Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Wildlife & Fisheries Biology

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Dr. James D. Murdoch

Second Advisor

Dr. Abi T. Vanak


Canis familiaris, Free-ranging domestic dogs, telemetry, home range, habitat use, habitat selection


Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) are a pervasive threat to biodiversity in developing countries. India has nearly 59 million domestic dogs, many of which are free-ranging. Free-ranging domestic dogs (FRDD) in rural areas often interact with wildlife that inhabit areas outside protected areas in fragmented and human-dominated landscapes. Understanding the movement ecology of dogs is important for developing strategies to mitigate their negative interactions with wildlife. We used location data from GPS-collared FRDD (n = 31) to determine how space-use patterns and habitat selection differ between two categories of dogs – village and farm – in a complex agroecosystem in central India. Annual 95% home ranges for farm dogs (mean = 0.87 km2 ± 0.18 SE) were significantly larger than village dogs (mean = 0.11 km2 ± 0.03 SE) but with high individual variation (0.02 – 2.21 km2). Farm dogs used various habitats (including grasslands) during movement, whereas village dogs primarily used built areas. The top-ranked habitats in the compositional analysis for both the categories were built, agriculture, and fallow lands. However, farm dogs had a higher selection of grasslands than village dogs. Our study highlights that farm dogs are more likely to interact with wildlife than village dogs due to their space-use behavior. Therefore, we emphasize the need for responsible dog ownership and practices that limit the free-ranging behavior of farm dogs that are compatible with their roles in farm management in the region.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, May 09, 2026