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A male aspin on the beach
|Other names||Ayam, Irong Bisaya|
|Common nicknames||Asong Pinoy (Filipino Dog)|
|Notes||Philippine Breed Dog|
Filipino Dog Breed
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Aspin or Asong Pinoy // is a modern name for the indigenous dogs of the Philippines. Historically an important symbol and companion for thousands of years, aspins are still regarded as companions of people in the Philippines. In Philippine mythology, these dogs were regarded as the companion of the deities, the guardians of certain domains, and companions sent by the deities to aid mankind.
The name of dogs in the Philippines was changed after the imposition of Spanish colonization, and later American imperialism. By the 20th century, dogs were called "askal", a Tagalog-derived portmanteau of asong kalye or "street dog" as these dogs are commonly seen wandering the streets. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) suggested the alternative term aspin, short for asong Pinoy (Pinoy dog) probably to avoid the stigma associated with the term "askal". In Cebuano, dogs are called irong Bisaya, which literally means "Visayan dog" or "native dog" (note that the word "Bisaya" doesn't explicitly mean "Visayan" but it is a term pertaining to people and animals native to a specific locale. For example, "manok bisaya" simply means a breed of chicken native to a locality), implying that these are not thought of as a mixed-breed dog so much as unbred mongrels with no purebred ancestors. This is only from a Bisayan point of view since Irong Bisaya don't differ in character or physical appearance from the other Askals found in the entire Philippine archipelago. Physically, the dogs have "all shapes, configurations and sizes."
The coat can be short haired or rough. Coat colors ranges from Black, Brown, White (commonly), Red (rare), Brindle, Gray, and Cream. Spots are commonly found at the base of the tail and at the back in semi-circular fashion. The snout sometimes appears black if the coat color is brown. The tail is usually held high and the ears can be floppy, semi-floppy or fully pointing upwards. The bone structure of a native Askal is on the medium range, never heavy like in Rottweilers.
Interactions with humans
Aspins have been raised traditionally as guard dogs. They are naturally suspicious of strangers, independent and protective of family members. They are good to young children as companions, due to their devotion to family members. They are trusted by their owners to roam markets or the neighborhood to socialize with other dogs which is why these dogs are seen by the Western people as stray dogs when, in fact, they are not. They are, however, expected to be home before dusk, especially males who always look for females in heat. Female dogs usually stay home and are excellent watch dogs. Aspins were allowed to compete in the First Philippine Dog Agility Championships in 2013. At the 2015 Pet Express Doggie Run in Pasay City, aspins were the featured dog. The dogs featured in an essay by Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Aspins have been trained by the Coast Guard to identify bombs and drugs by scent.
- Kabang, an aspin who lost its snout while saving two young children
- Dagul (won the Lewyt Award for Heroic Compassionate Animals, of the North Shore Animal League of America)
- Buboy, dubbed as the Filipino version of Hachiko for waiting of his owner who had already died, few days before. However, Buboy died after being run over by a vehicle.
- Boonrod (Aspin Dog), was found paddling near a rig 130 miles (220 kilometers) off the coast of Thailand.
- Tubeza, Philip C. "AFP prefers 'askal' over 'imported' dogs for K-9 duty". newsinfo.inquirer.net. Retrieved 2019-07-24.
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- 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.
- "PHL's hero dog Kabang soon to undergo $20,000 facial surgery in US". GMA News Online. 2012-10-09. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
- "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 5 May 2004. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- "Viral dog Buboy gone soon after master's death (June 2019)".
- "Dog found swimming 130 miles off the coast of Thailand (April 2019)". CNN.