If you have been to Bali, you came across several dogs guarding shops, properties, and roaming around. You might mistake them for street mongrels or mutts. The culture, however, is unique and different. The Balinese culture has preserved a unique breed of dogs– possibly one of the oldest in the world estimated to have survived for over 10,000 years.
The impressive indigenous breed may be facing extinction and has been widely misunderstood around the world. American researchers and scientists from UCL Davis – University of California Davis, tested the breed’s blood to confirm that it’s the oldest breed know today. The findings were groundbreaking since the breed is older than the New Guinea singing and the Australian Dingo.
The dogs have a unique DNA with a mixture of Chow-Chow and Australian Dingo. Chow-Chow is identified as a basal breed that predates the emergence of several breeds and is believed to have originated in Artic Asia then migrated to Mongolia, Siberia, and then China. This genetic diversity of sturdily built breeds contributes to the strength and immunity of the Bali dog. It has survived the harshest of environments and conditions for centuries with limited food and medical care.
The breed is one of the friendliest dogs to adopt. They make loving and loyal pets, and once you have won their trust, they can be trained. Another advantage is that they are one of the cleanest breeds in the world. Many locals say that it seems to be a skill that it is born with. Additionally, the breed can survive any climate and can grow a thicker coat in cold regions or during the cold seasons. With a proven high immunity, it can live over 15 years and is immune to most genetic disorders and diseases.
Though they may sometimes be noisy, especially when they travel in packs, they are friendly to humans and would not get aggressive unless provoked. One of their weaknesses is being confined to small spaces. They can climb walls up to 10 feet high and are known to survey their territories on high heights. A Bali dog loves to roam freely and socialize with others and people. They are smart and have a huge personality.
The breed has faced a lot of challenges, including animal cruelty, illegal meat trade, interbreeding, and mass culling. Conservationists have neglected this distinct breed with wide color variations as one of the vanishing species. Despite facing extinction, one of the significant factors that have contributed to the longevity of the breed is the law that prohibited the import of dogs into the island. However, about 15 years ago, the ban was lifted, and several breeds found their way into the island, with the Balinese culture being threatened by mass crossbreeding. This has since then disrupted the uniqueness of the Balinese breed and culture, with breed dogs becoming fashionable.
Another significant challenge facing Balinese dogs are exposed to unhealthy environments where they are exposed to disease-causing microorganisms and dangerous diseases such as rabies. Upon arrival on the island, you’ll notice a number of emaciated pitiful-looking dogs roaming freely in the streets. Your heart will melt at the sight of beautiful dogs that have no place to call home. They have proved a valuable part of the ecosystem as they scavenge for food and hunt for rats & other vermin around the island.
Bali dogs represents a special and significant part of science, culture, and history. Though some of the people that visit the region might be worried by the conditions the dogs live in, rest assured that the Balinese culture loves and respects their dogs. They have a unique cultural connection that is spiritual and can be superstitious. The locals believe that the dog will alert then to the unseen presence of both evil and good invisible spirits.
The breed has managed to overcome most of the challenges thanks to the effort put in by Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) and donors around the world. These friendly animals get to find loving homes, healthy meals, and treats. BAWA, a non-profit organization, has been at the forefront of protecting animals in the region and beyond. Founded more than a decade ago, it intervened to help the breed after a rabies outbreak in 2009. The organization has ensured that most of the dogs, at least 75 percent, are vaccinated and healthy. BAWA promotes that children, youth, and the community learn to respect and love animals. This has been an integral part of the Balinese culture.
Bali dogs will always be one of the top dogs in the market. If you are interested in a dog, why not choose a breed that has withstood the test of time and has the most robust genetic heritage. The Bali dog will always be your best friend, funny companion, brave & caring guard dog to keep you and your family safe.
If you would like to adopt or help by making a donation, you van get in touch with BAWA – Bali Animal Welfare Association. Charity funds have done a lot to support, save, and protect the breed.
Photo credit: BAWA & Adithio: Studio Creative