They may not be the typical beautiful and affectionate house pets, but these Japanese dog breeds pack intelligence, agility, courage and hunting skills. Read on to learn more about them.
The Hokkaido (Hokkaidō-inu or Hokkaidō-ken?) is a medium-sized dog breed native to Hokkaido, Japan. Considered by many to be the oldest of the Japanese breeds, this Japanese Spitz breed has small eyes; small, erect ears and a curled tail. It has a long double coat that comes in red, white, black, tiger, sesame, tan, brindle and fawn. Most dogs have black spots on their tongue. Males measure around 46-56 cm and weigh between 20-30 kg. Females are a few centimeters shorter and weigh lighter.
This breed is known for its bravery, loyalty, gentleness and intelligence. An excellent watchdog, Hokkaido Inu is not recommended for apartment life. This breed needs moderate but regular exercise and will do best with a large yard. Life Expectancy: About 11-13 years.
The Shiba Inu, the smallest of the six original Japanese dog breeds, is a small, compact dog. The breed features deep-set, triangular, dark eyes; erect, triangular ears; round muzzles and high-set, curled tails. The double coat (a stiff straight outer coat and the undercoat soft and thick) comes in red, black with tan markings, sesame with red markings, with a cream, buff, or grey undercoat. Males measure 35–43 cm at the withers, and weigh around 8-11 kg. Bitches grow to about 33–41 cm and weigh between 6.8-9 kg.
Originally bred to hunt and flush birds and rabbits, Shiba Inus are good-natured, independent, loyal, loving, and intelligent dog. These dogs are very clean — often be seen licking their paws and legs much like a cat! They are best in a home without other small dogs, Shibas should be walked or otherwise exercised daily. The breed needs regular exercise or daily walks, to live a healthier and happier life. Life Expectancy: About 12-15 years.
The Kai Ken (also known as the Kai Inu,, Tora Inu), is a very rare Japanese dog breed that was primarily bred as a ferocious hunting dog. This Tiger dog is a medium-sized one with strong and sturdily built body. It has brindle or the striped coat; a medium-sized head; a pointed muzzle, small, triangular, dark brown eyes; well developed cheeks and tight lips; triangular ears and sturdy feet. Males average around 46-56 cm
Kai Kens are loyal and affectionate to their masters which make them excellent guard dogs. These dogs are intelligent, agile, alert and brave. Most of them loves to swim. Kai Kens suit well in an apartment, provided enough exercise is given. Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
The Kishu, often called Kishu Ken or Kishu Inu, is a medium-sized Japanese breed of dog, originally used to hunt deer and boar. Typically Kishu Kens come in white color, though some sport red, brindle or sesame color. The top coat is short, coarse and straight, while the undercoat is thick and soft. Most have black nose, but can be pink or brownish. The ears are small and inclined forward. Tail curls over the back. On average, the breed measures 43-56 cm and weighs 13-27 kg.
Kishu Kens are extremely clean. They intelligent, affectionate, loyal, strong willed and brave as hunters. They have been known to climb trees to catch prey. They can be aloof with strangers. The Kishu needs large space, thus suit well in fenced backyard. Regular exercise or long walks will make them happy. Usually a healthy breed, Kishu Kens can live up to 11-13 years.
The Shikoku Inu, is an ancient Japanese breed native to Shikoku island. A Japanese Spitz type breed of dog, it was primarily bred for hunting deer and boar. There are three varieties of Shikoku Inu: the Awa, the Hata and the Hongawa. The Shikoku is a medium-sized dog that generally weighs 16-26 kg. Color comes in solid red, cream, black and tan, or brindle (white, red, black.) The double coat is fairly thick. The dark brown eyes are almond-shaped. The breed has a wedge-shaped head, erect, pointed ears and curled tail.
Shikoku are agile and very energetic dogs. They are intelligent, loyal, well-mannered, cautions and brave. They are the perfect company for active outdoor people. An environment with large fenced yard is ideal for Shikoku Inu. They, too like outdoor activities. Life Expectancy: About 10-12 years.
The Tosa, also known as the Tosa Inu, is a rare Japanese dog breed. The breed varies in size, with the Japanese-bred dogs generally weighs between 36 and 61 kg (80 and 135 pounds, while the non-Japanese breeders generally measures between 62 to 82 cm (24.5 to 32 inches) at the withers and weighs between 60 to 100 kg (130 to 200 lbs). The coat is characterized by its short and smooth appearance and comes in red, fawn, and brindle, or fawn. Maintenance of the coat has been usually minimal.
A Japanese-style Akita
The Akita is a large Japanese Spitz breed of dog that was primarily developed as hunting dogs. There are now two separate types: The Japanese or “Japanese Akita” and the American or “American Akita”. It is a medium sized, dog with erect ears and curly tail. Typical Akita has triangular-shaped heads, deep chest, dark nose, pink tongues, and teeth that close in a scissors bite. The short double coat features a waterproof outer layer and a soft undercoat. Colors come in white, brindle, red, or sesame. Akita measures between 24-26 in, at the withers and weighs about 75-110 lbs.
An American-Style Akita
The Akita Inu breed is known to be gentle, kind, loyal, alert, courageous, and responsive. Furthermore, they are extremely protective of children and family. However, They stay away with strangers, and don’t like to be teased upon. In order to stay fit and healthy, Akita Inu will do well in in an apartment provided it gets daily exercise and frequent long walks. Life Expectancy: About 12-15 years.