New Guinea dingo

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New Guinea dingo
New Guinea dingo
Not from the FCI recognized
Alternative names:

Hallstromhund, jungle dingo or New Guinea dog; English New Guinea Singing dog

Withers height:

Males 35.00-45.70 cm.
Bitches 31.75-42.18 cm


Males 9.3–14.4 kg,
bitches 8.6–12.5 kg

List of domestic dogs

The New Guinea dingo or Hallstromhund is a rare domestic dog that originally comes from the mountains of New Guinea and, according to the current state of research, differs from all other domestic dogs in some characteristics. Virtually nothing is known about the life of these dogs in the wild.

Each of these dogs living outside of New Guinea are descended from a very small population, and it is possible that the New Guinea population has already mixed completely with domestic dogs of other ancestry.

Name and classification

The New Guinea dingo is usually simply referred to as a dog (or a breed of dog ) or as a feral domestic dog. In addition, it is also called the jungle dingo or sometimes a singer / singing dog in German. In New Guinea these dogs have the following names, among others: Waia, Sfa, Katatope, Kurr ona, Agl Koglma and Yan-kararop. Ellis Troughton had referred to them as "yodelling highland dogs" because of their howling joy.

Already in the reports of expeditions of the 17th century these dogs were referred to as "little mute dogs", but the first exact description was only made on the basis of individual skeletons and skins at the beginning of the 20th century. While some already suspected that they were not real wild dogs, Wood-Jones classified them as a separate "breed". These dogs were then classified as a distinct species Canis hallstromi (after Sir Edward Hallstrom ) by Ellis Troughton in 1958 after he captured two individuals and examined them at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney . After closer examination of these "Hallstrom dogs", however, no anatomical differences to the domestic dog could be found, but rather a too high variability for wild animals in size, physique, coat color and coat pattern occurred in the descendants of the Sydney couple, these dogs are now mostly feral domestic dogs classified. These dogs were reclassified several times after their first classification and as a result also classified as Canis lupus hallstromi, Canis familiaris hallstromi and Canis lupus dingo or Canis lupus familiaris (or Canis lupus forma familiaris ). They were also known as Canis dingo and Canis dingo hallstromi . Most authors have designated the New Guinea dingo as a separate species or assigned it to the domestic dog. In the current version of Mammal Species of the World , the Hallstrom dog is assigned to the dingo under Canis lupus dingo, which in turn is classified as a domestic dog.


The New Guinea dingo is a rather small and short-legged dog with a stocky build and a small, wedge-shaped head with erect ears and slanted, somewhat slit-shaped eyes. The fur is smooth and short-haired except for the bushy tail. There are no dewclaws among them. Purebred Shiba Inus are said to look most like the New Guinea dingo.

The physique of these dogs could represent an adaptation to the living conditions in the jungle retreats with their lack of prey and the resulting protein malnutrition. So it would also be probable that the differences in physique between the smaller, stockier dogs of the highlands of New Guinea (highland type) and the slightly larger, longer-legged individuals of the coastal region (flatland type) are due to the better nutritional situation there and within the natural phenotypic range of variation. The fact that the animals of a group that Imke Voth observed in the Neumünster zoo were larger and stronger than their directly imported ancestors and therefore looked more similar to the larger and longer-legged Australian dingoes, can be seen as an indication of the correctness of this hypothesis.

The limbs and backbones of Hallstrom dogs are very elastic, and they can spread their legs almost 90 degrees to the side. The only other domestic dog with similar agility is the Norwegian Lundehund . They can also turn their front and rear paws more than other domestic dogs and can climb trees with thick bark or branches that can be reached from the ground, although their climbing skills do not come close to that of the gray fox .

Night photo with clearly visible green, glowing tapetum

The eyes are almond-shaped, angled upwards from the inside out and have a dark border. The eye color ranges from dark amber to dark brown, with green shining tapetum .

The coat color of newborn puppies is a dark chocolate brown with golden spots and a reddish tint, which changes to light brown within six weeks. The color of adult dogs shows up by four months of age. For adult dogs in the wild, the colors brown, black, and dark yellow or black have been described, all with white markings. The colors brown, black with dark yellow on the snout, legs and belly and dark (brown with a thick layer of dark, pointed outer hair) were detected in dogs under human care. The variant brown includes: light brown, reddish brown or red-yellow with lighter shades on the belly, inside of the legs and the belly side of the tail. The sides of the neck and zonal stripes behind the shoulder blade are golden. Black and very dark top hair is usually lightly distributed over the dorsal fur, with concentrations at the back of the ears and the surface of the tail above the white tip. The muzzle is always black in young individuals. All colors usually have white markings on the underside of the chin, paws, chest and tip of the tail. About a third also have white markings on the snout, face and neck. Pied individuals have not yet been observed. At the age of 7, the black snouts turn gray.


In the area of ​​vocalization, the New Guinea dingo is typically more vocal with domestic dogs (domesticated), the barking of these dogs is relatively little variable and has no subgroups. If you keep them with "barking" dogs, they partly take over their behavior, as happened in the pet garden of the University of Kiel, by barking more frequently from now on.

