Country of Origin: Japan
Weight: 16-25kg (35-55 lbs.)
Height: 43-53cm (17-21 in.)
Grooming Requirements: Moderate
Exercise Requirements: High
Popularity in Australia: Rare breed
Dog Type: Spitz, gundog (Classified in Canada in the Hound group)
Most suited As: Hunting large prey or companion for active owner
Also known As: Kochi-ken, Japanese Wolfdog, and Mikawa Inu
Expected Life Span: 10-12 years
The Shikoku dog is an ancient breed exclusive to the Japanese island of Shikoku. There are a few breeders in other locations that went to the expense of importing these beautiful dogs for breeding. The breed is very old, and has been domesticated in Japan from the islands wolf-like wild dogs. They have both wolf and Husky physical attributes.
There are three Shikoku types, each named for the area of the island where they were bred. The most remarkable difference is in the size of the breed. They have long been used to bring down large game animals like boar and deer.
Japan named this canine one of its “Natural Monuments” in the mid-1930s.
Their hunting instinct is strong, but they are very intelligent and obedient to their pack leader (owner), if properly trained. They are also very territorial. They must be socialized well and early to be able to interact appropriately with family members and other pets.
This dog is very loyal and fearless, but their level of intelligence also gives them much better than average judgment for a dog. You will need appropriate fencing since the instinct to hunt may override their obedience training if you try to call them back after they have caught a scent of game.
The Shikoku considers its family its “pack” and will protect it to the death if necessary. Their territoriality will always give you warning of danger or intruders.
These dogs are agile and strong, so their fence should be strong and tall. They need extensive exercise as close to daily as possible or they can develop heart and lung problems. An enclosure that is small and confining, or when there is no opportunity for sufficient exercise, behavior problems may develop. This dog needs daily interaction with the “master”, and the owner must have time for regular outings.
Size/weight and Colour
The Shikoku is usually a brindle of black, reddish brown, and white, though there is a solid red occasionally. Markings are quite similar to the Husky or a timber wolf, but there are cream or white solids that are especially rare and beautiful. They are considered the medium type, and weigh in at 16-25kg (35-55 pounds), with the female being on the smaller side. The height is 43-53cm (17-21 inches) at the withers (shoulder). Their build is sturdy and strong with a nice feathered tail curling around the hip.
These dogs shed profusely twice a year, spring and autumn. Their undercoat will come out in clumps and they will need regular grooming and brushing at this time. The rest of the year shedding and grooming requirements are minimal, unless you are showing of course.
The health of the Shikoku is dependent on the owner’s attention to diet and exercise. If the dog is forced into a sedentary lifestyle he will develop circulatory problems such as a weak heart. If he is not given a proper diet, which for this breed means fresh meat, he will develop intestinal and urinary tract problems. The 12 year life expectancy can be considerably shortened by an owner who is not aware of this breeds special needs. To keep his heart and lungs strong he needs to run, to keep his digestive and immune systems healthy he must be fed as natural a diet as possible.
These dogs are fast to learn new things and could make excellent competition dogs if properly socialized. Though not registered with the AKC, they can be shown in through the Canadian Kennel Club and The Japanese Kennel Club. They are being investigated for registry with the UKC.
It is imperative that they be exercised regularly, either with hunting, a training program, or just a hard regular run. There have been no genetic anomalies detected in these animals. Health problems stem from improper exercise and/or feeding programs.
There are many people that have trained and use them for herding and guarding livestock. The intelligence level of these dogs makes them adaptable to train for many working activities. They have also been used as rescue and police dogs. Their agility makes them particularly useful in mountain rescues.
The female Shikoku usually produces 3-4 puppies per litter, so in addition to their rarity, they are not very prolific.
Shikoku Dog Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Shikoku Dog Organisations in the UK
The Canadian Shikoku Association
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