A rare breed of dog that originates from Malaysia, the Telomian was named after the Telom River by its discoverer, anthropologist Dr. Orville Elliot. They were bred as vermin-controlling hunting dogs by aboriginal peoples in Malaysia known as the Orang Asli. The tribe built their houses in stilts so as to stay away from dangerous animals on the ground and so the Telomian developed a unique climbing ability. The breed is related to the dingo and the New Guinea Singing Dog and some cynologists claim that the Telomian could be the “missing link” between the African Basenji and the Australian Dingo. A small to medium-sized breed, it stands at an average height of 15 to 18 inches and weigh from 18 to 28 pounds. It has a slightly domed skull with a wedge-shaped head. Its ears are triangular shaped and carried erect. It has an elongated back and its tail is carried natural with a slight curve. Like the Chow chow, it has a blue-black tongue. The coat is short and smooth and comes in various shades of sable with white ticking. It can also appear in parti-coloured black and white, fawn and white, or black and tan with large colour patches.
The Telomian is said to be extremely intelligent and an avid hunter. A distinct characteristic of the breed is its ability to used its paws to hold objects and open doors the same way humans do. They are instinctively alert and they make a strange musical howling sound similar to that of the Basenji or the New Guinea Singing Dog. Early socialization and training is important so that the breed can adjust to people and to new situations.