The Kai Ken is an ancient native Japanese breed, originated in the mountainous Kai district in Yamanashi prefecture. For a long time, they were isolated from the rest of the world and thanks to that it is believed that this is one of the purest and most ancient of all Japanese dog breeds.
This is an extraordinary hunter and they were mostly used to hunt deer and boar, but sometimes even bears. They are known for their agility, athleticism, courage and intelligence. They are great climbers and they have been known to climb trees after the prey. The Kai Ken is also excellent swimmer and will not hesitate to run into river or lake after the prey.
3) Nihon Ken
The Kai Ken is one of the 6 Nihon Ken, which means they are one of the six native Japanese breeds protected by the Nihon Ken Hozonkai organization. The other 5 native Japanese breeds include Akita, Shiba, Shikoku, Kishu and Hokkaido. The Kai Ken was also designated as a Japanese natural monument, or natural treasure in 1934.
4) Tiger dog
The Kai Ken has been given a nickname of Tora dog, which can be translated as a Tiger dog. Of course, it is thanks to their beautiful brindle coat, which resemble tiger stripes. Interesting fact is, that puppies are born a solid color and they turn brindle as they grow. You can find this dog in three color variations, the black brindle (Kuro-Tora), brindle (Chu-Tora) and Red brindle (Aka-Tora).
This dog was used to hunt for long hours, so it is no wonder that they have high energy level and high exercise needs. They will definitely enjoy long walk mixed with some interactive playtime, which will stimulate the dogs mind as well. Most of them also enjoy swimming. Do not forget, that this is hunter at heart and they still have higher prey drive, so if you are in unknown or unfenced area, it might be better to keep this breed on leash. It is hard to recall them when they start the hunt.
6) Living with
Of course, the Kai Ken is not only a great hunter, but also a good family companion. They are known for being very calm and gentle with kids, but of course, you should never leave a very young child with any dog unsupervised. The Kai Ken also likes to form a pack and they do not typically have problems with other dogs in the family. On the other hand, because of their higher prey drive, they might try to hunt down other smaller household pets.
The Kai Ken loves its family and creates strong bond with it, but on the other hand, they do not like strangers very much. They should not be agressive towards them without a reason, but they are alert and reserved towards them. They will most likely alert you when they perceive a potential danger, which makes them good guards and watchdogs.
This is a medium sized dog breed with typical Spitz like appearance with pricked ears. The average height is between 45-56 cm, which is 18-22 inch and weight is typically between 11-25 kg, which is 25-55 pounds. The females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
The Kai Ken is naturally very clean dog and they do not have much of the typical doggy odor, and overall, they require only minimal coat care. They do shed, seasonally quite heavilly, so regular brushing is recomended to minimize the shedding. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check the Kai Kens ears, eyes and nails and cleane them or clip them if needed.
The Kai Ken is usually a very healthy breed with amazing lifespan between 14-16 years. Of course, they can suffer from some health issues like allergies, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation and other typical dog issues, but none of these problems is extremely common with this breed.