The New Guinea dingo has a distinctive screech-like howl, which is characterized by a sharp rise in pitch at the beginning and very high frequencies at the end. Tim Flannery described the howling of these dogs during his travels in New Guinea as "yodel-like". According to research by Ortolani, the howling of these dogs can be clearly distinguished from the Australian dingo and is very different from that of wolves and coyotes .

Single howl

An individual howl lasts between 0.5 and five seconds (an average of three seconds). In the beginning the frequency increases and for the remainder of the howl remains rather stable, but usually has abrupt frequency changes. Modulations can change rapidly every 300 to 500 milliseconds or every second. Five to eight distinct overtones can usually be distinguished in a spectrographic analysis of the howl.

A dog starts at the choir howl, and others quickly join in the howl. The howling is usually well synchronized and the howling of all individuals ends almost simultaneously. Spontaneous howling is most common during the morning and evening hours. The same has been reported by Tim Flannery from the New Guinea wilderness. It is unclear what function the howling concerts have. After Carnation, it is most likely to be used as a gathering before a hunt.

A trill with a pronounced "bird-like" character is emitted during high arousal. It is a high frequency, impulsive signal, the spectral representation of which suggests that it has a continuous source that is periodically interrupted and can last up to 800 milliseconds. Such a sound is not known in any other dog species, but a similar sound (with a lower frequency) has been described for red dogs in a Moscow zoo.


A dog at the
Cleveland Zoo

In general, Hallstrom dogs show the same behavior as other canids. About the living conditions of the dingoes in New Guinea and their social behavior derived from them, only very incomplete and partly contradicting information is available. This fact is probably also due to the fact that the living conditions of dogs are very different depending on the culture level. There is no information available about the social behavior or the social organization of possibly wild dingoes, and hardly any observations are available about the social relationships and social order of the dogs living with the Papuans. As a rule, there are only six to eight individuals per village who, according to Nelke, hardly come into contact with one another during the day; their communication is largely limited to common howling concerts at noon and at dusk. Since they are considered to be overgrown and "predominantly" left to their own devices in Papua New Guinea, but still being fed with food waste in villages, being carried around by children, possibly serving as food, they were / are exposed to the influence of the Melanesians . To date there have been no studies of their group mechanisms in their area of ​​origin and how far the influence of people on their development extends, so it is difficult to assign their behavioral peculiarities or abnormalities. Tim Flannery's brief 1988 report on dogs in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, near the Irian Jaya border , is believed to be the only available report of direct observation of wild specimens. He described her as "extremely shy" and "almost supernaturally skilled". According to Robert Bino (a student at the University of Papua New Guinea), these dogs in New Guinea do not regularly use their roosts under protruding roots and ledges. Bino assumed that these dogs are highly mobile, search for food on their own and that a dog could therefore use several retreats in its roaming area.

The visual expressive behavior of the New Guinea dingo shows typical domestic dog (domestication-related) coarseness, which mainly consists of a flattening of the facial expressions. The humble behavior is always shown spontaneously in a playful way and is usually superimposed defensively in a reactive manner. The expressive structures of dominance are strongly hypertrophied compared to the wolf and the aggressive arguments as with other domestic dogs are ritualized only inadequately. Imke Voth could not find any showy behavior in the analyzed dogs, rather the dogs immediately switched to threatening behavior. She attributed this peculiarity to their expressive reductions - as secondary adaptations to changed ecological conditions, a relatively limited ability to social life. “Inaccuracies” in the expression could be the cause of communication difficulties and therefore the cause of high social stress, which may cause excessive, poorly ritualized aggressive behavior or prey-catching behavior.

In the dogs examined by Janice Koler-Matznick, the behavior generally had a lower stimulus threshold (e.g. rolling in the smell) than in other domestic dogs and began earlier than in wolves and other domestic dogs (e.g. neck bite at two weeks, in contrast to six weeks for wolves and other domestic dogs) or has a quantitative difference (e.g. reduced expression in intraspecific cooperation behavior). In the dogs she observed, the typical dog-front lowering was not carried out to prompt the player to play, but Imke Voth found this in investigations in the 1980s.

Koler-Matznick also observed some behaviors which she classified as unique:

  • Head throwing: This behavior, shown by every observed dog, is a request for attention, food or a sign of frustration, expressed to varying degrees depending on the degree of arousal. When the expression is perfect, the head is swept to one side, the nose is turned through an arc by 90 degrees to the center line, then quickly back to the starting position. The entire sequence takes a second or two. The mildest expression is moving the head slightly to the side and back. During this behavior, the characteristic black and white contrasts of the chin markings are displayed.
  • Copulation screams: When both dogs are wedged, the bitch emits a repetitive sequence of loud, high-pitched yowls for about three minutes. This cry has a very exciting effect on most domestic dogs in the hearing area.
  • Copulation contractions: Approx. Three minutes after the wedging begins, bitches begin a series of rhythmic abdominal contractions. With each contraction, the skin on the flanks and lumbar region is pulled forward. These contractions are accompanied by moans and occur regularly, several seconds apart (intermittent pause) for the length of the wedging.
  • In addition, Hallstrom dogs have an unusual form of auto-erotic stimulation, a strong tendency to aim at the genitals for playful and aggressive bites, cheek rubbing that may be a marking behavior (similar behavior has been observed in foxes), and grinded threatening behavior.

