Kampung Dogs: Why Malaysians Don’t Want Their Own Dog Breed
Updated: Jun 8
Commonly known as “Kampung Dogs”, the Telomian is a dog breed that is native to Malaysia and is also considered as one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. Yet, Malaysians do not seem to take pride in their very own breed and will rather purchase foreign breeds from puppy mills or unethical breeders. Apart from the overpopulation of strays, animal shelters are full of Kampung Dogs simply because of one reason — people just do not want them.
The shy, good boy in this picture is called Kui, he is also up for adoption. (Update: Kui has been adopted!)
From the name of the dog breed itself, “kampung”, which means “village” in Malay, it gives people the impression that the Telomians do not belong to the urban lifestyle and that they live on the street. Oftentimes, people also use certain breeds of dogs to display their superior social status while the Telomians are not within the category of “expensive” dog breeds because they are everywhere.
On the other hand, they are rarely shown in local television despite being a national treasure, and this contributes to the idea that a “good” household pet is always a Golden Retriever, a Pomeranian, a German Shepherd or even a Dobermann.
Kampung Dogs are mainly perceived as mongrels — a stereotype that dubbed them as dirty, feral and unhealthy. This goes hand in hand with the idea that a dog’s breed dictates its personality, but how far is this true?
“If you are looking for a dog with a specific personality, you should not shop out of a catalog. Each dog is an individual,” said Elaine Ostrander, an expert in canine genetics. She added that no dog breeds own any particular trait.
At the same time, Marc Bekoff, an expert in dog behaviour, also said breeds do not have personalities but individuals do.
Just like how Chihuahuas are not necessarily palm-sized menaces and how Golden Retrievers do not necessarily love swimming, our Malaysian dogs can be easily trained to become ideal family dogs with the right methods by seeking out a professional dog trainer or reading training manuals that can guide you in becoming a better owner.
Additionally, the reason why the Telomians are so underrated even within its own country is because they are not acknowledged as an official breed by the American Kennel Club or other major kennel associations.
Hence, the lack of research and knowledge about their existence will cause people to overlook them in favor of popular dog breeds. It is also one of the reasons why major Telomian details such as health issues are left mostly unknown, but that should not stop people from learning about the breed.
Every other day we hear stories about how Kampung Dogs protect their owners with their life from poisonous snakes in the rural areas, how they become emotional support and therapy animals for Malaysians, how they are “appointed” as security guards for shop owners, and other heartwarming incidents that do not get enough media coverage.
With their erect ears and short fur, they certainly love Malaysians unconditionally.
In order to fight the stigma of our Malaysian dogs, it is important that Malaysians come to realise that they are just as adorable, obedient and loyal as any other foreign dog and instead of focusing on the breed, we should give them a chance to be our best friend.
We hope this article can help our fellow Malaysians to understand the unnecessary stigma against our own Malaysian-mix dogs and that they are our pride and joy!
As usual, don’t be hesitant to send us a message on our Instagram or at our email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something good to say about our Malaysian dogs! Let us know how they changed your lives!
And if you are interested in adopting foreign-breed puppies, please read our article called Poodles, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and Many More: Behind Every Cute Purebred Dog is a Puppy Mill to learn more about the truth behind the puppy mills in Malaysia.