Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Buying a Jindo

Here's the question:

My husband and I would really like to buy a Jindo puppy, but I've heard that it is illegal to export a Jindo, and I don't want to purchase any dog that I can't take home with me when the time comes. Do you know if we would be allowed to take it with us? Also, I would like to get the dog from somewhere reputable (no puppy mills) and was wondering if you knew the best place to start looking?

Before we go any further on this one, please make sure that you have the space for a Jindo. They grow really fast and while they don't get that tall, they are thick, muscular dogs. They need space and, in most cases, are not great in apartments. You should also check out a non-Korean resource on their personality, needs and other traits. I say that because Korean sites on Jindo's typically gloat about how smart AND KOREAN the dogs are. That's fine, but flag waving shouldn't interfere with dog descriptions.

You should read my post on big dogs in Korea as well as listen to my Big Dogs podcast and considering that the Jindo is a Korean dog, the public reaction to them is a lot more fearful than one would expect.

Taking a Jindo out of the country can be a problem as they are a Korean National Treasure (no. 53) and International Treasure (no. 334). Koreans don't want their pups to leave the nation and recently, they are even barring them from leaving Jindo Island (the dogs' home island and namesake).

If you find a Jindo and want to buy it, make sure you get its papers. As with any purebred, they should come with papers, yet many Jindo breeders (especially mainland breeders) don't provide papers. This can be a blessing and a curse. If your Jindo is a purebred and comes with papers, all you will need to do is bribe a vet to change its "official breed" from purebred, to mix breed. Some will do it for free, but most of the time slipping fifty bucks to them should do the trick. If they don't come with papers, then you might be paying full price (on top of bribe money) for a mutt that looks like a Jindo as a puppy. Careful.

I have written a few posts on dogs in Korea (here and here), so if you follow those links you should be able to track down some pups or other links.

Any Jindo owners in Korea or abroad have anything to add?


Brian said...

There's a woman who spent a year in Jindo. She's recently returned to the US, but spent a lot of time photographing and learning about Jindos. I'll point her in this direction.

The Expat said...

Thanks, Brian.

Alex said...

Excellent timing! I've been talking with my wife about whether we should get a Jindo or a chocolate Labrador retriever, and looking at the temperament issues that might come with raising a Jindo, I think we'll be going with the Lab.

K said...

I have a friend who took a Jindo to Canada in 2007 without problems.

The Expat said...


Anymore info? I also know people who have taken jindos out of the country and they would say "it was no problem", however, there were certainly some steps they had to take before boarding the plane.

JoshHutchison said...

Great article but you only said that it would be difficult to take out of the country. Is it in fact illegal to take a Jindo from Korea to another country. I have found many sites saying it is difficult but that really doesn't mean anything. I called the airline and they said it was no problem. But i don't want to get there and get another answer. Does anyone know if it is in fact illegal to take these dogs out of the country?

The Expat said...

It's not an issue getting to the airport and being rejected because of the breed. Customs can't properly ID breeds.

Before leaving, you'll need to go to the vet and get a bunch of paperwork done. It's there that you can have some trouble. They'll need to identify the breed as well as shot history there. Without this paperwork, dogs can't leave the country.

If the dog is, in fact, a pure bred, the vet might not sign the papers allowing departure.

Then again, you can always bribe them

Kyle said...

There is an epidemic going on in Korea regarding the Jindo and what exactly constitutes a "purebred". Some claim most of the dogs today are mixed and I tend to agree with it when you look at pictures of the dogs from decades ago. A good investigative report can be found here (

I would not trouble yourself with trying to find a "purebred" but rather try to find one that will more closely fit your criteria (e.g., appearance, temperament) since anyone one can get papers that says their dog is a pure bred (not to mention you cannot export one), it just takes around 20,000W, and does not really mean anything since who is verifying that this is actually true. The breeding in Korea is beyond haphazard and is mainly done for profit.

Futher, tt is in your benefit to have your dog stated as a 똥개, since there is only one place in the world outside Korea that can actually claim to be breed 'purebreds' since the dogs were given with the permission of the Korean Government.

If you want one of these HIGHLY willful, energetic, and time consuming animals please PLEASE do your research ahead of time. They are NOT for first time dog owners and require a full time commitment. If you just like how they look there are several other spitz type breeds that you could get which are easier dogs and much more readily available, e.g., shibas.

Kyle said...

Just for your reference, I forgot to post the place that can claim having purebred Jindos, for whatever that really means.

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