Korean Jindo Dog
Source: Matt & Nayoung, CC-BY, via flickr

The Korean Jindo Dog is a medium-sized, hunting dog that comes from Jindo Island in South Korea. It is known for its fierce loyalty and bravery. While laws made it difficult to export purebreds outside Korea, the Jindo Dog can still be found in many Korean immigrant communities, such as in Los Angeles.

Brief History

Although there is no written history of the Jindo Dog, most agree that it came from Jindo Island and lived there for quite some time. Some even hypothesize that the dog was cross-bred with Mongolian dogs when Mongol forces invaded Korea in the 13th century.[1]

Today, the Jindo is one of Korea's national treasures and marched in the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Summer Olympics that were hosted in Seoul.[2]


Korean Jindo Dog Appearance
By Hairwizard91 at en.wikipedia (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0), from Wikimedia Commons
  • In terms of body type, Jindos are usually divided into Tongul or Gyupgae and Hudu or Heutgae. Tongul Jindos are stockier while Hudus are slender.
  • While white and yellow are the most common colors, the dogs also come in grey, black, and even striped varieties.
  • From the front, the head and face form an octagonal shape. Though it's good to note that females usually have more angular or fox-like heads than the males.
  • Its ears lean slightly forward and rise stiffly, giving a keen or alert appearance.
  • The eyes are triangular and dark yellow or grey.
  • Noses tend to be dark while some are pale red.
  • Mature, healthy males usually are 48-53 cm (19.5-21 in) tall and weigh 18-27 kg (40-60 lbs) while females are 45-50 cm (18.5-20 in) tall and weigh 16-25 kg (35-55 lbs).
  • Feet are medium-sized and round.
  • The tail should be thick and strong, either curled over the back or carried over it in a sickle position.

Other Characteristics

  • Jindos are excellent hunters and a Korean legend even tells a story of three Jindos that killed a Siberian tiger. One should be careful of letting a Jindo off the leash, as it may lapse into predator mode and take off after prey like small dogs and cats no matter what the owner does to try and stop it.
  • They are also very intelligent and active and require a lot of mental and physical stimulation, like on-leash walks among various routes. Otherwise, they might try and escape by jumping fences, digging holes, or even wreck the house.
  • Jindos are dominant and it may be hard to assimilate them with other dogs and even other Jindos, such as in a dog park setting.
  • Their intelligence and ferocity make them great watchdogs. In Korea, the army uses them at major bases. Though they are great guards, they rarely bark, which means that if you ever hear your Jindo barking, something is probably up!
  • Jindos are easy to manage indoors because they don't smell and clean themselves like cats. However, they do shed twice a year.
  • While highly intelligent and capable, these dogs tend to be a bit aloof and are not always the most affectionate.

On Jindo Loyalty

The renowned Jindo loyalty deserves a separate section. Though the Jindo is extremely loyal to a fault sometimes and can be very protective of its owner and hostile towards strangers, this very attribute at times is also very endearing.

In 1993, a female Jindo named Baekgu was sold by its owner, an 83-year-old woman residing on Jindo Island, to someone in Daejeon, which is nearly 300 km or 180 miles away. To put this into perspective, that is roughly the distance from New York City to Baltimore, Maryland. Baekgu escaped her new home and found her way back to her original owner after 7 months, showing up absolutely exhausted. Of course, this caused a national sensation, and the story was made into cartoons, a documentary, and a children's book.[3] Eventually, Baekgu passed away and in 2004, Jindo County erected a statue of her in her hometown.

In another heart warming tale, another Jindo named Baekgu, this time a male, did not eat anything and mourned for his owner for seven days after he died from liver disease in 2000. The dog stayed with its owner for three days until people found his body, followed him to his funeral, and then upon returning home, did not eat for four days. The Korean Jindo Dog Research institute took Baekgu under its care but announced in 2005 that he refused to interact with anyone except his feeder.[4]


Jindos are very beautiful, highly intelligent, extremely loyal, and astoundingly brave; nevertheless, they require a lot of care and love. So if you plan on getting one, be sure to be as loyal and good to it as it will be to you!