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Private keeping of dingoes - Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions for the private keeping of dingoes.

Dingoes are protected wildlife under the Wildlife Act 1975 (Wildlife Act).

It is an offence to own a Dingo without holding an appropriate licence under the Wildlife Act.

Licences for the private keeping of Dingoes

To keep a Dingo as a pet (non-commercial use), you must hold a Dingo Licence. 

There is no limit to how many Dingoes you keep under a Dingo Licence as long as you have appropriate enclosures. Local governments may have restrictions on how many animals a person can keep at their property. You will need to check with your local council regarding any restrictions.

Licences for the commercial keeping of Dingoes

Dingoes can be kept and displayed under a Wildlife Display Licence or under a Wildlife Demonstrator Licence with prior written approval.

  • The dingo (Canis lupus subsp. dingo) is a subspecies of the wolf and was introduced to Australia about 5000-10,000 years ago. The Dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia. It is both culturally important to indigenous people and valued as an iconic Australian species. For information about the conservation status of the dingo, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

  • Yes, dingoes are different from pet dogs. They behave differently, need special enclosures and will bond quickly with their owners but seldom with other people. It is recommended that prior to purchasing a dingo you carefully consider the responsibility required to care for a dingo. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed unsupervised access to dingoes at any time when held under a dingo licence.

    Dingoes can only be kept at the address specified on the licence.

    Dingoes held under a wildlife licence do not need to be registered with your local council under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

  • A dingo-dog hybrid is the result of crossing of a domestic dog with a Dingo.

    Under the Wildlife Regulations 2019 it is an offence to deliberately breed a dingo with a dog. Ecologists believe that the greatest threat to the dingo in Victoria is hybridisation with domestic dogs.

    To keep a dingo-dog hybrid you need to register the with your local government under the Domestic Animals Act 1994. Dingo-dog hybrids do not require a licence under the Wildlife Act.

    Pure dingoes cannot be reliably visually distinguished from wild domestic dogs or hybrids, but genetic tests can distinguish between these three groups. 

Frequently asked questions about dingo licences

  • Your premises will be inspected prior to a licence being issued. It is a requirement of the licence that you ensure the dingo enclosure is constructed prior to applying for a licence and before you acquire any dingoes.

  • If you are found not to be complying with the licence conditions you could have your animals seized, be liable for large fines and run the risk of not being able to own any wildlife in the future.

  • If you are found to possess wildlife without a valid licence you could have your animals seized, be liable for large fines and run the risk of not being able to own any wildlife in the future.

  • Yes you can walk your dingo. You must ensure that they are controlled by means of a chain, cord, leash or harness at all times, even within designated ‘off-lead’ areas for dogs.

  • All dingoes 7 weeks of age or older must be marked for identification purposes with a microchip. This is so that all dingoes in a licence holder’s possession can be identified.

  • Dingo pups can be sold at 7 weeks of age or older. This is to ensure they are self-sufficient (i.e. no longer dependent on their mother for feeds), but is also considered young enough to ensure they are able to form a sufficient bond with their new owners. You need to check that you are compliant with legislation governing the breeding and sale of dogs.

  • No. Dingos may only be bred with another Dingo. Breeding dingoes is not recommended unless you are a member of a dingo conservation group and are sure that you have good homes available.

  • You need to be at least 18 years of age before you can be granted a Dingo Licence.

  • Yes, under the Dingo Licence you can use your dingo for non-commercial education purposes or display dingoes at a canine show. However when displaying dingoes at a canine show you must ensure that you or someone permitted by you is in attendance at all times to ensure the dingo is protected from abuse or harassment by patrons, that the dingo is under control at all times, that every precaution is taken to prevent risk of injury to the dingo or other persons and that the dingo is conditioned to handling.

  • Dingo enclosures must meet the standards below:

    • be child-proof and of sufficiently secure design and construction to prevent escape of dingoes and unauthorised access to dingoes
    • have a minimum floor area of 30 sq. metres for up to two Dingoes and an additional 10 sq. metres for each additional Dingo (over 9 months)
    • have fences of either 3m in height or a minimum of 2m in height with an additional 45° degree inward return of at least 1m in length (or the inward return being a full secure roof)
    • have a 1m inward-facing mesh return fitted at the base of the fence and fastened to the ground at right angles to the fence (or fence anchored securely to a cement slab)
    • have a secure escape-proof fence

    A suitable enclosure must be constructed prior to the holder applying for a Dingo Licence, acquiring any dingoes or prior to the holder changing address.

    The Dingo Licence holder must carry out any repairs or modifications directed by an Authorised Officer to an enclosure within the time specified by the Authorised Officer.

Reviewed 26 April 2021

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