SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – Research has found indigenous South Korean canines are more closely related to wolves and coyotes than foreign breeds are.
The Rural Development Administration (RDA) revealed on January 10 the results of a DNA analysis on 2,258 dogs belonging to 33 different breeds.
The RDA found that the three iconic South Korean dog breeds, Donggyeong, Jindo and Pungsan all shared the wolf as a common ancestor.
A total of 189 Jindo, Donggyeong and Pungsan dogs were included in the DNA study. The remaining dogs were categorized into three groups: wild (coyote, wolf), ancient (Chow Chow, Afghan Hound, Siberian Husky) or modern (Chihuahua, Great Dane, Border Collie).
The research team used a specially designed chip that could record the genetic data of each dog and compared the gathered information to arrive at its findings.
The three South Korean breeds were discovered to share genetic commonalities with Chinese and Japanese dogs, and also with the ancient breeds.
The Donggyeong, Jindo, and Pungsan dogs were found to be genetically distant from modern breeds and instead bore strong similarities to each other.
In addition, the three breeds, more than foreign dogs, possessed a greater amount of genetic material found in coyotes and wolves, which indicates that the South Korean dogs are at least innately more feral than their counterparts abroad.
The Pungsan breed most resembled wolves, while the Jindo possessed the fewest similarities out of the three.
An official with the RDA said, “In order to preserve the genetic blueprint of South Korea’s native dogs, efforts to maintain their genetic diversity must be made while research into their DNA must also be carried out at the same time. We intend to share the technology developed here at the RDA with local governments and work to make our country’s dogs internationally recognized by revealing our findings to organizations like the FCI.”
With an effective population of black Jindo dogs of only 485, and only 110 white Pungsan and 109 Donggyeong dogs remaining, the RDA added that the need to reverse the trend of dwindling canine populations is a matter of great urgency.