Many Japanese dog breeds have similar traits, which is why people often can't tell them apart.
There are many dogs originally from the Asian continent and we could spend all day talking about them. But instead, we will focus on the most common Japanese dog breeds. (Note how many of their names have "Inu" as the second word - this word means "dog" in Japanese.)
The Most Common Japanese Dog Breeds
Here is a list of dog breeds in Japan. If you want to make a friend from the land of the rising sun, you can use this article as a reference.
This is the most popular dog in Japan and is originally from the Akita. It was bred by local warriors for hunting, defense, and attack. Some countries consider them potentially dangerous. It is an ancient breed, and some people believe its first specimens date back 3000 years. They also think that dogs were later mixed with the English Mastiff and Tosa Inu to make them larger and more aggressive.
The Akita is a Japanese natural treasure, especially after the devotion displayed by Hachikō. This dog has a strong build and thick fur; and the color is white, mottled, red, or sesame. Their eyes are small, their ears point forward, and they have webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers. This is a shy, quiet, protective, cautious, and very loyal breed.
Japanese Dog Breeds – Shiba Inu
This is one of the smallest dogs in Japan and is also quite agile. They were originally bred for hunting in mountainous terrains. They are similar in appearance to the Akita but much older. The kanji symbol that people in Japan use for the name of this species, Shiba, roughly means "little bush".
This dog is closely related to wolves in terms of its DNA. But they are excellent as pets. They are highly affectionate, protective, intelligent, and family-oriented.
This dog is also called the Japanese Chin and is the kind of dog that loves to follow you wherever you go. Although their name seems to indicate that they originated in China, they are actually one of the most characteristic dogs of Japan. One theory states that the first Japanese Spaniel arrived in the country in 732 BC for the Japanese Empress as a gift from the Korean ruler.
Both Pekingese and Shih Tzu dogs are actually the ancestors of this dog. The Japanese Chin weighs up to 3 kg and is highly intelligent and independent. They prefer to sleep on raised surfaces such as chairs, tables, and sofas.
This is a large and imposing dog breed from the Molosser type. They originated in the mid-nineteenth century and are the result of crossing several breeds. For example, the shorthaired German Pointer is St. Bernard, Mastiff, and Great Dane (for his fighting and protection).
Some countries consider them a dangerous breed, so anyone wishing to own them must obtain a special license to own and bred them. Their hair is short and they are light brown, red, or mottled. These dogs can weigh up to 100 kg.
Also known as the Nippon Terrier, this dog breed is very difficult to find even in its home country. Some people believe that the Terriers appeared after they arrived via Dutch traders who had landed in Nagasaki. They quickly became pet favorites and became quite popular there and in other ports such as Yokohama.
These dogs are tall, have white fur, and have almond eyes and black heads. In addition, they are cheerful and protective, and some people think they have the ability to react to their owners' facial expressions.
Japanese Spitz Dog
This is one of the most "graceful" dogs in Japan. In appearance, it is similar to the Pomeranian, Samoyed, and American Eskimo dogs. However, the Spitz has a round and broad head, erect triangular ears, and long, all-white fur (excluding the face and legs).
Their tails are curled in a fur-like fashion. Usually, this is a very active animal, carefully watching the owner, which makes it a good pet. It also adapts well to the family environment. If you want them to look like cotton balls, you should comb them often.
This Japanese breed of dog has several names: Seta, Ainu-Ken, and Ainu. However, people often abbreviate their names to Do-ken. They originated in Hokkaido, hence their name.
These dogs are usually medium in size and have small triangular ears. Their fur is long and hard and has two different coats of color. This breed is extremely loyal, brave, and can withstand extreme cold. In addition, they have a great sense of direction, can safely face a bear, and get along well with children.