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Korean Dog Breeds (Rare and Popular Dog from North and South Korea)

Korean Dog Breeds

We all know the stereotype about Koreans and dogs. It’s true, to an extent, but they are certainly not the only ones. That’s beside the point though, because in this article we’re focusing on Korean dog breeds, as opposed to cuisine.

There are many eastern dog breeds that have become popular in the west and while many of these are Japanese and not Korean dog breeds, there are still a few worth considering.

Donggyeongi

This Korean dog breed is a bob-tailed canine that also goes by the name “daing gyun”, as well as other variations of these two names. The Donggyeongi has a very short-tail and many dogs in this breed don’t have any tail at all.

This is not a new feature either. Records of the Donggyeongi date back nearly 2,000 years and even those early records indicate that this Korean dog breed did not have a tail. The dogs were highly prized throughout their early history, but they were destroyed in large numbers during the Japanese Colonial Era, both because of superstitions and because they were skinned for their fur.

After this, the Donggyeongi became something that was despised. It was thought that their lack of tails was bad luck, which elicited even more hatred and even more slaughter. Their numbers dropped because of this and for many years it looked like this Korean breed of dog would go extinct.

Thankfully, that did not happen and this persecuted pup has experienced a revival in the modern age. They are now adored for their unique beauty and there are Donggyeongi dog fans all over the world.

Jeju Dog

The Jeju Dog is probably the most unique of all Korean dog breeds on this list. Not because it looks unlike any other dog you have seen—it actually shares many characteristics with many common breeds of dog. And not because of its temperament. The reason is that this dog very nearly didn’t exist and it was as close to extinction as it is possible to me.

In 1986 three of these dogs were found living on a small island. The island, Jeju, is where the breed gets their name, and the dog has since become a national heritage animal because of the fact there are so few of them in existence.

No one really knows where this breed initially came from. It has been suggested that they originated in China over 3,000 years ago, before winding up on the island from which they take their name. Whatever the history, one thing we can say for certain is that all current Jeju dogs can be traced back to those three lucky animals found on that island 30 years ago.

Korean Jindo

Best Korean Dog Breeds

The Jindo is like the Jeju is the sense that it is named after the South Korean island on which it was thought to have originated. This dog is also very common in the United States though as it was brought over with South Koreans who moved to the US. It achieved official status through the Kennel Club in 1998 and can now be found throughout the west, as well as throughout Korea.

The Koran Jindo was initially bred to be a hunting dog. It is the national breed of Korea and is one of the most beautiful of all Korean dog breeds, as well as a fast, agile and intelligent one. It can also be ferocious when it wants to be, which is a good trait of all hunting dogs.

There are many different names for this dog but most revolve around the name Jindo, such as the Jin Dog, Jindo Gae, Chindo and Jindo Gu.

Nureongi

This dog is also known as the Korean Yellow Spitz and, rather worryingly, the Korean Edible Dog. As you might imagine, it is one of the many Korean dog breeds that is prized for its meat as much as anything else.

Studies conducted on dog meat eaten in Korean determined that this was the dog that was chosen the most. In other words, most Neurongi dog breeds have been bred and killed for the meat in Korea than any other. It is a dog that is rarely taken as a pet in Korea and elsewhere, with the vast majority of these dogs being born on meat farms and ending up on Korean dinner tables.

Pungsan Dog

The Pungsan, which is also known as the Poongsan, is a hunting dog that comes from the mountainous region of the country. This is one of the few Korean dog breeds that you just won’t find outside of the peninsula. In fact, even inside Korea this breed is very rare. The numbers are fairly strong in Korea, but they are on the low side on the whole.

These dogs have a thick, soft, white coat. They are strong, agile and love to chew on things. They were used to hunt large animals in the past and have no issues taking down larger beats. They are courages, incredibly brave and also very loyal. They are everything that a hunting dog should be and everything that dogs were initially bred to be.

Sapsali

This is the shaggiest of all Korean dog breeds. It’s small and in many ways it resembles the common Terriers and the English sheepdogs that are found all over the world. It is on the large size though and it also has very big paws. It can grow to be as big as 60 pounds in weight and 24 inches in height.

There is an interesting mythos surrounding these canines and they are thought to be able to dispel ghosts and spirits. Often called “Sapsaree” both inside and outside of Korea, it is also known as the “Exorcising Dogs” for its otherworldly abilities. It is also known as a “Lion Dog” for its thick and shaggy hair.

It has not been recognized by the Kennel Club and it is not hugely popular in the United Sates, or indeed any other country than Korea. It is big business in Korea though and it has been recognized as a culturally significant animal. Back in 1992 it was even designated as a National Treasure by the Korean Government.