100 Top Dog Names infographic

The bark side: domestic dogs threaten endangered species worldwide

Humans and their canine companions share many close bonds. Wolves (Canis lupus) were the first animal domesticated by people, some time between 15,000 and 50,000 years ago.

100 top unique male dog names

There are now an estimated 1 billion domestic dogs across their near-global distribution.

Domestic dogs include feral and free-ranging animals (such as village and camp dogs), as well as those that are owned by and completely dependent on humans (pet dogs).

Our latest research reveals that the ecological “pawprint” of domestic dogs is much greater than previously realised.

Using the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, we counted how many species are negatively affected by dogs, assessed the prevalence of different types of impacts, and identified regions with the greatest number of affected species.

Dogs are third-most-damaging mammal

100 top dog names info pic

We found that dogs are implicated in the extinction of at least 11 species, including the Hawaiian Rail and the Tonga Ground Skink. Dogs are also a known or potential threat to 188 threatened species worldwide: 96 mammal, 78 bird, 22 reptile and three amphibian species.

This includes 30 critically endangered species, two of which are classed as “possibly extinct”.

These numbers place dogs in the number three spot after cats and rodents as the world’s most damaging invasive mammalian predators.

Even though dogs have an almost global distribution, the threatened species they are known to affect are concentrated in certain parts of the globe.

South-East Asia, South America, Central America and the Caribbean each contain 28 to 30 threatened species impacted by dogs. Other hotspots include Australia, Micro/Mela/Polynesia and the remainder of Asia.

Lethal and non-lethal impacts

adult boxer

Predation was the most commonly reported impact of dogs on wildlife. The typically omnivorous diet of dogs means they have strong potential to affect a diversity of species.

For instance, dogs killed at least 19 endangered Kagu (a ground-dwelling bird) in New Caledonia in 14 weeks. Threatened species with small population sizes are particularly vulnerable to such intense bouts of predation.

Humans and their canine companions share many close bonds. Wolves (Canis lupus) were the first animal domesticated by people, some time between 15,000 and 50,000 years ago.

There are now an estimated 1 billion domestic dogs across their near-global distribution.

Domestic dogs include feral and free-ranging animals (such as village and camp dogs), as well as those that are owned by and completely dependent on humans (pet dogs).

Our latest research reveals that the ecological “pawprint” of domestic dogs is much greater than previously realised.

Using the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, we counted how many species are negatively affected by dogs, assessed the prevalence of different types of impacts, and identified regions with the greatest number of affected species.

 
A dog with a black-naped hare, Maharashtra, India. Hari Somashekhar/Facebook

Dogs are third-most-damaging mammal

Dog abanded

We found that dogs are implicated in the extinction of at least 11 species, including the Hawaiian Rail and the Tonga Ground Skink. Dogs are also a known or potential threat to 188 threatened species worldwide: 96 mammal, 78 bird, 22 reptile and three amphibian species. This includes 30 critically endangered species, two of which are classed as “possibly extinct”.

These numbers place dogs in the number three spot after cats and rodents as the world’s most damaging invasive mammalian predators.

Even though dogs have an almost global distribution, the threatened species they are known to affect are concentrated in certain parts of the globe. South-East Asia, South America, Central America and the Caribbean each contain 28 to 30 threatened species impacted by dogs. Other hotspots include Australia, Micro/Mela/Polynesia and the remainder of Asia.

 
Regional concentrations of threatened species negatively impacted by domestic dogs. Author provided

Lethal and non-lethal impacts

Predation was the most commonly reported impact of dogs on wildlife. The typically omnivorous diet of dogs means they have strong potential to affect a diversity of species.

For instance, dogs killed at least 19 endangered Kagu (a ground-dwelling bird) in New Caledonia in 14 weeks. Threatened species with small population sizes are particularly vulnerable to such intense bouts of predation.

The frequency of different types of dog impact on threatened species. https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Uxs~1R~e71Xl

Aside from simply killing animals, dogs can harm wildlife in other ways, such as by spreading disease, interbreeding with other canids, competing for resources such as food or shelter, and causing disturbances by chasing or harassment.

For example, contact with domestic dogs increases disease risk for endangered African Wild Dogs in Kenya.

Part of the problem is that when wild animals perceive dogs as a threat, they may change their behaviour to avoid them.

One study near Sydney found that dog walking in parklands and national parks reduced the abundance and species richness of birds, even when dogs were restrained on leads.

None of the Red List assessments mentioned such indirect risk effects, which suggests that their frequency is likely to be much higher than reported.

Friend and foe

Dog, Friend

Despite their widespread and sometimes severe impacts on biodiversity, dogs can also benefit some species and ecosystems.

For example, in Australia, the closely related dingo (Canis dingo) can suppress populations of introduced predators such as red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and in doing so can benefit smaller native prey.

