Top 11 best dog breeds from Japan

Japanese dog breeds

Japanese dog breeds, until recently almost unknown outside of their country (with the exception of the Japanese Chin and Akita Inu), are now becoming increasingly interesting from breeders.

In our article you will find information about the classification (according to size) and general characteristics of Japanese dogs, as well as a brief description of each breed.

What is the Nippo organization?

Japanese dogs are under the patronage of the “Native Dog Society” (Nippo for short), founded by enthusiastic cynologists in 1928 to preserve indigenous breeds that had hybridized with the native – now extinct – subspecies of wolves.

This measure was very timely, since by that time purebred aboriginal dogs had been practically superseded by European breeds, which had been introduced into the country at the end of the 19th century after the end of Japan’s self-isolation policy.

The Nippo Association’s registry currently lists six breeds that have been given national heritage status in Japan:

Classification of Japanese Dogs

Depending on the height at the withers, Japanese dog breeds are usually divided into classes:

1. Large (above 50 cm):

2. Medium (35 to 50 cm):

  • Kishu.
  • Shiba-inu.
  • Sanshu.
  • Shikoku.
  • Hokkaido.

Small (below 35 cm):

  • Japanese hin.
  • Japanese terrier.
  • Japanese Spitz.

Japanese dog breeds

Japanese dogs, descended from a single ancestor, share a number of common traits:

1. Similar appearance, providing for the presence of:

  • A well-balanced, compact body;
  • a broad wedge-shaped head with broad cheekbones;
  • firmly set triangular ears, pointing slightly forward;
  • Deep set eyes, shaped like a triangle;
  • The tail is strong, curved over the dog’s back in a ring or crescent shape.

2. An imperturbable, malleable character.

3. Obedience and unusual loyalty to the owner.

The terms “inu” or “ken” in some breed names translate to “dog” in Japanese.

The top 14 best Japanese dogs

    was bred in Akita Prefecture, located on Honshu Island, to help hunters hunt large animals. Nowadays, dogs of this breed, endowed with both attack and defense capabilities, are often used to guard territory. But they’re not just great guards, they’re also very loyal friends, devoted to their owners (just like Hachiko, the hero of a dramatic movie based on true events). When needed, he is able to selflessly protect all members of the family. According to the standard, the largest representatives of the breed can weigh 55 kg and its height at withers – 70 cm. Life expectancy ranges from 11 to 15 years. Japanese Akita is endowed with an even temperament, very courageous and completely fearless. Despite its leadership inclinations, it is easy to train. Thanks to the webbing between its toes, it is an excellent swimmer.
  1. In 1945, Akita Inu puppies that the American soldiers liked were taken to the United States, where they were crossed with Mastiffs and German Shepherds. Thus a larger breed was born, originally called the “big Japanese dog”. Some time later, at the insistence of Japanese cynologists, it was officially called the American Akita.
  2. The Jomon Shiba is a very curious breed of dog, which is, in fact, an archaeological reconstruction of an extinct ancient breed, made by experts of the Shiba Inu Conservation Society, after careful study of the skulls and skeletons of ancient dogs found during the excavations. The muscular and trim dogs of this breed bear a great resemblance to miniature Japanese wolves (especially due to their strong jaws).
    1. The Kishu-inu is an indigenous breed known since the Middle Ages, the pride of Japan. There are dogs of tiger, white, red and sesame color. They are great herdsmen and hunters, even capable of catching fish. Well-bred dog will be a great watchdog and a great companion, always ready to protect its owner.
    2. The Sakhalin Husky is the oldest breed of sled dogs used by the Nivkh people not only for carrying loads, but also for hunting sea animals and trapping bears. Today, the breed is on the verge of extinction. These beautiful and strong dogs with a strong constitution and incredibly thick fur are now being bred as ornamental pets.
    3. Widespread in Japan, this breed was obtained at the beginning of the last century through interbreeding chow-chow with Japanese breeds. Sanshu is an excellent companion, adoring its owner and getting along well with children and, with the proper training, with other pets. Thanks to their well-developed communication skills, they can even be kept in a crowded apartment. During puppy socialization and training, the owner must be gentle and patient, remembering that violence of any kind is unacceptable.
    4. Japanese Shiba Inu has been a companion to humans for nearly three thousand years. Despite its compact size, it was often used as a helper when hunting not only feathered game, but also large animals. In modern Japan, the vast majority of these animals live in small villages. The smiling dog (it is nicknamed humorously for its affability and smiling face), which has an attractive appearance, has been actively exported from Japan in recent years.
    5. Another indigenous Japanese hunting breed, bred on the island of Shikoku and tracing its history back to the Middle Ages. Endowed with unmatched jumping ability, agility and speed, these fierce-looking wolf-like dogs are perfectly suited for mountain hunting. Being very active animals with an innate hunting instinct, Shikoku (some sources call them Shikoku) require regular exercise and long walks. That’s why it’s best to keep them in a spacious country house, though living in a city apartment is also quite acceptable.
    6. The Tosa Inu is an extremely rare fighting breed, bred in the historical province of Tosa at the very end of the century before last. Due to its impressive size, the Japanese Mastiff needs special conditions. They can be realized if you have a country house with a spacious enclosure and fenced area.
    1. Kai are hunting dogs of the rarest original Japanese breed, bred in the province of the same name on Honshu Island. With their help, local hunters hunted pheasants, mountain antelope and even bears. A distinctive feature is the presence of a tiger color. The tiger dog can be used as a companion, an excellent guard dog and a search and rescue dog. The best owner for it will be a person who lives out of town and prefers an active lifestyle.
    2. Dogs of native Hokkaido breed from time immemorial have helped the indigenous inhabitants of the island of the same name to hunt wild animals, and during the spawning season – to catch salmon. Nowadays, they are used as companions, excellent guards and for hunting.
    3. The Japanese terrier, which is the result of a cross between a Manchester terrier, a levrette, a smooth-coated fox terrier and a small aboriginal dog, is one of the extraordinarily rare breeds. Even on the territory of their native Japan, their number varies from 1000 to 1500 dogs, and outside the country – no more than 200. was bred by specialists of the country of the rising sun back in the XIV century for the amusement of the emperor and the creation of a harmonious environment in his chambers.
    4. Japanese Spitzes are small dogs, bred by Japanese breeders in the third decade of XX century. This breed has upright triangular ears, pointed muzzle and luxurious long tail, which is laid back. The color of the coat is snow-white.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    We talked to you many times about different breeds of dogs, we discussed different terriers, guard dogs, fighting dogs, and today we offer you to talk about Japanese dog breeds, and as always, we decided to make a small hit-parade. And the first place in our hit parade, we decided to give the famous Japanese dog breed Akita Inu, or, as it is also called, Japanese Akita.

