The Telomian is a rare purebred dog which is the only native Malaysian dog breed that has been bred outside of Malaysia. Telomians are small athletic dogs with short coats and were originally bred by the indigenous people of Malaysia to help control small rodents, snakes and other vermin in the Malaysian forests. Since they were bred from dingoes and other feral dogs, they are not as domesticated as other dog breeds. Because of this it is recommended that owners begin bonding with Telomian puppies early to help the dog socialization skills with people.
The Telomian was originally bred by the Orang Asli to aid in hunting and to control small vermin in the jungles of Malaysia. The Telomian would enter the house before it’s owners and would alert them if any snakes, vermin, or critters were present. Vermin control was a common concern for the indigenous people as the jungles contained a large population of mice, snakes, and pests. It was common for people to build their huts 6-8 feet off the ground to help reduce the frequency of pests. This forced the Telomian to adapt to climbing the ladders which helped the breed develop extraordinary paw control which is still common in the breed today. It is not uncommon to see Telomians confidently hold toys, food, and even open doors with their paws.
Due to the rareness of this breed, they were not discovered until 1963 when Dr. Orville Elliot found them near the Telom river (which is what the breed is named after). A pair of Telomians were brought to the United States after discovery and a second pair was imported in 1973. It is believed that all Telomians in North America are directly descended from the original two pairs imported in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Telomians were the first and are still the only Malaysian dog breed to be bred outside of Malaysia.
The Telomian is a small dog breed with a short smooth coat. They resemble many other common wild dogs such as the Dingo. Their small size makes them quick and agile (ideal for catching vermin). Telomians will have a black or blue tongue (similar to the chow chow and other ancient Asian dog breeds).
The most common colors are tan & white and black & white, but the Telomian can be any shade of sable with white. Some Telomians may also have a black mask. Telomians with larger color patches are favored.
Telomians are small to small-medium sized dogs. On average, Telomians are 15-19 inches tall (from the ground to their shoulders) and weigh 18-28 lbs.
Telomians are extremely intelligent and adaptable dogs. They have a strong prey instinct and enjoy running and playing so they enjoy games that require this skill such as searching for a treat and any type of chasing game like fetch, frisbees, chasing balls, etc.
The Telomian is an extremely alert breed. They have an unusually high intuition for danger and will alert their owner of any possible threat that makes them feel uneasy. This trait makes them an extremely effective watch dog.
Telomians have a unique howling sound instead of a bark (similar to the Basenji and the New Guinea Singing Dog).
Since Telomians were bred from wild dogs, they aren’t as fully domesticated as many modern dogs. Because of this, it’s important that puppies have as much interaction time with people as possible (starting at four to five weeks of age). Telomians who are introduced to people too late will remain independent and distant from their owners and will be unable to adjust to new situations.
Once a Telomian is socialized they become very loving dogs with a strong desire to please their master. Their charming personality and obedience will win the heart of every Telomian owner. Unlike other dogs, Telomians can fend for themselves and will often catch small prey to eat if they are unfed by their masters.
The Telomian is considered a low maintenance dog. They only main concern is their high amount of energy requires ample play time and daily walks. Their high intelligence can get them into trouble if they are left alone with too much energy.
Once a week brushing will rid the Telomians coat of dead hair and will keep it shiny. They will need to be bathed only when necessary to keep them odor free and clean.
As a high energy dog, they will need to be taken on one to two walks daily. Telomians may also need toys and games to keep them mentally entertained as their high intelligence can lead them to find destructive ways to entertain themselves.
Telomians can adapt to most living environments and can live in apartments as long as they receive enough exercise to control their high energy. While they don’t bark, they do howl which may be an issue in smaller apartments.
Telomians were bred in the jungles of Malaysia and are most comfortable in climates similar to their natural habitat (between 20 and 30 degree Celsius). However, the Telomian is a very adaptable breed and may be comfortable in cooler climates as long as they have shelter and protection from the elements.
There have been no relevant studies performed on the Telomian and, frankly, little is known about their health. However, one could assume that they are a hardy and healthy breed given that they are an indigenous dog and were never inbred to look a certain way.
Owners should not neglect their mental health, as a Telomian living in modern society requires a solid training programme and appropriate socialisation if they are to adapt well and be free from any behavioural issues.
As with any breed of dog, owners should ensure that they are regularly vaccinated and kept up to date with their parasite prevention. Annual health checks are a must, at which time they should have a full oral exam and an assessment of their body condition.