Characteristics of Dingoes, Closest Wolf Relatives in Australia

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At present, there is not a single type of wolf is present in Australia. Fossil’s studies show that there were no any true wolf was ever present in the Australia. However, closely related relatives of Wolves were present that are explained below.

Possible Reason for the Absence of Wolf

Nature always maintain its balance. To compensate the niche of wolves in Australia nature blessed Australia with Marsupial wolf or Tasmanian tiger.

It was not a true wolf, neither a dog nor a cat. It was somewhat mix type of predator that was more close to cat than to dog. Contrary to wolf and dog, it was an ambush-style predator means it wasn’t able to run over long distances chasing its prey. However, it was a marsupial animal with strong forepaws that were helpful for it in controlling its prey. Unfortunately, this species went extinct in 1936 when the last member “Benjamin” of this species died at a zoo in Hobart, Australia.

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There are several possible reasons for the extinction of marsupial wolf. However, over hunting, sheep protecting programs, and dingo may be some possible reason. But many scientist don’t count dingo as their extinction reason.

Closest Relative - Dingo

Canis lupus dingo or Dingo is a native predator of Australia. It is a medium sized animal with a lot of characteristics related to a dog or a wolf. It is distributed throughout the Australia but mostly present in eastern and northern areas of the continent.

Characteristics of Dingo

Dingoes are not native to Australia, they were introduced to Australia three to five thousand years ago. Actually, they were originated from East Asian domestic dogs. They have wedge-shaped broad face which is widest from all the body. They weigh about 14-15 kg with a length of 48-49 inches. More than 70% of dingoes have pale cream color of their coat. However, they maybe of light tan or black color. Moreover, they have bushy tail and erect ears with a lifespan of 5 to 6 years.

Misconceptions about Dingo

Many people think that dingo is a type of dog but it isn’t true. According to many other people dingo is a sub-species of dog and wolf or cross breed of many predators. Some people also think that they are descenders of wolves, but not a single point of the above discussion is true.

Results of Latest Research on Dingo

According to new research in Australia led by University of Sydney, dingo is a pure breed which is contrary to previous ideas that they are cross of different canines. They also discovered that they are descendants of the cousins of wolves. Examining its skull shows that it is very broad than other dogs and can easily be differentiated from other wolves and dogs. Their bushy flat tail and long snout are also different from other relatives. However, their DNA tests show uncertain ancestry which is surely different from dogs and wolves.

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Characteristics of Dingoes, Closest Wolf Relatives in Australia. (2021, February 10). WritingBros. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
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