The New Guinea Singing Dog has a medium-sized, muscular frame covered in a short, soft coat that usually comes in red, red with white and black & tan. Its flat head has a long muzzle, watchful brown eyes and erect ears, giving it a fox-like appearance. It has a bushy tail that sometimes hangs low and sometimes curl up in a hook. Overall, the New Guinea Singing Dog looks rugged, athletic and alert.
Discovered in the wild not too long ago, the New Guinea Singing Dog has ingrained “wild dog” instincts that, with the proper training and socialization, can develop into a fantastic household companion. The New Guinea Singing Dog is independent, intelligent and “pack” oriented, making it crave togetherness and family time. It tends to be suspicious and reserved around strangers initially, but over time it becomes more open and friendly.
True to name, the New Guinea Singing Dog does not bark—it “sings.” While it may take a week or two to get used to this combination yelp, howl, whine and bird call, it eventually takes on a comforting and expressive element—it’s also fun to figure out why it makes certain vocalizations. The New Guinea Singing Dog also has keen senses and a powerful hunting drive.
Wild at heart, the New Guinea Singing Dog needs lots of vigorous exercise and elbowroom to maintain a healthy state of mind and body. It will probably not be happy in the city, but will prefer a large, fenced yard at the very least. Keep the New Guinea Singing Dog on a leash whenever possible—especially in public parks. And also remember that the New Guinea Singing Dog has a very flexible spine: It can easily slip through small openings in a fence.
New Guinea Singing Dogs can live as long as 18 years with relatively few genetic health issues. They are fairly easy to groom, needing only an occasional brushing to look good.
Discovered in New Guinea in 1950, New Guinea Singing Dogs are believed to have descended from Asian “pariah dogs” brought to the Americas across the Bering Strait 9,000 years ago. Because New Guinea is relatively isolated, some dog enthusiasts believe the New Guinea Singing Dog is one of the oldest—if not the oldest—of the pariah dogs. Its name comes from its unique “song-like” howl.