10 best Japanese dog breeds: Shiba Inu, Kai Ken, and More

Many people worldwide love to own a dog, but selecting the right breed is painful work for many as there are thousands of dog breeds available. 

This small country has many popular dog breeds such as Shiba Inu, Terrier, Hokkaido, Kai ken, and many more when it comes to Japan. 

Here in this article, I share the 10 best Japanese dog breeds highly popular among dog lovers. 

10 Best Japanese dog breeds list – 

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

Here are the 10 best Japanese dog breeds – 

1. Shiba Inu –

Shiba Inu - best Japanese dog breeds
Shiba Inu, Picture Credit – akc.org

Shiba Inu is one of the most popular and ancient Japanese dog breeds. Many people know it as the Dogecoin dog. 

They are small, intelligent, and stubborn. These dogs are excellent at hunting birds, deers, and other small animals regardless of their size. 

With the curled tail, pointy ears, and orange, white coat, these beautiful dogs look so much similar to foxes. 

The cost of a Shiba Inu Puppy can vary from $1000 to $4000 depending upon their quality and the breeder. 

Breed Overview:

  • Male Height: 14 to 17 Inches
  • Female Height: 14 to 16 Inches
  • Male Weight: 23 Pounds
  • Female Weight: 17 Pounds
  • Coat: Long coat, Heavy Shedders
  • Color: Orange and Cream white
  • Personality: Independent and Territorial 
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 16 Years

2. Japanese Akita Inu:

Akita Inu - Ancient Japanese Dog breeds
Akita Inu, Picture Credit – Wikipedia.org

Akita Inu itself holds their popularity in Japan due to their loyalty towards their masters. It is one of the ancient dog breeds of Japan that almost went extinct during WWll. 

Many of you must know about Hachiko the Akita Inu and his statue in Shibuya. Hachiko is a famous dog in Japan that keeps waiting for its owner in Shibuya Station even after his master passed away. 

These beautiful, intelligent, and brave dogs can weigh up to 120 lbs.

Akita Inu is a bit moody and suspicious towards strangers. With proper training and care, you can keep them as a family dog. 

Owning an Akita Inu Puppy from a trustable breeder can cost from $700 to $2000.

Breed Overview:

  • Male Height: 26 to 28 Inches
  • Female Height: 24 to 26 Inches
  • Male Weight: 100 to 130 Pounds
  • Female Weight: 70 to 100 Pounds
  • Coat: Dense double coat
  • Color: Multiple colours
  • Personality: Strong, Brave, Dominant, and friendly
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 Years

3. Japanese Chin:

Japanese Chin - Small Japanese dog breeds
Japanese Chin, Picture Credit – akc.org

If you are looking for perfect small Japanese dog breeds, Japanese Chins are one of them. These little and beautiful dogs are so friendly, playful, and well-mannered. 

Japanese chins are available in two color coats black white, and red, white. 

These little buddies can weigh around 10 pounds and love to play inside the house. 

If you are planning to get a Japanese Chin puppy from an authentic breeder, expect to pay somewhere around $1500 to $2500 for it. 

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 8 to 11 inches
  • Weight: 7 to 11 pounds
  • Coat: Long, Sleek, and smooth
  • Color: White and black or red and white
  • Personality: Playful, friendly, and joyful
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

4. Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz - best Japanese Dog breeds
Japanese Spitz, Picture Credit – akc.org

Any dog lovers who want a dog for cuddling, sharing love, and protecting their house from strangers should look for Japanese Spitz. 

Japanese Spitz was brought to Japan somewhere around 1920 to 1930. It is the result of crossbreeding between China and the Canadian spitz. 

However, no one knows the proper details about crossbreeding.

Japanese spitzes are playful, energetic, loyal, and best companions. They know how to behave around kids and older people. Also, they can alert strangers by barking loudly. 

The cost of these little family dogs can vary from $1000 to $2500.

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 12 to 15 inches
  • Weight: 10 to 25 Pounds
  • Coat: Straight and Standoff outer coat
  • Color: Pure white 
  • Personality: Playful and energetic
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 Years

5. Kishu:

Kishu - Best Japanese Dog Breeds
Kishu, Picture Credit – dogbreedslist.info

Kishu looks like a mixture of Shiba Inu, Akita, and Spitz for their muscular body and triangle face. It is one of the rarest and oldest dog breeds in Japan. 

Kishu Ken is excellent at hunting deers and other small animals, so you need to keep your eye on him while leaving him with other pets. 

They are loyal, intelligent, competitive, and joyful. Kishu Ken shows their love towards children by playing with them. 

They are well recognized for their solid color and coats. Most of the Kishu Ken is white.

A Kishu Puppy can cost you from $300 to $500 for a purebred. 

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 17 to 22 inches
  • Weight: 30 to 60 pounds
  • Coat: Short and Straight
  • Color: White, Sesame, Red, Black, and Tan
  • Personality: Brave, Intelligent, Playful, Hunter
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 years

6. Tosa Inu:

Tosa Inu - Best Japanese Dog Breeds
Tosa Inu, Picture credit – akc.org

Tosa Inu is one of the strongest and largest dogs among other Japanese dog Breeds. Unlike Spitz, they are more similar to Japanese mastiffs. 

