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Dog Takes DNA Test. Turns Out He’s Actually a Rare and Endangered Dingo.

DNA test results confirm a stray pup named Wandi is in fact a 100 percent endangered Australian alpine dingo.

By: Alice Sewell

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Photo Australian Dingo Foundation

Imagine awakening to whimpering cries and venturing into your backyard to find a scared, abandoned puppy—or is it a fox kit?—all alone. A resident of Wandiligong, a rural town in the Australian state of Victoria experienced just that. Things only got more interesting when she took the “adorable” animal to her local veterinarian, who suspected the stray pup to actually be a young dingo, a wild dog native to Australia.

While awaiting DNA test results, the pup named Wandi (short for Wandiligong) was moved to the Australian Dingo Foundation. When the results were returned, the staff at the foundation were shocked—Wandi was indeed a purebred alpine dingo, a rare and endangered breed of Australian dingo. It was a welcome surprise.

Of the three breeds of dingoes, alpine dingoes are the only ones currently in danger of extinction, due to inbreeding (Australian Geographic notes most dingoes are dog-dingo hybrids), hunting, and government eradication program.

“For us he is going to be a very valuable little thing,” says Lyn Watson, director of the Australian Dingo Foundation. Receiving a purebred as a pup is very rare. Not only will staff at the foundation be able to observe his behaviour but Wandi will provide a new, wild-born genetic line, which is very important for the sanctuary’s breeding program, and a position that could help save his species from extinction.

Wandi has even received visitors who have come from overseas just to meet him.

“Wandi's addition to the sanctuary is invaluable,” says sanctuary volunteer Kevin Newman. “Not only has he attracted worldwide interest to the plight of dingoes, but his status as Instagram's favourite dingo (over 40,000 followers) means we have more reach to promote dingoes to the world.”

But how exactly did a purebred alpine dingo pup end up all alone in a backyard? Based on the claw marks found on his back, it is believed the tiny dingo was snatched from his pack by a bird of prey who eventually dropped him. Lost and confused, the young dingo likely wandered until he was found in a backyard. Now in the care of the Dingo Discovery sanctuary, Wandi is being trained by his handlers who are preparing him to become a dingo ambassador. To keep him safe, Wandi will most likely spend the rest of his life in a sanctuary unless alpine dingo populations increase to a point of no longer being endangered or the laws and policies on hunting and killing these rare canines is changed.

Get a daily dose of cuteness of Wandi’s cuteness and learn more about dingo conservation by following @wandi_dingo on Instagram.

Interested in learning more about your dog's lineage? Check out our breed profiles here


Last Updated:

By: Alice Sewell
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