Did you know?
The Shikoku is believed by some to be the living descendent of the extinct Japanese Wolf.
I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating
– Dog Haiku (author unknown)
The rarest of the Japanese breeds, the Shikoku was declared a National Monument in Japan in 1937. Today, there are only 300 of these dogs in his country of origin, and just four exist in North America.
“Shikoku” is an island in Japan and means “Four Lands”. The island consists of four prefectures (areas) – Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi and Tokushima. The Shikoku dog was bred in the Kochi Prefecture to hunt wild boar and deer. He is sometimes called the “Kochi-ken” (“ken” means “dog”).
A medium-sized dog, the Shikoku male stands about 20 1/2 inches tall at the shoulder. Females are approximately 18 inches tall. He has a short to medium-length double coat that is harsh on the outside with a dense, softer undercoat. As pictured here, the Shikoku coat is “sesame-coloured” and helps him to withstand a wide range of temperatures. Like all members of the Spitz family, the Shikoku carries his tail curled up over his back.
Photos displayed courtesy of Laura McKenna Lange, Koyote Kennels, Alberta
The Shikoku, while highly active outdoors, is calm and quiet indoors. Although he is gentle and docile within his family unit, he is highly alert, possessing keen senses and fast reflexes. As you might expect from an animal capable of hunting wild boar over mountainous terrain, he is tough and agile, and noted for his unflagging endurance. Loyal and independent, the Shikoku can be reserved towards strangers but is submissive to his master. He is very intelligent and learns quickly. Shikokus are also very playful and enjoy vigorous games. His ideal master would be an active outdoor person.
Early training and socialization will teach him good manners and help curb a tendency to aggression towards other dogs. With enthusiasm and energy to spare, the highly active Shikoku needs lots of outdoor exercise and should have a large, fenced yard.