Telomian (Malaysian Dog)

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sable with white and ticking
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The Telomian (the Malaysian Dog) is a clever, docile and frolicsome breed. It has originated and developed in Malaysia for hundreds of years. This wonderful dog is considered to be extremely rare and undoubtedly deserves more recognition.

Photo: © Bart's Sanctuary

One of the suggestions claims that the ancestry of the Telomian reached back to as far as XVII century. It is also believed that among its forefathers were various Bulldog breeds and the wild Dingo although there is no concrete evidence of it.

The Telomian served to protect the villages of the Orang Asli against various kinds of vermin, for instance rats or snakes. The Orange Asli was a native folk of Peninsular Malaysia. They used to build their huts on stilts in order to escape the attacks of such vicious creatures as snakes, scorpions, poisonous insects and such, which crawl on the ground. As their pet, the dog has acquired a peculiar capability to climb using wooden ladders so that it can get to its master’s hut.

The Telomian got its name in honour of the Sungai Telom valley in Pahagan where the breed has been detected for the first time by westerners. In 1963 the breed has finally found its way to America but up till now its population there seems not to grow. The Telomian isn’t recognised by any reputable kennel club.


The owners of Telomians usually portray them as quick-witted, vigilant and submissive dogs. It is an energetic animal with strong and independent personality. It strives to form tight bonds with its master and his family, and likes to get attention and compliments. The breed is renowned for its tender and careful handling of small children and is eager to play with them for hours on end. Being trustworthy, affectionate and devoted, it will make an outstanding home pet and companion.

When properly socialised the Telomian is ok with strangers. Most of the specimens are really sociable and make friends with new acquaintances momentarily. Nonetheless, the Telomian never losses watchfulness and will become a remarkable guard dog.

This breed will get along with family cat as well as other little home pets on the assumption that they live together from the puppyhood. Unfamiliar cats and other animals can present a too strong temptation to resist a chase so the usage of the leash is highly recommended for this breed.

Early socialization will also help to avoid problems with other dogs but the competitiveness and male aggression are not so sharply manifested in the Telomian as in other hunting breeds.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• patellar luxation;
• chronic ear infection;
• eye problems;
• cancer;
• gastric torsion.

The Telomian is an ideal breed for those who don’t want spend tons of time on grooming and maintaining practices. On the whole, it’s a very clean dog and needs only occasional bathing, maybe once a year.

Other plus is that the dog tends to shed from light to medium. Of course, common procedures of care as ears check, nail trimming and teeth brushing should be performed systematically and diligently.

The Telomian is very susceptible to training partially due to its natural intelligence and partially due to its willingness to impress and pleasure its master. Your time and efforts put in training will be most certainly rewarded since the dog is capable to learn virtually any tricks you can invent.

The trainer should form respectful and steady relationships with the dog. It isn’t responsive to critics and for the best results should be trained with positive encouragement and food incentives.

The Telomian should be exposed to different unknown situations and surroundings in order to become full-fledged and well-mannered member of society. Unlike with other breeds, the socialisation is advisable to begin as early as from four to five weeks.

The Telomian is a vigorous and sporting breed with high need for physical activity. An hour of daily walk is absolutely necessary to keep the dog fit and well-behaved. It’s truly playful and likes different games, but especially prefers tasks involving searching of objects, for example hidden tasty treats.

The dog is an avid digger so the moment you lose sight of it the Telomian can dig out a tunnel under the fence and escape. Therefore it is important that the dog is provided with spacious but safely secured area to enjoy a free run.