Indonesia’s Only Official Breed

Originating from the mountains of Kintamani, Bali in Indonesia is the Kintamani Dog, the first Indonesian dog breed to get international recognition. That happened just recently when the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) officially submitted a recognition letter in February 2019 signed by its executive director, Yves De Clercq.

The Kintamani, also known as the Kintamani-Bali Dog, is a popular breed in Indonesia, and subsequently is a common pet.  It’s estimated that presently, there are approximately 12,000 Kintamani dogs around the Bangli Regency.

The breed’s earliest origins are unknown, but there are theories: Some believe that the dogs came with the Javanese traders or refugees in the 14th and 15th century. Others say that a Chinese trader by the name of Lee came to North Bali with a Chow Chow who had “dalliances” with feral Bali street dogs. Folklore rooted in the ancient Lontar Bali, a traditional Balinese documentation made from leaves of the Rontal tree, mentions the Kuluk Gembrong as being the origin of Kintamani-Bali Dog.

Whatever it’s origins, the dogs occupy an important position in the lives of the Balinese. In olden times, they were sacrificed to purify the land, restore balance and guard against evil spirits. Today, they are regarded as the closest selfless friend a Balinese can have.

The breed is described as being independent, friendly, and curious. It appears in white, black, fawn, and brindle, and because of its “home turf” of mountains, volcanos and forests surrounded by water, the Kintamani has developed into a light-footed dog that is an excellent swimmer.


Kintamani Dog, Kintamani-Bali Dog

A Kintamani against the backdrop of Mount Batur Volcano in Bali, photo by William Cho via Wikimeia

In 1985, with the collaboration of the Veterinary Medicine Study Program of Udayana University, the Kintamani-Bali Dog Club of Bali held its first dog show in Bali.  The Indonesia Kennel Klub (IKK) had proposed recognition for the breed years ago, and when its chairman, Benny Kwok Wie Sioe, was finally able to hand the official FCI recognition letter to Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster, Koster said, “As a Balinese, I feel very proud for the international recognition. It shows that the world recognizes that Bali has high-quality native dog breeds that deserve to participate in national and international competitions.”

Interestingly, the Chairman of the National Narcotics Board Republic of Indonesia (BNN) has decided to train Kintamanis along with Beagles as sniffer dogs because their smaller stature gives them access to narrow areas with ease.

We came across this site about dogs in the Balinese culture that you might find interesting.

Thumbnail photo from Wikimedia 

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