Askal is a stray dog in the Philippines similar to the vira lata dogs (trashcan tipper) in Brazil and The Dominion Republic. The word “Askal” is an Austronesian (Tagalog) version of street dog or asong kalye. It applies to mongrels as they usually stay outside in the nature. Irong Bisaya, that means native dog, is the Cebuano name for these street dogs. These dogs are also known as Ayam or Ido in Bicol regions. To prevent any confusion or political incorrectness, PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society) has suggested a name Aspin that is the short form of Asong Pinoy (Pinoy dogs).
Askal dogs are present in Philippines from centuries but their actual origin is unknown. The appearance of Askal is similar to Australia’s native dog Dingo, so it was speculated that Askal are the descended form of Dingo. According to historians, Dino was brought to Australia from Indonesia by the Austronesian travelers. These Austronesian travelers sailed through different countries one of them was Philippines. They brought those dogs for hunting. Apart from that, these dogs served as blankets to save them from cold and keep the owner warm in the night.
Askal dogs have a mixed ancestry as well as appearance because of cross breeding. An Askal crossed with Spitz dog will have a typical look of Spitz. If an Askal is crossed with pinscher or Labrador, it will carry the appearance of parent breed.
Usually, Askals have medium size body with short dense coat of any color. They carry different types of ears like pricked ears, rose or droopy ears. Eyes can be in different shapes in variety of colors.
Askals are loyal, loving and friendly dogs. They are patient enough to wait under the table for leftover food until the family finishes the dinner. These dogs do not have the impressive personality like the purebred dogs but the loyalty and love given by them to human beings cannot be doubted. They become a wonderful friend of children in the same way they make a hunting or jogging buddy of the master.
Usually looked as cheap pets, Askal dogs can be a perfect dog because they have a loyal and loving nature. They can be an excellent companion in either your house or wherever you will take them. To groom Askal dogs, bathe them once a week. Water will remove the dog smell, dirt and other impurities from them. They do not like water, so before taking the dog to bath, you should prepare everything otherwise they will run away.
Bathing Askals is an easy task because they are covered with thin and fine short hair that are manageable to wet and shampoo. You should start wetting them from head, moving to the body and finally to the tail. Make sure that you apply enough amount of shampoo and massage properly all over the body.
Apart from bathing, you have to check their nails and years for lice, ticks and other parasites. While removing these parasites, take extra care because they can bring part of these dogs with them.
Ideal living conditions
Generally, Askals are outdoor dogs. They are tied outside in the yard to guard the family and property. An Askal will not fail to warn the family members from strangers but once visitor is accepted in the house, they will treat the stranger as a part of the family and start liking the new guest. Askals are not very aggressive and are very famous to be friendly with smaller pets.
Askals live a healthy and happy live that lasts for 27 to 30 years. After 15 years, you have to take proper care of them if you want a long relationship with them.
Askals are healthy dogs because they are mixed breed and possess greater generic diversity that gives them high resistance from many diseases. They are tough as well as low maintenance dogs that do not required much medical care. Usually, many diseases do not affect Askals and that is why veterinarians hardly check them. They can restore their health under much kind of illness and skin diseases without any medication. Askals are low shedders, brushing the coat will be enough to maintain their good condition.
These dogs are currently being trained to be narcotics and bomb sniffing dogs as K9 unit of Philippines are becoming very expensive to maintain and too old to work. Many programs and campaigns are launched to train and preserve them. Apart from that, an Askal is very loyal and affectionate to its owner and family members; a true friend of human beings.