Why is the dingo a subspecies of the dog?

I was looking at the taxon of the dingo on iNaturalist and noticed it was a subspecies of the domestic dog. The domestic dog was derived from the wolf, but the dingo has nothing to do with this. Why is it a subspecies then?

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The taxonomic tatus of the dingo is uncertain and has been debated for a long time. Some authorities treat it as a subspecies or unnamed taxonomic group within the domestic dog, others as a subspecies of the grey wolf, and others as a standalone species.

By default, iNat uses the ASM Mammal Diversity Database as the taxonomic framework for mammal species. That database includes the dingo within Canis familiaris.


Dingos are “feral” descendants from domesticated ancestors (“dogs”), thought to have diverged pretty early from the clade that contains our domestic dogs. They are not strictly “native” to Australia in that they were brought over by humans, but they have been on the continent for at least ~3,500 years, and likely help fill an ecological niche left vacant by the extinction of most of Australia’s larger predators.


Edited title since order of dingo/dog was reversed/incorrect.

Members of the genus Canis are notoriously hard to classify and opinions among mammalogists can vary a lot about what we call the different forms. Doesn’t help that they also interbreed a lot. I’ve heard the term “Canis soup” as a humorous taxonomic category for collectively describing some populations.


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