Balinese Hinduism & Bali Dogs

Many people believe that in Balinese culture dogs are thought to be the reincarnation of thieves and criminals, but it’s not as straightforward as that. If this were so, the story of Moksha Yudistira, who is accompanied by a black dog (an incarnation of Sang Hyang Dharma, the God of Justice) on his way to heaven, would be contradictory.

However, this also brings into question the sacrificing of dogs during certain ceremonies.

Bangbungkem puppies, which have browny-orange fur and black tongues, are used in Mecaru Balik Sumpah ceremonies to cleanse the surroundings of bad spirits.

The justification for sacrificing these puppies is that, depending on whether the animal is male or female, it will be reincarnated as a handsome man or an elegant woman.

Dogs are often used to guard Balinese homes physically as well as spiritually. Some are seen as especially good luck, based on their size, the curl of their tail and length of hair.