Your Jindo's eating habits may have you wondering what's wrong... Not to worry, they are just picky eaters that are used to regulating their own food intake. You'll come to love that they don't always take treats from strangers or lunge at scraps on the floor. Learn more about Jindos and their diet below!
As a spitz style landrace dog breed, the Korean Jindo’s digestive system operates best on a carnivorous diet. Jindo have a high prey drive and were used by Korean soldiers to hunt rabbit, raccoon, badger, and other rodents. Due to their impeccable sense of smell, the Jindo can follow a cold trail well. Hunting in packs, they are known to bring down larger animals like wild boar and deer.
Some domesticated Jindo can be picky eaters. Since they are adapted to a pack hunt feeding cycle, they may choose not to eat every day. Don’t be alarmed if your Jindo doesn’t chase the food bowl like many other domesticated breeds. At first, many Jindo rescues are not food motivated, but this can change over time as they become more domesticated. Jindo dogs are ‘self regulators’ in the sense that they won’t over eat even when food is available. They are also cautious to accept food from strangers. You’ll notice that Jindos are gentle when accepting food or treats.
Jindo dogs adapt well to a regular schedule and will do so with eating. If you refill their food bowl regularly at specific times, they will come to expect it.
Jindo puppies 2-3 months old need four meals a day.
Jindo puppies 4-6 months old need three meals every 24 hours.
Jindo puppies 6 months to a year old need two meals a day.
One feeding every 24 hours is acceptable for adult Jindo dogs.
Adult Jindo dogs will also eat two smaller meals a day if preferred.
In Korea, Jindo can frequently be seen roaming the streets or countryside surviving off of domestic scraps. Hence, their digestion is well suited to a wide variety of human foods. Though they can handle eating human food, it isn’t always the best for them. You may notice your Jindo has a uniquely adventurous palate!
Giving them a diet as close to that of the wild will help maintain health for years to come. Some owners choose to feed their Jindo a raw diet but they also do well with a high protein grain free kibble. Avoid feeding your Jindo a kibble made with corn, as their digestive system isn’t used to heavy starches. Carbohydrates in general aren’t part of a primitive Jindo’s diet. Corn meal especially has a relatively high glycemic index that may cause obesity in your Jindo.
Tips for Feeding Your Jindo
Try exercising your Jindo before offering a meal if they’re not getting on a regular schedule. Mochi gets his food refilled after his morning and evening walk / run. He will get anxious when we don’t keep him on this schedule.
Add high value foods to the food bowl to increase excitement around meal time if your Jindo hasn’t eaten in a while or doesn’t like a specific dry food. Mochi especially likes eggs (you can use raw eggs but he loves them cooked), broth, wet food, or raw innards such as chicken livers. Use this strategy irregularly so they won’t come to expect high value food additions for every meal.
Keep your Jindo hydrated by adding water to their food. Jindos are great desert dogs but they need to stay hydrated in the heat. I often wish Mochi drank more water, so we always add water to his dry food which he loves!
Patiently test different reward foods. It may take time to find the perfect treat for your Jindo. Some things just aren’t that enticing as pure Jindos are not naturally very food motivated. (Mochi even has a beef trachea he does not touch, just keeps in his bed area). We’ve found he goes crazy for cooked sweet potato (great for his coat) and roasted unsalted nuts! His favorites are dried duck faces and beef knuckles that we buy and lightly boil for him. Alternatively, there are some store bought treats he won’t even eat.
Leave treats in your Jindo’s safe space, kennel, or bed to familiarize them with the smell and taste. When we first rescued Mochi, he would not accept treats. We think they may have only given the dogs boiling water to drink, or tortured the dogs when they would eat. He would cautiously approach any water or food bowl taking time to sniff it before trusting it was harmless.
Try hand feeding and watering to get your Jindo used to a new source. At the dog park when I know Mochi is thirsty, I pick up the water bowl and hold it towards him so that he understands it’s safe. Often, Mochi will not drink or eat treats from strangers or food on the ground until I give it to him.
Do not be alarmed if your Jindo does not eat especially in times of stress. Again, Jindos can go periods of time without eating. When Mochi is out of his schedule, he will not eat. This happens any time he stays at the pet sitter’s or when we are staying in high stress situations (when our hotel happens to be on the first floor and he doesn’t understand people walking above us).