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Singapore specials very poor thing, often misunderstood

Singapore specials very poor thing, often misunderstood
A Singapore Special.
PHOTO: Sim Ding En

A Singapore Special might not be a dog for everyone to raise. You’ll need an extra amount of patience, understanding and love to give, so just to be upfront: if you’re lacking those qualities, maybe it’s not the right time to get one.

Nevertheless, I hope this article will help change some (wrong) perspectives you might have about our street dogs, and help you choose kind words when faced with the pawrent of one.


Misconception: Singapore Specials have a lot of health problems

Fact: Yes and no. As most Singapore Specials come from the wild, they have been surviving on their own and eating anything they can find. Sometimes they have fights and end up with wounds that never heal well, or even leave them with certain disabilities.

To be fair, any dog could have health problems: a pedigree dog that’s fed a bad appetite for, say, six years of its life could leave them with bad dental issues and internal problems; a dog whose owner decides to use a shock collar on it could leave him with burns or scars, or damaged vocal cords.

There’s no breed that can be guaranteed a clean bill of health.


Misconception: Singapore Specials are fierce and have behavioural issues

Fact: Yes and no. As mentioned above, most Singapore Specials are rescued from the wild, and being fierce is just their way of surviving.

A pack leader must protect their pack in the wild. After all, they have been fending for themselves for months or years, avoiding trucks, humans, and noise in general because they see these things as a threat.

A truck or an oncoming vehicle could have knocked their friends down before, or they could have been kicked or chased away by human, resulting in negative associations with trucks and humans.

It is very common for dogs to be fearful and bark at such things. My neighbours have Beagles, Samoyeds, and dachshunds, all of which bark continuously when they have guests or deliveries. Some pedigree dogs are also afraid of thunder and firecrackers, and will shake uncontrollably or hide.

Behavioural “issues” are present in every dog, Singapore Special or not. In fact, it is more of a training issue than a behavioural issue that cannot be changed. With time, patience and consistency, these “issues” can be solved.

Finally, barking could be a way to protect themselves or to warn others, and is not necessarily a bad thing all the time.


Misconception: Singapore Specials are hard to manage

Fact: Not true. Singapore Specials are known to be very smart dogs - many pawrents of Singapore Specials can attest to this. Because they’ve been fending for themselves since young, Singapore Specials have learnt to be sharp and quick. Whatever you do to them, they will remember it.

But just like any other dog, Singapore Specials aim to please their hoomans, and will remember what makes you happy. So, reward their good behaviour, don’t punish their wrong behaviour, and you will have a very well-trained doggo.


Misconception: Singapore Specials are usually old dogs

Fact: Not true. There are dogs of all ages in shelters. Yes, rescued dogs are either given up by their owners for various reasons or rescued from the streets.

Sometimes, they are taken in pregnant and the shelters give them a safe place to give birth; the puppies are well taken care of by the volunteers and workers.


Misconception: Big Singapore Specials need a lot of space

Fact: Not true. What is more important is that dogs should get enough exercise for their joints and for mental stimulation.

F. Rogers, a full-time veterinary nurse who has been a volunteer with Cause For Animals (Singapore) for three years, says that “[Destructive behaviour] actually applies to all dogs if they are not given the proper toys to stimulate their brain, as more extroverted dogs can get bored very easily, leading to destructive behaviour.”

Thankfully, under Project ADORE, Singapore Specials can be adopted into HDB homes, so that’s a great step forward for growing the pool of potential adopters for our Singapore Specials.

For more information on Project ADORE, click here

To check out Project ADORE dogs that are up for adoption, click here and here

Some organisations, like Action for Singapore Dogs, make your search for HDB-approved furkids very user-friendly - just tick the “HDB Approved” box.

This article was first published in

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