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Pungsan Dogs: A Comprehensive 2024 Guide & Pictures

Let me tell you about the fascinating Pungsan dogs, a breed originating from Korea’s rugged mountains several centuries ago. These spitz-type pups are known for their thick, creamy white coat and are considered one of Korea’s national treasures. What’s interesting about them is that some enthusiasts believe that their cleverness, hunting ability, and aggressiveness are due to the inclusion of wolf DNA in their genes. However, there’s no concrete evidence to support this theory. They almost went extinct in the 19th century. Fortunately, the North Korean government has taken steps to restore their population.

If you’re interested in learning about the Pungsan, you’ve come to the right place! This post will give you the lowdown on this adorable pup. So sit tight and get ready to discover everything you need to know!


Asian origin:North Korea
Height:20-24 inches
Weight:44-66 pounds
Lifespan:12-14 years
Coat type:Thick, plush double coat
Colors:White, cream
Temperament:Loyal, alert, independent
Suitable for:Experienced owner, larger homes and cooler climates



Energy level:


Tendency to bark:

Shedding amount:


The Pungsan is a rare breed that originated in the mountains of Korea. It is believed that they were developed during the Joseon dynasty for hunting large game. Some people think Pungsans resulted from dogs mating with wolves, which gave them their hunting ability, aggressive nature, and cleverness. There is even a legend of a Pungsan dog defeating a Siberian Tiger in battle. 

The fur of Korean dog breeds was highly prized by the Japanese military during the Japanese occupation of Korea, leading to a significant decline in Pungsan numbers. Despite being declared a national treasure in 1942, the Pungsan population fell further after the Korean War. 

After the war, the North Korean government worked to re-establish the breed. However, information about Pungsan dogs was hard to come by, and they were only kept within North Korea’s borders. In 2000, North and South Korea’s leaders exchanged puppies, with North Korea’s leader receiving two Jindo puppies and the leader of South Korea receiving two Pungsan pups. 


pungsan dogs
CREDIT: Wikipedia

The Pungsan dog is medium to large in size and has a spitz-like appearance. They own a rectangular shape with a muscular build, a broad chest, and straight, strong legs with well-rounded paws. The breed also has a triangular head that is broad across the forehead with a straight muzzle and tight-fitting lips. Their noses are usually black but sometimes appear flesh-colored. Their almond-shaped eyes are dark brown with black rims, medium-sized prick-style ears that stand high on their head, and a long, high-set tail that curls up over their rump. Their thick coat comes in shades of creamy white and is well-suited for the harsh weather of the Korean mountains.


Pungsan dogs are very loyal and protective of their owners and property. They tend to be independent and can be aggressive towards other animals. It’s important to supervise interactions between these powerful dogs and children, even though they can be pretty friendly when adequately socialized. 

Pungsans don’t bark much unless there’s a good reason, which makes them excellent watchdogs and guard dogs. They’re intelligent but stubborn and not always eager to please, which can make training difficult.


Pungsan dogs have a thick coat with a soft, insulating layer underneath a coarser layer of straight, somewhat weatherproof fur. They do not have a strong body odor, so they only need to be bathed occasionally. However, they shed a lot and need to be brushed frequently to remove the dead and dying hair and keep their coat shiny. Brushing them a few times a week is usually enough to keep them healthy and happy. During seasonal changes, they may shed more and require brushing once or twice a day. In addition, it’s essential to clip their nails once a month and clean their teeth a few times a week.


Pungsan dogs are known for their strength, agility, and quick-wittedness. The breed is highly active and requires at least an hour of vigorous physical exercise each day and adequate mental stimulation to remain healthy and happy. These dogs always appreciate a long walk or jog but are also well-suited to various activities, such as agility training and tracking exercises. Suppose a Pungsan dog does not get enough physical and mental activity. In that case, they may become restless and resort to destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, and excessive barking to keep themselves occupied. Therefore, you have to provide adequate exercise and stimulation to keep your Pungsan dog mentally and physically healthy.


pungsan dogs

To ensure that the Pungsan dog grows up to be a well-behaved and balanced adult, it’s best to train them properly from a young age. If not trained well, this breed may become aggressive, disobedient, and unpredictable. To establish a healthy relationship between the trainer and the Pungsan, the trainer should be in charge and set clear and consistent rules from the beginning. The training methods should be firm and fair. It is recommended to seek an experienced trainer who has previously worked with Pungsan dogs, as they can be stubborn and test boundaries. Keep in mind that although they are intelligent and capable of performing various roles, getting them to listen for extended periods can be challenging.