During estrus, when potential mates are present, same-sex Hallstrom dogs often fight to the point of serious injury. Adults also showed high levels of aggression towards unfamiliar dogs, suggesting that they are strictly territorial.

Based on observations on dogs in captivity, it was believed that wild New Guinea dingoes do not form permanent packs. In fact, all previous sightings in the wild have been single dogs or pairs, and according to research by Imke Voth in the 80s, some live most relaxed in pairs, others in small groups. In a comparison to wolf and poodle , animals face each other expansively or try to avoid each other through territorial delimitation. The social expansion tendency increases with sexual maturity much more strongly; however, it not only increases significantly with increasing age, but also during the reproductive period, so that during the heat and among bitches also during childbirth and rearing boys, the subordination-dominance relationships are largely dissolved. Stable social organization only exists in parent-young animal groups. Due to this non-fixed hierarchy, as soon as several sexually mature generations live together, a sub-group formation of two (up to a maximum of three) animals with a linear hierarchy occurs, and only the lead dogs face each other. Their pronounced aggressiveness could not be observed to this extent in Australian dingoes (which live without human reference).

A male in the Berlin Zoo

New Guinea dingoes are among those dogs for which there is a proven problem in the area of ​​inter- / intraspecific “mixed motivations” within the framework of comparable ontogenesis studies. In some litters the mother noticed very rough play behavior towards the puppies, which often turns into agonistics and "handling". The mother did not react adequately to the puppy's screams of pain, but rather misunderstood them as a further "request" to "play". The researchers pointed out that this need not apply to all of these dogs.

According to a 2004 article in the Harvard University Gazette, few Hallstrom dogs have had Hallstrom dogs more often than they did when Brian Hare investigated where food was placed under one of two bowls in front of the dogs and a person pointed at the bowl of food Half of the attempts found the right bowl. Therefore, it was believed that this was pure coincidence and, unlike other domestic dogs, they were unable to decipher human gestures. Research results that were published in 2009 and in which Hare was also part of the research team, however, showed a different picture. In these studies to understand human communication signals, Hall current dogs were compared with Golden Retrievers , Labrador Retrievers , Dalmatians , German Shepherds and a Bernese Mountain Dog , Irish Setter, Hovawart and German Pinscher each . In these studies, the success rate of all Hallstrom dogs was well above the random limit and they had performed the same as dog breeds that were not bred for work.


Bitch with puppy

Captive dogs have been found to reproduce once a year, beginning in August (according to a 2010 publication, beginning in July) with an average gestation of 63 days. The successful reproduction of subdominant dogs is prevented by infanticide on the part of the lead dog. In the Tierpark Berlin, 80% of the litters fell in October and November, with a gestation period of 58 to 64 days. The litter size varied between one and six puppies. New Guinea informants reported sightings of wild puppies in December, suggesting that wild Hallstrom dogs have a similar cycle. Reports from 25 bitches in captivity show that of the bitches that did not ingest on the first oestrus, approximately 65% ​​went through a second, sometimes even a third cycle 8-16 weeks later.

During the breeding season, the gender rankings are largely dissolved, but there are closer ties between the sexes and especially between the lead dogs. In addition, all sexually mature animals take part in the reproductive process.

Captive males usually participate in the rearing of the young, including choking food. However, in the first mating season after their birth, especially when potential partners are present, puppies are often attacked by their same-sex parents.

During investigations in Burlington , both parents used the wooden shelter before the puppies were born. On September 17, 2003, 7 days before the puppies were born, the bitch started digging shallow depressions in several places in the enclosure. The male did not take part. The day before the birth, the bitch dug five larger burrows and gave birth to her pups in one. In the following time the bitch protected the occupied burrows from rain by closing the entrance with her body and moved her puppies to other burrows a few times. Both parents supervised the puppies and showed their youngsters willingness to defend themselves against visitors. Food choking was shown by both parents but refused to do so when the pups were 3 months old. At the age of 5 months, the only male puppy was threatened by the father, the mother threatened her female offspring when they were 6 months old. The male puppy increasingly avoided his father and was moved to another enclosure at the age of 6 months, the female puppies had to be removed from the enclosure at the age of 9 months.


Dog at feeding

Reports from local sources in Papua New Guinea from the 1970s and mid-1990s suggest that these dogs are generalists, opportunistic predators and scavengers, and feed on small to medium-sized marsupials, rodents, birds and fruits. Rodent remains were found in dog feces in the 1970s. In addition, wild dogs are said to eat cuscus as well as prey remains from Papua eagles and animals from traps. Robert Bino stated that rats, cuscus, wallabies , Bennett cassowaries and other birds may belong to the prey spectrum. Nelke reported that the dingoes hunt birds alone during the day and go on common prey prowls at dusk, which, according to the natives, are often led by older bitches. It can be assumed that the dogs roam the jungle in loose associations, since a hunt in the undergrowth is hardly possible and correspondingly large prey animals are missing. The dingoes behave very skilfully when looking for birds, reptiles and marsupials due to their small body size, they literally climb after the prey into the trees and also like to lie elevated on lower branches when lying in wait and dozing.

