shikoku inu dog

Shikoku Inu: Japanese National Dog

Meet the Japanese dog breed Shikoku Inu

The Shikoku Inu or Kochi Ken is part of a group of spitz-type dogs, such as the German spitz or Shiba Inu, which together with the Finnish spitz are some of the oldest dog breeds in the world.

In the case of the Shikoku Inu, since it is not such a widespread or popular breed since it is only found in certain regions of Japan, there is a lot of ignorance about it. For this reason, if you want to expand your knowledge about this breed of dog, in Animal Expert we explain all the characteristics of the Shikoku Inu, its care, and possible health problems. We can anticipate that we are dealing with a strong, resistant dog with a long history. Do you want to know more? Keep reading!

Shikoku Inu breed

Origin of Shikoku Inu

Its name can serve as an indication to know that the Shikoku Inu is the most famous Japanese dog breed. Specifically, the birthplace of the shikoku breed is located in the mountainous region of Kochi, which is why its name was originally Kochi ken (or what is the same, Kochi dog). This breed is very relevant in this region, so much so, that it was even declared a national monument in 1937. Its official standard was written by the International Cynological Federation in 2016, although the breed had already been recognized since 1982.

In the beginning, there were three varieties of this breed: Hata, Aawa and Hongawa. The Awa did not have a very good destiny, as they disappeared completely during the Second World War. The other two varieties continue to exist, although while the Hata are more robust and solid, the Hongawa remains more faithful to the standard, being more elegant and light. The Hongawa shikoku were able to maintain a purer line mainly because the region of the same name is quite remote and isolated from other populations.

Shikoku Inu character

A Shikoku Inu is usually a dog of strong character, but very benevolent. It is a breed that has been trained for centuries for hunting and surveillance, so it is not surprising that it has an incredible capacity for attention and continuous alertness. It is also a very cunning and active dog. Yes, the Shikoku Inu is very very active, it oozes energy from all four sides, so it is completely contraindicated for elderly or sedentary people, as well as for very small size floors. He needs activity practically at all hours, he is tireless and needs daily exercise.

shikoku inu
Shikoku Inu dog

Shikoku Inu Behivor

As for his way of behaving with others, he is very suspicious of strangers, so he tends to be cold and distant, it would almost be said that with fear, being able to respond aggressively to any “attack”, that is, something who considers an attack. The coexistence is difficult with other animals, whether they are of other species since it usually sees them as prey as if they are other dogs since it is the Shikoku Inu is of a dominant character and can get to fight with them, especially if it is male.

However, with his family he is loyal and dedicated, although he is an independent dog, he does not stop loving his loved ones madly and always watches over their safety. It perfectly balances accompanying family members throughout the day in their activities, but without being intrusive. This may make you think that it is a dog that stays distant and cold, but the truth is that it loves its family, whom it protects at all costs.

Shikoku Inu Characteristics

Shikoku Inu Size

The Shikoku Inu is a medium-sized dog, with a standard weight of between 15 and 20 kilograms. Its height at the withers is 49-55 centimetres in males and 46 to 52 in females, being ideal 52 and 49 respectively, but accepting a variation of about 3 centimetres above or below. The life expectancy of the Shikoku Inu is established between 10 and 12 years.

shikoku inu breed
Shikoku Inu dog

Physical characteristics

Now delving into the characteristics of the Shikoku Inu regarding its physical shape, its body has a proportionate appearance, with very elegant lines, a wide and deep chest, which contrasts with a more well-collected belly. Its tail, of high implantation, is very thick and usually appears in the form of a sickle or a thread. The extremities are strong and have a developed musculature, as well as a slight inclination with respect to the body.

The head is large compared to the body, with a broad forehead and a long wedge-shaped snout. The ears are small and triangular and always erect, leaning only slightly forward. The eyes of the Shikoku Inu are almost triangular in shape since they have an inclination angle from the outside upwards, they are medium in size and always dark brown in color.

