For #FriFotos: The Noble Korean Jindo Dog
When I lived in South Korea from 2008-2009, I lived on a small, rural island off the southwest coast known as Jindo Island. The island had a reputation as something of a backwater (I used to tell people I lived in the Alabama of South Korea), but it was well-known for two things: a tidal anomaly known as the Moses Miracle, and the native dog breed, the Korean Jindo Gae, which is thought to have originated on the island. The dogs are exceptionally rare outside of Korea, and even on the peninsula, the purebred dogs of Jindo Island fetch a high price due to the fact that they are guaranteed to be purebred because of a law prohibiting all other dog breeds on the island. This has resulted in an island with more dogs than people. As someone who loves dogs, this was actually a selling point for me when I was trying to figure out where to live and work in Korea, and I got to know the breed quite well during the time I lived there. I now work with two Jindo Gae rescues in the USA, and would consider the breed myself if I lived somewhere with more space.
The breed is thought to have originated from the dogs brought to the Korean peninsula by the invading Mongol army during the 14th century. The Mongols established a horse breeding facility on Jindo and though they later abandoned it, the dogs were left befhind. They were raised by the local Koreans to hunt wild boar, deer, and even the giant Amur tigers that lived on the island. As a result, they are a highly intelligent and independent breed with a strong prey drive. They are difficult to train due to their independent streak, but when trained, they can perform some extremely complex feats.
They are also both cute and beautiful, and I spent many an afternoon riding my motorcycle through the countryside, photographing the various Jindo Gae I encountered along the way, often stopping to talk with some of the breeders I ran across as well. I almost adopted one that had been living behind a convenience store near one of the island’s temples, but the owner changed his mind after the dog had puppies. My photos of the Jindos are some of my favourites from my time in South Korea, and since today’s #FriFotos theme is “Dogs”, I figured it was a good time to share them!