Japan has some of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They have distinct features such as directed muzzles and noses in addition to crinkled tails. Some of the most popular breeds include:


1. Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is closely related to the Pomeranian. This dog breed has a long fur coat which is pure white with a thick layer under it.

It has a wedge-shaped face and small, pointed upright ears. The dog has a lifespan of about 10 to 16 years they grow 12 to 15 inches in height and weigh about 5 to 10 kilograms.

One of the unique things about this dog is that dirt does not often stick to the coat. This is an important fact for those who would like to breed the dog as it is low maintenance.

It is classified as a companion dog and is prone to runny eyes. These dogs were created as a result of interbreeding various other Spitz dogs.

The dog is good with children and is playful, loyal and affectionate.

Although it can be kept in an apartment, it is best to have it in a home with a compound for the sake of exercise.

2. American Akita

The American Akita is a Spitz type of dog and it was bred from the Akita Inu back after World War II.

These dogs are not that active although they should still be taken on outings for daily exercise. This is important because they tend to get bored easily and this often leads to behavioral issues.

This dog was originally used to guard royalty back in the era of feudal Japan. This dog breed has since evolved and is domesticated in various parts of the country.

The American Akita is fearless and guards members of the family without hesitation. The dog can be socialized to fit more in the family concept.

The American Akita can live up to 12 and 15 years when it is well taken care of.

With the right diet, you can avoid certain diseases in order to ensure that your dog lives a long full life.

This breed is known for its cleanliness, independence and strength.

3. Hokkaido

The Hokkaido breed came from the northern part of Japan. It is one of the original Spitz-type of dogs originating from the country.

These dogs are named after the original indigenous people of Japan who used to use their dogs predominantly for hunting.

The Hokkaido dog has a life span of about 11 to 13 years. It grows to a height of 18 to 22 inches and weighs about 20 to 30 kilograms.

This breed comes in black, brindle, black and tan and white colors. It mainly exhibits bravery, alertness and courage.

This dog is not hypoallergenic. However, it is recommended for children as it has a tendency to be playful and energetic around kids.

While it can be kept in an apartment, this is not advisable because it is moderately active and would instead require a big yard.

Additionally, it has a thick coat so it is not affected by the cold.


4. Sakhalin Husky

This breed is also known as the Karafuto Ken. The name Sakhalin comes from a large island considered to be a part of Russia.

These dogs were used in olden times as sled dogs. Unfortunately, they are now considered endangered as they are all but extinct seeing that there were only two purebreds that existed as at 2011.

The breed weighs about 30 to 40 kilograms as an adult.

One of the most common ailments in this husky is heartworms. They are exposed to the worms through exposure to mosquitoes which act as carriers.

A monthly pill protecting against these worms can work well. Taro and Jiro are two Sakhalin Huskies that made the breed popular.

They survived being chained out in Antarctica.

They were originally part of fifteen sled dogs that were left chained with a little supply of food and water by people on an expedition who never made it to their destination or back.

The two dogs were found alive after a whole year of being chained and neglected. They were brought back home to a rousing welcome.

5. Kai Ken

This breed is native to Japan. It is named after its region of origin, i.e., the Kai province.

One of the qualities of the dog is determination. Seeing as it was bred for hunting, some dogs are recorded as climbing trees and even swimming just to get to their prey.

Kai Ken is a relatively smaller dog with pointy ears and a black coat. They grow between 17 and 22 inches tall and weigh about 13 to 23 kilograms.

In addition to this, the dogs have a lifespan of 14 to 16 years.

It is prone to minor health issues but does not have congenital problems like other dogs. This dog was originally used to hunt.

Nowadays, you can easily train them because they are very intelligent and respond to training especially from an early age.

One of its strongest qualities is the desire to please its human counterpart.

6. Kishu Ken

The Kishu Ken is also known as the Kishu or the Kishu Inu. It grows between 17 and 22 inches tall and weighs between 13 to 27 kilograms.

It has an average lifespan of between 11 and 13 years and is available in a variety of colors including black, white, brindle, black and tan and red.

The Kishu Ken breed is very similar to the Hokkaido and people tend to confuse the two. They were initially bred for hunting.

Their style of stalking the prey is to do it quietly, as opposed to other hunting dogs such as the Shiba who bark.

This dog can be kept in a home that has children. However, you need to have a yard that is fenced in because the dog does not like to stay in closed off areas such as kennels.

It requires a lot of exercise and is very energetic and playful.


7. Akita Inu

The Akita Inu is a dog that originated from the northern area of Japan which is quite mountainous. It is not a wonder then that this dog has a short double coat.

While this is the norm, you can commonly found litters that have long coats due to recessive genes. This breed grows between 25 and 27 inches tall.

They also weigh about 23 to 41 kilograms depending on the gender with the females being lighter.

The dogs have an average lifespan of ten years. These dogs have a number of health issues that they are prone to including hip dysplasia.

The Akita Inu is calm and easy to house break. It is clean and very protective of its owners. It is also very reserved around strangers.

When it comes to other dogs, it can be very aggressive with other breeds of its own kind and should never be left alone with other dogs.

8. Shiba Inu

This dog bears resemblance to the Akita but is much smaller in size. It originates in Japan and was originally kept as a search dog.

It grows about 13 to 17 inches in height and weighs about 8 to 10 kilograms. It has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years.

One of the reasons this dog is loved so much is because it has a fox-like appearance. Some of the most distinct characteristics in these dogs include being alert and attentive.

They also have high energy levels and therefore need to be engaged often so they can exercise. For those who would like to raise this dog, you must know that it is very spirited and should always be kept on a leash.

It can be very quiet while indoors but then this changes as it becomes dominant, clever and extremely playful once you get outside.

You need to be careful with cats around this breed.

9. Tosa

The Tosa, also known as the Tosa Inu, is a breed that is considered rare. It was named after its place of origin, Tosa, which is currently known as Kochi.

These dogs are believed to have been bred for fighting which is why they are banned in some countries. They can easily display aggression.

You should not leave a Tosa with any other dog or animal for that matter. It is even more serious with cats.

These dogs exhibit predatory behavior. Although they are not supposed to be aggressive towards humans, they can also easily turn and the attacks are usually fatal, especially for children.

The Tosa is intelligent, protective and aggressive. It can grow between 22 and 32 inches depending on the gender with the males as the taller ones.

This breed also weighs an average of between 36 and 61 kilograms. They have an average lifespan of 0 to 12 years.


10. Shikoku

The Shikoku dog is native to Shikoku Island in Japan. It is very similar to the Shiba Inu but is slightly bigger.

However, both of these dogs are part of the Spitz family. The Shikoku Inu grows between 17 and 21 inches tall. It also comes in various coat colors including light brown, black and tan red and black.

This breed of dogs weighs between 13 to 25 kilograms. They have a head shaped like a wedge and pointed ears.

In addition to this, these dogs have curled tails and seem to resemble the Siberian husky although they are not the same.

Shikoku dogs have a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years. These dogs need exercise and should therefore be walked frequently.

They also have a keen sense of smell because they are hunters by nature. You should therefore keep them in a fenced yard where they cannot get out.