The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
WARRAH Dusicyon australis- DescriptionWarrah fur courtesy of Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm. Adult dog Warrah collected by J Frank 1847.

WARRAH Dusicyon australis- Description

  • warrah-ears
  • warrah-skull


Mivart (1890) wrote that the hairs of the lips, chin, and throat were white. Pocock  in 1913 confirmed this but added that the upper end of the throat, the chin and lower jaw were white stained with a fucous tint.  Leiut.-Col Hamilton- Smith writing in1839 mentions that the head was ‘wolf-like’ and described the throat as a ‘dirty white’.
Mivart suggests that colour could vary (perhaps due to seasons) as he says that there may be a blackish tint to thecrown of the head. The muzzle he describes as ‘somewhat lighter in colour.’ The ears, always rather short were 6.5 cm (Mivart) and had white inner margins.
Thomas (1914) measured five skulls. Lengths of the skulls from the East Falklands were175mm (female) and 181mm (male) and from the West Falklands 158mm (female) and 164mm (male). John Byron (1765) said their fangs were remarkably long and sharp.

‘I have never seen such teeth’. Admiral Grey


  • warrah-foot
  • warrah-tail

Body- descriptions by people who witnessed the warrah

From earliest sightings warrahs were described as being like both a wolf and a fox. Byron said that warrahs were as big as middle-sized mastiffs and of great fierceness resembling wolves, apart from their size and the shape of their tail he thought they bore a greater resembleance to a fox. Lewis de Bougainville said it was the size and make of a common shepherd's dog and called it loup-renard (wolf-fox), saying it dug a kennel underground like a fox and had a more bushy tail than a wolf. Warrahs stood about 15 inches (38.1 cm) high at the shoulder, and were fox-like in appearance. Mivart says it was 97cm long from snout to root of tail and the tail was 28.5 cm long. Governor Moody (1842) said it was the size of an English hound but slender with long legs.

The fur was moderately long with no very abundant underfur, which was of a pale brown colour (Mivart 1890). The hair was yellow,commonly black at the apex, annulated with white on the upper parts of the body. Those of the hinder part of the belly were a nearly uniform dirty white, and those of the chest yellowish, with black tips and greyish at the base. The insides of the thighs were whitish, the limbs fulvous externally, the feet somewhat paler. They had a black patch outside the lower part of the hind leg, just above the heel. The tail was rather bushy and coloured like the body for the proximal two-fifths of its length, the next two fifths were black and its terminal fifth white.


Photographic credits: Hurst, skin, foot, ears, tail, courtesy of Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm. Adult dog Warrah collected by J Frank 1847. Skull, National Museum, Liverpool. Voyage of the Beage Charles Darwin

Sources include: Dom. Pernety 1763-64. Historic d'un voyage aux Iles Maloaines. Renshaw, G. 1931, Mivart (1890) Mon. of Canidae, Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden, Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles of Belgique, Brussels, Belgium. The World Museum, Liverpool. Voyage around the world by Louis de Bougainville 1766-9,Voyage of the Beage Charles Darwin, Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Moody to Lord Stanley 14th April 1842, A Narrative of the Voyage of the Beagle-Captain Robert Fitzroy