Although rare in the West, the Korean Jindo has lived for centuries on the Island of Jindo on the southwest Korean peninsula. The Jindo is a hunting dog par excellence, able to follow cold trails eluding other canines. Smart and independent, Jindos aren't the breed for everyone, but make a fine dog for the person who understands their unique characteristics.
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Squarely built, mature Jindos stand between 17.5 and 21.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 30 and 50 pounds. Males are larger than females. Ideally, Jindos appear fit and well-muscled. They're a spitz-type dog sporting the classic upright ears and thick, curled-over tail. Jindos have a double coat, which they blow twice a year. Coat colors include gray, white, fawn, brindle, and black and tan. Jindos move with their heads held high, a characteristic proud and steady gait. When they run, the head gets lower and lower until held at shoulder height.
Jindos are very much one-person dogs, not especially friendly to strangers. It's important to obtain a Jindo as a puppy, rather than as an older dog. The Jindo never forgets his original owner, and might not be as loyal to subsequent people. That makes rehoming the Jindo especially difficult. They make good guard dogs, but don't bark a great deal—if your Jindo barks, that means something really is up. Indoors they are well-behaved and generally not destructive. While the breed requires moderate exercise, it's risky to let even a well-trained Jindo off his leash. He's far too likely to take off after some type of prey. He can't help it—it's part of his nature.
Since the jindo is a virtual hunting machine, he has a very strong prey drive. That means cats, small dogs and other smaller pets are not safe when he's in the vicinity. As the nonprofit Jindo Project puts it, "They just look too much like food." Jindos generally do not care for larger canines, either, so keeping this dog usually means living in a one-pet household. An exception might occur if your raise your Jindo puppy with a medium-to-large dog of the opposite sex.
Jindos are naturally fastidious dogs, seldom requiring bathing. They're known to clean themselves like felines. They don't have a doggy odor, and might be the easiest of all breeds to housebreak. However, Jindos are heavy shedders, so you must groom them regularly to avoid dog hair accumulation in your home and on your person.
By Jane Meggitt
American Rare Breed Association: Korean Jindo Dog
Royal Canin: Korean Jindo Dog
Jindo Project: The Benefits and Challenges of Owning a Jindo
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Jindo
United Kennel Club: Jindo
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.