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A Comprehensive Guide to Telomian Dog Breed in 2024

Last updated on March 10th, 2024 at 03:54 pm

Have you ever heard of the Telomian dog breed? They’re these really cool dogs that the indigenous people of Malaysia have bred, the semi-nomadic Orang Asli. They are trained to hunt down small vermin, including snakes, and protect the village’s homes, food, and children. Did you know that the Telomian is the only Malaysian breed you can find outside Malaysia? It’s all thanks to an American anthropologist who fell in love with these intelligent pups.

If you’re interested in learning about the Telomian, you’ve come to the right place! This post will give you the lowdown on this adorable pup. So sit tight and get ready to discover everything you need to know!


Asian origin:Malaysia
Height:15-19 inches
Weight:18-28 pounds
Lifespan:Likely 10-15 years
Coat type:Straight, short
Colors:White, black, sable
Temperament:Highly intelligent, playful, affectionate
Suitable for:Active families or individuals, rural settings experienced owners



Energy level:


Tendency to bark:

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The Orang Asli people of Malaysia created the Telomian dog breed to control small rodents, snakes, and other vermin in the jungles. They were always worried about these small animals, so they built their huts around six feet off the ground. The Telomian adapted by developing remarkable paw control and climbing up rickety ladders to reach the huts. This ability is still common in the breed today, and they are known for opening doors or holding food and toys in their paws. 

Dr. Elliot brought a pair of Telomians to the United States, and a second pair was imported in 1973. The Telomian is the first and only Malaysian breed to be bred outside of Malaysia. Unfortunately, there are still too few of these dogs in the United States to qualify for recognition by the American Kennel Club.


telomian dog breed

The Telomian is a small to medium-sized dog breed known for athleticism. They have a smooth, short coat and can come in various colors, with some wearing a black mask. They resemble the Basenji in terms of their alertness and head shape but are a separate breed. 

Telomians have a blue or black tongue, similar to the Chow Chow. They stand between 15 and 19 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh anywhere from 18 to 28 pounds. Due to their rarity, no breed standard has been developed, and their overall look can vary. Most people prefer Telomians with more color and less white.


The Telomian is highly intelligent and loves to run and play games that challenge their mental and physical abilities. However, it’s important to note that these dogs are not as domesticated as some other breeds, so they require extensive training and socialization from a young age. They also have a strong prey drive and are not recommended for families with small children, although they can do well with older children who respect and assert authority over them. One unique feature of Telomians is that they do not bark like most other dogs. Instead, they produce a howling sound similar to that of the Basenji or New Guinea Singing Dog. 


To support your furry friend in good shape, brush their hair using a natural bristle brush once a week. This keeps their coat shiny and clean and removes any loose hair. You don’t need to bathe them too often—only when they get dirty or smelly. But be sure to avoid harsh shampoos and over-bathing them, as that can cause dry skin and itchiness. When you give them a bath, use a mild shampoo. 

Since they’re from the Malaysian jungle, they’re comfortable in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But they can handle cooler weather as long as they’re protected from the elements. Trim their nails every two to three weeks and check their ears once a week. Clean their ears as needed. Don’t forget to brush their teeth regularly and get them deep cleaned.


Telomians may appear small, but they are muscular and active. They love to exercise outdoors, so providing them with multiple opportunities every day is crucial. These canines are great at dog sports, like agility courses, and enjoy long hikes with their family.

If you’re someone who spends little time outdoors or lives in the city, this breed may not be the best fit for you. They need plenty of space to run around and have a job to keep them occupied. Otherwise, they may become bored and act out.


telomian dog breed

Telomians are intelligent, but training them can be difficult. They are easily distracted but eager to please. First-time owners may find them challenging since they have similarities with Terriers due to their high prey drive. Experienced owners will be able to communicate and direct their enthusiastic energy better.

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free online dog training workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.


With proper care and attention, Telomians can live long, healthy lives and make great companions for families who love active and intelligent dogs. These pups are known for their overall good health and have a low incidence of genetic disorders. However, like all dogs, they require regular check-ups and full physical examinations by a veterinarian to ensure they remain healthy. As a responsible pet owner, it is recommended to conduct occasional tests to ensure they are free from any ailments or diseases. 


If you want to keep your pet in good shape, feed them high-quality, well-balanced food. They need lots of good fats and proteins to maintain their active lifestyle. If your pup is small, you don’t want to give them fatty meats because it might make them put on weight. Instead, stick with things like turkey, chicken, salmon, and fish oil to keep them healthy. Meat isn’t the only thing your dog needs to stay healthy. They can also get some essential vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies.