The coat of the Shikoku Inu dog is dense and has a two-layer structure, with a fleecy, dense but very soft undercoat and a slightly less dense outer coat and longer, harder coat. This provides great thermal insulation, especially in low temperatures.

Shikoku Inu colors

The most common color in Shikoku Inu specimens is sesame, which consists of a combination of red, white, and black hairs. Depending on which colors are combined, there are three varieties or types of Japanese breed :

  • Sesame: black and white in equal parts.
  • Red sesamered base mixed with black and white hairs.
  • Black sesameblack predominates over white.


  • Outer layer: Rough and straight.
  • Inner layer: soft and dense.
  • Tail hair: Relatively long.

Tail: High set, it is thick and worn on the back tightly coiled or curved like a sickle. The tip almost reaches the hock when the tail is down.

Shikoku Inu Price

The price of a Shikoku Inu varies depending on its origins, age and sex. It is difficult to obtain information on the price of a copy in Spain, since outside its country of origin, Japan, it is difficult to obtain one of them. for the adult, Shikoku Inu Price can more than 800 $

As for the average budget to meet the needs of a dog of this size, it has to be calculated around € 40 / month.

for Shikoku Inu puppy price the Average is : between $300 – $400 USD

shikoku inu dog
Shikoku Inu Price

The Shikoku Inu puppy

A curiosity about Shikoku Inu puppies is that, given their characteristics shared with other spitz dogs of Japanese origin, they are often confused with these other breeds. In fact, it is quite common to confuse shikoku and Inu Shibas. This is especially common in pre-adult stages when it is often easier to tell which is breed is the dog. A key piece of information to differentiate Japanese dogs from other races is their fur, which is usually mainly sesame in colour.

Shikoku puppy is very stubborn and just wants to play and play until he is exhausted. This makes him relentless in his search for a game or toys, trying to get attention through any tool he can think of. In addition, as with any type of dog, it is advisable not to separate it from its mother until it is fully developed and he has been able to provide the first doses of socialization and basic teachings. Although this process should continue after separation from the mother since it is essential to offer adequate education and socialization.

shikoku inu puppy price
Shikoku Inu puppy

Shikoku inu Care

The dense, bilayer coat of the Shikoku Inu dog needs at least 2-3 brushings per week, only this way you can ensure that the accumulation of dead hair, dust, and any type of dirt is being properly removed. In addition, it is a way to verify that there are no parasites, such as fleas or ticks, attached to the animal’s scalp.

Shikoku Inu Exercise

But undoubtedly, the greatest attention when it comes to knowing how to care for a Shikoku Inu falls on the need for exercise. These Japanese Dog Breeds need to exercise every day, being advised that the activity be moderate to intense, to stay balanced and healthy. Some ideas apart from active walks are the performance of sports specially designed for dogs, such as Agility circuits, or simply to accompany us in activities such as running or hiking.

Shikoku Inu Diet

The Shikoku inu dog is carnivorous in nature. the diet should be formulated with a greater amount of animal fat and protein, complementing it with vegetable ingredients. Vegetables should be high in fibre and are best eaten well chopped and cooked. It’s okay to give her some mammalian (not bird) bones every now and then, to strengthen her teeth. This will ensure that the dog has a normal development and maintains a healthy body.

Shikoku Inu Training

Given the characteristics that we have already mentioned about the character of the Shikoku Inu, very marked and strong, we can think that training it will be almost impossible. But nothing is further from reality, because if it is done properly it responds to training in a surprising way and can learn quickly and effectively.

