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For the village in Iran, see Askal, Iran. For Philippine national soccer team, see Azkals.
Irong Bisaya
Askal Dog From Candon.jpg
A Philippine Mongrel
Country of origin Philippines
Weight Male 40–65 pounds (18–29 kg);
Female 35–45 pounds (16–20 kg);
Height Male 64–70 cm (25 ¼–27 ½ in);
Female 58–64 cm (22 ¾–25 ¼ in);
Coat Single coat (commonly)
Color Black, brown, white (commonly), red (rare) and spotted
Litter size 3–5 puppies, avg. 7–8
Life span 15-20 years
Classification / standards
Not recognized by any major kennel club
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

Askals or Aspins are mongrel dogs in the Philippines. The name "askal" is a Tagalog-derived portmanteau of asong kalye or "street dog" because these dogs are commonly seen in streets. Askals are very resilient compared to their pure-breed counterparts, who are less well adapted to the street dog life.[1] 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.[2] To counter perceived political incorrectness, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has suggested the alternative term Aspin, short for asong Pinoy (Pinoy dog).[3]

Askals are often more resilient and street-smart than purebreds.[4]


The Askal or Aspin is from the Tagalog language and is a contraction of the word Asong Kalye or street dog and the first letters of Asong Pinoy or Filipino dog, The Irong Bisaya, which means "native dog" is the Cebuano name for these stray dogs. In the Bicol Region, these dogs are generally called Ido or Ayam. These dogs were developed through generations of semi-natural selection.

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.

Working life[edit]

Askals make good watch dogs. They also make good sports dogs for their high endurance and agility and have been noted to think too much for a trick. They also require less maintenance since they are short haired and can survive in a hostile environment. Askals have good temperament and do well with children. Unlike in other countries where mongrels are not popular house pets, in the Philippines Askals have become known to be good house pets. In the Philippines, these dogs are discriminated against in comparison with other purebred dogs.

Dog meat trade[edit]

Even though killing a dog for its meat is forbidden by the Metro Manila Commission Ordinance 82-02 of 1985 and by the Animal Welfare Act of 1998,[5][6] the consumption of dog meat is still common in many parts of the Philippines and dogs are sometimes sold to neighbors for a price to be eaten.[7] 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 Philippine 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 dogs.

Notable aspins[edit]

  • Kabang (an aspin who lost a snout while saving two young children)[8]
  • Dagul (won the Lewyt Award for Heroic Compassionate Animals, of the North Shore Animal League of America)[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Filipino Culture - Askal, the Pinoy Dog". The Pinoy Warrior. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Irong ‘bisaya’ magamit sa bomb sniffing". GMA News.TV. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Tan, Michael. "Askal". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  5. ^ Baluyot, Mike. "Dogs that talk". Manilla Standard. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dog meat trade in the Philippines". Humane Society Int'l. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  7. ^ O'Meara, Ryan. "Exposing brutal Philippines dog meat trade". dog news. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "PHL's hero dog Kabang soon to undergo $20,000 facial surgery in US". GMA News Online. 2012-10-09. Retrieved March 2014. 
  9. ^ "FORMER FILIPINO STREET DOG WARNS 16 YEAR OLD MASTER OF IMPENDING AVALANCHE: Dagul's Bravery Merits North Shore Animal League America's Lewyt Award (September 2003)". Animal People. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2014.