When www.thebalistreetdog.com interviewed Drh Kadek we asked for his extensive professional knowledge and his personal opinion on the unique Bali Street Dog. The responses that Drh Kadek gave are insightful and enlightening.
As a Drh of Veterinary Medicine in your opinion what makes the Bali Dog unique in comparison to Breed Dogs?
Firstly, Bali Dogs are much tougher than other breed dogs. This is because centuries of Darwinian natural selection has eradicated many of the bad genes that are so prevalent in other breeds, which have been reproduced through artificial selection to exaggerate certain characteristics. For this reason they are much better adapted to survive in the wild, and we vets rarely see problems such as heart murmurs or hip dysplasia.
Secondly, Bali Dogs are more street smart than other breeds. This can sometimes make them more difficult to handle, because they have a strong memory to recall traumatic events experienced earlier in their lives and their natural tendency is to stay alert to anything suspicious. This is one of the reasons they make excellent guard dogs and will sound the alarm if they see a possible intruder.
What is the importance of the Bali Dog within Balinese Culture?
The Bali Dog is deeply entrenched in our culture. Our ancestors always had at least one Bali Dog in every household, although the model of pet ownership is very different to the West as often the dog will live outside and not sleep in the house. Despite the Bali Dog being a strict part of our customs, many Balinese either do not think to take their Bali Dog to the vet if it is sick, or they simply do not want to spend their money on that.
Also we cannot deny that the Bali Dog has a traditional use in ceremonial sacrifice (blang bungkem), for male brown colored dogs with a black muzzle. However this tends to be less frequent these days and is reserved for the larger ceremonies.
What do you think the greatest danger is to the Bali Dog, in regard to their survival?
One danger is that now other pedigree breeds are becoming so popular in Indonesia as a status symbol, interbreeding with these other pedigree breeds will dilute the purity of the Bali Dog gene pool.
Secondly, the Bali Dogs are sadly seen by many as inferior to the pedigree breeds, and even if those people have pet Bali Dogs, they may be reluctant to spend money on vet care for them when they get sick.
Thirdly, although it is very important that we neuter the Bali street dog population wherever possible to reduce the puppy mortality rate, it is tame and domesticated Bali dogs that are the ones we can catch. The more feral ones are very hard to catch. Therefore these feral ones are often the ones that reproduce, and those character traits that made them more feral may be exaggerated with each generation.
Do you have Bali Dogs?
Yes I have 3 Bali dogs living in my house in Pejeng, near Ubud.
Can you describe the Bali Dog in three words?
Agile, Smart, Protective