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Dogs of Korea
There are several dog breeds that originate from both North and South Korea.  Three of these breeds have been recognized by the Korean government as a National Treasures, the Jindo, the Sapsaree, and the Poongsan.

The Jindo is probably the most recognized dog outside of Korea; however that does not mean that it is well known.  For many years only the inhabitants of Jindo Island knew of the breed.  Once the island was linked to the mainland by a bridge in the 1970s other Koreans began to learn of the breed.  As a National Monument it is illegal for the Jindo to export out of the country, but popularity in the United States is slowly grown.  Since the early 1990s Koreans immigrating to the country have been bringing their dogs with them.

The Sapsaree is a breed of dog that has long been believed by Koreans to have the ability to dispel ghosts and evil spirits.  The antiquity of the breed is greatly questioned, for although the breed has been around for centuries, many believed they were completely exterminated during WWII, making today’s dogs simply a recreation of the breed that once was.  This debate has caused some in Korea to argue that the dog does not justify being recognized as a National Treasure.

The Poongsan (or Pungsan, as they are commonly referred to outside of Korea) is the rarest of the three recognized dogs.  Very little is known about the breed, as the area were they are found is now under North Korean control.  More recently they are slowly finding their way into South Korea as pets, and in turn to the rest of the world.  Many of the dogs outside of North Korea that are true Poongsan have been given as gifts by the Korean government.


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