According to a hunter's report to Tim Flannery, the bodies of the people who die in the high valleys of Irian Jaya are being eaten by the wild dogs of the mountains. The reporting hunter testified that he himself once came across the bodies of 13 people who had fallen victim to a sudden change in the weather. The hunter noticed that one of the bodies appeared to have a long, hairy, moving object protruding from its belly. When approaching, a blood-soaked wild dog appeared deep inside the body cavity and then fled into the forest.


The mountains and mountain moor areas of New Guinea at an altitude of 2500 to 4700 m are specified as the wild range of the New Guinea dingo. The main vegetation zones are (lowest to highest altitude): mixed forests, beech and mossy forests, subalpine coniferous forests and alpine grasslands. Based on archaeological, ethnographic and circumstantial evidence, it can be assumed that the Hallstrom dogs were once spread across New Guinea (bone finds from dogs in the lowlands of New Guinea were estimated to be 5500 years old) and were later pushed back to the upper mountain slopes.

There is no clear evidence of dogs living in the wild in New Guinea, since even individuals who are occasionally found alone in the jungle cannot be said to what extent they are associated with a "village dog community". The Papuans of the Eipomek and Fa valleys only reported of individual black "wild" dogs that occasionally invade the valley from the north and are hunted and killed by them, the persecution of black dogs being based on a belief in ghosts. Possibly the Hallstrom dog is rare and perhaps extinct in New Guinea today as there have been no confirmed sightings since the 1970s. Until 1976 there were scientific reports of Hallstrom dogs in the Star Mountains (western Papua New Guinea), and in 1989 Tim Flannery was able to take a photo of a black and yellow dog in a place called Dokfuma, which is in the same mountains. He also reported that there were a lot of these dogs there, which he only saw once and by chance. Otherwise he only heard her howl. In 1996 Robert Bino undertook a field study of these dogs. He could not observe any wild New Guinea dingoes and instead used signs such as feces, paw prints, urine marks and remains of prey to draw conclusions about the behavior of the Hallstrom dogs. Given this lack of sightings, it is possible that the population there has mixed up completely with dogs of other origins. There are only reports from local residents who have seen or heard wild dogs in higher elevations. A more recent report would be a fleeting sighting of a dog at Lake Tawa in the Kaijende Highlands. Local informants assured the researchers that it could only have been a wild dog, as there were no villages in the vicinity.

Janice Koler-Matznick disagrees with the argument that there have been no confirmed sightings for a long time, and believes that there are still some remote populations. As an argument that the wild dogs of the highlands are probably New Guinea dingoes and not other dogs, she argues that the island's village dogs have the highest chance of survival, but are adapted to a tropical climate and therefore have only few chances of survival in the highlands would have. She also states that the inhabitants clearly differentiate between village dogs and New Guinea dingoes in their language, which, together with their knowledge of the animal world, rules out confusion.

The current human population is descended from only 8 individuals who were not themselves captured in the wild, but were already descended from the inhabitants of the highlands of New Guinea. Due to the small number of founder individuals , the level of inbreeding in this population is very high.

A dog from the San Diego Zoo

The first pair of these dogs in human hands came from the highlands of Papua New Guinea in 1956. Sir Edward Hallstrom, an employee of the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, commissioned the search for them and donated them to the zoo. The reports about these two first specimens contain contradictions with regard to the place of origin of the dogs. The offspring of this pair (known as the Papuan lineage) have been shipped to zoos around the world, including the San Diego Zoological Park , which received a pair in 1959. This zoo then sent puppies to many other zoos in the United States and Europe . By 1987, all Hallstrom dogs in the United States were descendants of this first pair from the Taronga Zoo.

Between 1965 and 1980 89 dogs of the "Papua line" were bred, and from 1983 to 1999 41 animals of the "Irian Jaya line" were bred. To increase the genetic diversity of the captive population in the United States, the Sedgewick County Zoo, Kansas, flown in a female named Olga from the Kiel University's Department of Pet Studies in 1987. Olga's ancestors were 5 dogs that were brought along from the western part of New Guinea (Irian Jaya) to the Eipomek river valley as part of an interdisciplinary research project in which employees of the Kiel Institute for Pet Studies also took part. These dogs came from a village population of the Eipo tribe and were given to W. Nelke in 1976 as a gift and then brought to the Institute for Pet Studies at the University of Kiel. Today, all Hallstrom dogs in the United States are maternal descendants of Olga. Olga had several litters with a male named Dinkum from the San Diego / Taronga line. Nowadays some pedigrees in the USA only trace back to this couple, even in the fourth and fifth generations, as they were the only producing couple for years.

