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Philippine ‘Witch Dog’ Found in Jungles, Could Be a 36,000-Year-Old Bloodline

It has sharp claws and can climb trees, even hunt cobras.

  • The unusual dog refuses to breed with other dogs, making its genes among the purest native breed in the Philippines.
  • It possesses an impeccable instinct for killing which makes it so valuable for illegal dog fights.
  • It was said that anyone who hurts a wild dog will be cursed.

Wild dogs are not that unusual, especially in the provinces. But in the ancestral lands of Bukidnon in the Philippines’ Mindanao region, a kind of wild dog stands out from others – it is believed to be a “witch dog” that has a bloodline of over 36,000 years old.

This “witch dog,” also called aso ng gubat (dog of the jungle) has a striking appearance, with black stripes on its dark brown fur.

It has sharp claws and can climb trees, even hunt cobras. But its most distinguishing characteristic is its refusal to breed with other dogs.

The dog can survive on its own in the jungle, according to Tom Asmus, a Philippine indigenous dog researcher. It’s also difficult to domesticate the dog.

“They climb trees after prey, hunt snakes, and are capable of surviving on just jungle vegetation. It’s difficult to keep a wild blooded one domestically, as they have little to no resistance to common domesticated canine illnesses,” Asmus explained.

Because the dog refuses to mate with other dogs apart from its own kind, this makes its genes among the purest native breed in the Philippines.

The dog possesses an impeccable instinct for killing, which makes it valuable for illegal dog fights. Asmus said that this dog can kill another dog, no matter what the type or size.

He has a group of ten wild dogs in his care and he admits that he has trouble preventing them from killing livestock.

“If I let them loose, they kill domestic dogs, goats, cats, and all kinds of poultry. They see no difference between a rat and a cat.”

Compared to most dog breeds, the wild dog uses its extra sharp claws to climb trees when chasing a prey.

Instead of wearing its claws out, the dogs regularly shed theirs in order to grow new ones.

Asmus said that regular dogs do not do this.

Aside from the sharp claws and exclusivity in mating, the wild dog also has genitals that are smaller than most domestic dogs. This may explain why it refuses to mate with other kinds.

Its lips, gums, and roof of the mouth are black and has tongue spotting. It also has a double-sealing anus and a very high prey drive.

The aso ng gubat is so special that it is part of the province’s ancient lore. It was said that anyone who hurts a wild dog will be cursed. If you kill one, your entire family will be cursed as well.

Asmus plans to have the dogs confirmed to be a unique breed or species of canine, so he submitted samples of DNA taken from two of them to the World Canine Genome Project. He is currently waiting for a canine geneticist to analyze the dogs’ genotype data.


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