Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

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Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Blightwolf » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:15 am

Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog
February 17, 2010

The New Guinea Singing Dog has one of the most beautiful vocalizations in the animal kingdom. Sadly, their sublime song may be lost forever.

My first exposure to the New Guinea Singing Dog came about by looking for unusual animal sounds to use as samples in the creation of music. I found a wav file a few years ago of one of the most beautiful and haunting sounds. It was that of a New Guinea Singing Dog doing what it does best – singing. The mysterious timbre of their song revivals that of the songs of whales. It is not the type of canine vocalization that one hears from wolves or coyotes. It is much more complex than the howl of a wolf, and far more soothing than the choruses of coyotes, a sound that I am all too familiar with.

Sadly, the New Guinea Singing Dog, Canis lupus hallstromi, is vanishing. In 1995 it was estimated that only 300 remain worldwide. It is feared that today their numbers have deceased to around 200.

Many people believe the New Guinea Singing Dog to be the most primitive domestic dog breeds in existence today. It is thought that they were brought to the island of New Guinea by humans over 6,000 years ago. They remained as an isolated population, until 1950, when Sir Edward Hallstrom, collected a pair from The Southern Highlands District of Papua New Guinea, and took them to The Taronga Zoo, in Sydney, Australia. At that time the were classified as lupus hallstromi, however, were shortly reclassified as a subspecies, of Canis lupus, and a close relation of the Australian Dingo. Because of this many zoos and conservationists were not concerned with ensuring the continuation of the breed or species.

These beautiful animals have been kept as companions and hunting dogs in their native New Guinea. In the Papuan Highlands the Kalam people, who do not breed these dogs, capture the pups from the wild. They also have been known the hunt and eat wild Singing Dogs. There have been very few studies of this species in the wild. Few zoos study or have breeding programs for the New Guinea Singing Dogs, and most of those specimens, come from the original pair, brought to the Taronga Zoo, in 1950. The only exception, being five individuals, captured in 1976, in Irian Jaya, that were taken to the Domestic Animal Institute, in Keil, Germany. Subsequent attempts to capture wild specimens have failed.

In appearance the New Guinea Singing Dog weighs between 17 to 30 pounds, stands from 14 to 18 inches at the shoulder, and has a short double coat, with a color range from reddish brown to tan. The have short legs and their heads are larger than most canines, sometimes having a mask. They have a rather large carnassial tooth (a cheek tooth) and are distinguished from their close relative the Dingo by a larger skull and short stature in the withers.

Behaviorally New Guinea Singing Dogs are similar to other canines, with a few exceptions. Captive specimens do not seem to form packs, and of the few wild sightings of the species, most were observed individually or in pairs. They do not seem to exhibit the canine behavior of “play bow”, which in some observed situations has lead to them attacking domestic dogs, misunderstanding the attempt to play as an attack. Their vocalization has been described as a “trill” with a modulating pitch, thus giving them the name Singing Dog. Because of their behavioral traits, many people find them hard to work with or keep domestically. Others who have a love for this species, or if you will breed, insist that with proper training the are able to live in a home environment as pets.

In recent years attempts have been made by a few individuals and zoos to save the species. These attempts have included a few private and public breeding programs. In 1996, The United Kennel Club, recognized them as a breed, in their Sighthounds and Pariah Dog category. This was followed by recognition of the breed by The American Rare Breed Association, in their Spitz and Primitive Group.

In 1997 the New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society was formed in an attempt to preserve the species and promote it as a recognized breed. This recognized non-profit organization is dedicated to the breeding the species, and proper ownership, or as I like to put it, friendship, by humans with New Guinea Singing Dogs. Although, their website says that this breed has the potential of being a wonderful personal or family companion, purchasing or adopting one should not be done on a whim. Very good advice given the low numbers of this breed. They give support and advice to anyone who is sincerely interested in preserving this beautiful species. This support is giving before purchase or adoption, and continues for the life or the animal and its offspring.

