The dingois a wild dog found in Australia. Its exact ancestry is debated, but dingoes are generally believed to be descended from semi-domesticated dogs from East or South Asia, which returned to a wild lifestyle when introduced by Aborigines into Australia. Both the dingo and domestic dog are classified as subspecies of Canis lupus in Mammal Species of the World.
The dingo's habitat ranges from deserts to grasslands and the edges of forests. Dingoes will normally make their dens in deserted rabbit holes and hollow logs close to an essential supply of water.
The dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia, and plays an important role as an apex predator. However, the dingo is seen as a pest by livestock farmers due to attacks on animals. Conversely, their predation on rabbits, kangaroos and rats may be of benefit to graziers.
For some Australians, the dingo is a cultural icon. The introduction of the dingo is seen by many as being responsible for thylacine extinction on the Australian mainland about two thousand years ago, although a recent study challenges this view. Dingoes have a prominent role in the culture of Aboriginal Australians as a feature of stories and ceremonies, and they are depicted on rock carvings and cave paintings.
Despite being an efficient hunter, it is listed as vulnerable to extinction. It is proposed that this is due to susceptibility to genetic pollution: a controversial concept according to which interbreeding with domestic dogs may dilute the dingo's unique adaptations to the Australian environment.