This fast learning is strongly favoured by his great intelligence and perseverance. Always keep in mind a fundamental premise: never punish or treat a dog aggressively, neither the shikoku nor any other. This is essential both when educating and training him, since if a shikoku Inu dog is punished or assaulted, the only thing that is achieved is that he appears distant and suspicious, losing confidence and breaking the bond. The animal will stop trusting its trainer and this means that it will learn absolutely nothing of what it is trying to teach. For this reason, it is vital to base training on animal-friendly techniques., because in addition to being more effective they do not generate discomfort in the dog or in the handler. Some examples of these techniques are positive reinforcement or the use of the clicker, which is very useful in reinforcing good behaviour.

shikoku inu dog
Shikoku Inu dog

In addition to taking into account the techniques that must be used when educating and training, it is necessary to decide among the whole family the rules of the home to be consistent and not confuse the dog. Likewise, it is important to be constant, patient, and orderly, since it is better to go little by little and avoid wanting to teach all the rules at once. Likewise, once the training has started, it is recommended to opt for short but repetitive sessions throughout the day.

Shikoku Inu health

The Shikoku Inu is a dog that is in good health. If it usually presents a fairly common problem, this is due to the density of its coat, incompatible with hot climates. If temperatures are high, Japanese Akita often suffer from thermal shocks, better known as heat shocks. In this article, we tell about the symptoms of heatstroke and how to respond to them: ” Heatstroke in dogs “.

dog breath per minute
Dog Breathe Per Minute

Shikoku Inu diseases

Allergic dermatitis is a common disease in Japanese dogs. The Shikoku Inu can also have this disease. To control this disease you always have to take care of where the dog goes, check it well after a walk. Also, take care of the diet and thus minimize the probability of illness.

In addition, the Akita Inu puppy can suffer from nerve pain at a young age. Although most Shikoku Inu will recover naturally if you see any abnormalities, take them to the vet or pet hospital as soon as possible.

Where to adopt a shikoku Inu puppy?

u may wonder how to adopt a shikoku Inu? or from where I can have shikoku Inu?

shikoku inu
Shikoku Inu USA

If we are outside of Japan we have to assume that the adoption of a shikoku Inu is very complicated. This is because the breed has not expanded much beyond its native Japanese borders. Therefore, finding a dog of the Shikoku Inu breed is practically impossible outside of Japan. Only exported specimens are seen in Europe or America, frequently for the purpose of participating in dog shows and events.

But if by chance you find a copy of shikoku Inu and you want to adopt it, we recommend you take into account its characteristics and needs. For example, keep in mind that he needs a lot of activity and that he is not a sticky dog ​​nor does he seek constant attention. Taking this into account will allow us, in the case of Shikoku dog or any other breed, to make a responsible adoption. For this, we recommend going to animal protectors, associations, and shelters.

Comparison to other Japanese breeds

The Shikoku dog is one of the six native Japanese breeds, it is intermediate in size between the large Akita Inu and the small Shiba Inu; all are within the Spitz family of dogs. The Shikoku Dog was bred mainly for hunting deer and boar in the mountainous districts of Kochi Prefecture. It is sometimes called “Kōchi-ken” and, along with the Kishu dog, referred to as a boarhound.

shikoku inu price
Shikoku Inu

A study of the 1930s carried out by the Japanese cynologist[4] Haruo Isogai classified all native Japanese dog breeds into three categories: large-, medium-, and small-sized. The Shikoku belongs to the Shika-inus, the medium-sized dogs. Other medium-sized dogs are the Kai Ken, the Ainu Ken and the Kishu Inu. They are all very similar with overlapping colors and only minor differences in size and morphology.

It also served as the partial ancestor to the Tosa after it was crossed with European breeds such as the Great Dane, Old English Bulldog, English Mastiff, St. Bernard (dog) and others.


  • American Kennel Club. (2010). Shikoku . Recovered from:
  • International Cynological Federation (2018). Shikoku . Recovered from:
  • The Kennel Club. (2015). Shikoku: Breed Standard . Recovered from:
  • United Kennel Club (2006). Shikoku . Recovered from: https: //
  • International Cynological Federation (2018). Shikoku . Recovered from:

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