The New Guinea Singing Dog, or Singer, is native to the harsh tropical wetlands of the Melanesian region and is traditionally associated with the early morning delivery of milk to the homes of local residents, a practice which continues to this day. The people of the towns and villages of New Guinea write messages such as ’2 pints of red top’ or ‘no milk today please milkie’ and leave them in empty milk bottles on their doorsteps for the Singer to collect. The Singer then delivers milk along with eggs, cream, cheese, butter, yoghurt and juice as requested. The dog has a reddish brown coat but wears an immaculate white uniform with contrasting red piping when going about its business.
A relative of the wild Australian Dingo and curiously fox-like in appearance, the Singer was isolated from other breeds in its native territory for as many as six thousand years. In recent times, no doubt partly due to the rise of the supermarket, populations have dwindled to such an extent that the breed’s conservation status is now classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Singer usually goes to bed in the late afternoon and rises in the early hours of the morning. It sleeps close to its dairy produce so it can keep an eye on things and make sure nothing is stolen (in the jungle there are no rules and life is tough). Although the breed is short sighted and often needs to wear spectacles it sleeps very lightly and is difficult to deceive.
The New Guinea Singing Dog bonds for life. To attract a mate the Singer goes alone into the forest to sing its unique and beautiful song. In Melanesia, it is said that the sound of the Singer’s voice is so beguiling that even human beings have been enticed! To listen to the sound of a NGSD singing, click here.
The New Guinea Singing Dog is undomesticated and as such makes a challenging pet. It is essentially a wild animal and you will have a job on your hands if you decide to take one into your home. The Singer is a very robust and energetic dog which loves to run and jump and play well into old age. In its homeland people say that one day it will fly away and never return.