Dog Breed Profile: Korean Jindo


By Ruthie Bently

The Korean Jindo is a Spitz type dog of a medium size with a double coat native to Korea, specifically the island of Jindo in South Korea. It is believed that the breed originated on Jindo Island where they were bred several centuries ago. One theory purports that they were cross bred with Mongolian dogs when the Mongols invaded Korea during the thirteenth century. They were bred to help on farms as well as to hunt, and were used for hunting deer, rabbits, wild boar and badgers. The Jindo is used in packs or individually and is prized for its hunting skills. The Jindo is different from several other breeds in that it does not retrieve or point its prey. It brings down the prey and returns to its handler to lead them to its capture.

The Korean Jindo made its first appearance in the United States during the 1980s, though it is claimed that they first appeared in France. There are currently about twenty-five Jindo dogs in Britain, and the Korean government is working to gain recognition of the breed internationally. While the Jindo is not yet able to compete in AKC confirmation events, it was approved to compete in AKC companion events in January of 2010. It has been a member of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service since January of 2008. The Jindo has also been added to the Non-Sporting dog group of the AKC, and has been recognized by the both the United Kennel Club (1998) and the Fèdèration Cynologique Internationale (2005).

There are currently six coat colors recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in the Jindo: red, black and tan, gray, white, fawn and brindle. The brindle is also known as a “tiger” pattern as the base color is fawn with either black or dark brown stripes on the fawn base; these stripes appear while the dog is still young. The residents of Jindo Island prize the black/red, black and red/white as good dogs for hunting. An adult male Jindo should weigh between 35 to 45 pounds with a height at the shoulders of between 19-1/2 to 21 inches. Adult females should weigh between 30 to 40 pounds and their height should be between 18-1/2 to 20 inches. Their life expectancy is between twelve and fifteen years.

While a Jindo has a coat suited to an outdoor climate, they should never be left outside on their own. When bored they can get into mischief and have been known to scale an eight foot fence. As with any other active breed, they would do well with several daily walks or vigorous romps in the yard, but are easy to housebreak and able to live in an apartment; however, they would do better with more room to roam as they like to investigate their area thoroughly. It is suggested that a Jindo be leash walked due to their prey drive, unless the dog is very well-trained.

A Jindo grooms itself like a cat due to its fastidious nature. The Jindo is a double coated dog and blows its coat twice a year. Brushing the coat several times a day during the shedding seasons will help rid them of this dense undercoat. I suggest brushing outside when the weather is temperate enough to do so, as the birds will benefit from the shed hairs, and it will be easier to dispose of.

In 1962 the Korean government moved to protect the Jindo. This was accomplished by declaring them as the fifty-third natural treasure of the country. After passing the Jindo Preservation Ordinance, the Jindo is now protected by the Cultural Properties Protection Act under Korean law as a national monument. It takes a formidable task to export a purebred Jindo from Korea due to their status. Because the Jindo is so highly prized, they marched in Seoul, Korea during the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games.

The reason the Jindo is so revered in Korea is due to their high intelligence, fastidiousness, courageous nature and their affection and loyalty to their masters; these qualities have also enabled it to become the most popular dog in Korea. I would not suggest a Jindo for a first time dog owner, as you need to be in control and the alpha at all times with this breed. However, for a seasoned dog owner used to owning a strong, intelligent and crafty dog, the Jindo may be just what you’re looking for.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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