The origin and history of Hokkaido dog is not very well documented, because this is very old and ancient dog breed. It is believed, that the Hokkaido was developed from some medium sized Japanese dogs, that were brough to Hokkaido island from Honshu with migrating Ainu people. These dogs adapted to colder climate and rugged terrain of north Japan and that this how the Hokkaido breed originated.
The Ainu people valued Hokkaido dogs very highly, mostly thanks to their extreme loyalty and especially for their great hunting skills. Ainu people were bear and deer hunters and Hokkaido dogs helped them with hunting this big game. The Hokkaido is known for its bravery and big courage, great sense of smell, amazing orientation, which enables them to work independently on large distances from its owners, high intelligence and prey drive. All these traits make this dog breed just amazing at hunting.
3) Nihon Ken
The Hokkaido dog is one of the Nihon Ken breeds, which are the native Japanese Spitz breeds. There is six Nihon Ken breeds, all of them quite similar together. The list of 6 native Japanese dogs include Hokkaido Inu, Akita Inu, Kai Ken, Kishu Inu, Shikoku Ken and Shiba Inu.
This breed is named after its place of origin, which is a prefecture of Japan and second largest Japanese Island – Hokkaido. Often times, this breed is named as Hokkaido Inu or Hokkaido Ken. These words Inu and Ken have similar meaning and both can be translated to english word „dog“. Other names for the breed also include Ainu-Ken, Ainu dog, Seta or Dō-ken.
The Hokkaido Ken is not only a great hunter, but also amazing loyal companion. They might not be overly affectionate like some other breeds, but they are totally devoted to its family and they definitely love its owners. These dogs are known to be okay with other dogs in the family and they are normally good dog partners for kids. But of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised. On the other hand they are typically alert and suspicious towards strangers and it can take a while before a complete stranger will gain their trust.
Hokkaido is highly intelligent breed which is pretty easily trainable. This is highly food motivated dog, so make sure you always have their favourite treats in your pocket, when you start the training. Some owners say, that Hokkaido can be little bit stubborn and independent, so they are not total pushovers to train and they do need consistent and patient trainer to become completely obedient. The Hokkaido is also excellent problem solver.
Hokkaido dog was used for hunting bears and deers in very hard terrain for centuries, so as you can probably imagine, this is highly active dog. These dogs will be happiest if they have some kind of a job. Of course, you dont need go hunting bears with your Hokkaido, it can be some „fake“ job, such as vigorous and task oriented playtime, regular fun training sessions or some dog sport, such as agility, hunting trials or obedience trials. Without enough exercise, Hokkaido dog can develop some unwanted behaviour, such as destruction.
On the first sight, the Hokkaido is a spitz. They have small erect ears, thick coat and curled tail. The Hokkaido also have very big paws, strong jaws and powerful chest. This is medium sized dog with average height between 18-20 inch, which is 45-51 cm and weight is typically between 30-60 pounds, which is 14-27 kg.
The coat of Hokkaido is very thick, dense and weatherproof, which have help the dog surviving in cold and snowy region of Hokkaido island. You can find this breed in , white, black, brindle, sesame, black and tan, and wolf-gray. The grooming is fairly simple, because the Hokkaido is fairly self-managed breed. There is no need for trimming or shaving, only regular brushing is recomended to remove the dead hair, minimize the shedding and to keep the coat as clean as possible.
The Hokkaido Inu is relatively healthy breed with average lifespan between 12-15 years. These dogs have a very high rate of Collie Eye Anomaly, which is the most common health issue associated with this breed. Other health issues include hip and elbow dysplasia and Cryptorchidism