The Universe of Discourse

Thu, 16 Feb 2023

Dog breeds in Korean

A couple of days ago I mentioned a Korean sign about “petiquette”. Part of the sign lists of breeds that must be kept muzzled:

Sign with Korean text and
pictures of five dogs wearing muzzles.

Here are the Korean texts and their approximate pronunciations. See if you can figure out what the five breeds are:

1. 도사견 (to-sa-gyŏn)
2. 아메리칸 핏불테리어 (a-me-ri-kan pit-bul-te-ri-ŏ)
3. 아메리칸 스태퍼드셔 테리어 (a-me-ri-kan seu-tae-pŏ-deu-sya te-ri-ŏ)
4. 스태퍼드셔 불 테리어 (seu-tae-pŏ-deu-sya bul te-ri-ŏ)
5. 로트와일러 (ro-teu-wa-il-lŏ)

(Answers below.)

Dog #1 is 도사견 (to-sa-gyŏn), in English called the Tosa. I had not heard of that before but if I had there would have been nothing to guess.

Dog #5, 로트와일러 (ro-teu-wa-il-lŏ), I figured out quickly; it's a Rottweiler. Korean Wikipedia spells it differently: [로트일러] (ro-teu-ba-il-lŏ).

[ Addendum 20230904: I just realized the likely cause of the difference: Korean Wikipedia is using the German pronunciation. ]

The other three are all terriers of some sort. (테리어 (te-ri-ŏ) was clearly “terrier”). It didn't take long to understand that #2 was “American Pit Bull Terrier”, which I guessed was the official name for a Pit Bull. That isn't quite right but it is close and I did understand the name correctly.

Similarly #3 was an American ¿something? terrier and #4 was a ¿something? bull terrier. But what was ¿something?? I could not recognize 스태퍼드셔 (seu-tae-pŏ-deu-sya) as anything I knew and it was clearly not Korean.

Once I got home, I asked the Goog “What kinds of terriers are there?” and the answer to the puzzle was instantly revealed.

“Seu-tae-pŏ-deu-sya” is the Hangeul rendering of the very un-Korean word “Staffordshire”.

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