The Jindo (or Korean Jindo) dog originated on the Jindo Islands in Korea. It was brought to the United States by immigrants and later recognized by the UKC in 1998 and by the FCI only in 2005. It is a relatively rare breed in the United States. Here are some cool facts, characteristics, and other important aspects of owning a Jindo.
Interesting facts about the Korean Jindo
- Jindo may have been the result of a cross between the indigenous Korean dogs and the dogs brought to Korea by the Mongols during the 13th-century invasion. The Korean Emperor surrendered and the army withdrew to Jindo Island bringing the dogs with them. The island was completely cut off from the mainland as a result of which, the breed was completely isolated resulting in purity.
- Jindos were used as guard dogs. They also helped in the hunting of small and large animals.
- By the late 1930s, the Korean government declared the Jindo as the national treasure. Today, the Jindo is the only dog breed in the world that is being cared for, funded by, and owned by a national government.
- There are many stories about Jindo’s loyalty to their owners. Some dogs have been known to travel several thousand miles to reunite with their families.
- Physically, there are two varieties of Jindos based on the body shape: the Hudu or Heutgae and the Guypgae or the Tonggol. Where the Hudu is slender and longer than it is tall, the Tonggol is muscular, square, and with a deep chest. Both varieties are Spitz-type dogs and they are often compared to the Japanese Akita breed with which they share many physical traits.
- Korean Jindo breed standard – Male Jindos should ideally weigh between 30-45 lb and measure between 19 to 21 inches at withers. Females are lighter and smaller.
- They have an octagonal shaped head with small prick ears and almond-shaped eyes. Their thick tail is rounded over the back.
- Coat colors – Jindos come in different colors like fawn, white, gray, black and tan, or brindle. The UKC recognizes all these colors as well as red coat color. Jindo Island residents value black, black-red, and white-red Jindos as good hunters.
Jindos are medium-high energy dogs that need an active and dog-experienced owner. They are known for their unwavering loyalty to their owners. Jindos do well in country homes as well as in apartments as long as they are exercised a couple of times a day on leash. Jindos need plenty of space to run about but if you live in an apartment, you can offset this by providing him with plenty of mental and physical stimulation. In case you live in a home with a yard, do make sure that the fence is sturdy and high enough to prevent your Jindo from jumping over.
This is an extremely intelligent dog. As a result of their superior intelligence, they are often able to think for themselves and even capable of finding their own entertainment. That is why owners of Jindos need to provide them with plenty of intellectually stimulating activities. Otherwise, your Jindo will not hesitate to tear down your house, climb up a tree, jump over the fence, or even dig under it. If possible, get another dog to accompany your Jindo. Do invest time, money and effort in training your Jindo early on; he won’t disappoint as he will quickly learn many commands and tricks.
In Korea, Jindos were often employed by the Army as watchdogs and Jindo residents often kept them tied in the yard as gate-keepers to watch over the property. As a result, Jindos make excellent watchdogs but they rarely bark aggressively. They, nevertheless, will devise warn their owners about strangers on the property. Sometimes, their overly-loyal nature and extreme protectiveness towards their owners can come across as aggression towards other dogs or strangers.
Where to find a Jindo
Visit the American Club of the Jindo website also known as the Korean Jindo Association of America. Here you will find a list of registered Jindo breeders working dedicatedly to maintain the purity of the breed. There are two organizations that also keep Jindo rescue dogs: The Two Dog Farms Inc and the Treasured K9s. The average Jindo price is between $500 and $1000.
The Korean Jindo is a highly intelligent, beautiful, and loyal breed. Often, dog owners buy or adopt a Jindo but soon find out that training and getting him adjusted to the household is too much work. It is, therefore, a good idea to enroll your pet in obedience training classes early on-as soon as the dog is about 6 months old. Remember that this breed is used to living outdoors; so an indoor-lifestyle might be stifling and surprising to him. Therefore, early training and plenty of stimulation, both mental and physical, are a must.
You will find that your Jindo learns quickly provided he has a firm, dog-experienced owner. Early socialization to children and other household pets is a must; although the Jindo could show aggression towards other dogs. Always keep your Jindo on a leash, especially at dog parks since he is bound to bolt. Positive, reward-based training is the best way to get the most out of your Jindo.
Jindos need plenty of exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Walk your dog at least 2 times a day. Better yet, give him a job to do. Indoors, you could engage them with Kong toys or other canine activities. Outside, let him romp around a fenced yard. In parks, keep your Jindo on a leash.
Grooming a Jindo
Grooming a Jindo’s coat is not difficult, but it does need regular attention. Brush or comb your dog’s coat twice a week and take care to remove all loose hairs. Jindos shed heavily once a year; bathe your dog with warm water to loosen up all of the stray hair right before the shedding season. These dogs hate water and most of them do not care for baths. Get your dog used to grooming and bathing early on to prevent hassles.
Korean Jindos should be placed on a wholesome healthy diet comprising of raw meat and bones. You can also feed him good quality dry dog food. Your breeder can recommend the right food for your pet according to different life-stages. Here are some more Korean Jindo dietary tips:
- Serve warm or room-temperature food.
- Make sure there is fresh drinking water available for your pet at all times.
- Hard pellets or dry food helps remove plaque and tartar.
- Except for age-related dietary changes, your Jindo does not need variety in his diet. Dogs can eat the same food day after day, without getting bored.
Jindos are known to suffer from hip dysplasia, temperament/behavior problems, hypothyroidism, and skin allergies. This relatively healthy and hardy dog can live for up to 12-15 years.