Welcome to our complete guide to the Korean Jindo.
The Jindo has a long history in South Korea, but it is a relatively new breed to North America.
We’ll discuss the unique origins of the Korean Jindo, as well as it’s description and grooming requirements.
Then we’ll share with you some facts about its personality and health, as well as training and exercise requirements.
We’re here to help you figure out if this is the right dog for you. If it is, we’ll also point you to resources for finding a Jindo puppy.
Whatever information you’re hoping to learn about this beautiful, intelligent dog you can find it here.
Korean Jindo Origins
There is a small island just off the Southwest coast of South Korea, called Jindo.
That is where this breed began, which is why it carries the name.
In Korean, they are actually called Jindo-gae which literally means dog of Jindo Island.
Jindos have lived on the island for thousands of years. They were commonly hunting companions for island residents.
These dogs are designated as a Korean Natural Treasure, which is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Korean artefact, animal or person.
Any Jindos born on the island fall under Jindo County jurisdiction. This means that they are protected by Korean law and are not allowed to travel off the island.
The Island is also a “leash free” environment, so many dogs of this breed can be found wandering loose there.
The Modern Jindo Dog Breed
The first breeding club for Jindos was established in 1979 by Samsung Chairman, Kum-Hee Lee.
And on January 1, 1998, The United Kennel Club recognized the Jindo as a registered pedigree.
Then in 1999, a breeding institute was built on the island to study and help preserve the breed.
The Fédération Cynologique Internationale also chose to recognize the breed, in 2005.
While Korean emigrants have brought Jindos with them to other countries for decades, including the US and the UK, these dogs are not considered “official” by registries the UK Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club yet.
In 2002, six Jindo Island dogs were micro-chipped and sent to the UK. Only these dogs and their descendants are recognized as part of the official breed.
The American Kennel Club has not yet recognized the Jindo as a purebred, but they have registered them in their Foundation Stock Service as of 2008.
This service helps gather and maintain accurate records for breeds aiming to achieve full AKC recognition.
How to Spot a Jindo Dog
The Jindo dog is a sturdily built, medium-sized, spitz-type dog (which puts them in the same category as better known breeds such as the Siberian Husky and the Pomeranian).
Male Jindos weigh between 40 and 50 pounds on average. They typically stand between 19.5 and 21.5 inches tall.
Females weigh between 33 and 42 pounds and stand between 17.5 and 19.5 inches tall, on average.
Jindos have wide triangular heads, with erect ears. Their bodies are square shaped with a thick tail that curls up over their back.
Their eyes are small and almond-shaped, typically ranging from dark reddish brown to dark brown in color, with black rims.
These dogs have a thick double coat. The outer coat is harsh, while the undercoat is soft but dense.
There are six different possible colors of the Jindo coat:
- Red fawn
- Black and tan
- Wolf grey
Korean Jindo Dog Grooming & Care
The dense coat of a Korean Jindo dog is relatively low maintenance.
The coarse exterior coat is excellent at repelling dirt and water.
Weekly brushing with a slicker or pin brush, and the occasional bath, is sufficient grooming during most of the year.
Jindos also “blow their coat” in spring and fall.
This means that twice a year additional brushing is required to help the Jindo shed its undercoat.
Korea Jindo Dog Temperament
The Jindo temperament is fiercely loyal and brave.
Jindos form very strong attachments to their family members and their home.
In fact, according to the United Kennel Club, some Jindos have travelled long distances to return to their original owner.
The Jindo dog personality is extremely faithful, alert and careful. They are considered to have a calm, confident nature.
They can be very watchful and territorial around other dogs and suspicious around strangers.
Jindos are not very vocal dogs and rarely bark without cause.
Jindo Dogs and Other Pets
Korean Jindos are excellent hunters, with strong prey drives.
This means they are best suited to a home without other animals, particularly small pets that they may mistake for prey.
If you do have another dog in the house, it is wise to choose an opposite-sex to reduce the chance of aggression.
The Importance of Socializing Your Jindo Puppy
Early and consistent socialization and training are extremely important to help your Jindo learn to be a proper family dog.
Several studies have been conducted on Jindo temperament and behavior.
In one, socialized and non-socialized puppies were compared to see if socialization positively impacted behavioral traits.
While it did positively impact playfulness, it did not affect their tendency to be fearful around strangers.
In another study, Jindo dogs with fawn and white color coats were compared to see if there was a behavioral difference.
The study found that fawn-colored Jindos showed less fearful and submissive behavior.
Although interesting, these results are only based on small numbers of dogs, and don’t guarantee that you can secure your Jindo’s personality by choosing one coat color over another.
Jindo Dog Breed Health
The Jindo dog is considered a generally healthy breed.
There are few known genetic health issues in Korean Jindos, although this may be partially due to the breed being smaller and less represented in health studies than others.
