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A Comprehensive Guide to Sapsali Dog Breed & Pictures

Did you know that the Sapsali dog breed comes from Korea? They’re pretty cool because people used to believe they could chase away evil spirits! But even though they have this spooky reputation, Sapsalis are actually super friendly and love to be around people, especially their family. They’re also quick learners and sometimes even used as therapy dogs in Korean hospitals. 

If you’re interested in learning about Sapsali puppies, 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:South Korea
Other names:Sapsaree dog
Height:19-23 inches
Weight:35-60 pounds
Lifespan:10-12 years
Coat type:Straight or wavy, double, long, abundant
Colors:Black, isabella, brown, red, gray
Temperament:Extremely loyal and protective, affectionate and tender towards their owner or family, cautious around strangers
Suitable for:Both first-time owners and experienced owners, houses with yards



Energy level:


Tendency to bark:

Shedding amount:


The Sapsali dog breed has been a part of Korean history for over a thousand years. They were used as symbols of soldiers and kept as pets by the royal family. Later, they became popular with the general public, too. However, their population decreased significantly during the Japanese colonial rule. The dogs were slaughtered to make coats for the invading soldiers, and their population was reduced even further due to poverty after the wars. 

In 1969, a group of Korean professors found only around 30 Sapsali dogs and realized the breed was nearly extinct. They worked to restore the breed; by 1985, the number of dogs had dropped to just eight. Ha Ji-Hong, the son of one of the professors, put all his resources into restoring the Sapsali. He carefully bred the dogs, and within five years, the population had increased to around 500. In 1992, the breed was designated as Korean National Treasure number 368. Today, there are approximately three thousand registered members of the Korean Sapsaree Association.


sapsali dog breed
CREDIT: National Purebred Dog Day

Sapsali dogs are medium-sized, standing just under two feet tall at the shoulder and slightly longer than they are tall. They have solid, bulky upper bodies and sizeable paws that help them move over tough terrain. These pups are sometimes called Lion Dogs due to their features. 

Sapsalis have large skulls with well-balanced muzzles, but their abundant facial hair can make the muzzle appear shorter. Their ears are medium-length and well-furred, typically lying close to their cheeks. Their large, round eyes can come in any shade of brown, though their thick, long bangs usually hide them. In addition, the Sapsali dog breed has a long, dense coat that can be straight or wavy and comes in various colors like brown, yellow, gray, blue, and red.


The Sapsali dog breed is a loyal and protective pet that is affectionate and tender towards their owner or family. They may be cautious around new people but will quickly warm up to those who their family accepts. 

These canines are intelligent, and with early socialization, they can be friendly toward other animals as long as they are not threatening. They are easy to train and well-suited to therapy work due to their gentle and well-behaved nature. However, this breed has a strong protective instinct and will not back down in the face of a threat.


The Sapsali dog breed is known for their long and abundant coat, which can be either straight or wavy. To keep their coat looking glossy and prevent tangles, it’s recommended to groom them a few times a week. At least once or twice a year, they may need professional grooming. Neglecting to care for their coat can lead to severe matts, skin irritation, and inflammation. They also tend to shed a lot.

It’s advisable to start their grooming regime at a young age to get them used to it as a normal part of their day. Also, check their floppy ears frequently for debris or signs of infection.


This breed doesn’t require as much activity as some of the other working breeds, but they still need to exercise for at least 45 minutes to an hour each day. Plus, Sapsali puppies are intelligent, so they need mental stimulation throughout the day to prevent negative behaviors. They might enjoy activities like agility training, advanced obedience training, or canine freestyle dance.


sapsali dog breed
CREDIT: Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

The Sapsali is a clever breed and can learn quickly. They are versatile dogs that can adapt to most home situations, having been domesticated for thousands of years. These dogs are highly devoted to their owner and always willing to please them. The best way to train Sapsali puppies is through positive reinforcement, such as praise and treats, without confrontation. 

