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Askal Or Aspin? (The Dog Behind The Weird Name)

The ASKAL, sometimes referred to as the Aspin dog, is a native to the Philippines, and it’s one of the most popular dog breeds in the country.

It has become part of the landscape in large areas of the Philippines. They aren’t very well known worldwide overall, which is what this page will aim to remedy.

What Is The Meaning Of ASKAL?

ASKAL comes from the Filipino word Asong Kalye in Tagalog, meaning “street dog.” They are historically known as Philippine street dogs and vary in appearance.

Despite the variance in appearance, this Philippine dog shares similar sizes, generally a medium-sized breed.

Askal Dog Breed Overview:

2 askal or aspin dogsInterestingly, an ASKAL puppy and an adult dog don’t have a specific appearance.

The reason is simple. They crossed bred with multiple breeds, making it difficult to pinpoint their looks.

If they are mixed with another breed, they usually retain the elements from that breed, which can be very different from one pet to the other.

The regular height of an ASKAL dog is around 64 to 70 cm. however, you can expect females to be anywhere from 58 to 64 cm, so a tad smaller.

When it comes to weight, females are lighter at 16-20 kg, and males can be anywhere from 18 up to 29 kg or even 30 at times.

Eyes can have a variety of shapes and colors; the same happens with ears too. In the case of ears, you can find rose or droopy ears; others have pricked ears. So the options here are all over the place.

That being said, the tail is always long, thick as it starts at the root, and then it becomes taper to a point.

Mostly all the ASKAL dogs have very long and relatively thin legs, which is quite an interesting thing to note about this breed in the first place.

The Askal has fur that is described as short, dense, and rough and can come in various colors. ASKALS come in colors of brown, white, black, or brindle.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Philippine Witch Dog: A Myth or Reality?

Askal Temperament:

2 askal or aspin dogs playing with each other

Aspins are predictably independent. Such is easy to understand when remembering their heritage as street dogs.

At the same time, a street dog wouldn’t last very long if it were nasty toward people. They are people-friendly unless trained or raised to be otherwise.

They are loyal to their owners, friendly, and love to play with their owners, family members, and other dogs as well. They make for an affectionate family pet and have proven good with children.

They love being outdoors and remain competent in handling themselves outside.

Askal Dog Lifespan

3 aspin dogs

As a rule of thumb, smaller to midsized dogs age slower than big to large-sized dogs. Thus, smaller dogs tend to have longer lives.

This is true with the Askal, who typically enjoys a lifespan between 15 to 20 years. In the world of canines, this is a good long life.

Askal Dog History:

askal or aspin dog lying on the grass

The ASKALS are considered a mongrel breed of dogs in the Philippines and are commonly found on the streets.

The breed is extremely resilient because they are so well adapted to the street way of life.

The breed’s exact origins are unknown, but because they have been bred from a variety of mixed breeds and “mutts,” there are no specific ancestors that they can be traced back to.

As we have mentioned before, the name “ASKAL” is derived from the term “asong kalye,” which translates to “street dog. ”

It also shows how liberal the people from the Philippines are and how free these dogs tend to be most of the time.

A Change From Askal To Aspin

Because of the popularity of this native Filipino dog as a well-tempered house pet, actions have been taken to erase the idea of the breed being little more than a street wandering nomad.

Early in the 2000s, efforts were made to change the name of the dog from Askal (Asong Kalye), meaning “street dog” to ASPIN (Asong Pinoy), meaning “Filipino Dog.”

The change in its name changes the meaning behind the dog’s name to influence people away from thinking of it as an opportunistic nuisance rather than a well-mannered, loyal dog.

How To Take Care Of Aspin Dogs

Health Issues:

 askal street dog

Many pets tend to have health problems, which mostly comes down to genetics.

That being said, they have great genetic diversity, making them Aspin a very powerful breed without any major genetic issues, to begin with.

They aren’t immune to dog diseases; however, they are more resistant to most common dog illnesses.

That’s the most important aspect you want to pursue. Results can be among some of the best every time because of that, all you have to do is consider it.

There are no major requirements in the Philippines when it comes to vaccinations, which you have to consider.

You can go to the vet, and he will recommend the standard vaccinations, nothing too crazy.

But this shows the true nature of Aspin and how impressive and unique this is as a breed.

It’s very different, and that shows the true value and uniqueness provided by this breed in the first place.


The Aspin is a low-maintenance breed of dog that does not require much brushing or grooming.

These dogs have short coats that do not require much bathing or trimming. Their fur is short and doesn’t shed a lot.

Food Requirements

stray askal dog

Finding the right dog food for the Aspin will not be that much of a chore. These pets have a varied diet, so they will eat just about anything they can.

They are unlike most pure breeds, which means their stomach is a lot more powerful.

They won’t have organisms messing up their stomachs. As a result, they will be ok even with lower-quality food and some leftover scraps.

Of course, you want to make sure that the foods your pet eats are fresh. Otherwise, he might get sick.

Since we are talking about a dog that lives in the Philippines, you will notice that you can easily offer him rice, home-cooked food, meat, and veggies, and it will be just fine.

