Top Japanese dog breeds

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Dog breeds from Japan often contain the word inu in their name, which means dog in Japanese. They are the best known, but there are others, without inu, that have also emerged in this country.

Japanese dogs are usually large in size and powerful in appearance, but there are also very small breeds that are perfect companion dogs. Below we will highlight nine races originating from Japan.

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Index of contents

  • 1 Akita Inu
  • 2 Ainu Inu
  • 3 Kai inu
  • 4 Shiba Inu
  • 5 Shikoku
  • 6 Tosa Inu
  • 7 Japanese terrier
  • 8 Japanese spaniel
  • 9 Japanese spitz


Akita Inu

This powerful breed originated in the 17th century with the intention of participating in fights and battles of big game. Today it is a companion dog, although it can also perform security tasks. It is large, up to 50 kg in weight and 71 cm in height. Their life expectancy is around 10-12 years.

It is a special character dog, so may be incompatible with other dogs or with children. Precisely because of his temperament it is difficult to educate him and it is not recommended for first-timers. Due to its thick coat, it has no problems withstanding the cold or life outside.

  • More information on the Akita Inu


Ainu Inu

The origins of this dog are lost in time. As a fact, the Ainu tribe arrived in Japan about 3,000 years ago. He was hunting large prey but is currently a companion dog.

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Large in size, it reaches about 30 kg in weight and about 56 cm in height. Its half-life is around 11-13 years. Perfect for adverse climates, does not adapt to city life nor does it usually accept other dogs well. Its strong character makes it not easy to educate.


Kai inu

This breed emerged in the 18th century and was used for big game, although its size is medium, with a maximum of 18 kg and a height of 58 cm. He lives for 11-13 years and his role is currently the company.

It is an animal adaptable to life inside a building and outside, since its hair allows it withstand adverse weather conditions. It turns out a good watchdog. It is not too friendly with its counterparts.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

This breed began its relationship with humans by helping it to hunt small prey in ancient times, although today it is known as a companion dog. Small in size, it does not exceed 10 kg in weight or 41 cm in height.

Their life expectancy is between 12 and 13 years. It’s an animal good with children and other dogs. Good guardian and perfect for acclimatizing to warm or cold environments. You can also be happy living in the city.

  • Character and behavior of the Shiba Inu breed



It is another of the ancient Japanese breeds used since its origins for hunting. Today it continues to perform this task but it is more common as a companion dog. Medium in size, it does not exceed 20 kg in weight or 55 cm in height. Their life expectancy ranges from 11 to 13 years.

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It may be difficult to teach obedience, but instead adapts well to urban life and to both hot and cold climates. Although it does not have a very long coat, it is very dense, which means that it needs regular care.


Tosa Inu

This breed that stands out for its size had its origin in the 19th century. It was used in dogfights, although luckily this use has been forgotten and today we will find it as a companion dog. Its weight even reaches 90.5 kg, for a height not exceeding 65 cm. It is estimated that he lives about 11-12 years.

It is a dog that requires experienced owners. It does not have a problem when it comes to living outdoors, on the other hand, it does not adapt well to the city or tolerates the presence of children or other dogs with pleasure. In addition, you need large doses of exercise and a firm education, as it can be stubborn.

  • Complete information on the Tosa Inu dog breed


Japanese terrier

The Japanese terrier emerged in the 18th century. Its first use was hunting rodents, but today it is a companion dog. It lives about 12-14 years and is small in size. It does not weigh more than 6 kg or exceed 33.5 cm in height.

It is a breed that has numerous advantages for coexistence, since it can live in apartments, you don’t need to exercise much and, since it has short hair, it does not require excessive care either. Always alert, it serves as a guardian, since it warns of the presence of any stranger, but it is not suitable for living abroad.

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Japanese spaniel

Since the Middle Ages in which it emerged, this small breed has remained a perfect companion dog. He is good with children, adaptable to urban life, able to live with other dogs without problems and even resist cold climates.

The only downside we can put is that, due to its alert nature, can bark excessively. Also, its long coat is going to need frequent grooming and brushing. It does not exceed 5 kg in weight or 25 cm in height. Live approximately 12 years.

  • Characteristics and temperament of the Japanese Spaniel dog

Japanese spitz

Japanese spitz

Already in the twentieth century this small breed of specimens appeared that did not exceed 6 kg in weight or 36 cm in height. Their main function was and continues to be the company, although at present we can find them as surveillance dogs due to their great ability to warn of potential dan

They have an average life expectancy of 12 years. They are good for living with children and adapt easily to life in the city. They like to learn and interact well with other dogs.. Her characteristic long, dense white hair needs regular care.