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Korea Jindo Dog

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Korea Jindo Dog
A white Jindo
A white Jindo
Alternative names
Jindo Gae
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 5 Section 5 #334  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Korea Jindo Dog (진돗개) is a breed of dog originating in Korea. The Jindo is a hunting dog, originally from Jindo Island. Although relatively unknown outside Korea, it is celebrated in its native land for its unswerving loyalty to its master.


The Jindo is a medium-sized, double-coated spitz-type dog, with prick ears. The body is either square or slightly longer than tall. It has been divided into two body types: Tonggol or Gyupgae and Hudu or Heutgae. The former is very muscular and shorter in body, with a depth of chest equal to one-half the height at the withers and a shorter loin, while the latter is more slender with somewhat less depth of chest and a slightly longer loin, resulting in a height to length ratio of 10:11. Typically, males are larger with heavier heads and females have more fox-like features. These two types are gradually being blended into a third type called Gakgol, which retains the length of body of the Hudu style and the depth of chest of the Tonggol style. "The topline inclines very slightly downward from well-developed withers to a strong back with a slight but definite arch over the loin, which blends into a slightly sloping croup. The ribs are moderately sprung out from the spine, then curving down and inward to form a body that would be nearly oval if viewed in cross-section. The loin is muscular but narrower than the rib cage and with a moderate tuck-up. The chest is deep and moderately broad. When viewed from the side, the lowest point of the chest is immediately behind the elbow. The forechest should extend in a shallow oval shape in front of the forelegs but the sternum should not be excessively pointed.

  • Maturity: May reach full size by 5 months, but takes 2 years to physically and emotionally mature.
  • Height: At maturity, desirable height for male dogs should be 19 1/2 to 21 inches and 18 1/2 to 20 inches for females.
  • Weight: In good condition, males should be 35-45 lbs. and 30-40 lbs. for a female.
  • Tail: There are two types: ring tail, rolled on its back; erect tail, straight up.
  • Eyes: Gingko nut-shaped yellowish brown eyes with clear pupils. Jindos with reddish eyes are considered better hunters.
  • Ears: Ears start out floppy and usually stand erect by 5 or 6 months. Jindos with ears that straighten later are said to be better hunters.
  • Hair: Coat is of medium length, coarse with a thick undercoat. Jindos shed twice a year.
  • Color: Korean law currently only recognizes white Jindos and red (tan) Jindos, thus they are the most popular colors. Some Jindo Island residents have valued black, black/tan and red/white Jindos for being good hunters over the years. The UKC recognizes five different coat colors: white, fawn, gray, black and tan, and brindle (tiger pattern).


The Korean Jindo Dog is well known for its unwavering loyalty. Because of this there is a misunderstanding that a Jindo will be loyal only to its first owner or the owner when young. However, there are many examples of older Jindos being adopted out of shelters in the United States and becoming very loyal friends to their new owners.

They are highly active and are not meant to be indoor-only dogs. Jindo dogs need reasonable space to roam and run. Jindos require a lot of care and attention. They are also known to be escape artists and high jumpers. If kept in a yard, the fencing must be at least six feet high.

Because the Jindo is an active and intelligent dog, it requires frequent interaction with people or another dog in the family. If left alone by itself for a long stretch, it finds its own entertainment. A Jindo may climb over a fence or wall, dig the ground, or tear up the house if confined indoors. Worse still, a mistreated or badly trained Jindo may roam around the neighborhood and attack neighbors' pets and threaten people.

For this reason many Jindo dogs are found in animal shelters. Also because the breed is not well known, there are many good Jindo dogs available for adoption.

With Jindos, establishing the hierarchy (humans above dogs) with care and affection is essential.

It is important to socialize Jindos at a very early age. As with humans, Jindos will test boundaries to establish themselves at the top of dog hierarchies--a true alpha dog--due to the way in which the breed evolved. This may result in dog aggression in the unsocialized Jindo.

Jindos serve as excellent watchdogs, able to distinguish friend from foe, familiar people from strangers. They are conscious of their owners' reactions towards others and act accordingly. Because Jindos so rarely bark, especially in familiar environments, an owner may lend special credence to the warning of his/her pet. Many are also finicky eaters and will not take food from strangers.

People adopt Jindo dogs because of their beautiful appearance, high intelligence, loyalty, and sometimes for their fighting spirit, then quickly realize that raising a Jindo dog to be a well-behaved member of the family takes a lot of effort and time. Many Jindo Dogs are abandoned in the U.S. because of the difficulty of training them. Potential owners who are prepared and determined to have an intelligent, loyal, but independent companion can adopt a Jindo dog from shelters.


It is said that Jindo Dogs descended from Mongolian battle dogs that were left on Korea's Jindo Island after the Mongols' 13th century invasion of Korea. The Korean King surrendered but some of his armies withdrew to Jindo Island, off the southern coast of Korea, where they continued to fight. This is known as the Sambyeolcho Rebellion. The soldiers' dogs ended up isolated on Jindo Island, where they developed a very pure strain. As the Jindos primarily bred themselves without human selection of traits, only the most dominant dogs reproduced; this resulted in the formation of the highly dominant nature of the Jindo. Jindos served both as hunting and guard dogs in Korea. In 1962, the Korean government designated the white Jindo as the 53rd Natural Monument [1]; and passed the "Jindo Preservation Ordinance". Jindos marched in the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. The United Kennel Club recognized the Jindo on January 1, 1998.


Other characteristics

Jindo dogs will housetrain themselves as puppies. Even off lead or without direction, they will often relieve themselves in the farthest corner of the yard.


Jindo dogs are not well known and not very common in the United States or generally outside of Korea, especially purebreds, since the Korean government restricts the exportation of this breed.

However, Jindo Dogs are taken into the U.S. by former residents of Korea, and are bred for sale there.

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