In 1994 I. Lehr Brisbin brought a male named Darkie from Canada to South Carolina . He was born in 1981 in the Baiyer River Conservation Area of ​​the highlands of Papua New Guinea. His father was a male from the Taronga line, while his mother was described as a "tomboy", making this bitch the last wild specimen to be added to the captive population. There is no more information about this bitch as the sanctuary was later closed and all information was lost. The other offspring of the couple had no offspring as they died after being transported from Taronga to Papua New Guinea in 1989. Darkie later produced three litters with a daughter of Olga and Dinkum.

Until 1980, all Hallstrom dogs were only kept in human hands in zoos. Since then, many zoos have stopped keeping the breed, and in the United States many have been passed on to pet dealers and keepers of exotic animals. Many of these people do not have accurate records of these transactions and their dogs' pedigrees, which is why these dogs are considered "undocumented". They were used for further breeding, making the population in the United States likely to be larger than the documented population, which in 2003 was about 100. Hallstrom dogs are said to have been successfully kept as companion dogs only in Canada and the USA.

By 2003, the total registered population of reproducing Hallstrom dogs is said to have been 50. Many zoos (in Germany they are in Tierpark Berlin and Tierpark Neumünster ) no longer exhibited Hallstrom dogs, as they were "only" domestic dogs that had feral and other animals were assumed to be more attractive to visitors. The few remaining specimens are said to have all been castrated and sterilized. The populations of private owners are considered to be increasing.

Living together with people

A dog in Chicago

According to reports in the late 1950s and mid 1970s, wild Hallstrom dogs are shy and avoid human contact unless they are raised by humans from an early age. The Kalam from the highlands of Papua were reported in the mid-1970s to catch young Hallstrom dogs and raise them as hunting assistants, but not to breed with them. Some of them presumably stayed with humans even after sexual maturity and reproduced there. Although most of the highlanders never eat their village dogs, some wild dogs are known to capture, kill and eat. Some local myths mention these dogs as conveyors of fire and language, or that they were the spirits of the deceased. How long they have been interacting with humans in New Guinea is unknown. Dog finds in archaeological sites in New Guinea are rare, mostly consisting of teeth (as part of ornaments), trophy skulls and a grave. The earliest find (a tooth) comes from the lowlands and is estimated to be 5500 years old. The few finds from the highlands could be of the same age, based on historical studies, but have not yet been directly dated (as of 2001). It is possible that these dogs have lived there before and that their absence of hunting debris just means they haven't been eaten.

A dog with its owner

About 3,000 years ago, the indigenous population received other domestic dogs and crossed them with their dogs to improve their offspring's hunting skills. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the highlanders began to keep chickens and the New Guinea dingoes could not be taught not to attack them. In addition, they kept other dogs or mixed breeds with local dogs more and more often, as many saw them as status symbols and many of the dogs were larger and easier to train. In the past, some New Guinea societies generally ate dog meat as part of ceremonial acts, but others had a strict taboo on eating wild dog meat. It is believed that today's residents' relationship with their dogs provides information about how they handled Hallstrom dogs.

However, the information about their coexistence with people there is based on oral tradition. The dogs may have "owners" by name, but otherwise move freely through the villages and hardly subordinate themselves to the people. If allowed, they follow their owners on their walks. They are not forced to obey or otherwise disciplined because not much is expected of them - only stealing from and chewing on important objects will not be tolerated. There is no medical care for them and they mostly live on waste. The most intelligent dogs are those who can steal the most food and therefore have the most offspring in the long run. Hunting dogs are an exception: good hunting dogs receive regular meals and usually their own share of any animal they find for the hunter. These hunting dogs are not trained to hunt on command. They just go with the hunters and look for prey for themselves on their own. They can also keep larger prey such as pigs in check until the hunters arrive. Extraordinary hunting dogs are sometimes given special burials and obeisances. If possible, residents also take advantage of the confiscation of prey that bitches bring their pups. Since bitches mostly carry this food in their stomachs for transport and only the least agile run the risk of being caught, this form of food procurement is insignificant for humans.

The Eipo do not know of any use of these dogs as hunting or guard dogs, not even as a meat supplier, as is sometimes the case in the coastal region. As guard dogs, the dingoes are extremely unsuitable due to their wild animal-like shyness and jumpiness, according to Carnation they are regularly the first to disappear when in danger. The only restriction on their freedom of movement and will is that older dogs are occasionally put one front paw through a collar so that they cannot go far from the village. Above all, they have the function of a social or play partner, and puppies and young animals are carried around a lot, especially by the children, and occasionally fed with pre-chewed food, which the dogs lick from their mouths. The women should even sometimes suckle the puppies, so that the dogs, as young animals, develop a relatively close social bond with the people. During the day, the dogs follow the Papuans into the garden villages and on their forays through the jungle - the older boys are also called “Camnang”, which means “belonging to the dogs”. The dingoes lie by the fire and sleep with them at night in the huts, where they probably also function as "bed warmers".