It is possible that domestic dogs could perform similar ecological roles in some situations.

In some regions, dogs and their keen noses have been trained to help scientists find threatened species such as Tiger Quolls. Elsewhere they are helping to flush out and control feral cats.

An emerging and exciting conservation role for dogs is their growing use as “guardian animals” for wildlife, with the remarkable story of Oddball being the most well known.

Managing the problem

Dog, Friend

Dogs not only interact with wildlife, but can also attack and spread disease to humans, livestock and other domestic animals. As such, managing the problem requires looking at ecological, cultural and social perspectives.

Some of the regions with high numbers of species threatened by dogs are also hotspots for urbanisation and road building, which make it easier for dogs to access the habitats of threatened species.

Urban development increases food waste, which feeds higher numbers of dogs. As dogs expand into new areas, the number of species they impact is likely to grow.

We can protect wildlife by integrating human health and animal welfare objectives into dog management. Vaccination and desexing campaigns can reduce disease risk and overpopulation problems.

We should also focus on responsible dog ownership, removing dogs without owners, and reducing access to food waste.

puppy golden retriever

Given the close relationship between humans and dogs, community engagement should form the basis of any management program.

More research is needed to get a better picture of the scale of the problem, and of how dogs interact with other threats such as habitat loss. Such actions are critically important for ensuring the conservation of wildlife threatened by dogs around the world.