Jindos often have a long lifespan of 14 years or more.
Allergies and hypothyroidism are currently the most common health problems associated with this breed.
However, there have been some reported cases of cataracts and hip dysplasia.
If you are considering a Korean Jindo puppy, you should ask to see recent eye exam certificates and hip scores for both parents.
An older Jindo dog can have it’s own checks. Some rescue shelters carry these out themselves, but if they don’t (for example to due cost) you can arrange your own before you make a commitment.
Jindo Breed Exercise & Training Needs
The Jindo is considered to have a fastidious nature. Due to this, they are known to be housebroken with little training.
Jindos tend to be very attentive in the home.
They are known to follow their owner from one room to the next, simply to keep them in sight.
They are not considered a destructive breed, although any dog can exhibit destructive behaviors if not properly exercised.
Jindos typically respond well to positive reinforcement training, particularly from their owner.
These dogs can easily learn many commands and tricks. Unfortunately, their intelligence also means they can learn tricks you do not wish them to know, such as how to open cages.
Jindos have been called renowned escape artists and may not be safe in fenced in yards without supervision.
Entertainment and Exercise for Your Jindo
The Jindo breed has worked alongside humans for hundreds of years, and they are known for their intelligence and hunting abilities.
They are a smart and high-energy breed, capable of travelling long distances to take down game, and bring it back to their owner.
The Jindo breed is also known to be excellent guard dogs, as they are very alert.
Put simply, they love having a job to do.
And as a pet, they will still need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy.
Jindos typically excel at many canine sports, such as agility, hunting and obstacle courses. These are a great way to hang out together and make new friends too!
Despite a long history of leash-free life on Jindo island, these dogs are often poorly suited to being let loose at the local park, where their prey drive or fear of strangers can get the better of them.
Instead, they will do best with regular leashed walks or with supervised play inside a fenced yard.
Ideal Home for a Korean Jindo Puppy
While Jindos can be excellent family dogs, they tend to attach themselves to own owner.
In their ideal home, that one special person will be around for most of the day.
They will excel in a house with an active family and plenty of opportunity for mental stimulation as well as exercise.
Korean Jindo dogs can do well in a home with small children if they have been properly socialized and trained.
However, they should never be left unaccompanied with small children, particularly if they are visiting children the dog is unfamiliar with.
Jindos and Stranger Danger
If properly socialized a Jindo should not show any aggression on neutral territory.
However, they may react with snarling or snapping if they view their own space being invaded by another dog.
If you regularly host other canine guests in your home, a Jindo might not be the right dog for you.
Likewise, Jindos are often wary of strangers and new surroundings, so kenneling a Jindo can cause stress for your pet.
Any new kennel, boarding home or pet sitter should be slowly introduced to a Jindo puppy.
How to Find a Jindo Puppy
Jindos are still considered to be a primitive breed, as the population is not very large, particularly outside of South Korea.
Make sure that any breeder you deal with is reputable and willing to answer all your questions.
You should ask to see both parent dogs and view where the puppy has been raised, to ensure it is a safe and clean environment.
Jindo puppies price will range based on breeder, availability and location.
The coat color can also affect a Jindo dog price, as some coats, such as all white, are considered rarer and more desirable.
If considering adopting a Jindo rescue dog, you can check out your local adoption agencies or search through PetFinder.
However, most rescue dogs are unlikely to come with papers, so there is no guarantee your Jindo rescue is a purebred, or even how much Jindo they have in them.
Always make sure any puppy you bring home has been properly socialized, to give you the best possible start in training and building a life together.
Is a Jindo Right For Me?
This hard working breed has a long and noble history on the island of Jindo, but its story in the rest of the world is only just beginning.
Since Jindos need a lot of company, exercise, stimulation, and positive reinforcement training to overcome their nervousness of strange people and dogs, they are best kept by experienced dog owners.
If you’d like to find out more about the Korean Jindo Dog, you’ll meet a passionate and enthusiastic Jindo community through their breed club.
From here you can decide whether to take the leap, and bring home your very own Jindo dog!
Do You Already Have a Jindo?
We’d love to hear about your experiences of this old-yet-new breed.
What do you think it takes to give a Jindo a good home?
Tell us in the comments section below!
References and Further Reading
Jindo Breed Standard. United Kennel Club, 2009.
Kim, et al. Behavioural reactivity of the Korean native Jindo dog varies with coat colour. Behavioural Processes, 2010.
Kim, et al. Behavioral Reactivity of Jindo Dogs Socialized at an Early Age Compared with Non-Socialized Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 2009.
Kim, et al. Genome Analysis of the Domestic Dog (Korean Jindo) by Massively Parallel Sequencing. DNA Research, 2012.
Lee, et al. A Review of the Jindo, Korean Native Dog – Review. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 2000.