    Japanese dog breeds. TOP 10

    1st place

    Akita inu – this breed of dog became famous all over the world, thanks to a story that happened in the middle of the last century. Many people probably know it – this sad and touching story. In it, a dog named Hachiko was waiting for his dead owner from work at the railroad station. His master worked in a factory, and the dog accompanied him to work every morning and met him in the evening. One day the dog did not wait for his master, after waiting for him for several hours, he returned home, and the next day he came to the station again. This went on for nine years, until his death, the dog would come to the station and wait for his master, who was killed during the bombing of the plant by Allied aircraft.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    The dog died at his post, the townspeople buried him next to his master’s grave, so that the faithful friend would finally meet his beloved master in the other world. A monument to Hachiko was erected at the station, and the Japanese Akita became a real symbol of loyalty and devotion. These cheerful and cheerful dogs will become a true faithful friend and companion for you. The price of the Japanese Akita dog breed ranges from $500 to $1,000. These dogs are not cheap at all, but this does not diminish their popularity. Dogs of this breed are popular not only in Japan. Nurseries of these dogs can be easily found in many countries of the CIS.

    2nd place

    The Japanese Hin is a breed of dog, which is also characterized by its devotion to the owner. And yet this breed of dog is famous for the fact that they have very strict requirements for the appearance of the dog. The Japanese Hin can only be white-red or white-black, all other colors are considered a marriage of the breed. These small dogs with long hair are ideal for keeping in an apartment. They do not take up much space, and most importantly barely noisy, very rarely can you hear a Japanese hin barking.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    3rd place

    Japanese dog breed Shinsuke . Despite the not very euphonious name for the ear of the Russian person, this dog is quite nice and looks like a teddy bear. If you look at the photo of the Shinsuke, sometimes it is difficult to understand whether it is a real dog or a toy. This is what this dog breed is famous for.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    4th place

    Japanese dog breed Shiba Inu or simply Shiba, although that is how the name of the breed sounds in Russian. But in Japanese the breed of dog sounds like shiba-inu. These dogs are distinguished by their devotion to their owners. But despite their loyalty, they do not forget to show their owner their autonomy. They are fun, intelligent dogs that can live both indoors and outdoors. These dogs can be used as a watchdog. These dogs do not get along with other dogs. Therefore, if you decide to get yourself a dog of this breed, think carefully about whether you will have another pet in the future. The life expectancy of this dog is 12-15 years.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    5th place

    The Japanese Spitz dog breed . Actually, practically no different from the Pomeranian Spitz. This is an ornamental dog, which can be classified as a small Japanese dog breed . Very intelligent, loyal, fun dogs, easy to learn commands and different tricks, easy to get along with other dogs and all family members. Not trying to take the lead in the family. This dog will be a true friend and companion for you and your family.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    6th place

    Japanese dog breed kishu-inu is quite a large dog, it was bred for hunting small and medium-sized animals. The dog can reach a height of 57 centimeters at the withers, and its weight can be about 30 kilograms. Usually these dogs are white in color, but other colors can be found. This dog can be used not only as a hunter, but also for home protection.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    7th place

    Shikoku-inu is also a large dog. Height at the withers can reach about 60 centimeters and weigh up to 30 kilograms. Can be used for hunting and guarding. Very intelligent and easy to train dogs.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    8th place

    Kai-inu – this dog is also called a tiger dog, it really looks like a tiger because of its color. It is a medium-sized dog, very active and playful. For people who lead a sedentary life, it is not recommended to get this dog. This dog will always support you in your travels. They are very fond of walking and swimming, so if you have an open body of water near your home, do not deny your pet a little pleasure to swim in the pond or river.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    No. 9

    Hokkaido Ken – This dog breed was used to breed all other Japanese dog breeds . Almost all Japanese breeds have a bit of the Hokkaido Ken. It is a medium sized, agile dog. Distinguished by a huge variety of colors, both monochrome and colorful.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    10th place

    The Japanese Terrier, as you guessed from the name, is a hunting dog that is very agile and loves to walk. It is great for people who lead an active life and do not like to be bored. If, on the contrary, you lead a sedentary lifestyle, the dog will retrain you, in a couple of years you will become an athlete. Remember that these dogs can’t live outside, they’re pets who love comfort and coziness.

    Japanese dog breeds. Top 10 with pictures

    So, here we are with you and looked at the 10 most popular dog breeds in Japan . Many may not agree with us, but that’s up to you. In order to imagine what all these dog breeds look like, you should look for pictures of Japanese dog breeds . The interesting thing is that if you look at these photos, you’ll notice that most dog breeds have similarities in appearance. Usually, they are small standing ears, close-set eyes, and a bent-back tail. Many Japanese dog breeds in general look like plush toys and that’s probably their main attraction.

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