The New Guinea Singing Dog has a dingo-like appearance. It’s grouped under the scientific name ‘Canis lupus dingo’. The breed has many noble features, an earnest stare, and a beautiful crooning call. Their coat is usually light brown with white spots and a white-tipped, bushy tail, much like a fox.
This breed has never co-habited by people and will usually avoid a person rather than approach them. They are very resilient and can forage, hunt, and live on their own in nature. As a self-sufficient dog with a unique personality, the New Guinea Singing Dog is not meant to be kept as a domesticated pet.
The New Guinea Singing Dog has an interesting history. They are considered to be wild animals and have never been domesticated like most breeds. Since the stone age, they have survived in wild populations in Papa New Guinea. This breed has always prevailed in the “Central Range”, otherwise known as the New Guinea Highlands, a mountainous range which contains river valleys. Authorities have differing opinions on how they should be defined. Some classify them as companion breeds being ‘Canis lupus famliaris’, while others argue that they should be categorized as ‘Canis lupus dingo’.
Sightings are rare and taking a photo of this dog breed in its natural habitat is difficult. It is presumed that the New Guinea Singing Dog does not live in a permanent pack. Rather, they are often spotted alone or in the company of one other dog. They naturally distrust people and will run away from their presence. This breed is not aggressive or confrontational with humans.
Though sightings are rare, the behavior of the New Guinea Singing Dog has been studied in-depth. Extreme territorial aggression and “head tossing” have been noted in some. In addition, the unique vocalizations have received much attention. Their singing can be defined as a melodic shriek with bellowed howls. It has been noted that some dogs will sing in a group, a behavior known as a “chorus howl”.
The New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society works diligently to protect this unique breed of dog. They can be found in more than 20 zoos internationally, most of which are in the United States. Experts suggest that the New Guinea Singing Dog should not be crossbred with other breeds. Doing so would water down their genetics and could make the original dog extinct. To ensure this notion is enforced, and New Guinea Singing Dog that lives outside of a conservation project is generally neutered.
The New Guinea Singing Dog is a beautiful animal that looks like a cross between a wolf and a dingo. Their head is short and wedge-shaped with a flat skull. Their ears stand erect and are set far apart. They have a notably unique mouth, as their black lips curl at the ends, giving the impression that they’re smiling. Their brown eyes are narrow with expressive eyebrow folds. They have a thick, strong neck that tapers down to a muscular body. Their chest is deep and they possess a solid abdominal tuck-up. They have a bushy tail that is wide at the base and looks like a fox’s tail.
This breed has a double coat that is dense and lush. The fur can be light or dark brown with white patches, as well as a grey or black facial mask. Most of these dogs have a white-tipped tail. As adults, they stand roughly 31-46 cm tall and weigh 9-14 kg, making them a relatively small breed.
Character & Temperament
Remember that the New Guinea Singing Dog is a wild animal and not your average, domesticated pet. Even those that reside in zoos and are exposed to people regularly are wary of humans and will look for an escape route when approached. Though rare, when raised in homes from early development, it is said that they bond strongly with the family. But extensive socialization from an early age is required to achieve this relationship.
Though the New Guinea Singing Dog can do well with children that they are raised with, caution and supervision are advised, since there will always be an unpredictable element to this breed. They tolerate canine companions but other pets will not. Their high prey drive gives them an urge to chase and hunt.
They are not likely to act submissive and they have an independent way of being. Though they can learn to obey commands and appreciate their owner, they will see the relationship as an equal partnership.
The New Guinea Singing Dog poses a challenge for novice trainers. It’s recommended that only experienced trainers attempt to train this breed for a number of reasons. Though these dogs are adaptable and intelligent, they are not as eager to please as other domesticated breeds. This makes basic training difficult. Their habits and body language are also quite different, so a trainer must get familiar with the breed before the first interaction.
Negative reinforcement training styles are ill-advised, as they will only create a reluctant participant. Instead, positive reinforcement styles are encouraged.
No health studies have been conducted on the New Guinea Singing Dog. But most make the assumption that they enjoy a healthy life since they’ve adapted to living in the wild. From an evolutionary perspective, the survival of the fittest evolve. Most of these dogs live long lives, with some zoo-based males living an impressive 19-20 years.
Unlike most other dog breeds, the New Guinea Singing Dog female only comes into season once per year. In the wild, these dogs scavenge for food and most survive on a mixture of small birds, rodents, and fruit. In captivity, this breed does well on bones and raw food.
Exercise and Activity Levels
As a dog that is constantly on the move, hunting for food, looking for shelter, and avoiding predators, the New Guinea Singing Dog needs lots of daily activity. Aside from long runs and excursions, they should exercise with additional physical stimulation, such as scenting trials and agility courses. They are natural hunters and opt for the chance to perform this basic instinct whenever possible.
The New Guinea Singing Dog is an excellent digger and an avid climber. Since they are expert escape artists, any fenced area that harbors these dogs must be robust. Their bodies are flexible and they can squeeze through narrow openings. With their naturally high prey drive and their ability to escape most circumstances, owners need to be cautious keeping them near other animals.
The New Guinea Singing Dog has a lush double-coat that should be brushed a few times every week. During the molting season, they should be brushed daily. Bathing is only necessary when they get particularly dirty, such as rolling around in the mud.
It is critical that these dogs are exposed to a regular grooming routine from early development. They need to know that hygiene-based tasks, such as ear cleaning and claw clipping are normal. An eight-week-old pup is more likely to accept this than a one-year-old matured dog.