Telomians were originally bred as vermin-controlling hunting dogs by the Orang Asli indigenous people of Malaysia. Telomians developed an unusual climbing ability, as the Orang Asli built their houses on stilts in order to avoid contact with dangerous animals on the ground. Certain cynologists have proposed that the telomian may be the missing link between the Basenji and the dingo. Although the Malayan natives kept dogs, they considered them to be nonetheless unlucky, and treacherous animals which longed for the deaths of their master. To see a feral dog was considered doubly unfortunate, as such animals were considered to be evil spirits.
They were officially discovered by the West in 1963 by anthropologist Dr Orville Elliot, who named the breed after the Telom River where he first found them. A pair of dogs was brought to the United States, with a Telomian Dog Club being established in 1970. A second pair of telomians was imported to the US in 1973 and it is believed that all Telomians in the West descend from these two domesticated pairs.
The telomian is a small breed with an elongated back. The short and smooth coat can be any shade of sable, with white and ticking. A black mask is not unusual. Adults are 15-18 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 18-28 lbs. Like the chow chow, the breed has a blue tongue. Like its close cousins, the dingo and the New Guinea Singing Dog, the telomian has a single annual estrus cycle, which peaks during September through October.
^Malay magic: an introduction to the folklore and popular religion of the Malay Peninsular, By Walter William Skeat, Charles Otto Blagden, Edition: illustrated, Published by Routledge, 1965, ISBN 0-7146-2026-2, 685 pages