Korean Jindo: The National Treasure of Korea

red Korean Jindo standing
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

What comes to mind when you think about Korea? It is an advanced country with a fascinating culture, cuisine, and people who are lively and colorful. Want to know what kind of dog a country like that would call their national treasure? That would be the Korean Jindo.

The Korean Jindo is a highly intelligent, physically active, and affectionate dog who loves to be around their owner. They have a long history in Korea, and because of that, people of the nation treasure them—even to the point of guarding them jealously so you will rarely see them outside of Korea. But if you’re lucky enough to get the chance to adopt a Korean Jindo, you’re about to win yourself lifelong company.

Are those features that you’d like in a dog? Don’t worry if you’re not sure, because you’re about to find out. In this article, we have collected all relevant information regarding everything you need to know about a Korean Jindo—from their heritage to their physical traits and how to care for them. Rest assured that once you’ve finished reading this article, you will be able to make an astute decision about whether to adopt a Korean Jindo or not.

Breed Characteristics

Korean Jindo walking in the field

  • Adaptability: Good; but they can’t be left alone for long periods of time

  • Trainability: Good

  • Health and Grooming: Moderate; watch out for hypothyroidism; a heavy shedder

  • All Around Friendliness: Moderate; has a suspicious nature

  • Exercise Needs: High Maintenance

Dog Breed GroupSporting Dogs
Height19 ½ to 21 inches
Weight35 - 60 pounds
Lifespan12 - 15 years

The Korean Jindo is somewhat of a mystery. It’s said to have existed since 1270 A.D. and is said to be a descendant of Mongolian dogs.

The breed has exceptional hunting and physical skills. Due to their high intelligence, they’re also great at agility, tricks, and mind games. They’re such a favorite in Korea that they’ve been given the honor of being the 53rd National Treasure of Korea.

The Korean Jindo is extremely loyal and protective over who they feel is their family. Though, this means that they’re highly suspicious of strangers. Luckily, this trait can be reduced through training.

Since they’re smart, they’re able to learn new things at a fast pace. Though they’re suspicious, through training, they can become amazing around children and other animals. If you train them from a young age, you won’t have a problem.

When it comes to grooming, the Korean Jindo is very easy to maintain. They’re almost cat-like as they groom themselves, which is unusual in the canine world. This also results in them needing minimal bath time. Though, they are huge shedders and will need brushing on a regular basis, especially during the shedding seasons.

See Also: How to Remove Dog Hair from Clothes

Main Highlights

orange Korean Jindo running

  • They’re highly suspicious of strangers, thus require a lot of training and socialization

  • The Korean Jindo loves to be around their owners, enjoying attention and affection

  • They’re the 53rd National Treasure of Korea

  • Very little is known about the breed. However, it’s believed that they’re descendants of Mongolian dogs

  • The breed is believed to have been created in 1270 A.D. during the Mongol invasion

  • The Jindo Dog Guild of Korea is responsible for monitoring the breed

  • The make excellent military, police, and search and rescue dogs

  • The Korean Jindo must be socialized from a young age to reduce suspicion of strangers and other animals

  • The Korean Jindo is very loyal to their owners and is highly intelligent

  • They need a carnivorous diet rich in protein and complex carbohydrates

Breed History

red Korean Jindo on a leash

The official history of the Korean Jindo isn’t concrete as there’s no documentation of how the breed began. However, through time, many experts developed a couple of theories explaining their existence.

All experts agree that the Korean Jindo is from the Jindo province, and has been there for many centuries. There’s no evidence for how the breed originated. However, the most widely accepted theory is that they are descendants of Mongolian dogs which were taken to Korea during the Mongol invasion of 1270 A.D.

There is some evidence which shows that the Korean Jindo has been in Korea for a minimum of 1,500 years. They were declared the 53rd National Treasure of Korea in 1962.

Since they’re declared as a National Treasure, it’s very difficult to export a Korean Jindo out of Korea. Though, in the 1980s, the first sighting of the Korean Jindo happened in the United States. Though they’re extremely rare in the United States, they were recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1998.

There’s a Jindo Dogs Guild of Korea which is responsible for the protection of the Jindo population. They ensure certification for purebred Korean Jindos.


Korean Jindo walking on a leash

The Korean Jindo is a medium-sized dog that weighs between 35 to 60 pounds, with a height of 19 ½ to 21 inches.

The Korean Jindo has a sturdy build with a triangular-shaped head and pointy ears. Their body is typically square or elongated. Their tails are thick and either rolled over onto their back or in a sickle position.

Depending on the gender, they physically look different. Males are physically larger with heavier heads while females are more elegant.

With this size and energy, they make for an excellent hunting dog as they’re able to hunt for miles and miles, either for large or small game. With their size and energy comes their physical needs. They’re highly active dogs which need to be taken out on a daily basis.

