12 Japanese Dog Breeds that You Must Know

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Source: Grace Smith

Japan has several kinds of adorable dog breeds. You surely have seen a lot of dogs that you know are of Japanese origin but was not able to name them. This is why we created this article that presents you 12 Japanese dog breeds that you must know!

1. Akita Inu: Dog

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The Akita dog is a large dog breed originating from the northern Japanese mountains. Akita has a short double coat and is usually light brown and white in color. It is a powerful and dominant dog that is distant with strangers, but affectionate with the owners. They are usually calm and docile and are very fond of children. The Akita were bred alone or in pairs so they are not used to large groups of dogs.

2. Tosa Inu

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The Tosa dog was originally bred in Kochi Prefecture in the south coast of Shikoku. It is considered a rare dog breed. It was bred for dog fights, and was trained to be quiet as Japanese dog fighting rules include sinlence. Its coat is short, smooth and red-brownish. The Tosa Inu is known as a very loyal dog, which is very sensitive to its owner’s voice. It usually pays attentions to commands closely.

3. Shikoku Inu

The Shikoku Inu originates from Shikoku Island and is somewhat similar in appearance to the Shiba Inu. It was bred for hunting boar and deer in the mountains, which made it a strong, independent dog. Because of its past, it is powerful enough to run uphill for long periods of time. It is a cautious dog, very loyal to its owner. It has a short thick coat and comes in a handful of colors, like light brown, red-brown or black-brown.

4. Kai Ken

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The Kai Ken is considered the purest dog breed in Japan, which is one of the first that appeared in the country. It was designated as a natural monument of Japan and is a very rare breed. Its coat is medium-length with a rough texture and is usually red or black. It is a very intelligent as an agile dog. As it was bred for hunting, it is wary of strangers and therefore makes a good guard dog.

5. Kishu Ken

The Kishu Ken originates from Mie and Wakayama Prefectures in the Kansai region. It is similar in appearance to the Hokkaido Inu, Shikkoku Inu and Kai Ken. Its coat is short and coarse. This breed is usually white, but other colors like black, red and sesame are not uncommon. It is a courageous and loyal dog. It can get along with other dogs if raised together, but it will have a tendency to dominate over its mates.

6. Sakhalin Husky

The Sakhalin Husky, also known as the Karafuto Ken, is a dog breed originating from the Karafuto Prefecture. Few breeders still remain in Japan and there are only two pure breed dogs still surviving at the moment. It is considered to be a precursor of the Akita Inu. Its coat is fine and thick and comes in many colors such as russet red and black. Two Sakhalin Husky dogs became known worldwide after surviving for a year in Antarctica with almost no food.

7. Japanese Spitz

Source: Grace Smith

The Japanese Spitz is a dog breed created in Japan between 1920 and 1930 by crossing other Spitz breeds. It has a long white fur. The breed has become increasingly popular due to its mild temperament. Very bright, active and loyal to the owner, the Spitz is well known for its affectionate attitude which makes it the ideal companion. The dogs are very obedient, playful and get along very well with children.

8. Japanese Terrier

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The Japanese Terrier is believed to be first brought to Japan by Dutch merchants who came to Nagasaki. The breed was developed exclusively as a companion pet. Its coat is short and the dogs usually have their whole bodies white with their heads black. Its temperament is lively and cheerful. It is a gentle dog, perfect for families with small children or for those who want an affectionate pet.

9. Shiba Inu

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The Shiba Inu is a breed from Japan with its exact origin unknown. As “shiba” means “brushwood” in Japanese, it is believed that the dog was named this way because it was used to hunt in the wilderness where it was full of wild shrubs. It has a double coat: the inner one is soft and thick while the outer one is stiff and straight. The Shiba Inu is a very independent dog, sometimes aggressive. It is usually owned by people without other pets or small children.

10. Hokkaido Inu

The Hokkaido Inu is a breed that originates from the Japanese prefecture with the same name. In Japan it is sometimes called Dou Ken. The breed has two coats: a long, stiff one and a shorter and softer one. It comes in a variety of colors, like black, white, red, sesame, brindle or gray. These dogs are known for their loyalty to their owners. They also have a good sense of direction and smell and can find their home even when lost.

11. Japanese Chin

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It is unknown how the Chin originally got to Japan, but it is said that such a dog was given as a present to the Japanese royalty by Korean rulers. It is one of the few dog breeds that is recognized only as a companion pet. The dogs are small and have only one coat. They come in two variations, black and white or red and white. The breed’s temperament is similar to cats’ one. The dogs are independent, alert and very intelligent.

12. Sanshu

The Sanshu dog was created in the 1900s in Japan. It is believed that the breed resulted by crossing Ainu dogs with Chinese Chow Chows. The breed looks like a smaller Akita. Its coat is short and coarse. It comes in a variety of colors such as white, tan, pied, red or gray. The Sanshu is a very sensitive dog. It should be trained with kindness. They are very affectionate and loyal to their owner.

Have a good trip and travel!

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