Street dogs in the Philippines
||This article possibly contains original research. (January 2013)|
|A Philippine Mongrel|
|Country of origin||Philippines|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
In the Philippines, street dogs (askals, locally) are mongrels and adapted to local conditions. The name "askal" is a Tagalog-derived portmanteau of asong kalye (street dog). Many have no owners, but some locals keep them as pets one leaves in the streets. Askals are very resilient compared to their pure-breed counterparts, who are less well adapted to the street dog life. In Cebuano, mongrel dogs are called irong Bisaya, which literally means "Bisayan dog", implying that these are not thought of as a mixed-breed dog so much as unbred mongrels with no purebred ancestors. To counter perceived political incorrectness, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has suggested the alternative term Aspin, short for asong Pinoy (Pinoy dog).
Askals are often more resilient and street-smart than purebreds, but unlike in other countries, mongrels are not popular house pets in the Philippines, although in the past few years Askals have become known to be good house pets. In the Philippines, these dogs are discriminated against in comparison with other purebred dogs.
Similar to the vira-lata dogs (trash can tipper) of The Dominican Republic and Brazil, the askal is basically any stray dog in the Philippines. Askal is the Tagalog (Austronesian language) contraction of the word Asong Kalye or street dog. Irong Bisaya, which means "native dog" is the Cebuano name for these stray dogs. In Bicol region, these dogs are generally called Ido or Ayam. These dogs were developed through generations of semi-natural selection.
Some askals show non-native ancestry in their appearance. For example, when crossed with spitz-type dogs, the offspring may have the typical looks of a spitz. Bred with a Labrador mix or a Pinscher mix, the resulting puppies may strongly manifest characteristics of the parent breed.
In general, however, most askals are lack signs of non-native ancestry. They are medium-sized wiry dogs, with long thin legs and bodies longer than they are tall. These dogs have short, dense coats that can be of any color. Their muzzles are commonly long and pointed, and they have good teeth; a complete set, evenly spaced, that meets in a scissor bite. Tails are long, thick at the root and taper to a point. Their ear shapes are varied; some have pricked ears, while others show drop and rose ears. Eyes are also variously shaped and colored.
Dog meat trade
Even though killing a dog for his meat is forbidden by the Metro Manila Commission Ordinance 82-02of 1985 and by the Animal Welfare Act of 1998,  the consumption of dog meat is still common in many parts of the Philippines and dogs are sometime sold to neighbors for a price to be eaten. A typical dish using dog meat in the Philippines can be Asong Pulutan or Asocena. Filipinos who eat dog meat do not see killing dogs as any different than slaughtering a cow or a goat, and it is still rooted in their culture despite ongoing efforts by the government and Philippines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to eradicate the practice.
Campaigns and programs were launched to preserve these dogs. The Animal Kingdom Foundation spearheaded the rescue operations by establishing a two-hectare rescue center in Capas, Tarlac where dogs recovered from illegal slaughter houses were housed. Recovered dogs are open for adoption. The See Beauty Beyond Breed (SBBB) campaign was launched, supported by movie and TV personalities with the aim of uplifting the image of the Philippine native dog.
- Dagul (Won the Lewyt Award for Heroic Compassionate Animals, of the North Shore Animal League of America)
- Filipino Culture - Askal, the Pinoy Dog
- See this Cebuano news item for an example of its usage: "Irong ‘bisaya’ magamit sa bomb sniffing". GMA News.TV. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Honasan, Alya (2007-07-22). "‘Hey, pare, let’s save the whales’". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
- Tan, Michael. "Askal". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
- Baluyot, Mike. "Dogs that talk". Manilla Standard. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Dog meat trade in the Philippines". Humane Society Int'l. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- O'Meara, Ryan. "Exposing brutal Philippines dog meat trade". dog news. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Animal People Info Services