Personality and Character

Korean Jindo running

The Korean Jindo is well known for their loyalty and intelligence. They have a strong pack mentality which makes them very easy to train once they understand who the alpha is. Their loyalty also helps with training as they love pleasing their owners.

Though they’re loyal, their intelligence makes you, the owner, have to work for their respect. Plus, they can also be quite stubborn, but it can be reduced through extensive training.

Once they see you as their owner, they’ll be by your side without question. Since they’re intelligent, they love playing mind games, agility games, and performing challenging tricks.

See Also: Tricks to Teach Your Dog

They’re well known for their hunting skills as they’re easy to train and have a high-endurance to hunt prey. Due to their protective instincts, they’re also known as excellent guard dogs, as they’ll go to any means to protect their owners and territory.

The Korean Jindo does need to be socialized from a young age which can be a slight challenge as they’re naturally suspicious dogs. This means that if not socialized properly, they can be overly protective of their loved ones. Thus, you need to make sure that you socialize your dog with children, adult strangers, and other animals as soon as possible.

Health and Potential Problems

Korean Jindo lying on grass

The Korean Jindo is actually a very healthy breed that’s not known to have many health conditions. Though, if they are to be diagnosed with a health problem, it’ll most likely be hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a very common disease in many dog breeds, including the Korean Jindo. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is either underactive or low, thus, not being able to produce enough thyroid hormone.

What happens is that you’ll notice your dog experience hair loss and a dull, thinning coat. In addition, the skin will become flaky. You’ll also notice weight loss and fatigue.

It’s not a fatal disease. However, it does dramatically affect the quality of life of your Korean Jindo. The good thing is that it’s easy to treat and inexpensive.

See Also: Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Care Features

red Korean Jindo

Korean Jindos are generally easy to take care of, though, there are some things you should keep in mind. Your Korean Jindo should be allowed indoors. This is simply because they do not emotionally and mentally do well alone for long periods of time.

They love and need to be around humans. If left alone for too long, they can become emotional and bored, thus, exhibiting destructive behavior.

Another important factor is training. The Korean Jindo is extremely intelligent and needs training from a young age. They’re easy learners. However, they’re stubborn. So, it’ll take some time to overcome that trait.

Make sure that they’re socialized with other dogs and children as well since they’re suspicious of all those that are not family members.

Feeding Schedule

white Korean Jindo's head

Like any breed, you need to make sure that your dog is fed high-quality food, regardless if it’s wet or dry. Korean Jindos specifically have a digestive system which is designed for a carnivorous diet. Thus, you’ll want to stay away from food which is rich in corn and is made of cheap products.

Ideally, for this breed, it’s best if you provide them with home-cooked meals that include high-quality protein.

When it comes to the amount of food you should feed your Korean Jindo, this will vary due to a couple of things. Their age, size, metabolism, and physical activity all play an important factor when feeding your dog.

In this case, it’s best to consult your vet as they’ll be able to tailor a meal plan which is right for your dog. Lastly, make sure that you have a fresh bowl of water for them throughout the day.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Korean Jindo puppy

The Korean Jindo comes in six different colors: white, red, grey, brindle, black, fawn, and black and tan. When it comes to grooming, these dogs are naturally known to be very clean dogs and have self-cleaning coats that don’t need much maintenance.

Of course, you can bathe them on occasion, however, they groom themselves just like cats.

However, they do shed a lot, which means you’re going to need to be brushing them on a regular basis. Since they have a double coat, expect them to shed during fall and spring.

See Also: Non-Shedding Dogs

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

When you live with a Korean Jindo, it’s important to train them early—socializing and exposing them to children and other pets at a young age.

The Korean Jindo is not known for being aggressive, though they’re known to be highly suspicious. When around their family, they’re extremely protective and will do anything to make sure they’re safe. In addition, they also have prey instincts, so, socializing them in order to reduce these traits are a must.

If you train them properly, they’re known to be great dogs when it comes to being around children and other animals. They’re confident, gentle, and very patient. Though, this also means that when it comes to training, they need a gentle, yet, firm hand. Aggressive techniques will backfire against you.

Wrap Up

Korean Jindo puppies

The Korean Jindo is a highly active breed which loves to hunt, perform tricks, and be challenged physically. They’re suspicious towards strangers, however, with proper training, this trait can be reduced. If they feel their family is being threatened, they will do whatever they need to protect them.

They do very well with people who have time to invest in them. They dislike being alone for long hours and need to come inside to spend quality time with their family. If not, they can become emotional and bored, causing them to be destructive.

Other than that and their physical needs, they require very little attention when it comes to grooming as they groom themselves on a regular basis. You will have to bathe them on occasion, but other than that, a simple brushing and they’re good to go.

As you can see, the Korean Jindo is an intelligent and loyal breed. They love being mentally challenged and being with their family. Do you think that the Korean Jindo breed is right for you? Let us know what you think in the comment section below! If you already have a Korean Jindo, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about this breed!

If you need naming inspiration for your new Korean Jindo, check out our article on Korean dog names!

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.