New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society: The Official Website

New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society

The Official Website

All content copyright © 1998-2013 New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from any page of this website without written permission is strictly prohibited.
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Research About New Guinea Singing Dogs

Because New Guinea Singing Dogs (NGSD) have been considered "just" feral domestic dogs, little scientific research has been done. Still, what research exists invariably demonstrates their uniqueness. In 1976, V. Simonsen published results of his study of canid blood enzymes. Simonson found that the NGSD has two proteins different from those of jackals, wolves, and domestic dogs but identical to those of the coyote.

Since 1987 Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr. has been working to preserve NGSDs. (Dr. Brisbin is now an emeritus senior ecologist at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in Aiken, South Carolina.) In 1994 he and four co-authors published a paper in which they first documented the NGSD's extraordinary estrus cycles. Based on their findings, the team questioned NGSD status as that of "just" feral domestic dogs. Later, Dr. Cheryl Asa and Dr. Joan Bauman of the St. Louis Zoo, using samples collected by J. Koler-Matznick, verified the NGSD's unique estrus cycling. Like wild canids, NGSD have one breeding season a year. However, if females do not become pregnant on their first annual estrus (normally in September or October), 70% will come into season again in 6-12 weeks. This pattern has never before been recorded for any canid.

In 2004 Dr. Peter Savolainen and colleagues published a study of Australian dingo and NGSD mtDNA research. They concluded that the Australian dingo and the NGSD have unique sequences compared to the modern domestic dogs they sampled. They dated the dingo/NGSD separation from modern dogs at a minimum of 6,000-12,000 years. In a separate study, Dr. Alan Wilton looked at microsatillite markers of dingoes and NGSD and determined these two populations have several unique markers compared to modern domestic dogs. He developed a test to detect cross-bred specimens.

J. Koler-Matznick, assisted by Dr. I. L. Brisbin, Jr. and Dr. Mark Feinstein, composed a NGSD ethogram that describes NGSD behaviors. Several are unique to this dog. (Two of the NGSD's unusual behaviors are the head toss, which is expressed during begging and when the dog is frustrated, and tree climbing.) Many individual pet NGSD owners contributed observations of behavior as well as photo documentation supporting such observations. These non-scientific observations, however informal, are important for understanding this unusual dog. Pet owners have also provided cheek swabs for DNA studies at several universities and share their NGSDs' medical records.

This research assistant can sing, but can he type?
Janice Koler-Matznick demonstrates how to obtain a cheek swab.
NGSDCS members who live in New Guinea are preparing to explore a remote area where wild NGSD were reported in January 2008. This area has been proposed as a nature preserve. Although the NGSDCS began sending supplies more than 2 years ago, complicated bureaucratic requirements slowed further progress till recently. Now the Papua New Guinea Division of the NGSDCS has been certified as a field office, and we seek funding for the expedition itself.

Headed by forest conservationist Mike Wilangue, who ran the 2002 field reconnaissance into the Morobe Province, the team will attempt to find and gather scat for DNA analysis, as the dogs themselves are rarely seen or heard anymore. If successful, the expedition will yield data that could help answer the question of whether the NGSD is "just" a feral domestic dog or truly an undomesticated canid similar to coyote or fox.

If you would like to support the NGSDCS, you can contribute online through our registry at Network For Good. Alternatively, you can send a donation expressly for the expedition (simply add a note on your check stating "for New Guinea expedition") to our Treasurer at the following address:

New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society
3031 Stanford Ranch Road, Ste 2, #446
Rocklin, California 95765 U.S.A.

Please read our Mission Statement and list of scientific advisors so that you know you are contributing to an organization that does not have financial gain as any part of its purpose. Our goal is to promote conservation based on science. We do not condone breeding for profit masquerading as "research".

Our Breeders Code of Ethics can also be found here.

Research reports can be found in the NGSDCS newsletter FORUM, which members receive as a benefit of joining. A sample issue is available on this website. The NGSDCS, established in 1997, is a Section 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Home
Description
History
Research
Living With NGSD
Resources
Membership
Rescues
Zoos That Have NGSD

All content copyright © 1998-2013 New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from any page of this website without written permission is strictly prohibited.