See Beauty Beyond Breed – this is the campaign launched by PAWS which aims to uplift the image of native dogs by popularizing the term Aspin, a portmanteau term for asong Pinoy, which means Filipino dog. I bet people outside Philippines haven’t heard of Aspin since the breed is not yet spreading outside the country. Well, Aspin, also known as Askal or Asong Kalye, are basically the mongrel dogs in our country. Although they are mongrel, we call them Aspin. Some of them live in the streets while others stay with Filipino families. But the sad truth is that Filipinos keep them low-profile and give higher regard to pure-bred dogs. That’s why such campaign is created.
Physically, Aspins look like a typical primitive dog. They usually have a medium-sized body, tucked-up belly, pointed muzzle, round eyes, triangular ears, wet nose, black nose rather, powerful jaw and soft and short coat. They can be seen in colors black, brown and white. They also have a terrifying aura that causes passing children, and even adults, run for their life. I actually see Canaan Dog and Carolina Dog in them. However, there are other street dogs that are foreign-looking since they are only mongrel and the breed that composes them is not yet identified. For the meantime, here in the photo is Captain, our very own Aspin. He was still young when I had this photo.
As I said, Filipinos less favor Aspins. I’ll describe it this way. Freshly-cooked foods are for pure-bred dogs while leftover foods are for Aspins. They are mercilessly abused and killed. People even raise them for food. If I were an Aspin, maybe I’ll see the world as one big hell with full of racists. But I’m a human and all I can do is to beg people to stop this kind of treatment. Look at my family. Our care for our Malamutes, Pugs, Maltese, Chow Chow, Pomeranian, Shih Tzus and other pure-bred furbabies is the same our for Captain. Their playground is his playground. Their bath time is his bath time. Their grooming is his grooming. Our food is their food and his food. Our home is their home and his home. And most of our love for them all is the same. They are all dogs and we all have hearts beating.
Did you know that the most common name that Filipinos give to Aspins is Bantay, a Filipino term for the word guard? It’s because they have a great ability in guarding Filipino families’ houses. Aside from their fearsome looks, they bark as loud as they can. If they see someone running away from them, they’ll chase him. They’ll just stop either if they already catch him or if they are already tired. But they rarely remember the meaning of exhaustion. So all I can say to that man is good luck. That’s the reason why we owned Captain – to have a dog that will somehow protect us from strangers because the pure-bred dogs we have here are so friendly, even the big Malamutes. We got Captain when he was still months old. As he grew, his companions influenced him sociability. He is affectionate to his furry friends and warm to humans regardless if he knows them or not. He is so playful and he enjoys being with us all. I was surprised to discover that Aspins have this side. Truly, all dogs are equal.
So, if you were to pick a dog, choose this brave yet warm, Aspin!