Breed Type: Native Dog
Country of Origin: New Guinea
Also Known As: NGSDs, Singers
Males: Height: 41-46 cm Weight: 11-14 kg
Females: Height: 36-41 cm Weight: 8-11 kg
Exercise Requirements: High
Care Requirements: Low to Moderate
Lifespan: 16-20 years
Best Suited as: Hunters, Unconventional Housedog
New Guinea Singing Dogs are medium-sized dogs that resemble foxes both in appearance as well as in behavioural traits. They are known for their howling which is less common in canine breeds, with a howl that is so distinctive it is described as “singing”…hence their name. They are a very smart breed which can be detrimental because they are quite wild in temperament as well. So much so that there is debate as to whether NGSDs are really domesticated dogs or feral ones. Their domesticity depends on their proper training with a focus on their preference to be a part of a “pack” of the family. Once a Singer becomes a member of the family pack, it is more cooperative in following “house rules”.
NGSDs bear a striking resemblance to foxes including the colour of their fur which is usually various shades of red or brown with white, tan, and/or black markings. White markings on their coats are most common but should be less than one third of the coat colours. The head is clearly triangular with pointed ears that signal their various moods when they are up when alerted or curious, or laid down and pinned back when unhappy. Their coat is short to medium in length but thick and tends to be bushier on the tail than anywhere else. Singers are unusually agile and quick on their feet while also being graceful in movements at the same time.
Because New Guinea Singing Dogs are naturally wilder, they are usually not recommended as a household pet for the average home. They can be socialized and trained to the point where they can co-exist with humans and eventually become very attached to their owners but their innate wild nature is always a part of their life.
Their “singing voice” is one of the most unique characteristics the New Guinea Singing Dogs and is dubbed as singing because they are able to change the pitch and tone of their “voice” when howling or otherwise communicating. This breed does not have an irritating and repetitive bark, but they communicate through howling single note tones and various other vocal expressions in whines and yelps as well.
Singers are extremely alert and curious with great enjoyment for exploring whatever catches their attention. They are quite active in many different ways including their 5 senses that they use frequently in explorative measures. Their bodies are so flexible that they are great escape artists since they can fit through any opening as long as it is big enough for their wide heads to fit through.
One way their wild nature exhibits itself is through an aggressive desire to hunt. That hunting instinct is so strong that it can derail training sessions or other directions of focus if anything considered prey enters the environment. Their hearing abilities are high and utilized much in hunting along with their sharp senses of smell and sight.
New Guinea Singing Dogs get attached to their owners or regular handlers but remain rather detached from any strangers, etc. whom they don’t have regular contact with. They can tend to behave aggressively in their dislike for other dogs, especially other dogs of the same sex.
The Singers howling communication is triggered when they get upset or excited and can have a strangely chilling progression in tone that can create fear in anyone who hears it. Their howling is one of the ways their wild nature expresses itself and they are not recommended as house pets for most families.
The New Guinea Singing Dog breed originated in New Guinea and is known to be related to the Dingo breed also from New Guinea. Since NGSDs were not discovered until the 1950s by a man named Sir Edward Halistrom, they are believed to have been isolated to the region for over 6000 years and thus most likely the oldest type of pariah dogs. It is thought that these dogs used to live all over the island of New Guinea, but currently, are found mainly in the more remote mountain areas of the country.
Care and Grooming:
New Guinea Singing Dogs need very little grooming mostly because of their coat and its natural ability to protect the Singer from various weather conditions. Bathing Singers is only occasionally necessary when dirty or when emitting a stronger wild scent when it has been too long since their last bath. It is helpful to comb or brush their coat every few days because it is so thick and medium in length.
NGSDs are very healthy in general needing very little routine medical care. They are also a bit more unique in the canine world because female NGSDs only go into heat about once a year instead of the twice a year frequency most other dogs have.
Suitability as a Pet:
New Guinea Singing Dogs are not recommended as household pets due to their innately wild nature. They usually develop attachments to their owners and do not care to be separated from the “pack”, but they are not emotionally dependent on their owners as much as regular dogs are. Their strong hunting drive also makes them not a great choice for a house pet as anytime prey of some kind enters their space, they are easily distracted from whatever they were doing. Couple their hunting desire with their dislike of other animals and their wild characteristics are soon evident.
They also are not suited for a household pet because they are so very flexible and can escape easily as long as they can squeeze their head through any escape route found. If their heads fit through, the rest of their bodies definitely will as well.
For similar reasons New Guinea Singing Dogs do not make great house pets, NGSDs can be difficult to train in that their hunting instinct can take over any training session if anything enters the area that even remotely resembles prey. Their lively and clever intelligence can also make training more difficult at times because they can quickly figure out ways around whatever trainers want them to do in order to do whatever they want to do themselves. Their great abilities as escape artists can also make training difficult and stressful and are yet another reason they are not recommended as pets.
New Guinea Singing Dog Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
New Guinea Singing Dog Organisations in the US
New Guinea Singing Dog – Continental Kennel Club
Current Rescues – New Guinea Singing Dog International (NGSDI)
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