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Wild dogs

Wild dogs are a widespread and destructive agricultural pest that cause significant environmental and financial damage. Pure dingoes are mainly found in northern Australia and wild domestic dogs and domestic dogs hybridised with dingoes in southern Australia.

MLA is supporting the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) to research wild dog management processes that are economically, ecologically and socially informed to provide effective strategic wild dog management action plans.

MLA also supports the adoption of best practice wild dog management activities by co-funding a national wild dog management coordinator and three wild dog coordinators in northern and western Queensland, appointed in 2018.

PestSmart which is powered by the CISS, provides information about wild dogs relating to their biology, ecology, impacts and best practice management.

Fast facts

  • Dingoes were brought to Australia from Asia by Aboriginal people approximately 4,000 years ago. Since European settlement, they have been interbreeding with domestic dogs.
  • Wild dogs directly threaten native mammals, birds and reptiles.

Impact of wild dogs in Australia

Wild dogs can affect livestock enterprises as they:

  • contribute to lamb and sheep losses
  • contribute to calf losses
  • contribute to managed goat losses
  • harass livestock
  • can be a potential host of exotics diseases.

Control methods

The National Wild Dog Action Plan 2020–30 (NWDAP), developed in 2020, is supported by the federal government as well as industry and outlines the principles of best practice management for wild dogs.

Wild dog management is a state jurisdiction, so requirements differ depending on where control is carried out. Check with your local group and/or state department before starting a control program. The NWDAP principles underpin each state’s plan and provide important guidance to help producers formulate effective, best practice, humane management programs.

One such program is the nil-tenure approach. This approach acknowledges that wild dogs do not recognise property boundaries and encourages community-driven, collaborative control programs. Talk to your local agriculture department or government agency to connect with established groups, learn basic skills and get professional support.

Common control tools include baiting (1080 and PAPP, Canid Pest Ejectors), trapping, shooting, exclusion fencing and guardian animals. They are often used in combination as part of a coordinated control program.

PestSmart’s Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs is a great resource to find out which tools will work best for different situations.

The PestSmart website also contains detailed Standard Operating Procedures for control methods, including:

Before you start, get involved in WildDogScan. Log your sightings/impacts and see what other wild dog activity is happening around you to better inform your management strategy.