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The Askal or Aspin Dog Breed: From Street Dog to Beloved Pet

The ASKAL, also known as the Aspin dog, is a native of the Philippines and 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 History:

askal or aspin dog lying on the grass

The ASKALS are considered a mongrel breed of dogs and are commonly found roaming around Philippine streets.

The breed is extremely resilient because they are 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 to which they can be traced.

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 Filipinos are and how free these dogs are most of the time.

A Change From Askal To Aspin

Because of the popularity of this native Filipino dog as a well-tempered house pooch, 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 dog’s name from Askal 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.

Aspin Dog Physical Features

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 mixed with another breed, they usually retain the elements from that breed, which can be very different from one dog 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.

Regarding weight, females are lighter at 16-20 kg, and males can be anywhere from 18 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.

The tail is always long and thick as it starts at the root and then tapers to a point.

Mostly all the ASKALs 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 the colors brown, white, black, or brindle.

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Askals Temperament & Personality

2 askal or aspin dogs playing with each other

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

At the same time, this mixed-breed 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 devoted to their owners, protective, playful, and friendly with their owners, family members, and other dogs. They make for an affectionate family dog and have proven good with young children.

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

Are Askals Smart?

an aspin dog lying on the road

Generally speaking, Askals are intelligent dogs.

As an example of the capability of Askal’s smarts, there have been entries that have competed against other dogs in agility competitions and other shows and given them a run for their money.

Is it Possible to Train an Askal?

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

If the Askal weren’t dependably trainable, this wouldn’t be the case, and other dogs 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.

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

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.

How To Take Care Of Askal Dogs

Health Issues:

 askal street dog

Many dogs tend to have health problems, which mostly come down to genetics.

They have great genetic diversity, making them powerful dogs without any major genetic issues.

They aren’t immune to dog diseases but 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; all you have to do is consider it.

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

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

But this shows the true nature of Askal 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 dog in the first place.


The Askal is a low-maintenance 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 Askal dog will not be many chores. These pets have a varied diet, so they will eat just about anything they can.

They are unlike most purebreds, meaning their stomach is much 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 ensure that your “best friend” eats fresh food. Otherwise, he might get sick.

Since we are talking about a dog 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 Askal 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.

The Modern Day Askal

Askal sitting on a motorbike

1. Askal Dog’s Role in Military and Police Work

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

Military and police forces in the country have begun to choose the Askal for working purposes over other canines. 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 Philippine Archipelago.

They’ve noticed where other K9s, such as the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd, Labrador Retrievers, or the Chinese Red Dog, would begin to fatigue and lay down; wary of the day’s heat, and 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 dogs are.

Their history of being a wandering dog has engrained a “street smart” element in 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 Aspins to help them with various tasks.

While they are popular among Pinoys, 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- Hachiko, became viral for waiting for his owner, who had already died, a few days before.
  • Askal dog price: Free

2. The Askal as a Beloved and Loyal Pet

askal dog and its girl owner

Askals 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 faithful to the entire family and shows the true, unique approach being brought to the table.

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

Final Thoughts

an askal or aspin dog standing on rice terraces

When it comes to mutts 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 fewer 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.

Feeling Adventurous?

Check Out More Adorable Asian Dogs below:

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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: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.

12 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)💗

  • Nilo B Apr 17, 2023 @ 8:48

    I had a brown female Aspin I named Booba and she saved our 6 purebred pitbulls from being stolen. We were woken at 3am by the frantic barking of Booba because several men entered our yard trying to steal our purebred pitbulls. Our pitbulls don’t bark at strangers, they only bark when hungry. They are also human friendly and will go with strangers brave enough to take them. We suspected the men who tried to steal our pitbulls were pitbull breeders themselves and know how to handle pitbulls. They didn’t know how to handle our Aspin Booba.

    • Pablo Pascua Apr 24, 2023 @ 18:57

      Wow, what a fantastic story about Booba! It’s incredible how she protected your purebred pitbulls from being stolen. It’s also interesting to learn that your pitbulls only bark when they’re hungry and are friendly with strangers. Booba proved herself as a fierce and loyal protector. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story with me.

  • Nilo B Apr 17, 2023 @ 8:56

    I have another story about our Aspin Booba. We have several apartment units in our compound we rent out to tenants, once the new tenants move in and get introduced, Booba eventually stops barking at them. Even though Booba is familiar with the tenants, she curiously barks at them when they bring out large bafs our boxes our of the property. She probably thinks they’re stealing stuff.

    • Pablo Pascua Apr 24, 2023 @ 18:57

      Thank you for sharing another story about Booba! It’s interesting to see how she reacts to new tenants and their belongings. It’s amazing how our furry friends have their own unique personalities and ways of thinking.

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