Sapsali is a medium sized dog breed with body slightly longer than tall. They are pretty muscular, especially the upper body part is very strong and bulky and they have big paws. The average height of the Sapsali is between 19-23 inches which is 48-58 cm and weight between 35-60 pounds which is 15-28 kg.
For me, they resemble the Old English Sheepdog quite a lot, it is mostly thanks to their shaggy coat. The long dense coat can be either wavy or straight and you can find Sapsali in various colors, including black, red, yellow, gray, blue and brown. They have long hair on their face, which can falls over their brown large round eyes, so you cant see them.
This is a really friendly and loyal breed. They truly love their family and they tend to create strong bond with them. Thanks to their big patience, they are also good companions for children. They typically do not have problems with other dogs in the family as well and they tend to be very playful.
It is true that they are friendly and loyal, but they are also quite protective. They are alert and cautious towards strangers, but dont worry, if you will show them that the newcomer is your friend, they will accept him quickly. This is a strong dog and even though, they only rarely start a fight, they almost never run away from it.
This is a highly intelligent dog who want to please their owners. That is why they do respond well to training. If we combine this with their gentle temperament, they can make great therapy dogs.
There are few common nicknames for Sapsali dog. The first one is a lion dog. They are called like that because of their strong upper body, big paws and fluffy coat. The other nicknames are more interesting, because they are commonly nicknamed as ghost dog, Exorcising Dog or Ghost hunting clever Dog. Are you interested why they are nicknamed by these mysterious names? Than you must learn about the breeds history! Lets jump into it.
The history of Sapsali dog breed is rather unknown and mysterious. The first documentation about this breed is from the Three Kingdom Period which lasted from 37BC to 668AD. Sadly, we have no idea, what are the ancestors of this breed, but they most likely developed from other local Korean breeds.
Throughthrou their history, the Sapsali was used as military dogs, but also as amazing companions. They were considered good luck charms and it was believed that they will protect people from evil spirits. In fact, the meaning of Sapsaree is „putting away bad luck „ or “the one that roots out evil spirits.” which explains their nicknames we mentioned earlier in this video.
There was a dark time in the Sapsali history and it was during the first half of the 20th century, when the Japan occupied Korean peninsula. During that time, Sapsali dogs were slaughtered by Japanese army in order to make coats for the invading soldiers. It is believed that in the 1980s, there was only 8 Sapsali remaining, but due to careful breeding, the breed was saved. Today, it is estimated, that we have around 3 000 registered Sapsalis.
Health and grooming
The lifespan of Sapsali is between 10-12 years. They do suffer from some health issues, most commonly from hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and Congenital Heart Defect. Not so commonly from bloating, entropion or cherry eye.
If you want to keep your dog healthy and happy you should regularly exercise it. The Sapsali is not totally hyperactive, but on the other hand it is also not a coach potatoe. Since they were never bred for a work like herding or hunting, they do not have extreme exercise needs, regular daily longer walks are enough.
Sapsali do shed and if you want to minimize the shedding you should regularly brush their coat. By regular brushing you will also prevent tangling and matting. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes ears and nails and clip them or clean them if needed.