The Aspin dog has become part of the landscape in large areas of the Philippines. They aren’t very well known around the world overall, which is what this page will aim to remedy.
An Aspin dog is a mixed breed of dog from the Philippines, and is natively called Askal (Asong Kalye), in Tagalog meaning “street dog.” They are historically known as Philippine street dogs and vary from one another in appearance.
Despite the variance in appearance, they share similar sizes, generally a medium-sized breed.
Because of the popularity of the 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, as a means to influence people away from thinking of it as an opportunistic nuisance rather than a well-mannered, loyal dog.
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What Is the Real Breed of Aspin?
As with any mixed breed of dog, people tend to want to know what the mix is comprised of. Unfortunately, there are no records of exactly which breeds are in the mix to make up an Aspin. Being present for decades, wandering about with no mating restrictions or limitations, how could anyone truly know?
Is Aspins a Breed of its Own?
Purists and die-hard breed enthusiasts will state unequivocally, that the term Aspin is an umbrella term to cover street dogs of mixed or unidentified ancestry. Umbrella term meaning something similar to what we see with the name “Pit Bull.” Not a name of a specific breed, but a name that is attributed to several breeds.
However, many organizations that exist in the Philippines would answer the question above with an unexpected answer. They’d switch it up and say that an Aspin is an Aspin, and is its own unique breed.
Why they would share that point of view is relatively easy to understand. At some point, the majority of breeds out there that we call “purebred” were once a combination of different breeds. The difference is, those were supervised, deliberate, with repeatable results, rather than nature taking its course.
So, rather than ask what breeds make up an Aspin, it may be easier to ask if Aspins are their own distinct breed. The answer you’ll get will depend on who you ask.
What’s the Lifespan of an Aspin?
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 Aspin, who typically enjoys a lifespan that ranges between 15 to 20 years. In the world of canines, this is a good long life.
Are Aspin Dogs Smart?
Generally speaking, yes, 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 as well. Unintelligent dogs never make it too far when it comes to holding any jobs in the police force or the military.
Can Aspin Dogs be Trained?
Yes, 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 also employed by the Philipino military.
If the Aspin wasn’t dependably trainable, this wouldn’t be the case, and other breeds would be employed in their stead. They are used largely to sniff out drugs, bomb detection, and as guard dogs, but are also recognized as great search and rescue dogs as well.
Aspin Dogs are Incredibly Resilient
Military and police forces in the Philippines have begun to choose the Aspin for working purposes over other breeds. The reason being 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, or Labrador Retrievers 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 quickly adapt to their surroundings. They are also more resilient to diseases than other breeds out there.
What is the Temperament of An Aspin Dog?
Aspins are predictably independent. Such is easy to understand when remembering their heritage as a street dog. At the same time, a street dog wouldn’t last very long if it were nasty toward people. Needless to say, 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 to be good with children.
Needless to say, they love being outdoors and remain competent in handling themselves outside.
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 levels of activity.
Purebreds are more predictable in terms of what one would expect of the breed. In that sense, predictability leads to more of an informed decision to make such a long-term commitment.
But Aspins have mixed themselves to such an extent within the confines of the Philippines, that owners would protest that they should be viewed as their own 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 Aspin is beloved deeply by those who have had the pleasure of owning them.