The 7 Most Famous Japanese Dog Breeds

The 7 Most Famous Japanese Dog Breeds

Author WDF Staff


Japan is easily one of the coolest countries in the world. It is a place where modern, high-tech life meets the traditional, zen state of mind. After all, it is where samurai come from. Not only does Japan have a rich history, but it is also home to some of the coolest and very popular dog breeds. These are the most famous Japanese dog breeds, from the smallest companions to the large, mastiff-type, fighting dogs.

7. Shikoku

shikoku dogPhoto by: Pia Cuijpers

The Shikoku is a Japanese dog breed resembling Akita and Shiba. The main difference is their size. They are somewhere in between the other two breeds. Shikoku loves the outdoors, which isn’t a huge surprise since they were bred for hunting wild boar on the Japanese island of Shikoku. They have thick coats that allow them to withstand extremely low temperatures, so if you are thinking of becoming a Shikoku owner, it would be best that you live in a colder climate.

Interested in reading more about the Shikoku? Check out their full profile here.

6. Japanese Terrier

two japanese terriersPhoto credit

The Japanese Terrier is another famous Japanese dog breed that makes an excellent companion to those that love Terrier breeds. However, they are hard to find outside of Japan. These lovely small dogs were bred as companions and ratters. Japanese families used them for vermin control and company. Their exact creation is not entirely known, but it is believed that they descended from a smooth Fox Terrier.

Check out the full profile of this rare breed here.

5. Japanese Spitz

japanese spitz puppy

The Japanese Spitz is a beautiful snow-white dog breed with one of the softest coats in all canine kingdom. It is a relatively young Japanese dog breed gaining popularity across the globe but especially in their native country. It is a breed that descended from the German Spitz mixed with two white Spitz-type dogs imported from Canada. These adorable little Japanese dogs make excellent watchdogs that are always alert and ready to let you know about anyone approaching your property.

Check out the full breed profile of the Japanese Spitz here.

4. Tosa Inu

black tosa inu

The mighty Tosa is not a dog you can easily come across. The Tosa ownership is heavily regulated because these dogs were specifically bred for fighting. They enjoy a great status all over Japan and certainly hold a special place amongst all Japanese dog breeds. Tosa is a large and powerful dog that needs experienced owners that can handle it. If you are thinking about becoming a Tosa owner, it would be best to check your local and state laws, and this should probably be your only dog. If you have other dogs, they will get into a fight, and the Tosa will win.

Check out the Tosa’s full breed profile.

3. Japanese Chin

japanese chin

Japanese Chin is a small companion breed that is most likely not from Japan. However, they were made wildly popular by Japanese nobles. At one point in history, nearly all Japanese noble families had one of these dogs; they were even given as presents to foreign diplomats as a sign of gratitude from the country. These dogs are most likely from Korea or China, but since they were mostly found in Japan, the patronage over the breed was given to Japan.

Interested in Japanese Chin? Check out their full profile here.

2. Shiba Inu

shiba inu on snow

Shiba is one of the six native Japanese breeds protected by the Nihon Ken Hozonkai, or Nippo. It is a registry that keeps pedigrees, standards, and documents on all six protected breeds. Shiba is a small dog full of character. They love to be clean and have an almost cat-like obsession with cleaning themselves. They are also very vocal, so they will most certainly let you know if they are unhappy.

You can check out the full Shiba profile here.

1. Akita Inu

akita puppy

The legendary loyalty of the Akita Inu will never be forgotten. Is there a single dog owner who hasn’t heard about Hachiko, the most loyal dog ever? Akitas are proud, relatively large Japanese dogs that have an incredible legacy and history. As a breed, they have had many ups and downs, and at one point, they nearly went extinct. You can read more about their awesome history here.

World Dog Finder team

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