THE STORY OF THE BALI DOG
Between 2000 and 2003, Dr. Niels Peterson and his team from the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California Davis tested the DNA of around 3,500 domestic Bali Dogs.
Bali has two native dog breeds that are unique to the region; the Bali Dog and the highland Kintamani. Genetic research illustrates that the heritage of the Bali Dog can be traced back to descendants from 12’000 years ago, making it the oldest dog breed known to mankind – older than the Australian Dingo.
Since the Bali Dog is not formally recognized as its own breed, it is not bred for purity. After thousands of years uncontaminated, the Bali Dog came under threat due to the importation of breed dogs from abroad. Such pure breeds are considered a status symbol but many of these dogs are the product of uncontrolled puppy factories where extreme cases of inbreeding is the norm. As free roaming Bali Dogs began to interbreed with imported dogs, it introduced new and weaker genetic variations.
The Bali Dog itself is exceedingly genetically diverse, and presents itself in many different ear and tail types as well as a variety of colors and patterns.
Bali Dogs make wonderful pets and are known for their loyalty, intelligence, capacity to make good guard dogs and contrary to popular opinion are able to be trained. The breed is also very adaptable to different circumstances and climates. Even in colder regions of the world, this tropical dog breed is able to adapt with ease. This broad set of genetics makes it immune to diseases and genetic disorders that are typical found among selectively bred dogs. They can also grow up to a maximum of 20 years old.
Before plastic ever existed, these dogs played in an important role in the ecosystem. They would feed on organic waste and were vital to the population control of rats and mice. Unfortunately, after the rabies outbreak in 2008, the government has ordered mass culling of stray Bali dogs. As a result, rice harvests were destroyed in some areas due to an uncontrolled rat population. Furthermore Bali dogs also keep snakes and other unwanted wildlife out of peoples homes.
The rabies epidemic has ignited a lot of negative sentiment towards Bali Dogs who are facing mistreatment, neglect and poisonings. The extremely intelligent Bali dogs who have survived for generations without human intervention, now faces mankind as its biggest enemy. Ultimately, their loyalty and love shows how much they want to live together with humans in harmony.