Living Condition

telomian dog breed

These pups are very athletic and need lots of space and exercise to stay happy and healthy. They enjoy running around and playing, so you’ll need to provide plenty of outdoor activities for them. Keep in mind that Telomians can live up to 15 years, so getting one is a long-term commitment. 

Telomians are used to living in near-tropical climates and can tolerate heat and humidity well, but they’re not well-suited for cold environments. In addition, because they’re hunting dogs, they may not be the best fit for first-time owners. These pups require someone with experience with Terriers or small hunting dogs to maintain their energy levels and train them correctly.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Telomian Dog Breed

1) Telomians Are Known Locally as “Anjing Kampung Malaysian Dogs”

Did you know that the Telomian dogs in Malaysia are also called “anjing kampung Malaysia,” which means “Malaysian village dog”? Dr. Orville Elliot was the first non-Malaysian to document this breed in 1963. He discovered them in Pahang and named them after the Sungai Telom valley.

2. Rather Than Barking, Telomians Howl

These canines don’t bark like other dogs. Instead, they howl or yodel, just like the Indian Pariah dog, African Basenji, Australian Dingo, and New Guinea singing dog. Some experts and trainers think that this unique howl could be the link between the Basenji and the Dingo. They have always suspected that these pups were related but never had any proof.

3. Telomians Can Use Human Tools

Telomians are known for their dexterity, as they have very mobile paws that allow them to hold objects and climb ladders with ease. The Orang Asli people built their houses on stilts to avoid vermin, and their dogs quickly learned to climb ladders effortlessly like primates. If you have one around, it’s wise to lock the kitchen door as they are known to be resourceful and might try to help themselves to your food.

Telomian Puppies for Sale

telomian dog breed
CREDIT: Hepper

Since these dogs are not very common, their price will vary significantly depending on factors such as your location, the breeder, and their pedigree. Before making any decisions, you should do your research to ensure that this breed is a good fit for your lifestyle. 

You should also take the time to visit the breeder’s facilities and meet the puppy’s parents to get an idea of what they will look like and how their temperament will be when they grow up. 

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.


The Telomian dog breed was originally developed to control pests like snakes, rats, and mice. They resemble Basenjis in appearance and can make great companions, but they are not recommended for families with young children. If you plan to adopt one, you must socialize them with other pets and people early to help them feel more at ease around others.


What Kind of Dog Is a Telomian?

The Telomian is a type of dog, but it’s not officially recognized as a breed by major kennel clubs like the American Kennel Club (AKC).

What Is the Personality of a Telomian Dog?

Telomians are highly intelligent and adaptable, with a strong prey instinct and a love for games. They are alert and make excellent watchdogs, with an unusual howling sound instead of a bark. Early socialization is crucial for Telomians, as they were bred from wild dogs and can remain distant from their owners if not introduced to people early on. Once socialized, they are loving and obedient pets. Telomians are unique in their ability to make faces and use their paws as hands, and they can fend for themselves if necessary by catching small prey.

Why Is Telomian Dog Rare?

Telomians are rare for a few reasons:

      • Their origins are primarily isolated to remote Malay villages, which has limited their numbers.
      • The breed is not officially recognized, which hinders controlled breeding and broader availability.
      • There are debates around the purity of US-bred Telomians, with some people considering them to be mixed, adding to the complexity of the breed’s history and genetics.

What Does a Telomian Look Like?

These pups have short, smooth fur. They look like many other wild dogs, such as the Dingo. Due to their small size, they are quick and agile, making them well-suited for catching rodents. Telomians have a blue or black tongue, which is similar to that of the Chow Chow and other ancient Asian dog breeds.

What Is the Scientific Name for the Telomian Dog?

Technically, they don’t have a distinct scientific name as they aren’t formally recognized. The closest you could get is Canis familiaris, the same as all domesticated dogs.

Where can I find Telomian?

Finding this dog can be difficult due to their rarity. Doing thorough research is vital to increase your chances. To do this, you can look for reputable breeders who focus on preserving their heritage and follow ethical practices. You can also check with rescue organizations that specialize in rare breeds. Be cautious of misleading claims about purebred status or availability. By taking the time to do your research and being careful, you can increase your chances of finding a true Telomian.


  • https://www.hepper.com/telomian/
  • https://wagwalking.com/breed/telomian#:~:text=The%20Telomian%20is%20a%20very,and%20other%20small%20jungle%20animals.
  • https://www.dog-learn.com/dog-breeds/telomian/
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