The adult dingoes are then completely left to their own devices as far as food is concerned, so that they also become waste disposers and their bond with humans becomes looser with increasing age. According to Nelke, outsiders can hardly tell which dog belongs to which Papua; but when asked, the natives immediately point to their dog and call it by name. In addition, with this Papuan tribe there is a certain selection of dogs according to external beauty criteria: dogs with a light coat color and pronounced white markings are preferred and some are even mated specifically by being locked together in the garden houses while the bitch is in heat, where the tamer bitches are then also throw more often. In addition, dogs (like humans) have several secret names and are even sacred in this Papuan tribe. They must not be beaten and under no circumstances be killed. The mythological significance of dogs is also shown in the fact that they are buried in the trees like humans and that the owner should not leave his hut until he has a new dog after the death of his dog. The obviously great importance of the dogs for this Papuans was also evident in their initial refusal to give Carnation a dog. They justified this with the fact that they would not give away their children either. Only after two years of building trust were the puppies presented to Nelke as a kind of status symbol and proof of friendship.

Adult animals withdraw more and more into the jungle to search for food and to reproduce, so that their way of life, which is only loosely connected to humans, can at most be described as semi-wild . It is assumed, however, that in addition to these village dogs there are also completely wild dogs in the jungle of New Guinea, which either were not picked up as puppies or which appear as adult animals, be it due to lack of food or intolerance to other village dogs or because they do not have a close bond developed to a person, have withdrawn completely into the jungle.

According to Imke Voth, the Hallstromhund is extremely unsuitable for domestic dog keeping in the European sense. As early as 1968 they were described as very unruly in captivity . From the reports and logs of two researchers who tried for a few years to keep New Guinea dingoes as domestic dogs in Berlin, it emerges that these dogs were very self-willed and independent even as young animals and only obeyed poorly or with pleasure, often ran away and poached, everything bitten and only partially house-trained (individually different). With increasing age, the dogs reacted more aggressively to the restriction of their freedom of will and movement by locking up, tying up or reprimanding of all kinds, especially when it was done by people to whom they had no close bond or by those who were close to them Were inferior to family rankings (e.g. children). As perennial dogs, they remained extremely affectionate and in need of tenderness towards their close caregivers, but were hardly ready to submit, so that they had to be given up or killed.

Kiefer described the New Guinea dingo as a one-man dog with great inflexibility in social bonding. Voth was also able to observe that puppies that had no contact with humans up to the fourth week no longer became hand-tame and dogs that were previously hand-tame became very shy as soon as they were no longer intensively dealt with. However, the individual differences in the tameness of the individual animals in adulthood were relatively large and ranged from extreme shyness to being tame towards all people (including walking on a leash and house-training).

Origin and Taxonomic Status

These dogs were most likely brought to New Guinea by humans, as the distance between the various islands would have been too far for dogs to swim through even at the lowest sea level. Findings suggest that there were dogs there that were at least similar to the Hallstromhund 5500 years ago. Since New Guinea was settled by humans much earlier, it must be assumed that these dogs only got there later by seafarers or immigrants. An origin in Indonesia or Southeast Asia is considered very likely, the exact place and time are unknown, and genetic studies have also indicated an origin in East Asia. The results of genetic studies published in 2011 also indicated an introduction (and possible common origin) to Indonesia and Southeast Asia from South China for dingoes, New Guinea dingoes and Polynesian domestic dogs, and not via Taiwan and the Philippines as in some theories voiced to a Polynesian origin. Janice Koler-Matznick was of the opinion that there could have been dogs in New Guinea earlier, only that they had not yet been discovered.

Ellis Troughton examined the first pair at the Sydney Zoo and classified them as a separate species. Tim Flannery, however, saw the New Guinea dingo as relatives of the domestic dogs on the surrounding islands of West Guinea. In the FAO's Domestic Animal Diversity Information System , the New Guinea Singing dog is listed as a dog breed in Papua New Guinea.

