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Korean Jindo

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

The Jindo is also called Jindo Dog, Chindo, Jindo Gae, JindoGae or Jin Dog and is a medium to large purebred from Jindo Island, South Korea. It was bred and used as a hunting dog and its game ranged from small rodents to larger deer. But it is also known for its gentle and affectionate temperament making it also a good companion dog. It has a life span of 12 to 15 years and is one of South Korea’s national treasures.

The Jindo at a Glance
Name Jindo
Other names Jindo Dog, Chindo, Jindo Gae, JindoGae
Nicknames Jin Dog
Origin South Korea
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 35 to 60 pounds
Average height 18 to 22 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Smooth double coat that is short to medium-length
Hypoallergenic No
Color White, fawn, grey, black and tan, and brindle
Popularity Not recognized by the AKC
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Good to very good
Tolerance to cold Good
Shedding High – expect a lot of hair in the home to clean up
Drooling Moderate to average
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing High – brush daily to keep up with the loose hair
Barking Occasional – does bark but not constant
Exercise needs High – needs very active owners
Trainability Easy for experienced owners
Friendliness Very good
Good first dog No – requires experienced dog owner
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Good – require socialization and training
Good with other pets Good – require socialization and training as have a high prey drive
Good with strangers Good with socialization but wary
Good apartment dog Yes – can be if get enough activity but a yard would be great
Handles alone time well No – does not like being left alone for long periods
Health issues Quite a hardy dog breed, some issues include hypothyroidism, ear infections, hip dysplasia
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and for pet insurance
Food expenses $235 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $260 a year for license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $980 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $2,000
Rescue organizations Save Korean Dogs, Korean Jindo Dog Rescue, Rescue Korea, also check local rescues and shelters
Biting Statistics None reported

The Jindo’s Beginnings

The Jindo’s origins are not known as it is an ancient breed dating back hundreds if not thousands of years, and there are no recordings of where they come from. It has been on the South Korean Jindo Island for as long as we know and while no facts are known about how it got there, there are some theories. One suggests they were a cross from Mongolian dogs when Korea was invaded by Mongol in the 1270s.

Regardless of their beginnings they were kept to hunt with, used on a variety of game, rabbit, deer, badgers, boar and would be used in both packs and on its own. They were also protective and kept as guard dogs. It was trained and bred to take down its prey but then return back to its human hunter and take them to it. The other Jindo if they were hunting in a pack would stay with the kill to protect it from scavengers. It was also valued for its courage and intelligence. There is a story that tells of three Jindo taking down a Siberian Tiger! There are also tales of Jindo waking their owners up to lead them to deer they have taken down while their owner was sleeping!

For years the Jindo was a South Korean breed only, being on an island protected it from cross breeding too. In 1962 the South Korean government declared it their 53rd Natural Treasure (Natural Monument). They also passed the Jindo Preservation Ordinance to protect the breed. This made it hard too for purebreds to be exported.

New Lease on Life

As a result of the ordinance passed the Jindo is very uncommon outside of South Korea and the breed were given further protection when they were included in the Cultural Properties Protection Act. In South Korea it is further protected by the Jindo Dogs Guild of Korea who watch the population of the dogs and certifies purebreds. Several attempts were made in the last few decades to use it in the military, police and in search and rescue but its complete loyalty to its trainer meant it was not suited to being handled by different people and the hunting instincts would interfere too. In 1998 it was recognized by the UKC but has not been by the AKC, though it is in the Foundation Stock Service. In 2005 it also received recognition from the FCI. There are only 2 registered in the US at the moment and only 25 in the UK.

The Dog You See Today

The Jindo is a medium to large sized dog weighing 35 to 60 pounds and standing 18 to 22 inches tall. It is similar in appearance to another Asian breed, the Shiba Inu. It tends to have two body types, one is called Tonggol or Gyupgae and this is a stockier and more muscled dog with a deep chest and a squared shape. The other is called Huhu or Heutgae which is slimmer and had a shallower chest and more elongated features and a more rectangular shape. Recently a third type has emerged from combining the two more traditional types and this is being called Gakgol, it is longer in body but still deep chested and strong.

The feet on all tend to be round, medium sized and have strong thick pads and hard nails. This dog has a double coat that is short to medium in length and smooth. Common colors are white, grey, fawn, black and tan, black and brindle. Its tail is strong, thick and long and can be carried in a sickle position over its back or curled. Under the tail the hair is stiff and thick and longer than elsewhere.

The skull of the dog is rounded and broad and has no wrinkles. The muzzle is in proportion and it has a strong jaw with a scissor bite. Males should have heads that are larger than females, and the latter’s features should be more fox like. The cheeks have rough hairs standing away from them and its ears are triangular shaped, erect and point forwards. (Puppies though have flat lying ears until around 6 months). It has round or almond shaped eyes that are usually dark or reddish brown. Non white dogs have a black nose and white dogs have tan/pink noses.

The Inner Jindo

Temperament

The Jin Dog is an extremely loyal dog who bonds very closely with its owners, especially the one that takes it hunting, training and exercising. While it is fierce, bold and focused when it is out on a hunt it is actually quite gentle, affectionate and quiet indoors. It is a very good watchdog, it will bark to let you know if someone is approaching or breaking in and it is likely to act to defend you. It loves to interact with its family and with friends but is wary around strangers and socialization is important to stop that from becoming aggressive suspicion. It will not be affectionate towards people it has just met and needs proper introductions. If it does not get enough attention and interaction with its owners it can become unhappy.

