The Jindo is a relatively rare spitz breed with a long history in South Korea and wonderful but often stubborn temperament. These dogs typically stand 17-25 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 30-50 pounds when full grown, making them medium sized dogs. They have a long history in Korea as both pets and working dogs, which means they’re great companions for active homes willing to invest the necessary time and love Jindos need.
Also known as the Korean Jindo, the Jindo originated on a small island off the coast of South Korea called Jindo (where the breed’s name came from!). The breed has a long history on the island, where Jindos were allowed to roam freely and often hunted alongside their owners and guarded homes. Today, the breed is considered a national treasure in Korea, so much so that some Jindos were included in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies when they were hosted by Seoul, South Korea in 1988. One of the most well-known Jindos is a dog named Baekgu, who had been raised by a woman on Jindo Island before being sold to a new owner roughly 180 miles (300 kilometers) away. Several months later, Baekgu escaped and made her way back to her original owner.
Temperament-wise, Jindos are incredibly loyal to their people, often to a fault. They can be suspicious of strangers and are instinctually protective of their homes and families, which makes them good guard dogs. Jindos can also have a strong prey drive, which means they’re not great with small animals like cats and rabbits. These traits, combined with their high intelligence, make socialization and positive reinforcement training very important. Agility courses, even DIY ones in the backyard, other dog sports, hikes, regular walks, and dog puzzles are all great ways to keep a Jindo happy, healthy, and engaged. Without regular mental and physical stimulation, Jindos can get creative with finding ways to entertain themselves, which could prove frustrating to their humans!
Jindos have a medium-length double coat that comes in six colors: white, fawn, red, brindle, grey, black, and black and tan. These dogs tend to be fairly clean and don’t need frequent baths, just ones when absolutely needed. Their coats do shed regularly, with seasonal changes in the spring and fall causing more shedding. Regular brushing (and more when they blow their coats!) and/or other types of grooming can help keep their coats clean and unmatted while limiting the amount of loose fur found around the house. And like any other dog breed, regular nail trims, dental care, and vet visits are important for Jindos.
This breed look remarkably similar to their spitz cousins – the Shiba Inu and the Akita. While there are plenty of similarities, there are many differences between the three breeds, including their size and temperament. In terms of size, Jindos typically sit right between Shibas and Akitas and tend to be more anti-social/suspicious of strangers than their cousins. They also don’t have quite the same energy needs as Shiba and Akitas but it’s definitely close. Akitas also tend to drool quite a bit but like Shibas, Jindos have a low drooling tendency and likely won’t leave slobber spots on your clothes or furniture.
Despite looking like other spitz breeds, many Jindos would prefer to be the only furry pet in the house, as they don’t typically like other dogs, have a high prey drive, and can be territorial. That isn’t to say all Jindos are incapable of interacting or bonding with other animals; rather, socialization and training are important with these dogs to help make sure they are comfortable with other animals and feel safe in new situations. They can also be escape artists and love to roam, meaning that doors should be watched and any fences should be well maintained!
Ultimately, Jindos definitely need a relatively active home where they can be included in the family and in all sorts of activities. They’re smart, clean, loyal dogs, making them great companions and fun dogs to have around! These dogs are cherished in their home country of South Korea but are still fairly rare in other parts of the world. Novice dog owners should definitely think twice before getting a Jindo because they can be a bit of a handful.