Dogs & kiwi

From pet dogs and assistance dogs to farming dogs and hunting dogs, kurī are important parts of many New Zealanders’ lives.

Unfortunately, dogs can be a significant threat to kiwi and other wildlife.

The good news is that dogs and kiwi can live alongside each other. When dog owners understand how to keep kiwi and other wildlife safe, while also keeping their dogs safe, we all win.

a kiwi

like this one

Rebuilding the kiwi population starts with just one kiwi. Become a regular donor and help us return kiwi to where they used to live.

Pet dogs

Dogs are important members of many Kiwis’ families. However, even the cutest, friendliest dog could kill a kiwi.

Hunting dogs

How hunters and trappers carry out their mahi can save a kiwi’s life, particularly when it comes to managing their dogs.

Farm and landowner dogs

If you own or manage land where wild kiwi live, there are several things you do can help protect them.

Kiwi avoidance training

Sometimes working dogs need to go into areas where kiwi live. Learn about kiwi avoidance training and how to register your dog.

Lead the Way

Lead the Way is an initiative by the Department of Conservation which teaches New Zealanders how to be responsible dog owners.

Where to take your dog

Want to take your dog outdoors? Some areas allow dogs, others need a permit, and some don’t allow dogs at all.

Dogs v kiwi: What’s the problem?

Kiwi don’t have a breastbone, plus they have under-developed chest muscles because they don’t need them for flying. This means kiwi don’t have much to protect their internal organs. Therefore, just a gentle nudge from an inquisitive dog has the potential to crush its very delicate ribcage and internal organs, even if the dog wasn’t being aggressive.

Kiwi also have a strong musty smell which is intensely interesting to dogs. They also can’t protect themselves very well.

This means any dog has the potential to kill a kiwi, regardless of its breed, gender, size, or temperament. Some dogs will intentionally hunt a kiwi, but others will injure or kill a kiwi accidentally.

white dog

The road to kiwi recovery

There are an estimated 68,000 kiwi located in Aotearoa, down from the millions that used to roam our forest floors.

Luckily for kiwi recovery, a female kiwi can start laying eggs from the age of three years. If she is well-protected, she could live for 50-60 years and lay up to 200 eggs in her lifetime. Each of her chicks also has the potential to hatch many more chicks of their own once they reach sexual maturity.

Therefore, even just one kiwi death can have a devastating impact on kiwi recovery, particularly in regions that are already facing a significant kiwi recovery battle.

man in a camouflage jacket holds a kiwi bird

Top tips to keep kurī & kiwi safe

If you can, keep your dog away from areas where kiwi live. If your dog lives near where kiwi also live, always keep it under control.

When walking your dog in areas where kiwi or other wildlife live, always keep it on a lead.

At night, keep your dog well-contained, ideally in a run or inside.

If you use your dog for hunting, don’t hunt at night.

Follow any local bylaws about where you can and can’t take your dog. If you’re taking your dog somewhere new, do your research first.

Exercise your dog off-lead at public dog parks or designated dog-friendly locations.

If you have a ‘dog with a job’ like a farming dog or hunting dog that needs to work in areas where kiwi live, put it through regular kiwi avoidance training with an endorsed trainer.

Read the latest news about kurī & kiwi