Singapore Special

Breed Characteristics

Singapore Specials are superbly adapted scavengers. Most possess a natural superpower: They can convince a human to feed them.

Is the Singapore Special approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?


Under Project ADORE, Singapore Specials up to 55cm are allowed as a pet in a HDB Flat.


Singapore. The Singapore Special, sometimes referred to as mongrels, descended from free-breeding village or kampong/farm dogs. Belonging to the larger group of dogs that aren't pets, village dogs are the closest living things to the dogs that first emerged thousands of years ago. The rapid urbanisation of Singapore over the last few decades significantly altered their habitat.

Original Purpose

Singapore Specials aren't bred for a specific purpose. Unlike other dogs that were purposefully bred, Singapore Specials remained as dogs that continued to hang around humans scavenging for leftovers. Villages, kampongs, farms, factories, construction sites and whatever we name it, these dogs scavenged near humans. Some got domesticated and were thought to help humans 'guard' these sites.

Behaviour and Temperament

Most observed behaviour and temperaments of the Singapore Special Dog are not genetic, but reflects the environment in which they grew up. Street dogs are often shy and curious at the same time, shy because they do not encounter humans on a daily basis, yet curious because they know being near humans derives food. Frequently fed strays may appear more comfortable around their regular community feeders.

What are some Physical Features of the Singapore Special?

Non-specific. The Singapore Special Dog being free-breeding, takes after the features found on either of its parents.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

The Singapore Special comes in all sorts of coat types, commonly sporting short, stiff, shiny, dense outercoat and light undercoat. That said, some Singapore Specials sport long coats. The level of maintenance and grooming varies, long coat singapore specials will require weekly brushing while their short coat peers need just an occasional brush to keep their coat neat. When shedding, it is highly recommended to brush them more frequently. Keep their nails trimmed so they do not hamper their movement. Be sure to brush their teeth a few times per week. Singapore Specials are generally considered low maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Life Expectancy of the Singapore Special

Singapore Specials generally live for 15 years and more.

Singapore Special Puppies in the Community

Have a Singapore Special?

Health Concerns

Little concerns here. The natural breeding cycles over many generations meant that the Singapore Special is derived from a more diversified gene pool, where in the theory of the survival of the fittest (healthiest), defective (weak) genes are naturally weeded out. Throughout the world, street dogs like the Singapore Special requires less veterinary attention across their lifespan.

Exercise Needs

Free ranging Singapore Specials get their exercise needs roaming their habitat. For one that is re-homed, long and brisk daily walks are highly recommended.


Being highly adaptable, the Singapore Special can thrive in an apartment life, but be sure to take him on daily long walks or jogs. Under Project ADORE, Singapore Specials up 55cm in height may be housed in Singapore HDB flats, subject to stringent ownership conditions.


They have remarkably varied connections to human beings. Some survive completely on their own at dumps. Some are neighbourhood dogs, recognised and given handouts by people who live around the area. Others may feed and breed on their own, but spend nights near homes of people.


Dogs that are out on the streets for a longer time will require more effort and patience to adapt to life in a house. Wilful, but definitely trainable. If the starting line is the same for a Singapore Special and a pure breed dog, we'd place our money on the Singapore Special.

Recommended Activities

Being street dogs, Singapore Specials do best when left on their own. If spotted injured or at risk to traffic, contact one of the animal welfare groups in Singapore. (SoSD, CAS, ALL, OSCAS, ASD).
Rehabilitated Singapore Specials thrive in agility.