  • Best Choice Products
    Best Choice Products is proud to present you this 2-in-1 pet trailer/stroller. This pet trailer is ideal for puppies and small dogs, supporting up to 66 lbs. The body is built with a lightweight and sturdy steel frame with a water resistant polyester fabric. The bug-screen and weather resistant canopy keeps your pet comfortable and protected from rain. Secure your pet trailer with a hand-lock brake system when it is not in motion. Use the swing out front hitch for attaching the trailer to a bicycle. Turn the compact pet trailer into a stroller by swiveling the front wheel. A safety flag and reflectors are included to increase visibility when crossing traffic or when in low light conditions. The stroller features large 19a tires for easy mobility and a full suspension system providing maximum stability. The handlebar is adjustable for different heights and trailer itself contains multiple pockets for storage. For added comfort for your pets, there a removable and washable cushion included. FEATURES: This 2-in-1 pet trailer is ideal for puppies and small dogs, supporting up to 66 lbsThe body is built with a lightweight and sturdy steel frame with a water resistant polyester fabricUse the swing out front hitch for attaching the trailer to a bicycleTurn the compact pet trailer into a stroller by swiveling the front wheel A safety flag and reflectors are included to increase visibility when crossing traffic or when in low light conditionsThe stroller features large 19a tires for easy mobility and a full suspension system providing maximum stabilityDimensions: 24" (W) x46" (L) x38" (H) SPECIFICATIONS: Interior: 23" (W) x27" (L) x22" (H) Wheel: Front:9.5a ; Rear:19a Folded: 9" (W) x33" (L) x28" (H) Weight: 37lbsWeight capacity:66lbsUniversal bike hitch to rear axle includedColor: red w/ blackbug, weather, water resistantMaterial: Metal frame, polyester fabricAssembly required (hardware & manual included)
    $129.95  from Walmart US
  • Four Paws Products Ltd
    Features- Features modern and elegant wood design to complement any home decor - Provides small pet households with ease and flexibility in containing their pet- At only 17 high this sturdy wood gate helps contain your small pet- While it allows family members to move easily from room to room by stepping over the gate- The freestanding gate sets up in seconds and expands 24 to 68 wide no tools or assembly required- Provides freedom to move the gate from room to room and from small opening to a large opening- Size - 24-68 W x 17 H- Item Weight - 6-90 lbs- SKU: BCI1500028
    $70.48  from Walmart US
  • Four Paws Products Ltd
    Features- Designed to contain pet in one area- This gate utilizes auto close technology and features a hold button that keeps the gate open until pushed close- Pressure mounts allow for easy installation wont damage door frames and require no hardware or tools- Gate measures 35-75-39-75 wide making this a great option for households with larger doorways and entrances- Item Weight - 24-80 lbs- SKU: BCI1500016
    $75.24  from Walmart US
  • BOWSERS PET PRODUCTS
    Bowsers Ritz Style Super Soft Round Dog Bed Overstuffed for your dog's comfort, the Bowsers Super Soft Round Bed has elegant contrast piping, a wide gusset and a lot of real estate for pets that love to stretch out and snooze. Its velvety softness has extra thick fill to cushion tired joints and muscles for a rest like no other. Features: Superior quality and style Furniture grade upholstery fabric won't pill and stays plush Hair, dirt and stain resistant Breathable-warm in the winter, cool in the summer High-loft/high memory fill offers outstanding comfort and support Luggage quality YKK zipper for durability and smooth cover removal Covers and cushions are machine wash and dry Hand washable bolsters Item Specifications: Size: Small 28""D x 5""H Medium 36""D x 6""H Large 44""D x 7""H X-Large 52""D x 8""H Materials: Outer: 100% Polyester Microvelvet Fill: 100% virgin polyester fiber Color: Ritz
    $154.49  from Dog.com
  • Big Dogs
    Attached to your Big Dog? Make sure you stay that way with this extra-durable and colorful collar featuring the Run With The Big Dogs graphic. Pair it with our matching leash for the perfect dogcessories. A great gift idea!
    $9.99  from Big Dog Sportswear
  • Mirage Pet Products
    Product Summary: Dog Collars and Leashes/Fashion-Constructed with the highest quality materials for your pet- SKU: 000GRP-MR83-03-12BK
    $17.03  from Walmart US
  • Ethical Products
    The classic cable sweater is an everyday favorite. A turtleneck style, tipping along the edge of the neck and sleeves for added styling detail. Made Of 100% acrylic it has a cable pattern running down the back warm and cozy machine washable.
    $7.35  from Walmart US
  • Ethical Pet Products
    MOOSE DOG SWEATER- Thick and warm jacquard knit sweater with a classic moose icon- Turtleneck styling- Machine washable- UPC: 660204018760- Color: CREAM- Size: SMALL- Product Type: Dog - Fashion / Clothing SKU: BC689591
    $28.67  from Walmart US
  • Trixie Pet Products
    Give your dog access to any room in the house, even when the door is shut with trixies 2-way dog door, medium-extra large- The durable plastic frame with silent action transparent flap and sturdy metal base bar make it ideal for the garage, laundry, or back room door- Restrict access using the removable metal rear panel, which also protects against intruders and inclement weather-Features- Suitable for medium to extra-large size dogs weighing up to 95 pounds- Durable plastic frame with silent action transparent flap and sturdy metal bar at base- Lockable with removable metal rear panel- Includes tunnel element to extend depth 0-75 to 1-25 in- This item can be extended an additional 1-25 in- with our tunnel extender- Quick and easy installation- Template included- Color - White- Material - Plastic, Metal- Outside frame - 15-25 W x 17-5 H in- Rough cut out - 12-75 W x 15-75 H in- Flap 12 W x 14-75 H in- Dimension - 15-25 x 17-5 x 1-25 in- Item Weight - 5-22 lbs- SKU: TXPD013
    $35.98  from Walmart US
  • Trixie Pet Products
    Essential in any pet home, trixies free standing dog barrier with walk-thru pet door restricts access of larger dogs while allowing smaller pets to pass with ease- Our dog barrier is constructed using Glazed pine with galvanized metal bars, and even has non-slip rubber feet- This item can easily adjust from 24 to 40 in- in width to accommodate most door openings- The small pet door has a closable opening that allows for the safe passage of pets-Features- Suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes- Can be used to restrict access to rooms and stairs- Closable opening in door allows small pets to pass through- Quick and easy assembly- Color - Glazed pine- Material - Glazed pine, Galvanized bars, Rubber- Small pet door opening - 7-75 W x 11 H in- Dimension - 40-5 x 29-5 x 15-75 in- Item Weight - 12-35 lbs- SKU: TXPD017
    $71.07  from Walmart US
  • Precision Pet Products
    Steel wire panels with zinc coating offer full adjustabilityEight adjustable steel wire panelsProtective zinc coatingRemovable pinsNo-scratch designCompletely portableEasy set-up and storage The Precision Silver Pro-Handler Exercise Pen provides a simple design that keeps your pet safe and secure. Fully adjustable, the eight steel wire panels conveniently fit any indoor or outside arrangement you need. Make extensions to section off an area, or close up to create a self-contained pen. Set up is easy, and the removable pins lock everything in place. Take down is quick, allowing for great portability or low-profile storage. ; A protective zinc coating offers immense resiliency in a variety of climates. The smooth design features recessed fasteners that won't scratch your floor. With no exposed wires to harm pets, the sturdy design is completely pet-friendly. Size Options: 18 x 24 in. (Dogs up to 20 lbs) 24 x 24 in. (Dogs up to 25 lbs) 30 x 24 in. (Dogs up to 40 lbs) 48 x 24 in. (Dogs up to 110 lbs) 36 x 24 in. (Dogs up to 70 lbs) 42 x 24 in. (Dogs up to 90 lbs) ;
    $81.84  from Walmart US
  • SPECIAL SPEECO PRODUCTS
    29; Length Closed, 39; Length Open, Category 1, Forged Top Link, 3/4; Pin Hole, 24; Body Length Yellow Zinc Dichromate Plated, Thread Diameter 1-1/8; NC.
    $47.95  from Walmart US