8 Most Popular Korean Dog Breeds for Canine Lovers

Korea has some amazing dogs, and if you are a dog lover, you would remember the ancient Korean Jindo from the 1988 Olympic Games opening ceremony.

Korean dog breeds are recognized by the Korean Kennel Foundation, an organization of the Republic of Korea. It was established in 1945 and operates under the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry in Korea. This organization is responsible for the promotion and preservation of native Korean dogs.

If you are planning to get one, this article will help you make an informed decision. We have mentioned in brief the popular Korean dog breeds that you can consider getting.

Most popular Korean dog breeds

  1. Korean Jindo
  2. Donggyeongi
  3. Jeju dog
  4. Sapsali
  5. Korean Mastiff
  6. Pungsan dog
  7. Neurongi
  8. Tosa Inu

1. Korean Jindo 

korean jindo dog

The Korean Jindo is an iconic Korean dog. It is a medium-sized dog and the Government has made this dog their 53rd national treasure.

The Korean Kennel Federation and Jindo Dogs Guild of Korea certify and register this dog.

You cannot forget the story of loyal Baekgu. The dog returned to his master traveling for 7 months across 300 km. The dog was bruised and battered and became a national hero.

This breed is one of the oldest Korean dogs. This dog breed is ancient to Jindo Island in South Korea. There is no precise scientific research to know Jindo’s ancestors, making it tough to know this breed’s origin.

The Korean Jindo is very alert, medium-sized, and agile. They are renowned hunters and specialize in pack hunting. Many people rely on a pack of Jindos for hunts.

The dog weighs between 18 kgs and 25 kgs and has a height of 50 cm to 55 cm. It has a medium and double coat with a square-shaped body.

They have a wedge-shaped head, erect ears, and double coat. This breed looks similar to Japanese Akita Inu.

Jindos are very active and super loyal to their owners, this is why they are no ideal for service roles.

They remain loyal to their first master and do not bond with other masters if the ownership changes. They are friendly and gentle. Since they have high prey drive, they require training and exercise.

It is important to socialize Jindo puppies while they are young. They can become an affectionate family pets with positive reinforcement training techniques.

Jindo is a healthy breed with maybe a few issues. They are prone to hypothyroidism and food allergies.

They are even prone to Entropion, which is a condition that causes the eyelids to fold inwards, making the dog super uncomfortable.

2. Donggyeongi

Donggyeongi dog

Another dog on our list of fantastic Korean dog breeds is Donggyeongi. It is an ancient dog breed from Korea.

It is a Spitz-type dog with a medium-sized body. The archaeological excavations in the Silla region revealed clay figurines of dogs having bobtails. Experts state that these belong to the 6th century, making the Donggyeongi dog breed one of the oldest in Korea.

This dog breed is very popular for its short-bobtail, which is natural and not docked. The Japanese decimated this breed’s population to the point of extinction as they believed that the bobtail brings bad luck.

It weighs between 18 kgs and 55 kgs with a height of 52 cm to 55 cm.

As you know, this is a Spitz-type dog breed and thus requires expert handling. They are alert, trainable, and super intelligent but also stubborn. Thus, they are not ideal for novice dog owners.

Make sure to socialize the dog when young. If they are untrained, they can become unmanageable. They also need vast open spaces to release their unspent energy.

They are healthy dogs with an average life span of 12 to 14 years. They do have some health issues like hip dysplasia (a condition that affects their spine), cataracts, joint and muscle issues.

3. Jeju Dog

This dog breed is rare, even in Korea. It is from the popular Jeju Island in South Korea. Jeju is one of the largest native Korean dogs.

This breed faced extinction in 1986 along with just three surviving people. The government then started efforts to restore this breed and today there are 100+ Jeju dogs in Korea.

Many experts state that the Jeju dog breed originated in China thousands of years ago and nomadic people brought the Jeju dog to the Jeju Island from China.

Many believe that this is a hunting breed that came from China. They are alert and wary of strangers, making them ideal guard dogs.

They weigh between 18 and 25 kgs with a height of 48 cms to 54 cms. The Jeju dog looks similar to a Jindo but a little larger.

Jeju owners claim that this breed is highly territorial, robust, alert, and courageous, making an excellent guard dog. Make sure to train and socialize them when young to prevent aggressive behavior.

A Jeju dog has a life span of 13 to 15 years and they remain active throughout their life. They come from one of the cleanest places on earth and are prone to food as well as skin allergies. Breeders only rely on home remedies to treat them.

4. Sapsali

They are medium-sized native Korean dogs that are believed to dispel ghosts as well as evil spirits and bring good luck.

