Aspin, the Philippine dog

Why we love our native dogs

Aspin is short for asong Pinoy, meaning Philippine native dog. We love our aspins and would prefer to consider them the Philippine Special. Well, what’s so special about the Philippine local dogs? You mean, aside from their stunning good looks and wonderful temperament?

The scientific answer would be that most mongrel dogs have the advantage of good genetic diversity. A mongrel, mixed-breed dog or mutt, is a dog that is not the result of intentional breeding by humans. This means that the genes of the mongrel dogs include a little of this and a little of that, which creates the best mix for living in their habitat of the beautiful Philippines. By natural design, mongrel dogs are generally medium-sized (about 10-20 kilograms), although some of them are unusually handsome, like Stinky!

The temperament and behavior of mongrel dogs tend to be more moderate as opposed to that of purebreds, that are bred for specific character traits or jobs. The dogs of Alona just as intelligent as any pedigree dog, and perhaps even more! Aspins are warm, friendly, playful and affectionate, and would be a loyal member of any family, returning their owner’s love tenfold.

Formerly considered a “lesser dog” to their pedigree counterparts, Aspins are now receiving more and more recognition within the Philippines. At present, the Philippine Army has at least 40 Aspins combat working dogs deployed in different field units nationwide. In May 2016, Roy, a seven-month-old Aspin, was awarded a certificate of recognition by the Bureau of Animal Industry for playing a major role in search and retrieval operations after a landslide.

Another famous Aspin, Kabang, lost half her face after jumping in front of a motorcycle to save the lives of two girls. The hero dog received international fame and donations poured in from 45 countries to cover her treatment costs in the US. Despite the disfigurement, Kabang can still chew her food using her two remaining molars, and smell well enough to recognize her owner and handlers. She was later reunited with her owner in Zamboanga.

So, as you can see, the aspin has just as much to offer as any other dog. They may have been born on the streets, gotten lost along the way, or abandoned by their owners (happens more than you think), but we think they are just as important as any other resident of Bohol. They are faithful companions of those of us who live and work in the area, and we hope to provide for and protect them as much as we can.

Thank you for getting to know the Philippine Special dog — the aspin!

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