Korean Jindo: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Korean Jindo dog resting in the grass

Jamongcreator / Shutterstock

The Korean Jindo is a medium-sized, rare spitz breed. “Spitz” is a term that’s used to describe a group of dogs with similar characteristics, namely a thick double coat, a wedge-shaped head, upright triangular ears, and a long tail that curls up and over the back. Also called Northern breeds, spitz breeds are frequently found in cold and snowy parts of the world. The Korean Jindo is a natural breed, meaning it developed without much manipulation from humans.

When paired up with the right person, this breed is loyal, protective, and makes an excellent watchdog that rarely feels separation anxiety or clinginess. A Korean Jindo is also calm, clean, and well-behaved, making it an enjoyable house pet in the right situation. 

Breed Overview

GROUP: Sporting

HEIGHT: 17.5 to 21.5 inches tall at the shoulder.

WEIGHT: 33 to 50 pounds

COAT: Medium length, double coat

COAT COLOR: Red fawn, white, black, black and tan, wolf grey and brindle, with a light undercoat

LIFE SPAN: About 14 years

TEMPERAMENT: Careful, intelligent, calm, protective, faithful



Characteristics of the Korean Jindo

The Korean Jindo is beautiful to behold but is also one that demands a specific type of owner. They are tremendously territorial, which makes them great watchdogs. However, their territorial nature means they can be aggressive toward other animals, especially other dogs of the same sex. Korean Jindos are also suspicious of strangers, to the point that it can be difficult to have other people watch the dog if you must be out of town. In the right hands, the Korean Jindo is an exceedingly loyal and faithful companion.

Affection Level Low
Friendliness Low
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness Low
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Low
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Korean Jindo

The Korean Jindo originated on a small island off the coast of South Korea called Jindo, from which the breed takes its name. The Korean Jindo was known on this island for thousands of years where it lived amongst humans but was allowed to roam freely. They hunted alongside their owners and guarded their homes. In Korea, the Jindo is considered a national treasure. Korean Jindos were included in the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Olympic Games, which were held in Seoul, Korea.  

In the United States, the Korean Jindo is recognized by the United Kennel Club, where it is part of the Northern Breeds group. The Korean Jindo is also part of the Foundation Stock Service in the American Kennel Club, which is the first step toward eventual full recognition of the breed. The Korean Jindo is also recognized by the international kennel club Fédération Cynologique International.

White Korean Jindo Dog
JeeHyun_K / Getty Images
Korean Jindo Dog
 Claire-Marie Harris / Getty Images
Korean Jindo Dog
HadelProductions / Getty Images 

Korean Jindo Care

Korean Jindos were primarily used for hunting and guarding the home. They have lots of energy and tons of prey drive (the instinct to chase and kill animals). Providing lots of outlets for both physical and mental stimulation will allow your Korean Jindo to remain calm and quietly watchful at home.


Jindos may not need as much exercise as you might think. If you give them several brisk walks a day that add up to about 30 minutes total, your dog may be satisfied, though they can always go longer if you prefer. Since they are strong and athletic, Korean Jindos will be ready for hunting, jogging, long walks, or hiking, but arduous periods of exercise are not daily necessities. Always keep a Korean Jindo on a leash when out and let it only play in a securely fenced yard. For mental stimulation, Jindos particularly appreciate challenging puzzle toys and squeaking plush toys they can shred (to simulate prey),


The Korean Jindo coat is wash-and-wear, and they don’t really need much washing. The Korean Jindo is naturally clean, and its coat smells and feels great even with just occasional baths. They don’t drool and don’t shed much outside of the twice-yearly seasonal shed. During this time the Korean Jindo loses a lot of its undercoat so shedding will be heavy at this time. Extra brushing (even daily) will help keep the shed hair under control. Outside of these seasonal shedding times, the rest of the year the Korean Jindo sheds little and stays neat with just brushing once a week. Trim your Korean Jindo’s nails weekly look inside the ears, cleaning with a pet-safe ear cleaner if they appear dirty.


The Korean Jindo is highly intelligent, but they are not easy to train. They are independent and don’t always have a strong desire to please humans like some other breeds that are eager to learn tricks and commands. Korean Jindos benefit from abundant training and early socialization, especially around children, to help them develop into confident dogs that do not overreact to “suspicious” situations (for instance, friendly strangers coming into the home).

Common Health Problems

In general, the Korean Jindo is a healthy and long-lived breed. According to the national breed club in North America, the Korean Jindo Association of America, a few health conditions have been identified in the breed, including discoid lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disease) and hypothyroidism

Diet and Nutrition

Feed your Korean Jindo high-quality dog food (ask your breeder or veterinarian for a recommendation). Rather than leaving food out all day (called free feeding), portion out meals with a measuring cup or scale to avoid overfeeding. Free feeding can lead to weight gain. Obesity and being overweight can contribute to health issues and compromise joints. 

Where to Adopt or Buy

The Korean Jindo is a very rare breed. Some adult Korean Jindos or Jindo mixes might find their way into a rescue situation, but usually, people who want a Korean Jindo must look for a reputable breeder for a puppy. The Korean Jindo Association of America publishes a list of breeders on its website. Be prepared to have to wait for some time (even years) for a puppy to become available. Bred puppies may cost on average of between $1,000 to $3,000.

To adopt this breed, try the Treasured K9s, an organization that specializes in rescuing and rehoming Jindos. When adopting, consider that this breed bonds very closely with one owner, and can be difficult to rehome in the event the owner must give the dog up. But you can always discuss this issue with the rehoming organization.

Korean Jindo Overview

  • Steadfastly loyal 

  • Excellent watchdog

  • Clean and calm in the house

  • Not generally safe with dogs or other pets

  • Not good with strangers

  • Difficult to train

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Korean Jindo, you might also like to read about these similar breeds:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Jindos a good fit with multi-pet households?

    Many Korean Jindos do not get along with other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. It might not be possible for a Korean Jindo to live with other dogs, but opposite-sex pairings tend to be the most successful. Due to their high prey drive, it’s not recommended to keep cats and other small pets in the same home with a Korean Jindo.

  • Would a Korean Jindo be a good choice for a first-time dog owner?

    This is a breed that is best left to expert-level dog owners who are adept at showing a canine very strong leadership. The Jindo is generally not a good match for the novice dog owner because they can be challenging to train and live with.

  • Are Jindos good dogs for apartment living?

    Yes, this dog adapts to domestic life and small spaces easily, doesn't bark too much, and doesn't require hours of exercise every day. Apartment dwellers need to remember that many Korean Jindos are escape artists so you will need to watch your open doors for escape attempts.