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For Police Dogs...

Photo Courtesy of Los Angeles TimesTwo LAPD K-9 officers were invited to Korea in search of a new breed of partner. Veteran dog trainers in the LAPD's Metropolitan Division, they brought a combined 50 years' experience in assessing animals that become a police officer's most-trusted ally.

Brought to Korea by invading Mongolian armies in the 13th century, the midsize Jindos are known for their intelligence and hunting skills. They're so beloved here that they've been declared a cultural treasure. Although breeders three years ago began promoting Jindos as potentially the newest generation of K-9 dog, even Korean police have yet to use them. During a July visit to the U.S., breeders offered four dogs free of charge to police departments in Los Angeles and Glendale, making arrangements to bypass a law that makes it difficult, and often illegal, to export purebred Jindos from South Korea.

If the partnership pans out, the two Police agencies would be the first in the world to use Jindos. Although it doesn't necessarily look good for these cultural icon. In a 2009 interview with Korea Economic Daily, Bak Nam-sun, an expert search dog handler in South Korea, testified that Jindo dogs are not fit as rescue dogs and search dogs. It is because Jindo dogs' hunting instincts are too strong (they can forget their mission because of their hunting instincts), and they usually give their loyalty only to the first owner, while handlers of search dogs and rescue dogs can frequently change. Then in 2010, Son Min Suk, a member of Korean Security Forum, wrote that most of Korean military dogs were German Shepherds, and that Jindo dogs were not fit for military dogs as they were highly likely to escape their duties to find their first handlers who might be discharged from military services, or to come back to their original home.

I am just not sure why the Police Force would take such a gamble when these dogs have no history of Police work and even in the country that reveres them they are passed over for European dog breeds by the police and military. There is no question the Jindo looks less scary to a non-dog person then say a German Shepard or Doberman so maybe they could be used as sniffer dogs at the airport with the Beagle Brigade or as a search and rescue dog but for other types of police work I am just not convinced. Plus it takes a lot of time and money to train a dog to that level of competence so why is the LAPD taking on these dogs? Is it to bridge cultural Gaps in with the Los Angeles Asian Community I think that if that is the case it is a nice gesture but there are other Asian dog breeds with a long history of protection work unless it was a political choice not to use them for fear of angering China by using dog breeds out of Tibet. Whatever the case it will be interesting to see how the four new arrivals to the US do with their training.

Good luck puppies.

About the Jindo:

Fawn Jindo Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Korean Jindo Dog is well known for its unwavering loyalty and gentle nature. Because of this, there is a misconception that a Jindo will be loyal only to its first owner or the owner they bonded to when young. However, there are many examples of older Jindos being adopted out of shelters in the United States and becoming very loyal friends to their new owners. They are highly active and are certainly not indoor-only dogs. Jindo dogs need reasonable space to roam and run. Jindos require a lot of care and attention. If kept in a yard, the fencing must be at least 6 feet high due to their strong hind legs that enable them to jump high.
Because the Jindo is an active and intelligent dog, it requires frequent interaction with people or another dog in the family. For some the Jindo may even be too intelligent, for it will commonly think for itself. The same intelligence that allows the dog to learn commands and tricks very quickly can be a bit too much to handle. If left alone for a long stretch, it finds its own entertainment. A young Jindo may attempt to climb over a fence or wall, even by way of a tree or digging under, or tear up the house if confined indoors. Because of this many Jindo dogs are found in animal shelters, abandoned by owners who often did not know what they were getting into when accepting the responsibility of a Jindo.

Jindos serve as excellent watchdogs, able to distinguish family from foe, friends from strangers. The Korean Army is known to use Jindos as guard dogs at major bases. Because Jindos rarely bark aggressively, especially in familiar environments, an owner may lend special credence to the warning of his/her pet. Many Jindos do not take any food from anyone other than their owners.

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