Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Telomians are a rare breed of dog from Malaysia.  Well, they're not rare in Malaysia, but you don't often see them anyplace else.  Telomians are the only type of native Malaysian dog to live outside the country.  As you can see from looking at the pictures, telomians look sort of like basenjis.  Some scientists think that this breed is the missing link between dingos and basenjis.

These dogs were first bred by the Orang Asli people of Malaysia to hunt vermin.  The Orang Asli build all of their houses on stilts because there are too many scary things on the ground at night, such as snakes, scorpions, poisonous insects, army ants, and hungry animals.  So the telomians have learned to climb the ladders into the houses, where they can be safe, too.

One thing that's really strange is that even though the Malayan natives bred these dogs and kept them around, they also believed that dogs were unlucky.  They thought that dogs secretly wished their masters were dead, which meant that dogs could not be trusted.  If a person saw a feral dog, that was especially unlucky because a feral dog was actually an evil spirit.

Malaysia is the light orange country
In case you are like me, and you get confused about all those nations in the Pacific that are made up of a bunch of islands and other chunks of land that don't even touch each other, here is a map of Malaysia.  The telomian dogs are from the peninsula part of the country.

The first Westerner who discovered the telomian was Dr. Orville Eliot, in 1963.  He named the dogs for the Sungai Telom Valley, which is where he found them.  Dr. Eliot brought a pair of the dogs to the United States, and before long, some people started breeding them.  The Telomian Dog Club was founded in 1970.

Telomians are fairly small dogs that weigh between 18 and 28 pounds.  They are 15-18 inches tall and have kind of a long back.  In color, they can be fawn-and-white, black-and-white, or black-and-tan.  Telomians have blue tongues, just like chow chows.  The bitches only go into heat once a year, just like dingos, New Guinea Singing Dogs, and basenjis.  Usually this happens in September or October.

Telomians make good family pets because they like to play with kids.  They are also smart, so they learn commands quickly.  Also, they like to hunt and climb.  Telomians make a kind of howling sound, like basenjis and New Guinea Singing Dogs do.

So anyway, now you know about telomians.  I think they are pretty cute, but not as cute as basenjis, of course!


  1. I love learning about these rare dogs and cats! You do so well explaining them. That's actually how I found your blog- I was researching the kind of dog I'm getting called a Norwegian Lundehund.
    Thanks for helping me learn something new everyday!

  2. Thank-you for letting me know about this dog breed. I hadn't heard about them before!

  3. I like to write about rare and different dog breeds, because I always learn something, too. I'm glad you guys liked reading about telomians!
    Your friend, Piper

  4. I have just discovered that the dog I found in the jungle 4 years ago as a puppy is Telomian. I would like to get in touch with the Telomian club in the US, if anyone can help me.