New Guinea Singing Dogs are named for their distinctive and melodious howl, which is characterized by a sharp increase in pitch at the start and very high frequencies at the end. New Guinea Singing Dog (also known as the New Guinea Dingo, Hallstrom Dog and Singer) is a wild dog once found throughout New Guinea.
The howling of the New Guinea Singing Dog can be clearly differentiated from that of Australian dingo, and differs significantly from that of grey wolves and coyotes. An individual howl lasts an average of 3 seconds, but can last as long as 5 seconds. At the start, the frequency rises and stabilizes for the rest of the howling, but normally shows abrupt changes in frequency. Modulations can change quickly every 300–500 milliseconds or every second. Five to eight overtones can generally be distinguished in a spectrographic analysis of the howling.
New Guinea Singing Dogs sometimes howl together, which is commonly referred to as chorus howling. During chorus howling, one dog starts and others join in shortly afterward. In most cases, chorus howling is well synchronized, and the howls of the group end nearly simultaneously. Spontaneous howling is most common during the morning and evening hours. A trill, with a distinctly “bird-like” character, is emitted during high arousal. It is a high-frequency pulsed signal whose spectral appearance suggests a continuous source that is periodically interrupted, and might last as long as 800 milliseconds. Such a sound is not known for any other canid.
New Guinea Singing Dog is relatively short-legged and broad-headed. These dogs have an average shoulder height of 31–46 cm (13–16 in.) and weigh 9–14 kg (17–25 lbs.)
Little is known about New Guinea Singing Dogs in their native habitat. Photographs of wild Singing Dogs are non-existent. Current genetic research indicates that the ancestors of New Guinea Dingoes were probably taken overland through present day China to New Guinea by travelers during pre-Neolithic times. Captive bred New Guinea Singing Dogs serve as companion dogs. Part of conservation efforts focus attention on their exceptional intelligence and physical abilities. When entered in rare breed show competition, Singing Dogs are presented in their completely natural condition with no trimming or alterations of any kind.