Believed to have hailed from Jindo Island, southwest Korea, the Jindo is perhaps the only breed to be funded by a government, distinguished, as it is in Korea, as a national treasure. Thought to have existed centuries ago, the Jindo is renowned for its fierce ability to hunt, often returning to its master to lead him to the kill. Safeguarded under Korean law and the Cultural Properties Protection Act, the Jindo is rarely seen outside its native country. Traditionally bred to hunt rabbits, deer, badgers and wild boar, either alone or in a pack, the Jindo is historically rumoured to have successfully brought down a Siberian tiger. The breed was first recognised in the United States in the 1980s.
A double coated breed, the Jindo is recognisable for its athletic build, upright triangular ears, dark almond-shaped eyes and proportionate features. Traditionally bred in two different body types: the Tonggol - stocky and muscular, and the Hudu - lithe and agile. The coat is dense and weatherproof, common in colour variations of white, yellow, brindle, tan, grey, black and fawn. The Jindo typically loves to roam and is notoriously independent-minded. In appearance it is often likened to the Akita or Shiba Inu. Obscure as it might be, Jindos have been known to display a certain reticence when faced with water - this can take the form of reluctance at being washed and venturing out in the rain, whilst some Jindos will refuse to cross a bridge over a stream.
Infamously loyal, the Jindo is rumoured to only form attachments to its first owner, with documented cases of domestic Jindos travelling far and wide to return to an estranged companion. On the other hand, Jindos have been known to form strong loyalties to new owners when rescued or adopted. Due to the relaxed and affectionate nature of the Jindo, it is often observed in the domestic setting and its keen senses, natural authority and vigilance make for a great guard dog, protecting house and property. On average a Korean Jindo will weigh 10-24 kg with discrepancies across gender, and have a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
The Korean Jindo is typically healthy, long-lived and resilient, with no serious known genetic or breed-specific diseases.