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 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.


Sapsali dogs are generally considered healthy and can live past the age of ten. However, they are prone to certain health conditions. These include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, congenital eye defects, and skin complaints. To prevent these issues, it is vital to keep their coat in good condition, keep up with parasite prevention, and avoid exposure to known allergens.


If you have a Sapsali, you have to give them the right kind of dog food that is made for their age, size, and activity level. All dogs can become overweight if they eat too much. To help your Sapsali maintain a healthy weight, measure their meals to give them the right amount of food and only give them treats that make up 10% or less of their daily calories.

Living Condition

sapsali dog breed
CREDIT: ufokim/Shutterstock.com

Sapsali puppies can adapt to living in smaller homes, like apartments, with extra exercise and attention. However, they tend to be much happier in larger homes with a securely fenced yard. Additionally, they prefer average to cold weather conditions and can even make good mountain dogs.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Sapsali Dog Breed

1. The Sapsali Dog Breed Is a Korean National Treasure

You may be surprised to know that this particular dog breed hasn’t been officially recognized by any kennel clubs in the Western Hemisphere. But it’s recognized by the Korean Kennel Club and is considered a Korean national treasure! The breed was given the number 368 back in 1992.

2. Their Signature Is Topknot

The Sapsali dogs have this fabulous hairdo called “signature topknot.” It’s basically a fancy tuft of hair that grows on the top of their head and makes them look even more adorable.

3. They Don’t Bark Much

Sapsali dogs are usually pretty chill and don’t bark a lot unless they need to. But when they do, they’ve got a pretty loud and powerful woof.

Sapsali Puppies for Sale

sapsali dog breed
CREDIT: pranav_ritvik/Shutterstock.com

There are only a few thousand registered Sapsali dogs in the world, mostly in South Korea. They’re not as common as other breeds. If you want to buy one, it could cost you between $230 and $380, depending on where you are and the breeder. But if you’re looking for one with a super impressive family tree, be ready to pay more. And some breeders even offer to pre-train them for an extra fee.

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.


Sapsali dogs are not very famous in North America but are popular in Korea. People there believe these shaggy, medium-sized pups bring good luck and keep away evil spirits. They are super loyal and love to protect their owners. Sapsalis don’t bark much, but when they do, it’s loud and strong. They are excellent therapy dogs and have been making hospital patients feel better since 1999.


How Much Does a Sapsali Dog Cost?

If you want Sapsali puppies in Korea, you might need to spend between 300,000 and 500,000 Korean Won. That’s around $230 to $380! But don’t get too hung up on the cost because the price can vary greatly depending on the breeder’s reputation, puppy lineage, and coat color. If you’re looking for a show-quality pup with an exceptional pedigree, you could expect to pay even more.

How Do You Take Care of a Sapsali Coat?

It’s important to brush your Sapsali’s thick, double coat at least 2-3 times a week to keep their skin healthy and prevent tangles. Give them a bath every 6-8 weeks with a gentle dog shampoo to keep their coat looking and smelling fresh. Don’t forget to trim the hair around their paws and eyes to keep them looking neat and prevent any irritation.

Which Dogs Are Popular in Korea?

Some popular dog breeds in Korea include:

      • Poodles: Toy and Miniature poodles are beloved for their intelligence and adaptability.
      • Maltese: These gentle, fluffy companions are well-suited to apartment living.
      • Yorkshire Terriers: Energetic and affectionate, Yorkies are popular amongst families.
      • Golden Retrievers: Friendly and trainable, Golden Retrievers are often used as service dogs.
      • Shih Tzus: These playful and loyal pups are charming additions to Korean households.


  • https://www.globalanimal.org/2011/09/27/sapsarees-one-man-saves-rare-asian-dog-breed-from-extinction/
  • https://facts.net/nature/animals/18-astonishing-facts-about-sapsali/#google_vignette 
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