Wednesday, 15 June 2016 19:34

Koreans and dogs

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20 ~ 30 years ago, Koreans who had dogs were not common but it was not rare. Dogs were kept in dog houses and were kept by those who had their own houses. Those who lived in apartments never had dogs as pets. It was just unthinkable at that time and such was not cultural norm.

Additionally, in the old times, dogs weren’t really pets. They were guardians of gate and, in hard times, emergency meat.


Fast forward to 2016, Koreans and dogs mean something entirely different.

I see a lot, I mean really a lot, of people having pet dogs, usually tiny ones instead of big ones I used to see when I was a kid. And they are all dressed up with ribbons and whatnot.

Few decades ago, such was unthinkable. The reason would be simple. Small dogs can’t guard a gate against intruders and small dogs don’t produce lots of meat.

Now if you tell a young Korean those two reasons, s/he would freak out and ask why one would keep a dog for such reasons.

Time flows and trends alter. For better or worse, I don’t know.


Koreans keep dogs like it’s their …, hmm, Barbie dolls. They bring them to specialized dog hair saloon, dog-only spa, dog-only swimming pool, and there are even dog-only cooking study groups. Koreans spend up to an hour cooking their dogs’ meal.

There are generally reasons for everything and there is a good reason for this Dog-is-God trend.

Over half of Koreans in 30 ~ 50 are singles. It is not that they could not marry. It is that they chose not to marry. I belong to this group where I chose not to start a family.

Since I belong to this group, I can speak well for this group. Why would they not marry?

Why should they? why should I? We are humans and we don’t have to follow the natural progression. If all humans follow the natural progression, we aren’t any better than animals.

What is “the natural progression”? - Getting married, having kids, supporting the kids, and later watching the kids grow and reproduce. Basically, spending your entire life to support your offspring(s) and dedicating your later (twilight) life for yourself.

I (they) chose not to follow the natural progression to pursue whatever paths they chose. In my case, I chose to pursue my hobby over everything else.

And, for a lot, dogs were their answer to combat loneliness.

I am not someone who has ever felt loneliness, so personally I do not see the point of their pet dogs but each to their own.


As more middle age people started to have pet dogs, this sort of started a chain reaction where younger generation wanted to have pet dogs. This eventually started the trend that is sweeping across Korea right now which I personally call “Barbie dogs”.

Go to and type in “강아지” in the search box. You will see some interesting results (provided that you can read Korean). Using Google translate will help you a lot if you can’t read Korean.

Read 668 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 June 2016 21:46

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