Korean Mastiff

The Korean Mastiff is popularly known as Mee Kyun Dosa and Dosa Inu in its country of origin. This breed was developed in the 1800s thru the crossing of the Tosa Inu, the Dogue de Bordeaux and the Neopolitan Mastiffs. With a maximum weight of 185 pounds, it is considered to be the heaviest Korean dog breed. The Korean Mastiff has the typical mastiff appearance. The dog has ponderous and heavily wrinkled body and a slow and sluggish gait that is not unlike that of a bear. This dog seldom gallops. Walking and trotting are the dog’s most usual gait. The dog though exhibits long and elastic strides.

A Korean Mastiff is a looker. The dog would never fail to get second glances not only because of its massive size but also because of its well balanced build that is made more eye-catching by the very shiny and smooth red, orange or brown coat. This breed was primarily developed to be a working dog. With its massive size and intimidating appearance, a Dosa Inu is commonly used as a guard dog. This breed is reserved with strangers but in spite of the Tosa Inu ancestry, a Korean Mastiff does not have a vicious or an aggressive temperament. The breed is often the choice of people wanting to have a gladiator type pet. This breed has the ideal temperament of a home companion. The dog is very loyal and affectionate to its family. Korean Mastiffs though are not for everyone. Potential owners must be aware of the fact that these massive breed can make a huge dent on the finances of the family. For one, the dog would need a lot of food. This is a wonderful choice for a pet. The dog is intelligent and easy to train but the breed is noted for a number of health concerns. Frequent visits to the vet can be very costly.


A Korean Mastiff looks like a puppy that has donned its mom’s or its dad’s coat. This breed has the typical mastiff looks – a massive head and body that is covered with loose and heavily wrinkled skin. In Korea, this breed is more popularly known as Mee Kyun Dosa. The name which means “great beauty dog” is aptly given to this breed for a Korean Mastiff is indeed an impressive and handsome dog. This rectangular shaped dog measures from 23 to 30 inches at the withers and weighs from 145 to 185 pounds. The dog is noted for a massive head that is abundantly covered with loose skin that forms heavy wrinkles and pendulous folds and ridges. The square shaped and very wide muzzle has obvious folds. The broad nose is always dark in color. Seen from the sides, the nostrils appear to be flat. The ears are broad, soft to the touch and have rounded tips. Ears hang close to the head devoid of any erectile power. Medium sized eyes are set wide apart. Eyes can be brown or darker in color and give a kindly expression. Well developed and regularly aligned white teeth meet in a scissor bite.

This breed has thick abundant skin that loosely covers the body. The skin is exceptionally loose on the head and on the neck. The coat of a Korean Mastiff is short, uniformly smooth and very shiny. Coat colors range from deep chocolate brown, red to mahogany. This breed may have a white patch on the chest. A Korean Mastiff is a massive ponderous breed. The short stocky neck is very muscular and covered with loose skin that forms dewlaps. Measured at the withers, this breed’s body is 10 to 20 % longer than the height measured at the point of the shoulders. The long muscular shoulder is slightly sloping and distinctly divided from the other. The back is broad and strong, the loin well muscled and the slightly sloping croup is wide, strong and muscular. Forechest is well defined. The wide rounded chest is deep almost reaching the level of the elbows. Set slightly lower than the topline, the tail is wide and thick at the base. In action the tail is raised a bit higher than the back. At rest, the tail either forms an “S” or hangs down straight.


A Korean Mastiff is a sweet and good natured breed. The massive and intimidating appearance is just for show. The breed is actually a gentle giant that is excellent with the children. The dog is gentle with the children but because of the massive size, small kids should not be left unsupervised with the dog. This breed tolerates canine and non canine pets of the family. A Korean Mastiff forms a strong bond with its people. This dog thinks it is a lap dog as it would take every chance it could get to lean on its favorite person. This dog is not really very active, in fact it is rather sluggish. However, a Korean Mastiff should not be left alone for a considerable time. Because of its attachment to the family, a lonely Korean Mastiff will turn into a “one dog demolition team” that will destroy property. Due to the moderate energy level and low exercise requirements, the dog would do well in apartments or in a home in the country.


A Korean Mastiff should be an easy breed to groom. The dog has a short smooth coat that is almost always clean given that unlike other breeds of working dogs, this mastiff is noted for its penchant to lie down and to laze all day. This breed is a moderate shedder. Occasional brushing would be sufficient to maintain the good condition of the coat. However, the dog has a great deal of folds that it would need to be regularly cleaned with antibacterial soap. Bathing can be done monthly but ear cleaning and nail trimming must be done more often. Mastiffs grow at a very fast rate. A puppy may have the body of a mature medium sized dog but its bones are not yet fully developed thus puppies must not be coached to do strenuous exercise. Korean Mastiffs tend to be lazy thus owners must ensure that the dog gets its daily exercise needs. Korean Mastiffs are rather sluggish, its gait resembles that of a bear but the dog would make an ideal walking or strolling companion.


When Korean dogs are mentioned what would immediately come to mind is the Korean Jindo or the Korean dogs that are made into boshintang (dog stew). Korea though is the home of another breed of dog, the Korean Mastiff. Mastiff is one of the four main categories by which breeds of dogs are classified. Mastiffs are known as “comis maximus”. Mastiff was taken from the base word massive. The root stock of modern day mastiffs goes back to the early types of mastiffs in the Middle East.

The Korean Mastiff was developed in Korea in the 1800s from different Asian and European working breeds. However, cynologists and historians deduced that these massive Korean dogs have evolved over the last 100 years into its present conformation. It was believed that the Tosa Inu, the Dogue de Bordeaux was introduced to the breed. It was speculated that in the middle of the 20th century the English Bulldog, the English Mastiff and the Neopolitan Mastiff were introduced to the Korean Mastiff’s gene pool. It is likewise highly probable that the Korean Mastiff has a small percentage of Bloodhound blood flowing in its veins. However, the Korean Mastiff was generally developed through inbreeding. Selective breeding has enhanced the coat coloring giving credence to the Mee Kyun Dosa (beauty) name.

Similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux and the Neopolitan Mastiff, the Korean Mastiff has a strong and imposing confirmation. The Tosa Inu is as Japanese breed of fighting dog. In spite of the fighting dog ancestry, the Korean Mastiff is noted for its dignified and good natured temperament. Years of line breeding has created this magnificent breed. Breeders have achieved the desired look for the Korean Mastiff. Unfortunately it has developed a breed with a number of major genetic health concerns. Being a large breed, the Korean Mastiff is prone to bloat. Instead of one big meal, it would be necessary to feed the dog two to three small meals a day. Cherry eye and other eye problems, entropia, hip and elbow dysplasia, demodex mange are some of the major health concerns of this breed.

The Korean Mastiff is famed for being a wonderful pet. This gentle giant is a very affectionate dog, one that would always grab the chance to lean on its favorite person. A potential owner though must be prepared for the rather high cost of keeping this breed. Due to the health concerns, this dog would need more frequent vet visits as compared to other breeds. Breeders are working on ridding the breed of its health issues.

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