How many dogs do you know that originated from Japan? We're sure even if you're not a huge fan of Japan you'll probably know Akita and Shiba, right? But have you ever heard of the Hokkaido Dog, Tosa dog, or Japanese Spaniel? In this article, we're going to talk about 5 different breeds of dogs that originated in Japan that we think you should know!
If you've ever been to the popular meet-up spot in Shibuya that has the statue of the faithful dog Hachikō, that is an Akita dog! The story of Hachikō was transformed into a Hollywood movie through "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" giving the story traction worldwide. Figure skater Alina Zagitova also brought attention to Akita dogs in her 2018 performance where she was presented with an Akita dog as a gift. They are a popular breed in both America and Taiwan.
During the 1630s, they were raised as hunting dogs in Japan's Tohoku Region. They were originally medium-sized dogs, but to help raise the spirits of the soldiers during that time, they were used in dogfighting, which eventually saw them reform into more large-scale dogs.
They have a strong frame and are some of the biggest dogs from Japan. Their wave of walking, appearance, and actions all give off a sense of strength.
As the aforementioned Hachi: A Dog's Tale's story suggests, they are very loyal to their master. Akita dogs are also very calm and collected, as well as very good at remembering what they are taught, making them a good dog to raise. It's important to brush them and give them opportunities for exercise every day, even if only for a short time.
They have 4 types being red, tiger, white, and sesame colored.
This is a breed of dog that's been taking the world by storm recently. Even on English SNS channels, you'll regularly see "Shiba Inu" being used.
In the aforementioned "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" film, the dog was an Akita dog, however, in the scenes where he was being depicted as a puppy, it was actually a Shiba that was used. It is said that seeing this loveable pup left a great impression on overseas viewers, making the dog a very popular choice.
Furthermore, a Shiba dog won first place in a British dog show in 2012, which further expanded on how people perceived Shiba dogs.
Recognized as a natural treasure of Japan in 1936. A small-scale dog that was originally discovered in the mountain area around Honshu and Shikoku.
They have a solid frame, but their movements are very light and loveable. They originally lived in a very mountainous region, meaning they are very patient and fearless. They are very wary of their surroundings, so they are often used as watchdogs. Similar to Akita dogs, it's important to brush and give them opportunities for exercise every day, even if they're short.
They have 5 types being red, blackish brown, sesame, red sesame, and black sesame.
There is an advertisement for a Japanese telecommunications company that has the father of a family played by this breed of dog.
This breed of dog was used by the aborigines of the Hokkaido area as a hunting dog. Due to the aforementioned advertisement, the dog is seen as more of a family dog than a hunting dog currently.
They have a thick coat of fur and a very simple-minded expression. They're strong at fighting and typically have a heroic personality. Their frame can be said to be one that originated from one of the first-ever breeds of dog, and they're very wary. Whilst they are devoted to their master, due to originally being hunting dogs, there are times where they can become slightly aggressive towards other people or animals. This means that it's very important to discipline them from a young age.
They have 5 colors being sesame, tiger, red, brownish-black, and white.
When you talk to Japanese people about the Tosa dog, the first thing that will most likely pop into someone's head is their rigid face and large frame. However, there are actually 2 different types of Tosa Dog, let's take a look at what makes the 2 different types different.
This dog was originally from Shikoku's Tosa (currently known as Kōchi prefecture). Originally, they were a middle-sized dog that highly resembled a wolf.
For a time, they were used as fighting dogs to help raise the spirits of Japanese warriors, and as such, started to become bigger and stronger. Through crossbreeding with breeds from abroad such as the English mastiff, bulldog, and Great Danes, the breed is how we see it today.
These dogs are able-bodied, robust, majestic, and have a very large frame. They have a wide skull and a large nose that is typically either black or brown. Their ears, on the other hand, are rather small and thin.
Tosa dogs are able to be raised in a family environment, however, they have a lively fighting spirit, meaning that gaining their trust can take some time. Either way, these dogs require a lot of daily exercise.
They typically have 3 colors being sesame, red, and blackish-brown, however, recently white and tiger-like colors have been being seen more frequently.
The Japanese Spaniel has a short snout and a unique face. They are very small typically weighing in at around 3kg, making them a great fit for city-living and homes without a garden. They have a certain grace and elegance to them which makes them quite popular worldwide.
The Japanese Spaniel holds the most history out of any Japanese dogs, with records spanning back to the 8th century during the Nara Period of Japan. This is also the dog that was the first to receive recognition around the world as a breed of dog for improvement.
They are typically quite calm and don't really get very excited, making them a good breed for raising indoors. They were originally raised as a pet dog.
They feel a strong bond with their owner, they're smart and friendly. Other than their face, their entire body is covered in beautiful fur. It's quite easy for them to get hairballs, so it's very important to brush them daily, however, they don't require much outdoor exercise.
They typically have an uneven coat with a majority white or black, sometimes seeing reddish-brown colors as well. A lot of people love their bilateral symmetry in their faces, which typically match the coat of their fur.