Meet The Breeds: Singapore Special

Meet The Breeds: Singapore Special

Nov 23, 2021
13 min

According to estimates done by some studies, there are about one billion dogs in the world. About 250 million of these are of known species and have owners, which leaves 750 million roaming the streets as strays. These strays continue to mix and procreate, producing offspring that are increasingly different from the parents, and in the end, you have new breeds of dogs you cannot identify. These breeds go by different names, including mixed breed dog, mutt, and mongrel. Here in Singapore, though, we call them the Singapore Special.




Origin And History Of Singapore Special

The Singapore Special isn’t necessarily a breed of dog: it is more of a type of dog. The Singapore Special refers to a dog that has been bred in the streets: not on purpose or intentionally, but by dog breeds mixing up by themselves on the streets. So, the Singapore Special is a dog that is bred on the streets, a product of generations of varieties of different breeds of dogs. The Singapore Special could typically be said to be short-haired, medium to large sized, black-muzzled, has pointy ears, brown fur, and on the skinny side. This description has evolved, however, because you can get a Singapore Special that is the size of a Chihuahua, not necessary medium to large sized. Most of these dogs’ ancestors started out as guard dogs for construction sites and factories.


The dogs were left to their own devices when these buildings were completed, the construction business moved to another site, or these factories closed down. Some of these dogs are pets that have been abandoned by their owners, for one reason or the other. Now, these dogs are strays, considered dangerous to society, and are constantly being rescued by animal welfare organizations and volunteer groups, or culled, which is generally ineffective in reducing the stray dog population.



Physical Characteristics of the Singapore Special

The physical characteristics of a Singapore Special cannot be pinned down to one specific description. The Singapore Special is a mixed breed dog, so the physical traits could be those obtained from either of its parents. As such, you could get dogs that have brown coats, short hair, black muzzles, skinny, big, medium, small, have pointy ears, the like. A Singapore Special has different physical characteristics, depending on the type of dog you want. There are roughly three types of mixed breeds or the Singapore Special, and they can be identified by their physical descriptions, such as: Mixes 




These are dogs that show the traits of two or more breeds. This means that their ancestors may be purebred or they may have come from a long line of mixed breeds. Since these dogs look most like their ancestors, they are named after the breed they resemble, such as a poodle mix, a Lab mix, or a collie-shepherd. 


Pariah Dog 

These are dogs that are the product of non-selective breeding which has happened over many generations. These dogs are usually yellow to light-brown and are of medium height and weight. 


Functional Breed 

These are dogs whose ancestors are not purebred, but they themselves have been purposely bred because of how they perform in certain tasks, such as the Eurohound, the Pointer-Greyhound mix termed the Greyster, and the Alaskan Husky.



Personality And Temperament Of Singapore Special

The Singapore Special is a dog that you can get when you visit dog shelters. Since they have been rescued off the streets, they might have trust issues, and may also have personality traits that are genetic. Before you get one, make thorough inquiries at the dog shelter that you go to. If you settle on a dog that you want to adopt, take your children to the adoption shelter so that the dog can get familiar with them. Singapore Specials can be house trained, but they need a lot of patience and time. They may get attached to a particular person in the family, usually the person they perceive to be their real owner, and may be antagonistic towards children. Children should be supervised every time they are around the dog, and only left alone with the dogs when they are older, quieter, and calmer children.




Due to its mixed heritage, the Singapore Special is a rather healthy dog. Studies show that mixed breed dogs such as the Singapore Special need less veterinary attention, and they are less susceptible to many diseases than the average purebred. Also, the Singapore Special has a lower mortality rate, living longer on average as compared to purebreds, though some purebreds have longer lives than the Singapore Special.



Care and Grooming

The Singapore Special requires care and grooming, regardless of the length of the hair. Whether it is done professionally or personally by you, you need to groom them, giving them baths at least once every month and professional grooming at least four times a year. Use warm water and dog shampoos and conditioners to bathe them, removing the tangles in their fur. Rinse their fur thoroughly and towel them off or use a blow dryer. Trim the fur, especially armpit fur, hair on their paws and between their toes. Do trim the facial hair on long-haired dogs to prevent hair falling into their eyes. So, a Singapore Special is a good dog to take into your care, but first, you have to take note of certain things.


It is most likely a rescued dog, so it may have trust issues. Talk to the adoption agency and ask questions about the dog’s personality traits and behaviour. The Singapore Special can be house trained, but they require a lot of time and patience, and they need to know that they are loved and cared for. Try to maintain a quiet and calm environment around the dogs, which means that children will have to be supervised around them, at least until the dog is used to its new home. Grooming is important for their health, even though they are less likely to fall prey to disease as purebred dogs. Adopt a Singapore Special, allow one less dog on the streets, and one more best friend companion in your home.


Update: With the recent revision in the Project ADORE guidelines, more Singaporeans are now able to adopt our Singapore Specials! Hooray! Before buying a dog, do consider adopting one, you’ll be promised with a loyal and loving companion.