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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 street dog from Candon
Country of origin Philippines
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. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has suggested the alternative term Aspin, short for asong Pinoy (Pinoy dog).[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] Physically, the dogs have " all shapes, configurations and sizes." [3]

In an opinion piece for the Inquirer, Michael Tan writes that Askals are often more resilient and street-smart than purebreds.[4][unreliable source?] Jojo Isorena states that aspins tend to be more shy or fearful because dogs that were easier to catch would be eaten.[3] PAWS reports that at one point, 98% of the calls it received about cruelty and abuse involved aspins.[3] Its 2010 campaign to change the terminology used for street dogs to aspin was led by actress Heart Evangelista which included Evangelista identifying herself as "a beautiful 'mutt' of Filipino, Chinese and Spanish ancestry".[3]

Aspins have been raised or captured and eaten for their meat, which is called azucena.[5] Aspins were allowed to compete in the First Philippine Dog Agility Championships in 2013.[6][7] At the 2015 Pet Express Doggie Run in Pasay City, aspins were the featured type of dog.[8] The dogs featured in an essay by Gilda Cordero-Fernando.[9] Aspins have been trained by the Coast Guard to identify bombs and drugs by scent.[10]

Notable aspins[edit]

  • Kabang, an aspin who lost a snout while saving two young children[5][11]
  • Dagul (won the Lewyt Award for Heroic Compassionate Animals, of the North Shore Animal League of America)[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "Irong ‘bisaya’ magamit sa bomb sniffing". GMA News.TV. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d Alya B. Honasan (May 15, 2012). "In praise of the ‘asong Pinoy’". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Tan, Michael. "Askal". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-04-27. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b Campbell, Jeff (2014-10-07). Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-1-936976-62-1. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Jose Santino S. Bunachita (May 25, 2013). "Aspin to compete in national dog show". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Jujemay G. Awit (May 26, 2013). "From 5 cities, canines come to bow, wow in Philippine Dog Agility Association". Sun.Star. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Melissa G. Bagamasbad (March 17, 2015). "Pet Express Doggie Run 2015: ‘Aspins’ shine and get second chances at life". Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Ventura, Sylvia Mendez (2005). A Literary Journey with Gilda Cordero-Fernando. UP Press. pp. 94–. ISBN 978-971-542-483-7. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Non Alquitran (January 27, 2015). "20 bomb-sniffing dogs from US to secure APEC meet". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "PHL's hero dog Kabang soon to undergo $20,000 facial surgery in US". GMA News Online. 2012-10-09. Retrieved March 2014. 
  12. ^ "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.