A young dog

A team led by Koler-Matznick argued that the theory that the New Guinea dingo was a feral domestic dog was based on its canine appearance and the assumption that it was brought to New Guinea by humans and was therefore domesticated at the time. However, this team was of the opinion that this must not have been the case, as z. B. Foxes in California could have been brought to islands by humans. These people argued that the New Guinea dingoes were brought to New Guinea as domesticated wildlife, e.g. B. to serve as a hunting assistant. In addition, there should be no ethnographic evidence of domestication and the animals would not show the characteristic morphological features of domestication. This team also took the view that these dogs could not be assigned to the wolf because they were obviously not wolves and had not come into contact with wolves for millennia. It is also questionable whether they are classified as feral domestic dogs, as there is no direct evidence to support this assumption. The behavior of dogs that have been socialized on people is not an indication, since other domesticated mammals would behave similarly towards familiar people. Although the domestic dog, dingo, and New Guinea dingo have much in common, there are morphological, molecular, genetic, and behavioral characteristics that set the New Guinea dingo apart from the other two. As an example, the New Guinea dingo is cited as having two blood enzymes, which suggests that it may have been physiologically distinct from the other two dogs (which the team listed as two distinct species). In addition, the enzymes of domestic dogs, dingoes and wolves could be apomorphic , while those of the New Guinea dingo could be plesiomorphic , since the enzymes of the latter would match those of coyotes and red foxes . Hallstrom dogs may have developed these enzymes and other traits either in New Guinea or inherited from an ancestor other than the modern domestic dog. The possibility of mixing domestic dogs and New Guinea dingoes is also no reason to assume that both belong to the same species, since in the genus Canis all species have the ability to produce fertile hybrids and several have mixed in the wild. The New Guinea dingo is not genetically and ecologically interchangeable with any other canid population, and therefore the available data would at least suggest that the New Guinea dingo is a unique evolutionary unit, possibly a sister taxon of the Australian dingo. Since the New Guinea dingo has diagnostic characteristics that distinguish it from all other members of the genus Canis , the term Canis hallstromi should be used to identify it as a distinct taxonomic unit within the genus Canis . Although this assumption was based primarily on dogs in captivity, it was not considered relevant as it was believed that the described characteristics considered unique could probably not have originated in captivity. It has also been suggested that these dogs are an example of what dogs might have looked like in the pre-domestication era, and that their keeping as pets of the indigenous Papua New Guinea peoples did not really conform to the common concept of domestication. In addition, the ecological balance between New Guinea dingoes and their prey species is an indication that these dogs were not domesticated when they arrived on the island. As an argument against the status as a feral domestic dog, she cites that (with the exception of the extinct Galápagos dog) there are no reports of self-sustaining feral dog populations that are not somehow dependent on humans. Even in the absence of other large predators, domestic dogs would not become independent predators.

Kristofer M. Helgen contradicted Matznick's argument that the New Guinea dingo was a species of its own. According to him, these dogs are biologically interesting and deserve further ecological research, but neither molecular nor morphological evidence supports the claim to classify the Hallstrom dog as a separate species, especially when the morphological diversity of the domestic dog is taken into account.

Further studies based on sound morphological and molecular comparisons are considered necessary to clarify the taxonomic status of these dogs. Regarding the status of these dogs, Laurie Corbett said the fact that the progenitors of today's human population come from villages (rather than the wild), the expected inbreeding in the population, and the lack of unambiguous molecular reference material for Australian dingoes make the determination of the complicate the taxonomic status of these dogs. When he carried out skull measurements on 13 Hallstrom dogs, including holotype and paratype , the results matched those of mixed-breed dingo . These results, he said, strongly suggested that the current human population is mixed race and that the pure populations are extinct in the wild.

Since these dogs have an mtDNA type, which is also found in the Australian dingo, they are currently provisionally assigned to this type. Contrary to a report by Janice Koler-Matznick, studies of the DNA sequences rule out an ancestry of red dogs and African wild dogs and clearly show that they belong to the domestic dog. Therefore, Sillero-Zubiri et al. a. currently seen no reason to change the taxonomic status.

Genetic status

In genetic studies of the origin of the Australian dingo, the mtDNA type A29 was found in Australian dingoes, dogs from the islands of Southeast Asia, North America, East Asia and the New Guinea dingoes. This mtDNA type fell exactly into the main line (70% of the DNA types) of the canine mtDNA types in a phylogenetic representation of wolf and dog types. In addition, the New Guinea dingoes had an mtDNA type that was unique to them and differed from A29 by two point mutations . This indicated the possibility of a common origin with Australian dingoes and an affiliation with the domestic dog. A certain genetic exchange between Australian and New Guinea dingoes was also considered possible based on these results. Research results published in 2011 came to similar conclusions regarding origin and genetic affiliation. According to Koler-Matznick, further DNA studies could show that Thai dingoes are also closely related to the New Guinea dingoes. She also assumed that New Guinea and Australian dingoes could represent genetic lines split off from other dogs 4600 to 10,800 years ago. In addition, she takes the view that, as long as nothing to the contrary is proven, it must be assumed that a genetic exchange between village dogs and New Guinea dingoes in Papua New Guinea is rare or nonexistent due to the behavioral isolation of both populations.

According to 2010 published genetic analyzes of the single nucleotide polymorphisms of 912 dogs and 225 wolves , New Guinea dingoes are among those dogs with strong evidence of wolves being admixed later in their history. In addition, a lower genetic variability than usual for domestic dogs was demonstrated in Hallstrom dogs and a separation from other dogs at a point in time around 2000 BC. Considered likely. At the same time, Hallstrom dogs belong to the group of dogs that are genetically distinct from most of the other examined breeds and are referred to as "ancient breeds" (in the original "ancient breeds"). Within this category, Hallstrom dogs belong together with the dingo, the chow chow , the akita and the shar-pei to the so-called Asian group.

Protection status

The New Guinea dingo was mostly not considered worthy of study because it is a feral domestic dog and this was not of scientific interest for a long time. Archaeozoologists who advocate the protection of these dogs argue that these dogs are living relics of the earliest dogs and that they represent at least part of the living heritage of the people of Papua New Guinea. The New Guinea dingo is considered worthy of protection because the human-owned population is highly incestuous and the wild population is presumably excluded from several parts of its former range. The Department of Environment and Nature Conservation in New Guinea merely announced protective measures.

