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Sapsaree (삽살이)
Korea-Jeonju-Sapsal dog in front of a Hanok Village-01.jpg
Other namesSapsal Gae
Common nicknamesExorcising Dog
Ghost hunting clever Dog
OriginSouth Korea
Breed statusNot recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
Revised RomanizationSapsali Sapsalgae
McCune–ReischauerSapsali Sapsalkae

The Sapsali (삽살이) is a shaggy South Korean breed of dog. The word is followed in Korean by either gae (meaning "dog") or the suffix ee / i, but is also romanized as "Sapsaree". Traditionally, these dogs were believed to dispel ghosts and evil spirits.[1]


The Sapsali, just like the Jindo, was designated as a National Treasure (No.368) in 1992 by the South Korean government. The Sapsali has been identified and recognized by both leading Korean dog societies, the Korean Canine Club (FCI affiliate) and the Korean Kennel Club.


The Sapsali has been called a "lion dog" for its bulky and strong upper body and its large and imposing paws. Sapsali are medium-sized and slightly tall. Their adult coat is long and abundant, and comes in various colors, including solid and/or mixed shades of black, golden yellowish-blonde, reddish-orange, browns, and salt-and-pepper greys. Their hair falls over the eyes in the same manner as that of the Old English Sheepdog.


The Sapsali's friendly outer appearance is matched by its innate patience and congeniality towards other animals and human beings. They are known to be playful in a group setting and have long been acknowledged and valued for their loyalty.

Height and weight[edit]

Male: 50–60 cm (20–24 in) / 18–27 kg (40-60 lbs)
Female: 48–58 cm (19–23 in) / 16–25 kg (35-55 lbs)


Kim Duryang-Sapsalgae-1743.jpg

The breed was very popular among aristocrats of Silla and may have been used as military dogs.[citation needed] After the collapse of Unified Silla, the Sapsali became popular throughout the Korean Peninsula, appearing in classic Joseon-era literary works such as "Chunhyangjeon" and "Yeolha Ilgi".[citation needed] They were slaughtered in large numbers by the Japanese when Korea was under Japanese rule to make winter coats for its military in Manchuria.[2] Near extinction in the mid-1980s, the breed was revived using the eight remaining dogs.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sapsaree Dispeller of Evil Spirits". Worldly Dogs, 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Man Saves Rare Sasparee Dog Breed From Extinction". Global Animal. September 27, 2011.

External links[edit]