Pungsan is one amongst the few breeds that originated in harsh Korean mountains. They are primarily found in their homeland and not so popular in other parts of the world. Its history is unclear, but some believe it developed during Joseon dynasty between 1392-1897 and was used as a hunting dog. On the other hand, some believe it is a result of the wolves mating with the dogs. This point becomes stronger due to its aggressive nature and hunting ability which it has inherited from the wolf and cleverness from its dog parent. This mixed trait helped them to defeat the Siberian Tiger in a battle.
After Japan occupied Korea, thick fur of this breed was used as a raw material for coats utilized by Japanese military personnel. Pungsan was announced as National Treasure number 128 in early 1942, but Korean War diminished their population. The North Korean government made thorough efforts to re-establish the breed after the War, but due to scarce information all the dogs were preserved internally and were not allowed to cross North Korea borders.
Temperament & Personality
Pungsans are protective and loyal of its family members and property. They are very affectionate and flourish with a strong bond with its people. It likes to take part in every household work proving to be an ideal companion. But its independent streak and aggressiveness are more than other breeds. However, with proper socialization, they can become companionable with kids, but their interactions require supervision as the breed is extremely powerful and might knock the baby down.
It goes well with other pets, especially with whom they are raised, but they are not suitable for a household with mixed pets, as their high prey drive and dominant personality can be dangerous for the smaller animals even after socialization. They are not friendly with strangers and possess strong territorial instincts and inform its owner about any threat by barking which makes excellent guard dogs. They are not excessive barkers and barks when it is essential. This breed is not suitable for the first time owners and requires a proficient owner.
Being an active breed it requires an hour of heavy exercising with proper mental stimulation every day to stay fit. Pungsan will appreciate a long walk or jog, but they also like other activities like tracking exercises and agility training. The improper exercising schedule makes them restless and might even develop destructive activities like barking, digging, chewing, etc to entertain themselves. Colder climates and larger homes suit them best. They are sensitive to high temperatures due to the thick coat and too independent and active to fit in an apartment setting.
Pungsans have an abundant and dense coat, separated with a soft layer underneath a hard straight layer. Do not bathe them frequently, but only when they develop a doggy odor or when they get extremely filthy after playing. They require frequent brushing to clean their dead furs as they are heavy shedders. Three to four times brushing a week will suffice its cleaning requirements. They shed heavily during the season change and will require cleaning twice or thrice a day.
Like other breeds, they also have other grooming requirements like brushing their teeth twice a week to avoid development of tartar and oral problems. Their ears can catch up infections due to water, dirt buildup and need regular checking to prevent infections and pain. Clean their ears with Vet prescribed ear solution. Like other dogs, they tend to grow nails faster than other breeds which can crack if not appropriately trimmed and hinder regular activities like walking, run, etc. However, cutting them twice a month will serve the purpose. Clean their corner of the eyes with a damp cloth to remove tear stains.
Pungsan is a healthy breed but suffers from some health issues.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)
Ear and Eye Examination
X-ray of the entire body
It is advisable to visit the vet occasionally to minimize the risk.
Pungsan puppies are intelligent and can take up commands quickly when they desire, but they are not eager to please and stubborn at times which can make training difficult. Hence, a consistent trainer is essential to train them. However, positive reinforcement with short and varied sessions will help them to learn tricks more quickly.
Early socialization will make them well behaved and a good companion. Take them to different busy places like a supermarket, bus stops busy roads and Dogs Park, etc. It will allow them to meet unknown faces, different sounds and situations and make them more flexible.
Leash training is crucial to minimize its chasing instincts. Start from an early age to make it familiar with the leash. When it plays or during its meal time apply the leash and take a short walk around the room or the garden and when it ultimately gets familiar take them out.
It does well with a high-quality food or homemade food that is nutritious and rich in fat, carbohydrates, and protein, owners, can also include fiber foods to promote pet’s intestinal health. Owners can offer them 2-2.5 of dry kibbles to suffice their energy requirements.
They are prone to obesity and bloating, and it is essential to visit a dietician or a vet before opting for the food. Owners can opt for a raw meat diet to offer them protein. But diet should be created depending upon the dog’s size, age, activity level and metabolism. The owner should offer them small meals multiple times a day and prevent heavy exercises to minimize the risk. Owners should check their weight level and calorie consumption. If they gain weight reduce table scraps, treats, etc.