Tambo is just a puppy. But with a difference. After arriving into the care of Animal Aid in Coldstream it became apparent that Tambo was not the average dog. With his softly curved ears, a bushy tail and timid temperament, Tambo bore a remarkable resemblance to a Dingo.

Quiet and reserved, he spent most of his time tucked away in his makeshift ‘den’ of a crate, watching passers-by silently from the shadows. At night he would come to life, rearranging his furniture to suit himself and getting into mischief while no one was around to witness it.

A purebred dingo is difficult to identify from a hybrid dog, but genetic tests can distinguish between dog breeds.

With the assistance of the Department of Forest and Wildlife, Tambo’s DNA was sent off to determine the presence of Dingo in his genetics. A purebred Dingo result would put him in good stead to live out his life in a sanctuary setting, however Tambo’s results came back as 58% with an error margin of +/-10%.


While awaiting these results, Tambo was lucky enough to have daily attention from a very committed behavioural volunteer Libby who was determined to boost his confidence. Slowly but and with patience, Tambo began to venture out from his hiding place and show signs of a cheeky demeanour underneath.

Tambo’s DNA results of being around two-thirds Dingo meant he would not be eligible for a sanctuary but that Animal Aid could begin the process of finding a suitable domestic home. To step things up a notch, some helper dogs were introduced to bridge the gap between Tambo and his handlers.

His response was extremely positive, beginning to show play behaviours with both the other dogs and staff. He began to go on lead walks and have play sessions, rapidly gaining confidence but also gaining an attitude!

Tambo has come along in leaps and bounds; a credit to both himself and our wonderful volunteer who committed so much time to help him, coming in every day! He is exceptionally intelligent, athletic, and independent. He needs a great deal of enrichment and stimulation to keep him busy. A calm, confident handler will be a must, as he can be both cheeky and rude when the mood strikes him – we are still hard at work attending to his tendency to be mouthy and some days we are more successful than others.

Any home this boy goes to will also need to have exemplary containment able to withstand the challenge he poses, as he is persistent and determined with the athletic ability to overcome many obstacles, very typical of his breed.

Tambo’s new home will need to have experience with Dingoes/Dingo-hybrids. Familiarity with the challenges and quirks posed by such a character will put Tambo in the best stead going forward, as will someone with no shortage of time to dedicate to him.

Ongoing training is a must for the foreseeable future. Tambo’s current muse of choice is tiny pieces of chicken or hotdog, though his attention span is very much a work in progress (bearing in mind that a Dingo’s senses are much more refined than those of any domestic breed of dog and he is quick to become overstimulated.) Small children either in or regularly visiting the home would not be recommended for this reason; his recall is also virtually non-existent at this point, and he is not an individual we would be recommending for off-lead excursions.

Tambo’s favourite activities include swimming and playdates with other dogs, though he still sometimes needs to be reminded of the boundaries involved in social interactions. We would love to see him placed with another dog to help guide him in the right direction (and provide him with an opportunity to get his sillies out every so often!) He also enjoys the opportunity to run our obstacle course and show off to whoever may be watching.

Help us find the right home for Tambo by sharing his story far and wide.

Call us on (03) 8756 1300 (option 1) for more information and to speak to the team!

Please note that under the Wildlife Regulations 2019 it is an offence to deliberately breed a dingo with a dog. Dingo-dog hybrids do not require a licence but must be registered with your local government council under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.