For the Japanese, local dog breeds are a matter of great pride. For centuries, these dogs have been their hunters, protectors and faithful companions. While Western influence and war nearly wiped out the local dogs, Japanese dog advocates, with the help of the government, worked tirelessly to bring the native breeds back to stable numbers.
All of these breeds were originally bred as hunting dogs and still have instinct to this day. The ancient roots of these dogs go back thousands of years, from the Paleolithic era. There are only six local dog breeds, and although they may seem very similar in appearance and temperament, in fact, each of them has its own distinctive features.
The Akita Inu is the largest of the six natives and the only dog in the large category. War and disease caused them many problems and almost led to their extinction. Luckily, the Japanese protectors of this breed have been able to restore the Akita Inu to its original splendor, it is still a very rare breed even in its own country.
He is independent, confident and reserved. They are loyal and protective of their family members almost to the extreme, they are a territorial breed and, like many other primitive breeds, do not get along well with members of their sex.
Of the six native Japanese dogs, the Hokkaido dog is believed to have the oldest genes, going back to the oldest of its ancestors: the original Jōmon dog. Due to the cold temperatures of the Hokkaido region where they come from, they have a thicker outer layer and a denser inner layer. The harsh conditions also allowed the larger paws and smaller ears to cope with the snow and unforgiving cold.
He is of medium size and his background as a bear hunter has left this dog with great physical strength, alertness and common sense.
The Kai dog is the most unusual of the local Japanese dogs due to its bright brindle coloration, which earned it the nickname “tiger dog”. Due to the isolated and inaccessible region of its origin, Kai’s dog lineage has remained largely intact and pure. Physically, he is very athletic, well balanced and stocky.
The Kishu Ken is Japan’s most popular medium-sized dog breed. However, even in Japan, kishu is still quite rare. This is a Japanese dog, most commonly used in modern hunting.
Although he originally had the same coat color as other local dogs, today almost all Kishu are white, he is a natural sportsman. They are powerful, fast and very alert at all times. Independent, remote and single owner.
Shikoku is the most wolf-like Japanese dog breed and the rarest. This is an energetic hunting dog that needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation. They are very devoted to their owners, but they have a stubborn streak and need an owner who understands the needs of a primitive breed of dog.
Shikoku is virtually non-existent outside of Japan, with the exception of a few breeders scattered around the world.
The Shiba Inu is the smallest and most popular dog breed found in Japan. In fact, this is the national dog, which was on the verge of extinction after the Second World War.
He has a compact, muscular and almost perfectly balanced body. Although the most tame and least feral of the other local breeds, the Shiba can be aloof, stubborn and difficult to train if not socialized early on.