If reading this article has left you with a desire to have, a New Guinea Singing Dog as a pet because they are cool, I suggest you reconsider. If it has left you with the desire to have a part in saving this breed, go to the New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society website and educate yourself. After doing so, if you have the time and finances to give these beautiful creature the care and love they deserve, only then consider becoming involved.

Source: http://therealowner.com/dogs/canine-vir ... nging-dog/
A very informative and educational article about The New Guinea Singing Dogs. I think it's incredibly unfortunate that many people desire to have wild dogs as pets. They are in fact an extremely primitive breed of dog, often considered as the very first and earliest dogs, however, they are behaviorally different from their domesticated canine counterpart. The socialization and training of wild dogs is very time-consuming and demanding, very similar to the habituation of a captive-born wolf.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Frostflower » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:27 am

I've never heard of the Singing Dog before. :| Hopefully the Conservation groups will be able to do something about it!

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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Blightwolf » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:14 am

All of the wild dogs (Australian, New Guinean and African) are pretty much worm food nowadays. Their genes are being diluted due to to hybridization with domestic dogs, their natural environments are being encroached by the further expansion of human ranges, and they are hunted. It would be one, gargantuan SHAME to lose these dogs which represent the lineage of the very first dogs that evolved directly from the southern wolves.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Jayness » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:57 pm

How sad it would be to lose that breed.

I think I saw a show on AnimalPlanet about that by the way.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Blightwolf » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:28 am

They are an important species for the New Guinean ecosystem. And what is really interesting about them is that even though they are considered a breed of dog, there are no traces of their domestication, meaning that they're commensal canines (they live in a close association/proximity with humans but are independent).
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by AlbinoWolf6 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:14 am

Quite an interesting species^^ Lets hope the conservation society can help save this species
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Blightwolf » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:46 am

There is still hope for the NWSG, if conservationists move fast and effectively in order to save them.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Koa » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:36 pm

Thanks for posting this, Blight!

I've heard about this canid before; the name certainly rings a bell. I believe I was reading an article about them awhile back, but I do not have the link to it. The article contained information in regards to keeping them as pets, as well as a picture of the animal.

I do hope that conservation of the NGSD will be successful, and I am happy to see that a conservation group is in place. It is also nice to hear the author giving the reader some educational information about the NGSD before they attempt to have it as a "pet."

"Owning" any wild/exotic breed of canid (or animal for that matter) is demanding and requires proper resources and knowledge and it is important for this to be heard by anyone who wishes to adopt an exotic animal.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by LunaLynn » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:50 pm

Wow thats really interesting. Thanks for posting this. ^ ^

The only "singing dog I've heard of is a Besenji, but there's isn't as beautiful as that sounds like it would be.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Amulant » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:27 pm

On Animal Planet, Dogs 101 explain this dog, it'll be SO sad if it goes extinct! That would be horrible!
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Zethra » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:37 pm

It's sad to see when people wish to posses an animal that belongs in the wild, since it's their natural habitat and the fact that that's where they're brought up. Not only that, how the fact that it is a "wild" animal - despite an domestic traits. This breed is magnificent though, I hope that the Conservation Team manages to succeed in what they are doing.

Thanks for posting this Blight, it was quite an interesting read.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Jayness » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:06 pm

Amulant wrote:On Animal Planet, Dogs 101 explain this dog, it'll be SO sad if it goes extinct! That would be horrible!

Ahh, so thats where I saw it.

It would be terrible if we lost that breed.
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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by IndianWolves » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:29 pm

I've heard of this breed alot. if you look around you can find these dogs for sale from breeders but a good thing to do is if you get this breed is to do your homework and breed them yourself spaying and neutering is NOT something this breed needs so if you google New Guinea Singing Dogs for sale you can eventualy find some but to let you know if you want one ask the breeder:

when can I bring the puppy or puupies home? if under at least 9 weeks find a new breeder.
Do you have Health garentees for the puppies? if not move on to other breeder
How long have you been involved with this breed? if you think the breeder is WELL excperianced think it over.


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Re: Canine Virtuoso: The New Guinea Singing Dog

Post by Shaft » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:24 am

This is terrible. New Guinea Singing Dogs are amazing dogs. I had no idea they were becoming extinct. ='(

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