The dingo was formerly treated as a species in its own right, Canis dingo. But because it easily interbreeds with dogs it is now often treated as conspecific with dogs (e.g., in Duff and Lawson 2004). The same is true of wolves, so that in the minds of some biologists dingos, dogs and wolves are merely variants of the same species. And yet such taxonomic considerations do not change the fact that the dingo is a distinctive type of canid, which has resided in the Australasian region for thousands of years, and which, as such has conservation value.
However that may be, dogs and dingoes do hybridize extensively throughout most of Australia, so frequently that this interbreeding threatens the very continued existence of the dingo as an entity distinct from the ordinary dog. Indeed, according to the IUCN, hybrids exist in all dingo populations worldwide. Such hybrids have also been produced innumerable times in captivity. Dog-dingo hybrids are at least partially fertile in both sexes.
The IUCN, which rates the dingo as vulnerable, mainly due to this extensive hybridization with the domestic dog, states that, “estimating dingo abundance is difficult because the external phenotypic characters of many hybrids are indistinguishable from pure dingoes. For example, populations of ‘wild dogs’ in the south-eastern highlands of Australia have
Dingoes and dogs also co-occur and hybridize in Indonesia, New Guinea and southeast Asia.
Dogs, dingoes, wolves and golden jackals all have the same chromosome number (2n=78).
References: Ackermann 1898 (p. 53); Catling et al. 1991; Corbett 1974; Darwin 1883 (vol. 1, p. 23); Davidson 2004; Flower 1929a (p. 114); International Zoo Yearbook 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971; Eiffe 1909; Gray 1972; Jones (1990); Newsome and Corbett 1982, 1985; Newsome 1980; Tamura 1925; Woodall et al. 1996.
The following is a list of reported dog crosses discussed on this site. Some of these crosses are much better documented than others (as indicated by the reliability arrow). Moreover, some are extremely disparate, and so must be taken with a large grain of salt. But all have been reported at least once.
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
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