JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The kintamani dog from Bali has been internationally recognised by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), an international federation of national kennel clubs.
The recognition letter was officially submitted by the Belgium-based organisation on Feb 20, signed by its executive director Yves De Clercq.
The chairman of the Indonesia Kennel Klub (IKK), Mr Benny Kwok Wie Sioe, told journalists last Saturday (April 13) that the kintamani was the first Indonesian dog breed to be recognised internationally.
"The FCI has declared to the world that the kintamani dog is a dog breed native to Indonesia," Mr Benny said, adding that the IKK had proposed the recognition years ago.
With the FCI recognition, Mr Benny added, the breed could join international competitions and dog shows, and kintamani birth documents could use the official FCI logo.
Last Saturday afternoon, Mr Benny officially handed the FCI recognition letter to Bali governor I Wayan Koster, who expressed appreciation for the honour.
"As a Balinese, I feel very proud for the international recognition. It shows that the world recognises that Bali has high-quality native dog breeds that deserve to participate in national and international competitions," Mr Koster said.
He said the recognition should motivate all Balinese to keep preserving and developing local animals and plants.
"We have amazing nature with many animals from Bali, such as the Bali starling and Bali cow. These animals should be preserved to keep our ecosystem in Bali unique. It is also value for our economy," he said.
Mr Benny said kintamani dogs were highly intelligent and had won several competitions in the past several years.
"I also have a kintamani dog. They have extraordinary intelligence," Mr Benny said.
He expressed hope that the international recognition could provide value to the community, as it could lift the price of the breed.
"Now, it is sold at around 200,000 rupiah (S$19.22) or 300,000 rupiah," he said.
A recognised dog breed with a good lineage and a certificate, like a golden retriever, can fetch five million rupiah for a male pup and three million rupiah for a female pup.
Animal lovers have criticised some practices within the pet trade and encourage the adoption of pets instead. However, dog breeding and selling are legal in Indonesia, even though there are reports of alleged abuse.
Mr Benny said not all kintamani dogs were sold for cheap, citing an instance in which a well-treated kintamani dog was sold for 20 million rupiah.
"The kintamani dog is an evolving breed indigenous to the Kintamani region of Bali. Kintamani dogs cohabitate with feral Bali street dogs, although folklore has the breed originating 600 years ago from a Chinese chow chow, " said a 2005 paper on the breed in Journal of Heredity, written by Puja, Irion, Schaffer and Pedersen.
In the document for the breed on the FCI website, the federation states that the kintamani dog originated from the village of Sukawana in Kintamani, Bali.
"The Kintamani-Bali dog comes from the region of mountains, volcanoes and forests," it says.
The origins of the kintamani dog prior to that are unknown.
"The Kintamani-Bali dog is the Republic of Indonesia's national breed and very popular in the country," the FCI notes.
The document also says the breed is a "well-balanced dog with a rectangular body, a wedge-shaped head, moderate stop, pricked ear and a sickle tail with a double coat, harsh outer coat of medium length on the body and shorter on its face".
The temperament of the kintamani is said to be watchful, intelligent, alert, gentle, loyal and easy to train.