Fijian Street Dog
Fijian street dogs are free-roaming pups that typically congregate in cities or towns with plentiful resources. They share many basic traits with pet dogs, but they lead primarily independent lives outdoors.
Fijian Street Dog History
Like all dogs, the Fijian street dog is a descendant of the gray wolf. At some point, a number of wolves became domesticated (but experts disagree on exactly when and how). And over time, it became clear that these domesticated canines could perform many useful jobs—from pulling sleds to herding sheep to protecting livestock.
As a result, people began selectively breeding them to strengthen the traits that made them excel in specific areas or conditions. This effort resulted in the many purebred dogs that we know and love today. But the majority of dogs around the world do not belong to a particular breed. This includes Fijian street dogs.
These semi-feral dogs wander the streets, primarily in Fiji's two cities: Suva and Lautoka. The street dog population has increased over the years, impacting local communities. As concerns about cleanliness, disease transmission, and public safety intensify, local governments for the island nation have implemented programs to keep the street dog population under control. Trap, neuter, release (TNR) programs have shown promise in reducing the number of free-roaming dogs in Fiji's city streets.
Fijian Street Dog Traits
Fijian street dogs can come in all shapes and sizes. But street dogs generally tend to be medium-sized.
Coat and Colouring
Street dogs typically have short, brownish coats. That said, any combination of coat colors, patterns, and lengths is genetically possible.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Fijian street dogs do not follow a breed standard, so there is no shared set of traits that links them together. Still, common characteristics of street dogs include prick ears and pointed noses.
Fijian Street Dog Temperament
Fijian street dogs have learned to fend for themselves. So, they tend to be scrappy, intelligent, and adaptable—all skills that support independent survival. Because they've never had to rely on humans, they may be fearful or skeptical of people who have not earned their trust.
Fijian Street Dog Care
Fijian street dogs' diets typically consist of whatever they can kill or find—small farm animals, scraps from trash cans, handouts from kind strangers, and so on. If you're leaving food out for a street dog, they'll benefit from commercial diets formulated for pet dogs.
Because they fend for themselves, street dogs aren't usually at risk of becoming overweight. However, if you take a street dog under your roof, keep an eye on their food intake to avoid overfeeding. Guidelines on dog food packages are a good starting point when determining daily portions.
If you've adopted a street dog that's comfortable being handled, regular brushing and nail trims will help them look their best. Good dental hygiene is also important for any dog. Professional cleanings and at-home dental care will keep their mouths healthy and reduce the risk of related health issues.
All dogs need exercise to stay physically and mentally fit, and street dogs are no exception. Fijian street dogs that are on their own will get adequate exercise during their daily roaming. Pet dogs, however, need access to the outdoors to stretch their legs and get mental stimulation. Playing in a fenced yard and going for leashed walks are great ways for your dog to release energy.
Street dogs are not accustomed to obeying commands from people. In fact, many may avoid close contact with humans. Before attempting a training program, start by building trust and respect with your dog. Slow and steady is the best approach to making inroads with a street dog.