According to Janice Koler-Matznick, there is a certain reluctance to classify the Hallstromhund as worthy of protection as long as no more field data is available. In addition, there is little interest in facing the necessary difficulties of field studies in the New Guinea highlands before the New Guinea dingo is considered a unique and endangered taxon. The protection approach is based on preserving the evolutionary potential of the New Guinea dingo, unless there is convincing evidence to the contrary that the New Guinea dingo is a distinctive population. She further argues that the importance of the New Guinea dingo lies in its age and purity as an evolutionary unit, along with several unique genetic, behavioral, ecological, reproductive, and morphological traits.


  • Dogs magazine . 07/2008, 08/2008.
  • Imke Voth: Contribution to the social behavior of the New Guinea dingo (Canis lupus f. Familiaris). Expressive behavior, social rank relationships and social organization . Munich 1988, DNB  891715886 , OCLC 313188482 (dissertation University of Munich 1989, 200 pages).
  • Heike Rudolph: Contribution to the social behavior of the Australian dingo (Canis lupus f. Familiaris) . Kiel 2007, OCLC 255957383 (Diploma thesis University of Kiel 2007).
  • Janice Koler-Matznick, I. Lehr Brisbin Jr, Mark Feinstein, Susan Bulmer: An updated description of the New Guinea singing dog (Canis hallstromi, Troughton 1957) . In: Journal of Zoology . No. 261 , 2003, p. 109–118 ( [PDF; 182 kB ]).
  • Janice Koler-Matznick: The New Guinea Singing (Wild) Dog . In: Alien Press Inc . 2004 ( [PDF]).
  • Janice Koler-Matznick, I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr., Mark Feinste: An Ethogram for the New Guinea Singing (Wild) Dog (Canis hallstromi) . March 2005 ( [PDF; 489 kB ]).

Web links

Commons : New Guinea Dingo  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

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  2. a b c d e f g Laurie Corbett: Dingo. (PDF; 9.9 MB) In: Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources , 2004, accessed February 26, 2010 .
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  4. ^ A b c d e Janice Koler Matznick: The New Guinea Singing Dog. (PDF; 40 kB) (No longer available online.) KENNEL CLUB BOOKS, January 20, 2004, archived from the original on July 27, 2011 ; Retrieved April 6, 2010 .
  5. ^ Janice Koler-Matznick: The New Guinea Singing (Wild) Dog. (No longer available online.) Alien Press Inc., 2004, archived from the original on April 6, 2009 ; Retrieved April 6, 2010 .
  6. Canis lupus dingo. In: Mammal Species of the world. bucknell, accessed April 20, 2010 . (English)
  7. a b c d e f g Dorit Urd Feddersen-Petersen: Expressive behavior in dogs . Franckh-Kosmos Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-440-09863-9 .
  8. a b c d Tim Flannery: Jungle Paths. Adventurous journeys through Papua New Guinea . 1st edition. Piper Verlag, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-89029-214-3 , p. 218–219 (Australian English: Throwim way leg . Translated by Barbara Reischmann).
  9. Janice Koler-Matznick, I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr. and Mark Feinste: An Ethogram for the New Guinea Singing (Wild) Dog (Canis hallstromi). (PDF; 489 kB) The New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, March 2005, accessed April 7, 2010 .
  10. Steve Bradt: Man's smartest friend. (No longer available online.) Harvard University Gazette, 2004, archived from the original January 5, 2010 ; Retrieved April 7, 2010 .
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  16. Tim Flannery: Jungle Paths. Adventurous journeys through Papua New Guinea . 1st edition. Piper Verlag, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-89029-214-3 , p. 353 (Australian English: Throwim way leg . Translated by Barbara Reischmann).
  17. a b Kristofer M. Helgen, Stephen J. Richards, Robert Sine, Wayne Takeuchi, Bruce M. Beehler: A Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of the Kaijende Highlands, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. (PDF; 2.4 MB) In: Bulletin of Biological Assessment 45th Conservation International, 2007, archived from the original on September 28, 2011 ; Retrieved April 28, 2010 .
  19. a b Peter Savolainen, Thomas Leitner, Alan N. Wilton, Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith, Joakim Lundeberg (Edited by Colin Renfrew): A detailed picture of the origin of the Australian dingo, obtained from the study of mitochondrial DNA. (PDF) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America, 2004, accessed February 28, 2010 .
  20. a b Oskarsson et al .: Mitochondrial DNA data indicate an introduction through Mainland Southeast Asia for Australian dingoes and Polynesian domestic dogs. (PDF; 564 kB) The Royal Society, 2011, accessed on November 24, 2011 (English).
  21. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the FAO: New Guinea Singing dog
  22. ^ Laurie Corbett: The New Guinea singing dog - Unique, Dingo or hybrid? In: Australian Mammal Society scientific Conference - Abstracts. 2004.
  23. Bridgett M. Vonholdt u. a .: Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyzes reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication. Nature, April 8, 2010, accessed May 12, 2010 .