DESCRIPTIONÿ- NGSDs Average 17 inches at the shoulder and 25 pounds. Their short double coat has a crisp feel. The underside of the tail carries a thick brush. NGSDs are golden red or black and tan with white markings on the underside of the chin, the feet and tail tip. Some also have white on their face, chest and necks, but never on their sides or backs. Wide cheekbones, narrow muzzles, tulip-[petal shaped ears that curve forward and triangular, obliquely set eyes give their faces a distinctive appearance. Their Joints and spine are extremely flexible for a canid. Adapted to hunting in very steep, thickly vegetated terrain, they climb and jump like a cat, a trait that makes them a challenge to keep confined. When their eyes reflect in low light they glow bright green. Their carnassial teeth are large, usually equal to or greater than 10% of their skull length, a trait common in wild canids but not in domestic dogs.The NGSD has several unique vocalizations. The howl they are named for is similar to a wolf howl with overtones of whale song. Some NGSD vocalizations resemble birdcalls. They also whine, yelp, bark ( a short "woof" like that of a wolf) and scream ( a drawn-out yelp).CHARACTERISTICS-The NGSD's most unique characteristic is its dramatic ability to vary the pitch of its howl. They do not bark repetitively but have a complex vocal behavior including yelps, whines, and single-note howls. NGSD's are active, lively, and alert. They are constantly exploring everything in their environment, using all five senses, including taste. Their incredible structural flexibility allows them to pass their bodies through any opening wide enough to admit their head. Their hunting drive is very intense and may overwhelm any training when prey is detected. They use their acute sense of hearing in addition to sight and scent to locate prey. Although gentle and affectionate with people they know, they can be aloof with strangers.GENERAL APPEARANCE- The NGSD is a small-to-medium-sized dog of fox like appearance, with a wedge-shaped head, prick ears, obliquely-set triangular eyes, plush coat, and a brushy tail. The NGSD is extremely agile and graceful. This breed is presented in a completely natural condition with no trimming, even of whiskers.ENERGY-Singers are very active as puppies up to about a year of age, and then would be considered medium active. They are never "hyper," just busy exploring and playing. Older Singers are content to sleep on the couch (or the bed) most of the day. Outside, they have a strong desire to explore/hunt and will walk and run for miles.INTELLIGENCE-ÿExtremely intelligent with unexpected powers of reasoning. Behavior modification and training can be challenging at times as Singers are more apt to ask you why they should do something than to blindly comply. Physically forceful methods of training rarely work with this species. If bored, they may turn their intelligence to negative endeavors and they have the physical capabilities to escape, dig, chew, leap, climb or totally destroy where they are contained. Keep that brain of theirs amused.
The New Guinea Singing Dog has lived wild or partially domesticated in New Guinea since prehistoric times. The first pair of captured dogs left the island in 1957, and their descendants were widely distributed to zoos in Europe and the United States. Today, many NGSD's are living as companion animals.
SHEDDINGÿTheir weather-resistant outer coat is moderately short, straight and of medium texture, and in cold season there is a very dense felt-like undercoat. They blow their coats twice a year (spring & fall).ÿ Combing or using a slicker brush once a day usually is enough to remove most of the shed hairs. Singrs do not have a"doggy" odor and rarely need bathing.
Although the captive Singers have been highly inbred from just a few founders, they are surprisingly hardy and healthy. They have no inherited eye or bone/joint problems and have no known breed-specific health or genetic problems.
Placed as puppies, these NGSD have become extremely affectionate and enjoyable companion animals. They have adapted to environments ranging from New York City apartments to farms. However, because of their recent wild origin, NGSDs have very intense hunting drives and associated strong tendencies to work at escaping any barrier restricting their movements, so sensible precautions must be taken to keep both them and their potential prey ( birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc.) safe. When NGSDs realize they are suddenly free, they do not run "away from" home and their owner. They run toward adventure, toward the bird flitting in the bush, toward the mouse in the grass. They have not evolved the emotional dependence upon man that creates a desire to work for him, although they do develop very strong attachments to their human "pack" members and become distressed when separated from them. Like a cat, and other animals still close to their wild behaviors, they will be your loving friend and companion, but never your slave.
TomÿWendtÿ-New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society