With short hair and a muscular body, they are excellent at guarding your home against strangers and other dogs. They are aggressive but can be controlled by training. 

Tosa Inu is loyal, sensitive and protective towards their masters. If you are looking for a dog that can protect you and your family Tosa Inu is the best option. 

Buying a Tosa Inu Puppy from an authentic breeder can cost you from $500 to $800.

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 21.5 to 23.5 inches
  • Weight: 100 to 200 pounds
  • Coat: Short and dense
  • Color: Fawn, Red, Apricot, Black, Brindle.
  • Personality: Loyal, Sensitive, Protective, and Brave
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

7. Shikoku:

Shikoku - Best Japanese Dog Breeds
Shikoku, Picture Credit – akc.org

Shikoku, which is also well known as Shikoku Inu and Kochi Ken, is a popular and rare dog breed in Japan. 

It almost looks like wolves with its thick coat and 3 body colors of black sesame, red sesame, and white. Like wolves, Shikoku loves to be in the wild and outside.

These dogs are excellent at hunting and can easily adapt to any climate, no matter if it’s outdoors cold, or indoor climate.  

They love to cuddle, play, and spend time with their master. Unlike their spitz cousins, they are not so aggressive and can easily train. 

Shikoku is rare to find, even in Japan. Buying a Shikoku Puppy can cost you more than $2000.

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 17 to 22 inches
  • Weight: 35 to 55 pounds
  • Coat: Harsh, Straight, soft, and Dense
  • Color: Red, Black, and Tan, Sesame
  • Personality: Best companion, Love wondering outside
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

8. Hokkaido Inu:

Hokkaido Inu - Best Japanese Dog Breeds
Hokkaido Inu, Picture Credit – akc.org

Hokkaido Inu can survive extremely cold weather with thick skins, larger paws, strong bones, and smaller ears. 

She is one of the ancient dog breeds from Japan that used to hunt boars and little bears. However, Hokkaido Inu is loyal to her master, and you can keep her as your family dog. 

They are very intelligent and know how to play around kids; they love the family members by hugging, kissing, and cuddling with them. 

These beautiful dog puppies can cost you from $350 to $450.

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 18 to 20 inches
  • Weight: 44 to 66 pounds
  • Coat: Thick double coat
  • Color: White, Red, Black, Sesame
  • Personality: Loyal, Strong, Intelligent
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

9. Kai Ken:

Kai Ken – Best Japanese Dog Breeds

Kai ken is also well known as Tiger Dog in Japan due to its black and orange coat colors. As they belong to the mountains of Japan, they are excellent predators in the wild. 

These Japanese dogs are trustworthy and devoted towards their master. It would be best to keep telling them who was in charge when they are around kids and other dogs. 

With proper dog training, you can keep them as your family dog. 

Buying a Kai ken puppy can cost you from $300 to $600. 

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 15.5 to 19.5 inches
  • Weight: 20 to 40 pounds
  • Coat: Camouflage
  • Color: Brindle, Black-brindle, and Red-Brindle
  • Personality: Loyal, Strong, Intelligent
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

10. Japanese Terrier:

Japanese Terrier - Best Japanese Dog Breeds
Japanese Terrier, Picture credit – thesmartcanine.com

The Japanese Terrier is one of the small Japanese dog breeds. These cute small dogs are also well known as Nihon, Nippon, Mikado. 

Japanese terriers are developed from smooth-haired fox terriers. These little buddies are perfect family dogs one can have in their house. 

They are cheerful, joyful, and love to play with you. One can easily train terriers as they are intelligent too. 

Buying a Japanese Terrier Puppy can cost you somewhere $500.

Breed Overview:

  • Height: 11 to 13 inches
  • Weight: 5 to 10 pounds
  • Coat: Smooth Glossy coat
  • Color: Black-tan, tan
  • Personality: Playful and sensitive
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

These are the 10 most popular Japanese dog breeds around the world.

Last Words on best Japanese dog breeds –

Due to the climate and atmosphere of Japan, you can find many types of dog breeds in this country, from hunters, guards, and family dogs. These dogs are treated as the treasure of Japan, so getting one of them is equally hard. 

But you can get one for your home if you are ready to pay a decent amount to breeders. I hope this article helps you to get the perfect Japanese dog for your house. 

Don’t forget to tell us which Japanese breed is your favorite. 

Also read –

Frequently Asked Questions about Japanese Dog Breeds –

Which is the smallest Japanese dog breed?

Japanese Chin is one of the smallest dog breeds from Japan.

What is the most popular dog breed in Japan?

As per many surveys, Shiba Inu is one of the most popular dog breeds in Japan.

What kind of dogs are native to Japan?

There are 6 dog breeds such as Shiba Inu, Akita, Kai Ken, Kishu Ken, Shikoku Ken, and Hokkaido are native to Japan

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