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Top 10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds

Popular Japanese Dog Breeds

Japan is a unique country of contrasts: it is well known around the world for the delicious sushi, top technology, and innovation, ancient traditions, and anime. Japan is also the country of several dogs breeds some more popular than others, but each one with particularly fascinating histories.

According to the Japanese Dog Preservation Society, six indigenous breeds are "Nihon Ken" or Japan's national dogs: Shibu Inu, Akita, Shikoku, Kai ken, Kishu Ken, and the Hokkaido.

Let's have a look at 10 popular Japanese dog Breeds.

  • 1. Shiba Inu
  • 2. Akita
  • 3. Japanese Chin
  • 4. Shikoku
  • 5. Hokkaido
  • 6. Kishu Ken
  • 7. Tosa Inu
  • 8. Japanese Spitz
  • 9. Kai Ken
  • 10. Japanese Terrier

10 Japanese Terrier

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #10 Japanese Terrier

The Japanese Terrier (also known as the Nippon, Nihon, Mikado or Oyuki Terrier) is a small companion terrier native to Japan. The United Kennel Club formally recognized the Japanese Terrier in 2006, though it is mostly unknown outside of its native country.

The Japanese Terrier has a lively temperament, but is a very loving companion. Today the Japanese Terrier is kept mainly as a lapdog.

9 Kai Ken

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #9 Kai Ken

The Kai Ken (also called the Tora Inu or Tiger Dog) is a breed of dog from Japan where it is a national monument. It is one of the six native Japanese dog breeds protected by the Nihon Ken Hozonkai.

Even in Japan, this dog breed is considered a rarity. Present in many anime and manga, this dog breed is considered to be one of the "purest" of all Japanese dogs. Originally found in the mountains of the Kai province, these dogs are highly intelligent and make excellent hunters. As a pet, they have gained popularity for being great companions.

8 Japanese Spitz

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #8 Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a rather recent breed "born" in the 1920s. Their easy-going temperament and the rather not-so-demanding care they require have made this breed popular. Because of their devotion, they can be trained to be excellent watchdogs but they also make a great companion for small kids and elders.

7 Tosa Inu

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #7 Tosa Inu

The Tosa Inu is indigenous to the area previously called Tosa Japan and now referred to as Kochi. It was originally bred and used as fighting dogs. The big size and muscularity make Tosas excellent guard dogs and gained them the common name as Japanese Mastiff. They tend to be aggressive and they require extra care in training to avoid having problems socializing with other dogs or humans.

6 Kishu Ken

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #6 Kishu Ken

This rare breed is considered as one of the national treasures of Japan. As with most of the Japanese dog breeds, the Kishu originated as a hunting dog, especially for deer and boar hunting in the mountains of the Wakayama region. As for temperament, they are rather quiet dogs and extremely loyal to their families.

5Hokkaido Inu

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #5 Hokkaido Inu

Hokkaido Inu is native to the northern Japanese island by the same name. It is recognized as one of the earliest dog breeds. Also known as Ainu-ken, Seta or Ainu dog, this dog is characterized by long and thick fur which originally used to serve as an effective coat against the harsh winters of the island. They are generally brave and confident dogs, highly intelligent which can become extremely loyal to their families.

4Shikoku Inu

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #4 Shikoku Inu

The Shikoku originated in the Island of Shikoku in Southern Japan, hence the name. These dogs had long been used by hunters to track games, thanks to their enhanced sense of smell. They are characterized by great endurance and speed. In terms of temperament, they are cautious animals that tend to be very loyal to their owners.

3Japanese Chin

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #3 Japanese Chin

AKC Breed Popularity (2020): Ranks 111 of 195

This small dog also referred to as the Japanese Spaniel is considered to be one of the noblest breeds of Japan. Popular among Japanese aristocrats, these dogs are also highly popular in China and they are rather intelligent and pretty independent dogs.

2Akita Inu

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #2 Akita Inu

AKC Breed Popularity (2020): Ranks 48 of 195

Have you ever seen the famous movie starring George Clooney, Hachiko? It made many people fall in love with this amazing Japanese breed, making it popular in the Western world. Originated in the northern part of the country, Akita has become to be the symbol of Japan. Its loyalty and affection make it a great friend for life.

1Shiba Inu

10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds - #1 Shiba Inu

AKC Breed Popularity (2020): Ranks 43 of 195

The Shiba Inu (or Kabosu in Japanese) is arguably the most popular Japanese dog. It has an ancient history dating back to 300 B.C. Traditionally used for hunting, ancient Japanese people soon learned about its qualities as an excellent companion. Even though it almost got extinct during the Second World War, the Shiba was brought in the United States in the mid-1950s and gained a lot of popularity since then.

The Bottom Line

Here was a list of the 10 most popular Japanese breeds, each one unique in its way and with different histories which you hopefully found useful and interesting!

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