Japanese Dog Breeds

Japanese Dog Breeds

17 July 2023

Japan is home to a number of pawsome breeds of dogs. So here's our list of the 7 cutest dog breeds that originate from Japan!

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is one of the most popular Japanese breeds around. These fluffy tan-coloured dogs are small to medium sized and as puppies they look quite like downy foxes. They are fox-like in other ways too, being quite independent and liking to hunt things out. These dogs are fairly intelligent, so they can be easily trained. Watch out for their high-pitched barks, though! This distinctive bark, called the Shiba bark, is pretty distinctive and not to everyone's taste. But when well socialised, they can be very calm, friendly and wagtastic family members.

Doggy member Deng, the Japanese Shiba Inu, giving his paw and looking very happy!

Did you know that the famous the famous ‘doge’ meme and subsequent Doge coin features a Shiba Inu?

Hokkaido Dog

If you love spirited dogs, look no further than the Hokkaido Dog. The Hokkaido dog (or the Ainu ken) originates in the cold Hokkaido region of Japan. So this dog, typically black or white, comes with a thick coat and a fierce fighting spirit. If you like adventures, the Hokkaido dog may be your best companion, because it has a keen sense of smell and direction. It is also a good hunter and can track down prey. They are often good with children, if socialised well from a young age. Hokkaidos have an excitable, loving temperament and need plenty of exercise!

Doggy member Kaito, the Hokkaido sitting happy in the meadow

Did you know that Hokkaido Dogs are thought to be the oldest Japanese dog breed?

Japanese Spitz

If you love small dogs with gorgeous fur, you need to see the Japanese Spitz. These dogs, which look a bit like a white Pomeranian, can make great companions and if well socialised can enjoy family life. The first dog of many owners in Tokyo is this cute, furry breed. They often do well with apartment or city-living, and can be cared for quite easily. Although often not considered a true native Japanese breed, these cuties were developed in Japan in the 1920s.

Doggy members Casper and Suki, the Japanese Spitz enjoying their walkies at the local green

Did you know that Japanese Spitz are often affectionally known as cloud dogs?

Kai Ken

Kai Ken is quite revered in Japan, with several monuments and statues depicting it. This is because this loyal hunter dog has regal tiger-like stripes all over its body. Despite its small size, this dog can hunt down large prey and has been used for centuries as a hunting companion. This dog is extremely loyal and protective of its owner, going to vast lengths for them. The Kai Ken is one of the rarest dogs in the world, to the point that you would be hard-pressed to even find it in Japan. If you see one, consider yourself very lucky!

Did you know that Kai Kens are keen swimmers and climbers, and can even climb trees?

Japanese Chin

A popular Japanese breed is the Japanese Chin, who were bred as a companion to the royal household in Japan. Their soft, down plume fur, gives them a toy-like appearance, which makes them supaw popular with kids. As a companion dog, this dog can be easily cared for in apartments as long as they get some nice outdoors exercise and exploration! They are playful and intelligent and can pick up tricks and cues quite easily. Their short face does make them prone to issues with breathing and heat.

Doggy member Maybe, the Japanese Chin enjoying their walk

Did you know that some sources say that Japanese Chin were bred to be small enough to fit in the sleeve of women's kimonos?

Akita Inu

As puppies, Akita Inus look very much like teddy bears with their thick floofy coats. They then grow to be gorgeous, big powerful dogs with typically a dark-face and lighter fur throughout. They are known for ‘talking’: they make different sounds, similar to muttering, although they rarely bark. If well socialised the Akita can be a very friendly big dog. However, its big size can make it more suitable for families with adolescent children.

Doggy member Tya, the Japanese Akita Inu sitting next to the lake

Have you ever heard of Hachiko? He is probably the best known dog in Japan, find out more here.

Japanese Terrier

The Japanese Terrier is extremely energetic and charged, always looking to play and have fun with his beloved human. They are fairly small dog, to the point that the Japanese Terrier are often carried around (which most of them love). The breed is quite rare, but has more recently had a small revival and can be found in most major Japanese cities.

Did you know that although Japanese Terriers love a good play, they are also notorious for being lapdogs who love a good snuggle with their favourite person?

A lot of the dog breeds originating from Japan make loyal, faithful and loving companions, so it is no wonder that Japan loves its dogs and now that you have seen this list, we are sure you agree!

Breed Guides

Crossbreed Dog Breeds

Irish Dog Breeds

Japanese Dog Breeds

Rare Dog Breeds

Royal Dog Breeds

Scottish Dog Breeds

Welsh Dog Breeds

International Dog Breeds

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