Telomian

April 12, 2012

The Telomian is a rare breed of dog that has the unique ability to climb the wooden ladders of houses built on 6 to 8 foot stilts. Telomians are kept by Orang Asli, the aboriginal people of Malaysia. The Telomian named after the Telom River is a very protective breed. The Orang Asli people were the original inhabitants of the Malaysian jungle. Before the family can enter the house built on stilts, the dog would enter first to make sure that the family is safe by killing snakes and other feral animals that may have commandeered the home while the residents were away. The Telomian is very adept at using its paws to hold toys, food and even to open doors. This dog uses its paws just like the way humans use the hands. The possibility that this breed is the missing link between the Basenji and the dingo was considered by cynologists. A Telomian has the light square build, the almond eyes and the wrinkled brow typical to a Basenji and other pariah dogs.

The Telomian is indeed a unique breed. The dog does not bark. It produces other dog-like noises instead. Similar to the Basenji and the New Guinea Singing Dog, this breed makes strange howling, growling and crowing sounds. The Telomian is a primitive breed. The aborigines of Malaysia utilize this dog as vermin eradicator, as hunter, watchdog and shepherd. Similar to other primitive dogs, the Telomian also has one estrus cycle in a year. This cycle peaks from September to October. Early socialization is necessary for this breed. Four to six weeks after birth the puppies would need extensive socialization. The puppies should experience maximum amount of bonding with humans. Without this socialization, the puppy will grow into a nervous and aloof dog that is incapable of adapting to new situations.

Information

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Appearance

The Telomian is very similar in looks with the other pariah dogs. Give the dog a curled tail and it would already be a Basenji. This primitive dog of the Malaysian aborigines has a square build. The dog stands from 15 to 19 inches and weighs between 18 to 28 pounds. The dog is quite small but it has a strongly built firm and muscular body. The head is well proportioned to the body. The well chiseled skull is medium to wide in width and appears to be square from the ears to the eyes. This dog has the typical wrinkled head of pariah dogs. Set on the curve of the skull, the medium sized ears are pointed and erect. Viewed from the front, the ears point outward. Almond shaped, wide set dark eyes with well pigmented lids are far seeing. Black nose is preferred for this breed although a pink tinged nose is also accepted. A Telomian, similar to a Chow Chow has a blue black tongue. Strong teeth meet in a scissor or level bite. The arched neck that is slightly thick at the base is of proportionate length to the body.

A Telomian is a well built sturdy dog. This breed has an elegant straight body. The deep chest provides plenty of lung and heart room. Ribs are well sprung. This midsized dog has very straight forelegs and perpendicular pasterns. Hind legs that appear straight slope slightly when viewed from the rear. Well developed round feet have hard pads and well arched toes. The dog carries its long tail gaily over the back when on the move or alert. The tail drops down when the dog is at rest. The dog’s elastic skin is covered with short smooth coat that appears in all shades of brown. White marking enhances the appearance of this breed. A black masked Telomian with a parti-colored coat and a strip of white hair from the chest and extends to the stomach is one impressive looking dog.

Personality

The Orang Ali people highly value the Telomian not only because it is a very useful breed but also because the dog makes a wonderful family pet. This is a very affectionate and protective breed. The Telomian wins people’s heart because of its charming personality. Did you know that this dog has the ability to make faces? This is usually done when the dog is pleading for a treat. This breed will protect its family at all cost. The dog is very alert and would not need any training as it is naturally wary of strangers. However, the dog will accept people accepted by the family. Energetic and very playful, the dog makes a gentle and protective pet of the young ones in the family. Because the dog gets easily attracted by balls, Frisbees and other toys, it would be a tireless playmate of the children. This dog will not manifest aggressiveness against other dogs thus it can live peacefully in a two or more dog household. This well balanced temperament however is only possible if the dog is extensively socialized at the age of 4 to 6 weeks.

Care

The smooth shiny coat of this breed does not require extensive maintenance. The owner would not be saddled with the daily grooming to prevent tangles from forming. A once-a-week brushing would be enough to maintain the good condition of the coat. Excessive bathing will not be necessary as well. A Telomian is an athletic breed. Prospective owner must be aware of the dog’s high exercise requirements. The small size makes this breed suitable for apartment living. As mentioned, this breed does not bark thus there will be no irate neighbors because of a noisy dog. However, the dog would need excessive exercise. An owner has to make sure that the dog is taken for daily long walks.

History

The Telomian or the Malaysian Telomian (canis lupus dingo) is a rare breed of dog. These dogs were originally bred by the Orang Ali, the aborigines of Malaysia. The dogs have existed with these people for years and were only recently discovered by American anthropologists. The Orang Ali inhabits the jungle of Malaysia. These dogs are vital to their existence of thes indigenous people. Telomians are only midsized dogs but they are excellent sight hunters of small game. The dogs are also exceptionally adept at catching fish. These aborigines mainly subsist on tapioca, rice, meat of hunted game and fish, a diet they share with the dogs. As the dogs proved to be invaluable helpers in providing food for the family they have become an integral part of their lives. The dogs were utilized in many other capacities. Telomians have herded the few animals the aborigines kept. These dogs though are vermin eradicators and most commonly used to protect the settlement. The Orang Ali people live in houses on stilts. The jungle teems with snakes, scorpions, poisonous insects and wild animals. These rainforest fauna will use their thermal sensors to seek their prey. The 6 to 8 feet stilts would somehow prevent these animals from invading the home and harming its inhabitants. The dogs have developed the ability to climb the wooden ladders. The Telomians are very protective of their owners. The dog would enter the house first to make sure that no snakes or feral animals are lurking to hurt the family.

These dogs from the Orang Ali settlements were discovered by American anthropologists. In 1963, Dr. Orville Elliot and his wife found specimens kept by the aborigines. Telomian, a name taken from the Telom River in Sungai Telom Valley was given to the breed. The aborigines were concerned for the fate of their beloved dogs because of the civilization’s encroachment of the jungle. Dogs were taken to urban areas. Unfortunately, Malaysians consider feral dogs to be unlucky animals as they long for the death of their masters. These feral dogs are considered to be evil spirits. As such, Telomians that were taken to the urban areas were not appreciated and commonly end up in the streets.

Telomians are speculated to have descended from the Asian wolves. These dogs are considered to be the missing link between the Basenji and the Australian dingo as the Telomian manifests the typical characteristic of these pariah dogs. The first pair of Telomian dogs was sent by Dr. Elliot to Dr. J. C. Scott of Jackson Laboratory in Maine. In a laboratory environment, the dogs were utilized in a study for animal behavior. In 1970, the new Malaysian breed was introduced to the public by Audrey Malone Palumbo, the research assistant. The Telomian Dog Club was established on the same year. In 1973, Dr. Elliot obtained another pair of Telomian to avoid inbreeding of the current stock. The Telomian is a rare breed but it is the only internationally recognized Malaysian breed. All the dogs outside its homeland have descended from the two pairs imported by Dr. Elliot. This breed is recognized by the Continental Kennel Club (CKC).

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