The Kishu Ken is the typical native Japanese breed with its Spitz like appearance. It is a medium sized, athletic and well muscled dog with sickle or curled tail and smaller pricked ears.
This breed is recognized and has officially recognized breed standard under the FCI, UKC and NIPPO, which is the Japanese standard. According to all of them, ccepted show colors are white, sesame, red, while the NIPPO also recognizes the black and tan color variation. Because of a high demand for white colored Kishus, the white Kishu Kens were selectively bred and today, it is the most common color in the breed.
The Kishu Kens coat is short, straight, coarse and very dense, which helps them when hunting in harsh weather. The fur on the tail is very bushy and thick and the breed also commonly have dense feathering on the back of its legs.
The average height of the Kishu Ken should be between 43-56 cm, which is 17-22 inch and the weight is typically between 14-27 kg which is 30-60 pounds.
All the native Japanese dogs are well known for their loyalty and the Kishu Ken is not exception. This breed is incredibly loyal and faithful to its owner. On the other hand they are aloof and reserved with strangers, but do not worry, they should not be agressive without a reason. If you want the Kishu Ken as a companion dog, early proper socialization with strangers is essential.
The Kishu Ken was used for centuries as a hunter and you should never forget about it. Hunting is natural for them and they have higher prey drive. Because of that, they might try to hunt smaller household pets, especially, if they will run away from them. But they can live with other dogs in the family, especially if they are raised together from the puppyhood.
The Kishu Ken is a smart breed, but also independent, pretty dominant and strong willed, which is why they are not recommended for novices or unexperienced owners. They need firm and patient trainer to become obedient.
This breed is an outgoing, friendly and active family companion. They create strong bond with its owner and family and they will want to spend as much time together as possible. They will be always ready for any outdoor adventure.
The Kishu Ken has a very descriptive name. Kishu is describing place of origin and the word Ken can be translated to english word dog. Sometimes, they can be reffered to as the Kishu Inu. The word Inu also means a dog, so you can use both name, but the name Kishu Ken is more popular.
Even though the Kishu Ken breed was standardized and officially recognized in 1934, it is believed that this is a very ancient and native Japanese dog breed that originated from dogs that existed in Japan in ancient times.
The Kishu Ken originated in the mountanious region of Kishu, which is located off the mainland of Japan on the southernmost island. This region is steep and full of volcanic mountains with difficult terrain. And in this area, the Kishu Ken used to hunt large game, so it is only logical, that this is hardy, strong and endurant dog breed.
Recently, the popularity of Kishu Ken dropped drastically and it is extremely hard to find them outside Japan, even though, there are few breeders in foreign countries. This breed has been on the Japanese Protected Species list since 1934.
Health and grooming
Normally this is a healthy and hardy dog breed with average lifespan between 11-14 years. Of course, just like all dogs, they can suffer from some health issues, for example from hip dysplasia or entropion.
The Kishu Ken has a thick doublecoat which is shedding, more heavily in the spring or fall. In the shedding season, regular daily brushing is recomended to remove the dead hair and minimize the shedding. Great fact is, that the Kishu Ken does not have much of the typical doggy odor. Just like with all dogs you should regularly check their eyes, ears and nails and clip them or clean them if needed.