This is a medium sized, well balanced and muscular dog breed. The Shikoku totally looks like a typical spitz with the pricked ears, curled tail and wolf like appearance. The average height is between 43-53 cm, which is 17-21 inches and weight is typically between 16-25 kg, which is 35-55 pounds. Females are little bit smaller than males.
The Shikokus outer coat is harsh and straight and the under coat is very dense and soft. Fur on the tail tends to be longer than on the rest of the body and the tail is very fluffy. You can find this breed in three colors, which are sesame, which is mixture of black, red and white hair, black and tan or cream.
This breed has beautiful slanted or dark brown almond shaped eyes, wedge shaped head and long muzzle, with tight fitting lips.
The Shikoku can is both – great companion dog and excellent hunter. Similar to other Spitzes, this is not dog for everyone and it is important to know the dogs temperament before buying or adopting one. So what is Shikoku like?
The Shikoku is very often describe as incredibly loyal dog to its family. When they are with people they know, than the Shikoku is very friendly, affectionate, loving and devoted and they are known for developing very strong bond with its owner and family.
On the other hand, they do not enjoy company of people they do not know. In fact, Shikoku tends to be very cautios and alert around strangers. It is important to properly socialize your dog early, so it does not become overprotective. But do not worry they should not be agressive without a reason, they will most likely just ignore the strangers or avoid them if possible.
Just like all the hunters, the Shikoku has high prey drive, so you should never leave them alone with smaller household pets like hamsters or guinea pigs. This is also a reason why you should only let them off leash in fenced or in areas you know very well, because if they start chasing something, it would be very hard to recall them.
Another similarity with majority of hunting dog breeds is their high intelligence, problem solving ability, but also high independence. Thanks to their intelligence they get new commands quickly, but because of the independent personality, they are not total pushovers to train. This is definitely not a dog for novice or first time dog owner, they need firm and patient trainer. It is recommended to train Shikoku by positive reinforcement, since they are pretty sensitive and they do not tolerate harsh training methods.
If you are an active person, than the Shikoku might be a good dog for you, because they will always love to go for a walk, hike or jog. Their energy level is just endless. If you want your Shikoku to stay healthy and happy, daily proper exercise is a must.
Shikoku is one of the six native Japanese breeds. The other five are Akita Inu, Shiba Inu, Hokkaido, Kishu Inu and Kai Ken.
The Shikoku was developed by Japanese hunters on the island of Shikoku, in mountains of the Kochi Prefecture. They were used as skilled large game hunters, they most often hunted deer and boars.
Originally they were named as Tosa Ken, but they were later renamed, when people kept confusing them with the Tosa Fighting Dog. The dog was quite popular in Japan, but after the first world war Japan suffered economic hardship and people simply could not afford to own and feed a dog, which was the reason why the numbers of all dog breeds in Japan declined drasticly. The Shikoku almost went extinct.
In 1928 an organization dedicated to save native Japanese dog breeds was established, and they succesfully saved the breed. Three lines of Shikoku were developed, the Hata, the Awa and the Hongawa, all named after the area they originated from. The Shikoku we know today is a descendat of the Hata and Hongawa line.
Health and grooming
Just look at the thick coat. The Shikoku does shed, especially heavily once or twice a year. Regular brushing will remove the dead hair, minimize the shedding and also keep the coat healthy and glossy. During the shedding season, you will have to brush your dog on daily basis. Other than that, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes and nails and clip them or clean them if needed.
Great fact is, that the Shikoku is extremely clean dog, they are like cats in this area. They also do not have strong doggy odor.
The Shikoku is usually a very healthy dog breed and they do not suffering much from any hereditary ilnesses. Sometimes, they can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia or allergies. The typical lifespan is 10-12 years.