Just like Korean Jindo, Korean also has ordinances to protect the Sapsali. According to Korean law, they are a national monument.

Many experts believed that this breed originated in the first century AD and is one of the world’s oldest dogs.

During the world war and Korean war, the Sapsali dog breed came close to extinction but thanks to the efforts of the Government and some breeders, this breed still exists.

This dog breed was a companion of royalty in ancient times, all thanks to their lion-like features, temperament, and long shaggy hair. Today, they are companions and show dogs.

They weigh between 18 and 55 years and have a height of 50 cms to 55 cms. They look similar to the Old English Sheepdog.

They are alert, lively, and energetic. This dog breed is popular for its playfulness, intelligence, and trainability. They are super active and energetic.

They are always ready to play and very faithful towards their owner.  They have a life span of 14 to 16 years with health issues like food allergies and hip dysplasia.

5. Korean Mastiff

Korean Mastiff Dog

The Korean Mastiff is also known as the Dosa Dog. it is a large breed dog from Korea.

The International Kennel clubs like United Kennel Club and American Kennel Club do not recognize the Korean Mastiff breed. It is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world.

There are no breeder or historical records of this dog breed. Many Korean breeders state that this is a modern dog breed developed in the 1900s.

This dig breed is well behaved, amazing with kids, and good-natured, making them ideal companion dogs. Many kennels also promote them as show dogs because of their adorable looks.

They weigh between 60and 70 kgs and have a height of 66 cm to 72 cm. The Korean Mastiff has wrinkled skin, a square-shaped body, is well-muscled, and a strong build.

This breed is not like other Mastiffs. They are good-natured, patient, and gentle, thus ideal to be kept around children. Always, remember to be around kids and giant dogs.

They are stubborn and thus you will need the patience to train them. The training sessions should be short and regular as they get frustrated with long training sessions.

The Korean Mastiff is prone to bloating, muscle and joint-related issues, and Mange (a disease that causes them to lose their hair).

6. Pungsan dog

Pungsan dog

It is a medium-sized dog from Korea. This breed is common in the Kaema mountains of northern Korea.

A North Korean leader gifted a Pungsan dog to his South Korean counterpart and in return, the South Korean counterpart gifted him a Jindo.

Experts believe it to be an ancient breed but there are no historical records of proof. Some experts state that this dog breed arrived with the Mongolian forces and while they remained in the north they adapted to the mountainous lifestyle.

It is a hunting dog and excels in pack hunting. They can bring down prey without any help from a human. They make excellent companion dogs.

This dog breed is very intelligent, loyal and has a superb temperament. It is rarely seen outside of Korea.

They weigh between 18 and 55 kgs and have a height of 50 to 55 cms. The Pungsan dog has a square body, erect ears, a wedge-shaped head, and a double coat.

They have pleasant character and form long-lasting relations with their owner. You need to train them and young because they can become aggressive towards unfamiliar pets and animals.

This dog breed is extremely loyal and faithful to the master and this is what makes adoption difficult.

They are prone to canine distemper (vaccination required), hip dysplasia, and cataracts.

7. Nureongi

This is a Spitz-type dog breed found in Korea. They are small in size than Jindo but similar in looks. Unfortunately, this dog is farmed for consumption.

There are many illegal dog farms in Korea. There has been a reduction in eating dog meat, but there is still a lot of scopes left.

No one knows the origins of this dog breed. In ancient times, they were hunting dogs as they are athletic, agile, alert and can run down a deer. Sadly, today this is a meat dog.

They weigh between 18 and 25 kgs and have a height of 50 cm to 55 cm. They have bat-like ears, a square-shaped body, an erect tail and a wedge-shaped head.

This dog breed is faithful, loyal and loving. They are excellent with kids but we can’t get over the fact that they are killed for meat.

They are prone to multiple auto-immune diseases like autoimmune hemolytic anemia, sebaceous adenitis, etc.

8. Tosa Inu

Technically, this dog breed is native to Japan. Unfortunately, this dog breed is popular for its meat in South Korea.

This breed is large and muscular. They are ideal guard dogs and used for dogfighting. Since they are aggressive, many South Koreans do not keep them as companions.

Is Jindo a good family dog?

Jindo’s are usually one-person dogs which means that they are very loyal to their owners and the family. They are often reserved with strangers. They are super protective of their owner and an intelligent watchdog that reacts only when necessary.


We hope to have helped you get all the information required for you to make an informed decision.  The above mentioned is a list of popular Korean dog breeds that you can consider adopting.