National Monument Designation Process

Sudden turn of events such as the Liberation and the Korean War made the situation even worse for the Sapsarees. As the Western culture flowed into Korea, people began to think that anything Western was better and the indigenous Sapsarees gradually turned into nothing but a dog useful for medicine and tasty food. The disappearance of Sapsarees and influx of long-haired Western dogs were taking place at the same time and the people began to miscall and improperly name the small foreign dogs as "Sapsaree". Since the young generation had never seen a real Sapsaree before the Liberation period, it makes sense that they mis-recognized small foreign dogs as Sapsarees. While nobody was interested in Sapsarees, Professor Yeon-bin Tak of Kyungpook Nat'l University was the first person to realize the necessity for Sapsaree preservation. At the time, Professor Tak was holding office at the department of veterinary medicine and one of the judges of the pet association committee. One day, while he was examining a nameless African native dog, he began to deliberate on which dog is truly an indigenous dog of Korea. Professor Tak, of course, thought of Sapsarees and began to search and collect Sapsarees together with his co-worker, Professor Hwa-shik Kim. Having received research fund from the Science and technology Office of the government, the two professors traveled around the nation, especially around the Gyeong-ju region and the remote mountainside areas in northern Gangwon-do, and were able to find about 30 Sapsarees that were judged to be pure and whose blood were not mixed with that of foreign dogs. Research on these Sapsarees, along with other Sapsarees, began and, by 1972, the first research report on Sapsarees was submitted to the Science and Technology Office. Sung-jin Ha, who was the academic adviser of these two young professors, was managing a ranch at the time and decided to accept most of the Sapsarees from his pupils who were having a difficult time with raising the dogs. Since 1972, these Sapsarees began to be reared and preserved as house watch-dogs within the fenced ranch located in Beomodong, Daegu. While Professor Ji-hong Ha was holding office in the Genetic Engineering department at Kyungpook National University in the Spring of 1985, he could find only eight Sapsarees that were remaining in his father's ranch, which was relocated to Hayang-eup, Kyungsan. Due to the poor breeding environment, the Sapsarees were in danger of becoming extinct in a matter of time. Thanks to his younger brother who helped with the ranch maintenance, systematic and logical breeding work, and Sapsaree search operations, Sapsarees were able to steadily grow in number and by the spring of 1989, the number grew to about 30. Professor Ha was relieved that Sapsarees were not going to become extinct and he was determined to designate Sapsarees as a national monument just like the Jindo dogs. It was in the June of 1989 that Professor Ji-hong Ha submitted the national monument designation application form to the Cultural Heritage Administration. After two years and nine months of process, on May 7, 1992, Sapsarees were successfully designated as National Monument #368. And on May 2, 1992, a general assembly for establishing a Korean Sapsaree Foundation, which was requested by 37 initiators, was held in Daegu and a foundation, and on August 24, the proposal to build a foundation was approved by the Cultural Heritage Administration. At the time of establishment, as the media started to show attention towards Sapsarees, unidentified dogs with long hair suddenly started to appear claiming to be Sapsarees. This was a serious problem to the Sapsaree pedigree preservation. A similar thing happened with the Jindo dogs during their beginning as well and many fake Sapsarees are being thoughtlessly produced. These dogs, whose pedigree has been issued from dog associations that solely rely on commercial purposes and whose origin is unclear, are clearly not our traditional Sapsarees.

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