Canine Breed Menu

Hokkaido Dog

Hokkaido Dog

Hokkaido Dog
Breed Organization
United Kennel Club (UKC)
Native Country
Other Names
Ainu Dog, Ainu-Ken, Ainu Inu, Hokkaidoken
Life Expectancy
Aproximately 11-13 Years
Litter Size
Average 3-7 Puppies
Breed Group
Breed Appearance
The Ainu Dog is a thin, muscular, sturdy-looking dog. It is impulsive, fast and has a light gait. Ainus have small, erect ears that are at a right angle to the brow. Its eyes are somewhat small, dark brown and set triangularly. The teeth are healthy, solid and non-protruding. Some have spots of black on their tongues. The bridge is straight leading to its dark nose. The well-fitted lips have dark pigmentation. The tail curls in typical Spitz fashion. The forelegs are straight and lean and the hindquarters are covered with a double coat. The harsh, straight coat colors come in sesame, brindle, wolf gray, red, brown or white.

Breed Description
Head: Triangular, foxlike. Broad, flat skull and forehead. Distinct stop. Straight nose bridge. Wedge-shaped muzzle. Black nose (flesh color in whites). Tight lips.
Ears: Small, triangular. Held erect and slightly forward.
Eyes: Small, triangular, wide set. Dark brown color.
Body: Strongly constructed. Powerful neck without dewlap. Pronounced withers. Moderately wide loin. Prominent forechest. Deep chest. Belly is well tucked up. Straight, solid back.Nicely sloped croup.
Tail: Set high. Thick. Carried over the back, tightly curled or in the form of a sickle.
Hair: Short, harsh, straight. Slightly longer on the tail. Soft, compact undercoat.
Coat: Brindle (black, red, white, etc.). Black, red, or brown.
Size: 48.5 to 52 cm (19-20.5 in).Bitch: 45.5 to 48.5 cm (18-19 in).
Weight: Approx. 25 kg (55lb).

The Ainu originated in the mountainous regions of Hokkaido Island and was brought to Japan by the ancient Ainus. This hardy dog was used for hunting large game. The Ainu Dog is a Japanese Spitz breed rarely seen outside the country of Japan. The dog was named after the Ainu tribe. Origin is unknown. They arrived in Japan over 3,000 years ago when the Ainu brought this Spitz-type dog with them. As the Ainu were pushed onto the island of Hokkaido by an influx of Japanese people, their dogs gradually became restricted to this island. The dog's ever-alert and suspicious nature lent itself to the required role of village guardian. Their dog has changed little over the centuries. The Ainu Dog is probably the oldest of the Japanese breeds. It was later named the Hokkaido Dog, but is still better known as the Ainu Dog; indeed it is registered with the FCI under that name. Many Ainu Dogs have blue-black tongues, a physical trait that suggests a distant relationship with the similarly tongued Chow Chow and Shar Pei. Through the active work of the Society For The Preservation of Japanese Breeds, the Ainu Dog was designated a Japanese Natural Monument in 1937. The Ainu Dog has always distinguished itself in big-game hunting (especially bears), in guarding property, and as a draft animal.

The breed is known for faithfulness to its keeper, bravery, and the ability to withstand the cold, among other traits. It has an innate sense of direction and can therefore return to its master no matter how great the distance. The breed is better with older children who tend to be more considerate of the animal. It also does best with children it knows and has grown up with.

The breed is typically healthy and there are no known health issues.

Due to the breeds thick double-coat, regular brushing is recommended to help prevent the formation of hair mats. The Ainu Dog is not recommended for apartment life. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with a large yard. They can live outdoors, for their warm coats protect them from the cold.

Pet, Gaurd Dog.

Horse Herd