When Kristen came down to visit me last weekend, one of the places I drove her to was Paengmok, a small fishing village down at the southern edge of the island. While wandering around, we came across two Jindo Gae parents and four or five puppies. We stopped and the puppies all immediately ran over to me, as they were not tied up (the parents were). I petted the puppies, and very cautiously approached the mother. Now, at my last estimate, I have see at least 1400 different Jindo Gae in my time here on Jindo Island. A significant portion of those I have interacted with to some degree or another. Due to this and the fact that I was very interested in dog behavior as a kid, I feel I have gotten a very good sense for the body language Jindos use. I can tell the difference between a bark that means go away and one that means come here, I can tell the difference in angle between ears held back that mean the dog is distrusting of you and ears held back that mean the dog is being submissive. Jindos are not very vocal dogs, and I have found that while they talk a little bit with their tails, they really, really do most of their communication of emotion via moving their ears, and I have learned to read these signals. It has been a learning process, though.
Despite the fact that I was playing with her puppies, she seemed to be giving me the high-pitched bark that generally means “come pet me!”, but I was somewhat unsure. I decided to give it a shot, and walked up to her, and was glad to see her put her ears back in the submissive angle, and she “bowed”, which is also generally a very submissive gesture in a dog. After she established this submissiveness, she then began wagging her tail and rubbing up against me. I have found that when Jindos are friendly, they are very friendly, and she was no exception. Jindos also, in my experience, like to be “hugged”. They will stand up on their hind legs and put their paws up on me, and lay their head against my chest. They’re not jumping on me like a normal dog would – they just stand there patiently and calmly, and when I give them a hug, they wag their tails and then jump down. Clearly, they want a hug. A lot of Jindo tricks involve standing on their hind legs, and I find that in their play time and the way they show affection, Jindos stand on their hind legs a lot, so I think this is something that may have been actually bred into them, intentionally or not.
The real shocker was when she not only didn’t mind me playing with her puppies, but actually let me pick them up and even walk away with them! Even well-trained, friendly dogs I have known in the US would never let a non-master pick up their puppies. She did keep an eye on me while I did so, but she never fussed, and didn’t even bark at me. I was very impressed at how gentle this mother was. If I were staying on Jindo longer, I would consider getting one of her puppies, because clearly that “line” has a good temperament, which is important in a “primitive breed” like the Jindo Gae. Hopefully if I decide to someday get one, I will be able to find a similarly good family from which to choose a puppy.
Kristen took some photos of me and the momma Jindo and puppies. Here are a few. Enjoy.
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I accidentally stumbled across a new Jindo breeder during my 2.5 hour walk the other day to a neighboring village. Read More
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Again, I'm offering one particular print per day at a decreased price from now until Christmas. You have until the Read More
A lonely Jindo puppy sits next to its house on Jindo Island, South Korea. October 2008.
Dogs and laundry in a courtyard in Namdoseokseong on Jindo Island, South Korea. April 2009.