Korean Jindo Dog, Hunting Dog

The Korean Jindo Dog is a dog breed of hunting dog known to have originated on Jindo Island in South Korea. Although relatively unknown outside Korea, it is celebrated in its native land for its fierce loyalty and brave nature. The Jindo is recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1988, and by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 2005.

Korean Jindo Dog Appearance

The Korean Jindo is a medium-sized dog, double-coated spitz-type dog. Gender differences in this breed are very apparent. Identifying the Jindo from mixes and other breeds is often done by close examination of head features. The appearance of the Jindo gives the impression of intelligence, strength, and agility.


Traditionally, the Jindo was divided into two body types:

Tonggol or Gyupgae style: This type was very muscular, shorter in body (10:10), with a depth of chest equal to one-half the height at the withers and a shorter loin.

Hudu or Heutgae style: This type was more slender with somewhat less depth of chest and a slightly longer loin, resulting in a height to length ratio of 10:11.

These two types are gradually blending into a third type called Gakgol style 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 fore chest should extend in a shallow oval shape in front of the forelegs but the sternum should not be excessive.


Jindos come in five colors:

  • White-This color is actually an off-white or ivory shade with tan or light brown around the tips of the ears, the back of the hind legs, and the tip of the tail. Some whites may have a subtle tan stripe running from the head, down the top line, to the tail.
  • Fawn-The color of well-ripened wheat with stiff black hair on the edge and back of the ears.
  • Gray-This coat looks gray from a distance but is actually made up of individual white, black, and fawn colored hairs.
  • Black and tan-Black head and upper body with tan on the muzzle, belly, and paws, and an eye-shaped tan spot over each eye.
  • Brindle-Also known as "Tiger" pattern. Thin, dark brown or black stripes like a tiger's on a fawn base. These stripes appear at an early age.

Some Jindo Island residents value black, black/red, and red/white Jindos as good hunters. The United Kennel Club recognizes six different coat colors: white, red fawn, grey, black, black and tan, and brindle (tiger pattern).

Korean Jindo DogFeet

  • The feet are of medium size, round in shape, with thick, strong pads. Nails are hard and may be black, cream or gray.

Korean Jindo Dog Gait

  • The Jindo moves with strides of moderate length.
  • It is a quick, light, elastic trot which enables the Jindo to travel quickly over any terrain.
  • The forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in or out.
  • At a normal walking speed, the Jindo tends to lower its head.

Korean Jindo Dog Head

  • The top skull of an adult dog should be broad and rounded between the ears and free from wrinkles.
  • The under jaw is well-developed and helps give a round or octagonal shape to the head when viewed from the front. Coarse hairs stand away from the cheeks.
  • The ears are triangular and upright (leaning forward past vertical). The inside of the ears should be well-furred. Ears on puppies normally lie flat until they are past 5–6 months.
  • The eyes are almond/round. They should be a shade of brown (a dark reddish-brown being preferred). Some dogs have light brown eyes but this color is not desirable. Jindos should not have blue eyes.
  • The nose should be black on non-white dogs. White dogs may have mottled portions of tan or pink in the center of the nose.
  • The muzzle is well proportioned without being bulky. The lips should be taut and black. The preferred color for the tongue is solid pink. Jindos can have blue-black tongues like Chows and Sharpeis but is not common.
  • The Jindo has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth with a scissors bite.
  • Typically, males have larger heads and females have more fox-like features.

Korean Jindo Dog Temperament

The Korean Jindo Dog is well known for its unwavering loyalty and gentle nature. Because of this there is a misconception 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 certainly not indoor-only dogs. Jindo dogs need reasonable space to roam and run. Jindos require a lot of care and attention. If kept in a yard, the fencing must be at least 6 feet high.

Because the Jindo is an active and intelligent dog, it requires frequent interaction with people or another dog in the family. For some the Jindo may even be too intelligent, for it will commonly think for itself. The same intelligence that allows the dog to learn commands and tricks very quickly can be a bit too much to handle. If left alone for a long stretch, it finds its own entertainment. A young Jindo may attempt to climb over a fence or wall, even by way of a tree or digging under, or tear up the house if confined indoors. Because of this many Jindo dogs are found in animal shelters, abandoned by owners who often did not know what they were getting into when accepting the responsibility of a Jindo.

Jindos serve as excellent watchdogs, able to distinguish family from foe, friends from strangers. The Korean Army is known to use Jindos as guard dogs at major bases. Because Jindos rarely bark aggressively, especially in familiar environments, an owner may lend special credence to the warning of his/her pet. Many Jindos do not take any food from anyone other than their owners.

Some Jindos display a curious aversion from running water and avoid situations that might get them wet. They let themselves be washed, although with great reluctance.

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. Dr. Phil McGraw owns Korean Jindo dog named Maggie. Many Jindo dogs are abandoned in the US 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.

Korean Jindo Dog Height & Weight

Desirable height at maturity, measured at the withers, ranges from 19 1/2 to 21 inches(or 48 cm to 53 cm) for males and 18 1/2 to 20 inches(or 45 cm to 50 cm) for females.

Weight should be in proportion to the height, giving a well-muscled, lean appearance without being too light or too heavy. The average weight for a male Jindo in good condition is 35 to 45 pounds; for a female, 30 to 40 pounds.

Korean Jindo Dog Tail

The tail is thick and strong and set on at the end of the top line. The tail should be at least long enough to reach to the hock joint. The tail may be loosely curled over the back or carried over the back in a sickle position. The hair on the underside of the tail is thick, stiff, abundant, and twice as long as the coat on the shoulders, which causes the hair to fan outward when the tail is up.


The Jindo are renowned for their outstanding hunting ability, due to their courage, cunning, and pack sensibility. Besides the usual prey of medium to large game, their hunting prowess is displayed in a legend of three Jindos that killed a Siberian tiger.

They have mainly been used as deer and boar hunters. There have been anecdotal reports of Korean owners being awakened by their Jindo one morning to be led deep into the forest to a deer the dog had taken down alone. There have also been reported cases in America of intruding coyotes being killed by Jindos defending their territory.

In traditional Korean hunting without guns, a pack of well trained Jindos was extremely valuable. A master with a loyal pack could hunt without much trouble at all, for when the pack brings down a deer, boar or other target, one of them returns to the master to lead him to the prey, while the others stand guard against scavengers.

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