Feeding your Aspin all comes down to the budget. It can work very well, and it will undoubtedly give you a super rewarding and impressive experience which is always an excellent thing.

Askal Dog Price:

Free to 30 USD

Are Aspin Dogs Smart?

an aspin dog lying on the road

Generally speaking, Aspins are intelligent dogs. As an example of the capability of an Aspin’s smarts, there have been entries that have competed against other breeds in agility competitions and other various dog shows- and have given them a run for their money.

They are smart as house pets and have proven themselves to be effective workers. Unintelligent dogs never make it too far when holding any police force or military jobs.

Can Aspin Dogs be Trained?

Aspins are intelligent enough to be well trained. As alluded to above, Aspins lend their services to several different police forces in the Philippines and are employed by the Philippine military.

If the Aspins weren’t dependably trainable, this wouldn’t be the case, and other breeds would be employed in their stead. They are mainly used to sniff out drugs, bomb detection, and guard dogs but are also recognized as great search and rescue dogs.

The Askal as a Service Dog

Askal sitting on a motorbike

Today, the ASKALS (sometimes AZKALS) or ASPINS are becoming more popular in homes and the workforce in the Philippines.

Military and police forces in the Philippines have begun to choose the Aspin for working purposes over other breeds. The reason is how versatile and resilient Aspins are and how easily they can handle transitions from place to place, climate to climate, within the Philippines.

They’ve noticed where other breeds such as the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd, Labrador Retrievers, or the Chinese Red Dog would begin to fatigue and lay down, wary of the heat of the day, the Aspin would still be ready to go. They thrive in the climate they know and are not affected by the heat and humidity as other, more popular breeds are.

Their history of being a wandering type of dog has engrained a “street smart” element to their instincts, giving them the ability to adapt to their surroundings quickly. They are also more resilient to diseases than other breeds out there.

Currently, the Philippine Army employs over 40 Aspin dogs to help them with various tasks.

While they are popular in the Philippines, the ASKALS remains uncommon in other world parts.

Did You Know?

  • Several Askal dogs have been deemed “heroes.” In 2016, an Askal named Roy aided in a search and rescue mission in a landslide.
  • Kabang became internationally famous and was described as a “hero dog” when she jumped at the motorcycle, knocking it over and preventing two young people from a potentially deadly crash!
  • Buboy, the Filipino version of the Japanese dog breed Hachiko became viral for waiting for his owner, who had already died, a few days before.

Final Thoughts

an askal or aspin dog standing on rice terraces

When it comes to mixed breeds or “mongrel,” dogs, like the Aspins or Askals purists, tend to look down their noses at them and are often viewed as inferior to the more purpose-driven purebreds. But are they inferior?

For the most part, no, not at all. In some cases, mixed breeds are healthier, suffer from less genetic or hereditary issues, and can live just as long, if not longer, than purebreds of the same size and activity levels.

Purebreds are more predictable regarding what one would expect of the breed. In that sense, predictability leads to an informed decision to make such a long-term commitment.

But Aspins have mixed themselves to such an extent within the Philippines that owners would protest that they should be viewed as their breed, with predictable results in nearly every way except for the variances in appearance.

Be it a purebred or a mongrel- it’s all semantics. A great dog is a great dog, and the Askal or Aspin is deeply beloved by those who have enjoyed owning them.

As we mentioned earlier, he is very loving and loyal to the entire family, and he shows the true, unique approach being brought to the table.

The most important aspect is that he also has a lot of energy so that he will play around with kids quite a bit.

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Related Questions:

1. Is there an Aspin dog in the USA?

As it is a Philippine dog, there are no reports that Aspin dogs have been imported to the USA.


About the author: Pablo Pascua created dogbreedsfaq.com because of his interest in all the different breeds, and his desire to learn more. His inspiration comes from the many dogs he has owned throughout his life.

8 comments… add one
  • Zanzan Renegade Jun 11, 2021 @ 22:49

    We have aspin puppy and yes all of this are true . He’s sweet , kind and playful. But when we remove his leash, he just bolts away full speed and try to find ways to go outside the neighborhood but my father don’t like our Aspin roaming around because one of our good neighbors throw stones at roaming dogs :/ So we don’t let him go outside anymore to make him safe from nasty vile weirdos. I will try to walk him out instead in the morning when im not feeling lazy 😛 LoL

  • I love them. They’re surprisingly easier to train. After two months of having the front door opened daily just enough for the puppies to pass through before they wake up, they already trained themselves to go out to pee and poo, even during drizzles or rain. Tuting even learned to push or pull open the front screen door by himself with his snout. They’re not finicky, and they accompany me anywhere. When I got older I promised, and maintained up to this day to never have any dog sleep outside but inside the house instead like a family member, no collar or leash too.

    • Pablo Pascua Feb 18, 2022 @ 21:17

      Tuting? Nice name!

      • Angie Viloria Apr 7, 2022 @ 6:35

        There are two Aspins in our Canadian City. one belonging to myself and one belonging to my friend.

  • Bryan James Mahinan Aug 9, 2022 @ 10:41

    I always find Aspins superior to any other pure bred dogs, because of its well-evolved attributes. Aspins are the GOA(D)💗

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