World, meet Shadow, our +-2 month old black and tan rescue Jindo puppy. We think he is a Jindo from what we can found out on Google (Rotweillers and German Shepards are extremely uncommon here in Korea) so this seems like the most likely option considering his colouring.
Farmboy and I found Shadow 3 weeks ago wondering around a dark road, late at night and narrowing avoiding oncoming traffic. He had no sign of any owners, so we picked him up and took him for the night with no intentions of keeping him. We have since found out that his owner had to go to the military and aren't sure whether he was being sold for food (eating dog meat it is an age old tradition here in Korea) or whether he was destined for a life chained up outside a kennel.
Jindo dogs originate from Jindo Island, a small island off the West Coast of South Korea. Jindos were bred for hunting and are most well known for their fierce loyalty and brave nature. Mainland Koreans keep Jindos as watch dogs, and all of the ones we have seen are chained up outside their homes. We have only ever seen 4 or 5 Jindos being taken for a walk by their owners in the 2.5 years we have lived in Korea. Space is a big issue here in Korea, and that is why when Koreans choose to have dogs as pets they favor the small breeds, like Chihuahuas, Toy Pomeranians, Maltese Poodles and Pekingese.
Jindo's grow to a medium size, similar to the a Border Collie . We don't think Shadow's original owner would have been as uncaring as we was if he was a pure Jindo pup, so depending on what mix he is he might be smaller (or maybe even larger!) than a sheep dog. Jindos come in 6 different colours. White, Yellow or Brown, Black & Tan, Grey, Tiger Brindle and solid Black. White and Yellow are the most prized and popular colours.
As I have spent the past 3 weeks scouring the internet for information on this unusual breed, I thought I'd share some facts with you about them:
1. They are pretty much housebroken automatically - We just though Shadow was super smart II'm sure everyone thinks this about their dog), having only pooped in the house on the first night we had him and then only peed once or twice since then if we ignored his winning in the early hours of the morning.
2. They are super-clean. Like most northern breeds, they have self-cleaning coats. Dirt just falls right off, and they are super fastidious about the condition of their fur and groom themselves like cats. They also have no doggy odor.
3. They are aloof with strangers. Jindos are incredibly loyal and loving to the people they know and love, not just their owners. But a correct Jindo temperament means that they will ignore or avoid attention from strangers - Because of this we are trying to socialise Shadow as much as possible with our friends so that he gets used to being petted and stroked by people. We have also read that Jindos only bond with one owner in their life, I'm not sure just how true this is, but it has been the most consistent thing Korean friends have mentioned to us when we tell them we think he is a Jindo.
4. They are quiet. Some dogs yap or bark for attention. A socialised Jindo only occasionally barks when he feels it is absolutely necessary - Shadow only has barked a total of 5 times since we found him.
5. They are wonderful guard dogs. They have a strong sense of territory and will work very hard to maintain borders and to protect their families.
6. They are incredibly intelligent. This dog was bred to think for themselves. They have very strong problem-solving capabilities, and if left in a backyard 24/7 will find a way to entertain themselves and escape. Also, they are so smart and independent that although they pick up obedience commands very quickly, they don't always listen. Similar to cats. But on the other hand, they are super-submissive to their owners. A harsh word can bring them quivering to their bellies. In that sense, they are a soft breed that needs very positive training techniques.
7. They are very quiet and calm inside the house. As puppies they can be destructive like any other breed, if not excercised enough, but as adults, you hardly notice they are there until they come by to check up on you. They don't even like to go on furniture. This is a common trait with fellow Jindo owners. You invite them to sit on the sofa with you, but once you're done petting them, they prefer to be laying next to your feet. So the upholstery stays clean. - We gave Shadow all kinds of blankets and pillows, and yet he prefers to sleep on the floor
8. They are the best independent hunting dogs. They were made to hunt their prey in difficult terrain. They will range over large territories in pursuit of game. This is part of the reason why they are known for "wandering" if not kept indoors - This is why we are okay with keeping him inside our apartment during the day when we are away at work. We make sure to walk him twice a day and play with him whenever we are home, and so far so good.
*Thanks to The Jindo Project for the above information.
However, having a dog in Korea is not ideal. It's not ideal for any dog to be kept inside alone all day. But we are making it work. We are very lucky that so far we haven't had a problem with any barking, and so have had no complaining from our neighbours. This has been a big problem for a lot of our friends who have dogs here in Korea. And the fact that we are now 'tied' down, and can't just jet off for holidays has been something else to consider. Luckily we have a car here in Korea, so we are able to take him with us when we go away for the weekends (we usually camp and so have had no issues so far with accommodation...click here for more posts on camping in Korea).
The last hurdle we have had to deal with is the cost of taking him back with us to South Africa when we leave Korea in 2016. It costs A LOT to take a dog to SA (they have to go into quarantine, they need blood work sent back and forth to Korea and SA, the cost of the flight alone is ridiculous...we're talking thousands of $US). But, to us he is worth it, and we are simply going to make it work. We had never planned on having any pets in Korea, we knew the costs and the apartment living situation wouldn't be good for any animal, but Shadow came into our lives the night before our two year wedding anniversary. And well, he just feels right.
So please bear with me as I flood Instagram and Facebook with images of #ShadowTheJindo. I'm sure the puppy pictures will once again make way to stationery and other pretty things, but for now I hope you can understand that with a blogger and photographer mom, he is going to be one photographed pooch!