Bali Heritage Dog

Why We Need to Save the Bali Dog


Bali’s beautiful indigenous dog, possibly the oldest breed in the world, is widely misunderstood and may face threat of extinction.

Scientists at the University of California Davis (UCL Davis) genetic laboratory who took blood samples from Bali’s street dogs concluded that the Bali dog is the oldest breed of dog known to man. That means the Bali Dog is older than the Australian Dingo, the New Guinea singing dog, and the African wild dog.

The Bali dog’s DNA is a mixture of Australian Dingo, Chow-Chow originally from northern China, and Akita, a large Spitz breed of dog originating from the mountainous northern regions of Japan. This inbuilt and hitherto protected genetic diversity makes the Bali dog strong. It can survive on the streets in the harshest of conditions without the veterinary attention needed by western breeds.

The integrity of the Bali dog was protected for centuries until a law prohibiting the import of dogs to Bali was lifted in 2004. Since then, breed dogs have become fashionable. Bali’s heritage dog is now threatened with extinction as a unique breed through a combination of crossbreeding, mass culling and the terrible dog meat trade.

The Balinese people have a very special and cultural relationship with their dogs, even though this is sometimes seen by outsiders as not humane. Balinese society is highly spiritual and can be superstitious. Many people believe the Bali dog will alert people to the unseen presence of “spirits” – both good and bad.

See more about this in our section about Balinese Hinduism and Dogs.

For more information about the DNA studies on Bali dogs, visit