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free online dog training workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.


The Pungsan dog breed usually lives up to 12 or 14 years, and they are generally healthy pups. However, they may have some health issues that are more common in their breed than others. These issues include Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, and Bloat.


Pungsan dogs need a top-notch diet that suits their life stage (like a puppy, adult, or senior). To keep them in good shape, don’t overfeed, and keep an eye on how many treats you’re giving them. As a rule of thumb, treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily calories.

Living Condition

pungsan dogs
CREDIT: The Korea Herald

Pungsan dogs are cool but not the best fit for a small space like an apartment. They like to be active and independent, so they’re great in larger homes. They can get overheated easily because of their thick coats, so they will be happier staying in cooler climates. Additionally, watch out if you have small pets. Pungsans have a big prey drive and can be dangerous to animals smaller than them. 

3 Little-Known Facts About Pungsan Dogs

1. A Pair of Dogs Gifted by North Korean to South Korean Is the Pungsan Breed

Did you know about the two famous Pungsan dogs named Dangyol and Jaju? These furry creatures were gifted to the former President of South Korea by the former President of North Korea back in 2000. It’s fascinating to see how these two dogs brought the leaders of two nations together.

2. The Breed Is a National Pride

The Pungsan Dog is not just a pet but a cultural icon in North Korea. This breed holds immense historical significance and is highly regarded as a symbol of national pride. You’ll even find the Pungsan featured on national emblems and stamps.

3. Pungsans Are Legendary Hunters

Pungsan dogs are bred in the rugged highlands and are known for being fearless hunters. They can take down large prey such as tigers, bears, and wild boars, which is pretty amazing. These canines have a thick double coat, muscular build, and powerful legs, which help them to survive in tough terrain and freezing climates.

Pungsan Puppies for Sale

pungsan dogs
CREDIT: The Korea Times

The Pungsan dog breed is super rare outside of North Korea. Yeah, not many people know about them, so if you’re a dog lover, getting your hands on one of these pups is a pretty special thing. But be prepared to pay a hefty price; they’re expensive, and the cost varies depending on the breeder.

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.


Pungsan dogs have a rich history and are known for their incredible loyalty, strength, and hunting abilities. Whether you’re considering adopting a Pungsan puppy or simply curious about this breed, there’s no denying that these animals are truly remarkable. With their enduring popularity in North Korea and growing recognition around the world, it’s no wonder that the Pungsan continues to capture the hearts of dog lovers everywhere. 


What Is the Behavior of a Pungsan Dog?

Pungsan dogs are known for their strength and high energy levels. They were bred for hunting in harsh mountainous terrain, which means they need plenty of exercise, at least 1 hour twice daily. If they don’t get enough, they may become destructive.

These pups are independent and dominant, meaning they can be stubborn and assertive. So, they require firm but loving training and socialization from experienced owners. On the other hand, they are loyal and protective towards their families. They bond strongly with their loved ones and fiercely guard their territory. However, Pungsan dogs have a high prey drive, making them unsuitable for living with small animals or cats.

How Do You Take Care of a Pungsan Dog?

There are a few important things to remember when caring for a Pungsan dog. First, ensure your furry friend gets enough exercise and mental stimulation through regular walks, games, and training activities. 

Early socialization with other dogs and people is essential, along with consistent, positive reinforcement training. This will help them behave better. Also, since Pungsans have a strong prey drive and a tendency to escape, it’s best to have secure fencing and a spacious living environment for them.

Are Pungsan Dogs Rare?

Pungsan dogs are relatively rare. They are not recognized by major kennel clubs and are primarily found in North Korea. 

Do People Keep Dogs as Pets in Korea?

In Korea, both cats and dogs are popular pets, with slightly more people owning dogs. In urban areas, smaller breeds are more common due to space limitations, while larger breeds like the Korean Mastiff are preferred in rural areas.


  • https://apnews.com/article/oddities-seoul-animals-south-korea-dogs-d4e66ff4f0491adb71850797fbe58451 
  • https://namu.wiki/w/%ED%92%8D%EC%82%B0%EA%B0%9C
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