Dog of Osu

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The Dog of Osu (오수; 獒樹, literally translated as 'the tree of a dog') (오수의 개; 오수개) is an old Korean folktale about a loyal dog that sacrificed himself to save his owner's life, or that particular dog.

Korean language Language spoken in Korea

The Korean language is an East Asian language spoken by about 77 million people. It is a member of the Koreanic language family and is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each country. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin province, China. It is also spoken in parts of Sakhalin, Ukraine, and Central Asia.

Dog domestic animal

The domestic dog is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.



According to the book Bohanjip (보한집; 補閑集) written by a Goryeo -era writer Choi Ja (최자; 崔滋) in 1230, a man named Kim Kae In (김개인; 金蓋仁) residing in Kyeorung-Hyun (거령현) (modern day Imsi-Gun (임실군), Osu-Myun (오수면), Jeolla province) of Korea had a very loyal dog. One day, Kim went to a party at a nearby town with his dog, got very drunk, and fell asleep on a nearby grassland on his way home. At that time, a forest fire started near the place where Kim was sleeping.

Goryeo Korean dynasty

Goryeo was a Korean kingdom founded in 918, during a time of national division called the Later Three Kingdoms period, that unified and ruled the Korean Peninsula until 1392. Goryeo achieved what has been called a "true national unification" by Korean historians as it not only unified the Later Three Kingdoms but also incorporated much of the ruling class of the northern kingdom of Balhae, who had origins in Goguryeo of the earlier Three Kingdoms of Korea. The name "Korea" is derived from the name of Goryeo, also spelled Koryŏ, which was first used in the early 5th century by Goguryeo.

The loyal dog, that could not wake up his owner but still kept trying to save his life, soaked himself in a nearby stream and extinguished the fire near Kim. The dog repeated this behavior until he saved Kim's life, but died of burns. Kim woke up after a while and found that there was a fire and that his dog was burnt to death near him, but that the grassland on and around which he slept was still wet, safe from the fire. Kim realized what his dog had done for him, cried bitterly, buried his dog in a nearby sunny place, and stuck his walking staff in front of the grave instead of a tombstone. The story states that the wooden staff became a very large tree after several years, resulting in the name of the story (the Tree of a Dog). There still stands a huge tree in Osu-Myun to this day, aged about a thousand years.

Burn Injury to flesh or skin, often caused by excessive heat

A burn is a type of injury to skin, or other tissues, caused by heat, cold, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation. Most burns are due to heat from hot liquids, solids, or fire. While rates are similar for males and females the underlying causes often differ. Among women in some areas, risk is related to use of open cooking fires or unsafe cook stoves. Among men, risk is related to the work environments. Alcoholism and smoking are other risk factors. Burns can also occur as a result of self-harm or violence between people.


As a tribute to the loyal dog, the region where the dog died was renamed as Osu in 1992. The people of Osu-Myun made a monument for the loyal dog called Uigyeonbi (a Monument for the Loyal Dog) near the large tree in the legend. The monument was refurbished in April 1955. [1] The statue was modeled after a Jindo Dog. However, a recent study revealed that the Dog of Osu was not a Jindo Dog, but a dog more similar to Tibetan Mastiff. Reflecting this finding, the Research Committee on Osu Dog replaced the old statue in 1997 with a new one that was more accurate according to the research result. [2]

Tibetan Mastiff Dog breed

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large Tibetan dog breed belonging to the mastiff family. Originating with the nomadic cultures of Tibet, China, Mongolia and Nepal, it is used by local tribes of Tibetans to protect sheep from wolves, leopards, bears, large mustelids, and tigers.

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