By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

Telomian Dog


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Telomian is a rare and perhaps the only Malaysian canine breed known to be bred away from its native land. These small to medium sized dogs have an athletic and sturdy stature, also being characterized by a square-built, elongated body, well-proportioned head, almond-shaped eyes set widely apart, middle-sized, erect ears, and a deep chest. They are even known to have a blue tongue just like the Chow Chow and other Asian breeds. These unique dogs possess an intelligent and alert disposition, that help them to excel as perfect watchdogs.

Telomian Dog Pictures

Quick Information

CoatShort and Smooth
ColorsCommon shades include black and white; tan and white but any shade of sable and white is also seen along with a black mask.
TypeWorking dog, Watchdog, Guard dog
Group (of Breed)Purebred
Life Span/Expectancy12 to 14 years on an average, though exact data is unknown
Size and HeightMedium; 15 to 19 inches
Weight18 to 28 lbs
Personality TraitsIntelligent, Loyal, Adaptable, Obedient, Alert
Good with ChildrenYes ( when socialized)
Good with PetsYes
Climate CompatibilityMostly thrives in climates where the temperature ranges between 70 ° and 90° F but can survive in cooler climates if they are well protected.
BarkingNo ( Growls and howls instead)
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationAPRI, DRA
Country of OriginNative of Malaysia but bred and domesticated in the U.S.A

Telomian Dog Video


The Telomians were primarily bred by the Orang Asli, inhabitants of Malaysia, for the purpose of getting hunting dogs, effective in controlling and keeping away vermins as well as other house pests that would otherwise pose a threat to their habitat.

Certain cynologists are also of the opinion that these dogs might be the missing link between the African Basenji and Australian Dingo, who are also thought to be its close cousins.

Dr. Orville Elliot, an anthropologist, discovered and introduced these dogs to the West in 1963, also giving them their present name “Telomian” after the river Telom, where he spotted them for the first time. A pair of these dogs was migrated to the United States, with the Telomian Dog Club being formed in the year 1970. The second pair was brought over in 1973 and the Telomians in the West are said to be descendants of these two pairs that were bred successfully as well as domesticated in the United States.


With the prey hunting instincts inherent in them they are extremely intelligent and alert breeds having a strong intuition of sensing any danger and warning their owner of the same. Rather than barking, they would let out a howl and growl similar to their cousins, the New Guinea Singing dog and Basenji. This trait makes them aversive of strangers, warning the owner immediately if they find an intruder in the premises of their household.

The excellent climbing skills which the Telomians possess may be because of their past living conditions where they had to get onto ladders to access their owners’ homes which were mostly built on stilts to seek protection from the wild animals and insects of the jungle.

This climbing ability is also said to give them a great paw control due to which they can hold onto food, toys and even open doors with great dexterity.

Their ability to make amusing faces, especially while pleading for treats adds another charm to their pleasing character.

As they were mostly bred in the wild, the Telomians would remain indifferent or find it difficult to adapt to people if not socialized since its puppyhood (which is necessary as early as the fourth week of its life). However, when taught to mingle with people, they would emerge as a great family pet also serving as the perfect companion to their master, displaying obedience, and loyalty, as well as the ability to please its owner in any way it can.

When socialized these gentle dogs can emerge as a perfect playmate for children, their playful and highly energetic nature further contributing to this trait.

The adverse and difficult terrains (of the jungle) that they were inhabitants of make them highly versatile and easily adaptable to various environments.



Keeping their energetic and active nature in mind, the Telomians require a high activity level. If they live in an apartment at least two walks a day would suffice this breed well. If you have a secured or fenced yard, allow them to run around freely or even engage in playing any kind of chasing games like ball fetching, catching etc, which these dogs enjoy a lot because of the prey driving instincts present in them. While indoors, engage them with a variety of interactive toys to provide proper mental stimulation.  Lack of adequate exercise and activity would compel this breed to resort to destructive ways of entertaining themselves.


Their short, smooth coat needs to be brushed once in a week to retain the shine and keep off dead hairs. Bathe them only when required to help your pet be clean and free of any bad odor.

Health Problems

Being a rare breed not much information has been derived about the potential health concerns they might suffer from, though some consider it to be a very healthy breed.


Their sharp minds, obedient nature and eagerness to please make training an easier task.

  • Socialization training is of utmost essentiality for the Telomians since the time they are puppies so that they can adjust well with mankind. Expose them to new situations, arrange for dates at a dog park, you can even avail the idea of throwing puppy parties at home, where pets of your acquaintances would also be present, helping your Telomian to mingle with other canines.
  • Keeping their chasing instinct in mind, it is required to leash train your dog prior to taking him out. Since this dog loves to play, associate the leash training with his playing schedule. Play a ball fetching game with him after attaching the leash and once he is comfortable with it pick up the leash and summon your pet Telomian towards you in a gentle way. Reward him with treats and praises after he does so.
  • Since they can use their paws brilliantly and are even great climbers, teaching them tricks would be a cakewalk. Teach them how to do a salute by sticking a small piece of tape above their eyes and as your dog raises its paw to remove it, shower praises and treats.


Make sure you give your Telomian a nutritious and healthy meal on a regular basis to fulfill his protein, vitamin and mineral requirement.

Interesting Facts

  • Telomians can catch small preys and eat them if not fed by its master.
  • Just like the dingo and New Guinea Singing dog, Telomians also have a single estrus cycle annually which peaks in the months of September and October.

2 responses to “Telomian Dog”

  1. Pamela Castillo says:

    Other than the blue tongue, my dog, Peaches, is a textbook specimen according to this article of this breed.

    • Margaret Macaulay says:

      Come to Penang! You will see her cousins. They are thrown to the street. They love people, have great memories, learn quick and not big barkers like the Bali Dogs

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