Kishu Ken
Kishu Ken 0
Kishu Ken 0

Kishu Ken

Last updated: Sep 07 2023

The Kishu, sometimes called Kishu Ken or Kishu Inu, is a Japanese medium-sized dog breed, developed there for thousands of years. It is a direct descendant of ancient medium-sized breeds and is named after the famous Kishu region in Japan. This breed is often mistaken for Hokkaido due to their similar appearance. These are noble and faithful dogs that need to be included in all family activities.

In most cases, Kishu will be devoted to one owner but will love all family members. These are active dogs and will do great in active families who love to spend their time outdoors.

FUN FACT: Kishu is considered a national treasure in Japan, and that is one of the reasons why these dogs are rarely exported.

Kishu Ken


17-22 in (43–56 cm)

Kishu Ken


30–60 lb (14–27 kg)

Kishu Ken



Kishu Ken

Life Expectancy:

11-13 years

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health


Kishu dogs have a double coat that sheds moderately through the year and two times a year they blow their entire coat during shedding seasons. These are clean dogs and outside of the shedding season, only weekly brushing is required to keep these dogs looking good.

Kishu dogs come in variants of colors, including:

  • White
  • Red
  • Sesame

kishu dogs

Many people including hunters prefer white color dogs because it makes it easier to spot them from a great distance. That was useful during hunting.

General care

These dogs also require general care to look the best. You need to trim their nails, brush their teeth to remove tartar build-up and secure a fresh breath. An occasional bath will be enough for these dogs to be clean.


Kishu is a highly active dog that requires a lot of daily activities to be happy. Both physical and mental activities are important, but without proper physical exercise, your dog will not be happy. Although they are adoptable dogs and can live in apartments, they are best suited for houses with a big yards.

Take your dog to many different new places, hiking, etc, to be sure that you won't become bored with the usual daily activities.


Kishu is a gentle family dog with whom you will enjoy spending time together. They are independent thinkers and will try to solve problems on their own. They are very trainable dogs if you put the right motivation in front of them – such as food.

The training and socialization process should start as early as possible to secure that your Kishu develops into a well-mannered dog. You will have to expose your dog to many different people, animals, places, and sounds so he can learn how to react to them.

Kids and other animals

Kishu dogs are a great choice for families with kids. They can be their great playing partner because of their energy. These dogs don't like rough behavior, so you must teach your kids how to properly play with a dog to avoid any unwanted behavior.

As for the other dogs and animals, Kishu dogs can get along. Kishu is protective of dogs, but with the right socialization, they won't become aggressive toward other dogs. Because they were bred for hunting, they have a strong prey drive and will, in most cases, chase smaller animals.

Kishu dogs prefer to be the only pet in the house.


Kishu is a healthy dog with a life expectancy of 11-13 years. These dogs are prone to some health problems, including:

  • Food allergies
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Entropion
  • Cancer

Kishu breeders

If you decided that Kishu is the right dog for you you will surely not make a mistake. These are good-natured and devoted dogs with whom you will enjoy spending time and who will accompany you during various activities.

Kishu dogs are still fairly rare, and there is a possibility that you will be put on the waiting list.

World Dog Finder team


Updated at07.09.2023.

Breed History

Hunting dogs lived in Japan over 3000 years ago. Kishu dogs were developed from native dogs that were present in the mountainous regions of Japan for many years and centuries ago. From the start, they were used for boar and deer hunting. Kishu dogs came in white, red, bridle, and for one period of time spotted (spotted color disappeared by 1945).

Hunters loved white Kishu dogs the most because they could easily spot them during the hunt.

FUN FACT: AKC officially recognized Kishu dogs in 2005.