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 wedged-shaped head, upright triangular ears, and a long tail that curls up and over the back. Also called Northern breeds, spitz breeds are a frequently found in cold and snowy parts of the world. The Korean Jindo is a natural breed, meaning it developed naturally without much manipulation from humans. The Korean Jindo comes in a variety of colors, including red fawn, white, black, black and tan, wolf grey and brindle.
The Jindo is generally not a good match for the novice dog owner. They can be challenging to own and live with. When paired up with the right person, though, they are loyal, protective and excellent watchdogs. Korean Jindos are also calm, clean and well-behaved, making them enjoyable house pets in the right situation.
Weight: 33 to 50 pounds
Height: 17.5 to 21.5 inches tall at the shoulder.
Coat: Medium length, double coat
Color: Red fawn, white, black, black and tan, wolf grey and brindle, with a light undercoat
Life Expectancy: About 14 years
Characteristics of the Korean Jindo
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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.
Korean Jindo Care
The Korean Jindo coat is wash and wear—and they don’t really need much washing. The Korean Jindo is naturally clean, smelling and feeling 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.
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). Strong and athletic, Korean Jindos need something to do, whether hunting, jogging, long walks or hiking. Providing lots of outlets for both physical and mental stimulation will allow your Korean Jindo to remain calm and quietly watchful at home.
The Korean Jindo is highly intelligent, but they are not particularly easy to train. They are independent and necessarily don’t have a strong desire to please like some other breeds that are eager to learn tricks and commands. Korean Jindos benefit from abundant training and early socialization to help them develop into confident dogs that do not overreact to “suspicious” situations (for instance, friendly strangers coming into the home). 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. Many Korean Jindos are escape artists, so it’s important to have a securely fenced yard and watch open doors for escape attamepts. Always keep a Korean Jindo on a leash when out and about.
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 a 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.
Clean and calm in the house
Not generally safe with dogs or other pets
Not good with strangers
Difficult to train
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 rescue, 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 some time (even years) for a puppy to become available.
More Dog Breeds and Further Research
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. They bond very closely with one owner, and can be difficult to rehome in the event the owner must give the dog up. In the right hands, the Korean Jindo is an exceedingly loyal and faithful companion. This is a breed that is best left to expert-level dog owners.
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