New Guinea Singing Dog

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black & tan; sable or red, with black muzzle; white markings
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The New Guinea Singing Dog has been living in the forests of New Guinea for centuries. It has been domesticated in the recent years and now it has proved to have a high potential as a family companion (when properly trained and socialized). Being naturally independent this dog resembles a cat in its demeanour and possesses a unique melodious voice.


The New Guinea Singing Dog was imported to the New Guinea islands at least 6 thousands years ago. It’s reckoned to be the most primitive breed than can be rendered as domestic. The breed belongs to the dingo group and led its lineage from Asian Wolfs that were tamed between 10 and 15 thousands years ago. Recent genetic research showed that the New Guinea Singing Dog genetically differentiates from modern breeds more than they differentiate from each other.

The breed was granted its name from its distinct howl, which consist of number of wavy tons and sounds that harmonize into gentle portamento. The peculiarity of this voice is quite unique and distinguishable and no other dog has such a melodic sounding.

The western explorers of the XVIII century detected and depicted the New Guinea Singing Dogs in the numerous lowland settlements of New Guinea. In some places they were kept as companion dogs while in others they were considered as vermin and were exterminated. Living pretty isolated the dog remained unchanged for hundreds of years. However, by the XIX century the quality of the breed fell significantly because of random crossing with imported western dogs.

In the 50s of the XX century the dog’s experts managed to locate and caught a pair of purebred New Guinea Singing Dogs in the secluded Lavanni valley in the southern highlands of Australia. These dogs were brought to Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney, Australia. In the 70s of the XX century the breeders got lucky again and found other two dogs in Irian Jaya's Eipomak valley, part of Indonesia. Almost all specimens in Europe and North America came from these pairs.

Nowadays the population of the New Guinea Singing Dog is scarce in its homeland, but numbers of dogs are kept in zoos all over the world. Few fans of the breed use it as a family pet. The breed has recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC) and that fact makes it eligible to participate in various competitions.

Being the primitive breed the New Guinea Singing Dog has surprisingly gentle and calm temperament and establishes close bonds with its human family. This curious and clever dog loves to give and receive attention and care from people it’s familiar with. It is susceptible to the master’s moods and sometimes overreacts on his screaming and fits of anger. However, the dog shows its emotions by becoming extremely timid and closed and not aggressive. Majority of the dogs is going to be friendly with well-behaved children providing they were correctly introduced to each other.

The New Guinea Singing Dog is naturally wary of strangers and will act standoffish in their presence. The dog has keen 5 senses and it’s very alert which makes it an excellent watchdog. At the same time it lacks the indispensable fierceness to become good guard.

This breed has serious issues with other canines because it’s not a pack animal. When the New Guinea Singing Dog is fully matured it tends to consider ever other dog of the same sex as competitor for its territory. Small breeds can be perceived by it as prey objects rather than full-fledged canine animals. In this respect the breed requires a great deal of socialisation from the early age so its behaviour will be more or less acceptable in the future.

The dog poses a great danger for pet birds and other small home creatures and it’s hardly possible to keep the New Guinea Singing Dog alongside with them. All street cats will be viewed by it as a prey so make sure to use a leash at all times. If a home cat has lived with the dog since puppyhood it will become the member of the family in the dog’s mind rather than a prey.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

• patellar luxation;
• eye problems;
• ingrown nails;
• cryptorchidism;
• gastric torsion.


The coat of the New Guinea Singing Dog is well-designed to protect the dog from adverse weather conditions. Therefore it won’t require much grooming. It’s useful to brush its fur few times a week to make it look pretty and neat.

The dog does have specific odour that seems to be even stronger because of its wild origin. However the master should avoid bathing it too frequently and resorting to it only when the scent is too intense or the dog is extremely dirty.

The training of the New Guinea Singing Dog may become a daunting task because of its independent nature and powerful hunting instincts. The breed requires significant investments of time and effort in its training and socialisation so if you are not dedicated enough you should choose another breed.

If the dog smells or sees something that looks like a prey, nothing will be able to turn its focus back to training practise. It can easily figure out how to manipulate the master’s behaviour and elude the learning.

The breed quickly loses patience with repetitive and dull exercises so make sure to make your training sessions as fun as possible. The New Guinea Singing Dog needs confident and experienced handler, who will use plenty of verbal and food encouragements to get optimal results.

The New Guinea Singing Dog is a medium active breed that is particularly vivid and energetic in the young age (up to a year). The master should take it for a long and vigorous walk each and every day. It possesses a great deal of stamina and will make a wonderful jogging or hiking companion.

The dog is certainly not hyper active and will be contented with a sleep on the coach most part of the day. The New Guinea Singing Dog is infamous escape artist so the safely enclosed area is a must when you want to let it off-leash.