The Korean Jindo is a very ancient breed which, until recently, was found only in its place of origin - the island of Jindo off the south-west coast of Korea. How these dogs arrived on the island is unknown. Theories have been advanced that they arrived with the Mongols in the 13th century, or that they are descended from dogs washed ashore following the wrecking of a Chinese ship, or that they evolved from indigenous Korean dogs. Only one fact is clear, these dogs have been isolated on Jindo for hundreds of years and, owing to the absence of other canines, have bred true to type down the centuries. The primary functions of the Jindo are hunting, both large and small game, and guarding. In 1938 the dog was designated a Korean National Treasure. Restrictions are imposed on the export of Jindos so the breed tends to be rare outside Korea, although some have made their way to other countries with immigrants or with returning service personnel. The breed was recognized by the FCI and the Kennel Club in 2005.
The Jindo is intensely loyal to his master and can make a rewarding and affectionate companion, but he is not a dog to be taken on lightly and without a good deal of research into his nature. He is extremely self-assured and independent and therefore requires an owner who can firmly and calmly deal with his attempts to push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and to elevate his status within the family. Being an intelligent dog he can become bored easily and therefore needs plenty of human interaction. If left alone in the backyard for long periods he will relieve his boredom by digging, attempting to escape over or under fences and general destructiveness. Destructiveness may also occur if left to his own devices inside. He is aloof with strangers and very territorial. He rarely indulges in unnecessary barking but will loudly and forcefully announce the presence of ‘intruders’ and, if provoked, will vigorously protect and defend his property. The Jindo is an instinctive hunter and caution is needed with cats, other small pets, wildlife and livestock. With other dogs, especially those of the same sex, he tends to be dominant and not very tolerant. For those prepared to understand the somewhat primitive nature of the Jindo and to commit the time and effort required for companionship, training and exercise he will prove a rewarding friend and partner. This breed is not, however, recommended for inexperienced owners or for families with children under the age of 13.
The Korean Jindo has been bred over the centuries to roam and run after game and therefore, in a domestic situation, he will require considerable exercise to keep him physically fit and mentally healthy. Brisk, twice-daily walks of at least 30 minutes are necessary and if a secure area can be found then he will appreciate the opportunity to run. Great care must be taken with off-lead exercise as he has the heart and mind of a hunter and an extremely strong prey drive.
It is important that the Jindo receives at least basic obedience training in order that he should be a pleasure to live with and an acceptable member of the community. He is quick to learn and has certain problem-solving abilities but with intelligence comes a low boredom threshold so training sessions should be kept short, varied and enjoyable. He is not the type of dog to respond slavishly to all commands, he is more the type to work with you as a partner. This willingness to co-operate can be achieved only if there is mutual respect and trust. Harsh physical and verbal methods of training will accomplish nothing except a disinclination to work with you, disregard for any authority you thought you might have and, in the worst case, an aggressive response. Positive reinforcement using treats and sincere praise will speed the learning process and, through teamwork, strengthen the bond between you. It is essential that socialization should commence in early puppyhood. By introducing the pup to various people, other dogs, novel sights, sound and situations you will prepare him to take his place in the world as a well-mannered, friendly and level-headed dog who will be a credit to his breed.
Some photographs of the Korean Jindo...