It is an intelligent dog too and needs firm leadership so it knows who is the pack leader. It is a good dog for active and experienced families or owners who have the time to commit to it. It can be strong willed and it likes to explore and to roam. It is not best suited to people who are inexperienced. It does not like being left alone for long periods and being intelligent is able to come up with some ways to entertain itself that you are not going to be happy with!

Living with a Jindo

What will training look like?

The Jindo is intelligent but it is also independent, dominant and stubborn. If you are firm, establish yourself as its leader and maintain being consistent and confident it is more likely to accept that and get on with learning. Experience really helps with this dog as it will often ignore commands if it does not feel like doing them unless its owner has established themselves and earned respect. Be patient and positive, keep things interesting and reward and motivate it. Jindo are quite capable of learning beyond basic obedience with the right approach. Make sure it is also well socialized from a young age so it becomes more tolerant, confident and trustworthy. This means at a young age start introducing it to different people, animals, places, situations and sounds so it learns what responses are appropriate.

How active is the Jindo?

This dog can be fairly active to very active and that with their intelligence means they need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. If it does not get what it needs it will become very destructive and hard to live with. It needs owners who are very active too and outside space, that has a high fence as it can jump over and escape ones that are not high enough. If it is not being taken out to hunt with it is a good idea to get it into doggy sports as this is a way to see to its mental and physical needs. It should be taken out for vigorous long walks a couple of times a day. It also needs play time and opportunities for off leash safe run time. It should be noted here that the Jindo does not like water at all. It will not want to swim, will balk at walking in streams or puddles and some even do not like the rain or bath time. Some may even not want to cross a bridge over a river.

Caring for the Jindo

Grooming needs

This is a very clean dog, its coat sheds dirt so it does not need a bath often, and it even grooms itself like a cat, which is good since it often fears water. It does shed frequently though and then has heavy seasonal shedding times too. This means there will be a lot of hair to clean up around the home and on you. Brush daily to keep up with the loose hair and when you do manage to get it into a bath for a very occasional bath, use just a mild canine shampoo only so you do not dry out the natural oils in its skin and coat that it needs.

Other needs include its ears being checked and cleaned weekly. Look for signs of infection like redness, bad odor, swelling and if all is fine, wipe them clean with a cotton ball and cleanser or a damp cloth. Never push into the ears though as that could hurt the dog and do damage. The Jindo’s nails need to be trimmed when they get too long using the right tools. Do not use regular people nail scissors, get proper dog clippers or scissors. Make sure you learn where to cut as there is a section called the quick with blood vessels and nerves. Cutting into that part will hurt the dog and cause bleeding. Its teeth can be looked after with regular brushing (at least 2 or 3 times a week) using a dog toothpaste and toothbrush.

Feeding Time

The Jindo will eat about 3 to 4 cups of a good to excellent dry dog food, split into at least two meals a day. This varies depending on its size, age, health, activity level and metabolism rate. It should also have water which should be changed when possible. Be aware though that this dog does tend to do better in a meat diet and cheap dry foods should be avoided, especially ones high in corn.

How is the Jindo with other animals and children?

This breed needs good socialization and it helps when raised with them to be good with other pets and children. It does have a high prey drive and that means it is best in homes where there are not other small animals or even small dogs. With children it will be playful and affectionate but its protective instincts means care and supervision should be considered when your children’s friends come to visit and they engage in rough play. Jindo can be aggressive towards other dogs when it needs to establish its dominance or protect its territory.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

It should have a life span of 12 to 15 years and is generally a healthy and hardy breed. A few issues can include injuries in the field, ear infections, hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.

Biting Statistics

Looking at reports of dogs attacking people and doing bodily harm over the last 35 years in Canada and the U.S the Jindo is not mentioned in any of them. While this is a bold and fearless hunter it is not a dog to be feared, unless there is a real threat it is not people aggressive. Keep in mind though that any dog can snap or become aggressive and cause serious injury no matter its size. There are some things that lessen the chances of such things. Do not take on an active dog if you are not active, do not take on a hunting dog if you are not going to hunt with it! Make sure you can feed it, offer it physical and mental stimulation and give it the kind of attention it needs. It is essential too that it is well socialized and has at least basic training.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Jindo puppy is going to cost about $2000 from a good breeder. For something from a top breeder expect to pay a lot more. Remember getting one from South Korea now is almost impossible. Avoid online ads, backyard breeders, puppy mills, pet stores and the like. If you do not mind having an adult dog rather than a puppy, and you do not have to have a purebred, a great idea is to offer a shelter or rescue dog a new life and forever home. Adoption is going to cost $50 to $500.

Upon choosing your dog you should have a vet take a look at it as well as carry out some tests and such. It needs to be dewormed, have blood tests, be vaccinated, spayed or neutered, micro chipped and given a physical exam and these costs will be about $290. You will also need some items for your new best friend, a crate, carrier, leash and collar, bowls and bedding for example for another $240 or so.

Annual costs for feeding your Jindo a good to excellent quality dry dog food and treats are going to be about $235. It will also need basic medical care such as pet insurance, check ups, flea prevention and shots for another $485 a year. There will be other costs too such as toys, basic training, license and miscellaneous items that will come to at least $260 a year. This means each year your Jin Dog will cost you $980 or more.

Names

Looking for a Jindo Name? Let select one from our list!

The Jindo is an energetic, hard working hunting dog. It needs daily activity and mental stimulation or it is hard to live with and destructive. It sheds a fair bit though so people who do not want dog hair around the home should re-consider. It is a very good and devoted companion along side that and it has protective instincts. Owners need to experienced and patience will be needed when you are looking for a trustworthy breeder since it is so rare outside of South Korea.


Featured Image Credit: jamongcreator, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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