genetic pollution’ caused by interbreeding with domestic dogs. It is now vulnerable to extinction.
  • Dingoes have been in Australia for at least 5000 years and it is believed they originally descended from semi-domesticated dogs from Asia but they have since evolved in the Australian conditions over time.

Get your copy of The Dingo Debate: Origins, Behaviour and Conservation from our online store.


  1. Governments throughout Australia have caused the so called Dingo problem by destabilizing dingo family groups by not taking advice which is over 30 years old by Dr Alan Newsome, now we find that the pure dingo is heading for extinction.

  2. Video of CSIRO research on Dingos from 1978 –

  3. I bought the book a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it – a real eye-opener about Australia’s native canid 🙂

  4. I have a pet dingo that was picked up when we suspect it’s mum was killed on a highway, he is now approximately 7 years old. It is apparently as pure as you get on the mainland. When he was a pup he was very destructive, but now he is the most affectionate and delicate animal we have had. He cries when we walk out the door and is fantastic on a lead. He plays with our other dog and is very attentive and well behaved. We did, however have to put up 6 feet fences so that he could not get out. When he did in the past, he always came back.

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