Pig-dog hunting or pig-dogging (“dogging” as it is generally known), is a practice where dogs are forced to hunt wild pigs/boar. The dogs are forced to track, bail, pin, hold, and maul wild pigs until the human arrives to finish the kill, usually by stabbing or shooting it in the chest or stomach.
It is the cruellest and most barbaric form of hunting in Australia, and has a range of social, animal welfare, and ecological issues. Pig-dogging is a bastardised and brutalised version of boar hunting, an ancient “sport” of the aristocracy from both Roman and Celtic Europe.
The hunted pigs experience an immense amount of prolonged fear, stress and pain during this form of hunting. As the hunts cover large areas, the dogs are taught to hold pigs for long periods of time, by mauling them until the person arrives to finish the kill, often being left to bleed out, resulting in a slow death.
In many cases, the hunted pigs are actually mauled to death by the hunting dogs before the human handlers arrive. Many pictorials in pig-hunting magazines show this situation, or human handlers standing by while the pig is mauled by groups of dogs.
A pig dog is most commonly a large mixed-breed, which has been blooded to make them aggressive. Being “blooded” entails being beaten, starved and psychologically abused, making them not back down from pigs approximately 10 times their size. Wild pigs can reach 200kg, and males have tusks that grow up to 15cm long, whilst the dogs are on average 20-40kg. Despite being efficient, aggressive hunters, the hunt is incredibly dangerous, placing the dogs at risk of being injured, mutilated, and killed. Occasionally they are armoured with protective collars, breastplates and vests, to prevent injuries.
Native Wildlife and The Public
Although pig-dgs are supposedly trained to not attack native wildlife and stock, there is ample evidence that native terrestrial species including wallabies and kangaroos are often attacked by dogs not under the direct supervision of their handlers. Conversely, the only way to “train” dogs so as to not attack native wildlife is traditionally to beat any animals that are caught attacking native wildlife.
There are a number of attacks in rural and regional Australia each year involving dogs bred for pig-dogging. These attacks often involve dogs that have escaped from holding pens in semi-rural areas, or family members of pig-dog enthusiasts that have allowed their dogs and children to mingle without supervision. Because of these dogs’ aggressive natures, socialisation, size and agility, and high-pain threshold, these attacks are generally of a more serious nature than attacks by other domestic or companion dogs.
Lost and strayed pig-dogs are a major issue in rural Australia. Lost pig-dogs in the large rural areas of western NSW also raises the possibility of these highly-aggressive selectively-bred hunting dogs becoming wild and interbreeding with dingoes creating a large, super-aggressive canine predator in the Australian landscape.
Here is some video taken by pig hunters that show the brutality of this so-called sport:
WARNING – graphic content may be disturbing
ABC 7:30 Report – Pig dogging faces question of barbarity or hobby?