Shikoku – Dog Breed Information and Guide

The Shikoku is a medium-sized Japanese breed of dog and one of six breeds traditionally used as a hunting dog in Japan. The word “Shikoku” means four provinces or quarters: Ehime, Kochi, Kagawa and Tokushima.

This dog has long been valued for its hunting skills, including the ability to track and flush game in rough terrain. It typically weighs between 33-45 kg (73-99 lbs), with females being smaller than males on average. The Shikoku’s coat can be red, black or tan, but it’s usually patterned (e.g., the most popular color is red & white).

The Shikoku was designated a “National Natural Treasure” in 1937. It remains one of Japan’s six native breeds.


Shikoku Quick Facts

  1. Shikoku dogs are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate
  2. They require daily exercise and love to be around people
  3. There is a misconception that they are vicious because of their size – in reality, they are just large dogs with a strong prey drive
  4. The breed has been used as a working dog for centuries in Japan due to its intelligence and stamina
  5. They make excellent family pets because of their gentle nature with children but should not be left unsupervised with smaller animals or cats
  6. If you’re looking for an energetic companion who will always want to play fetch or go on walks with you, the Shikoku might be perfect for you!

History of the Shikoku

The Shikoku (also called Kōchi-ken) dog breed originated from Shikoku island, Japan. They were originally bred as hunting dogs for boar and deer, but they are now companion animals who enjoy being close to humans while still having a strong desire to hunt small game.

The first record of a dog identified as a Japanese Spitz was found on an ancient pottery plate dated 1000 AD.

Shikoku dogs were initially used as hunting and vermin-control animals in the mountainous regions of southern Japan. They are more closely related to these Japanese Spitzes than any other kind of dog, with a DNA similarity that is 98% or higher, but they differ slightly from them because they have been mixed with breeds like the Maltese or Poodle.

Common Shikoku Health Problems

They are medium-sized dogs with short, straight hair and a tail that curls over their back. The Shikoku can live for 13 years or more and weigh anywhere between 30–42 pounds, but they have been known to be as heavy as 55 pounds. Unlike many breeds – the Shikoku don’t have any breed-specific health issues. However, common issues found in many similar sized dogs can also be found in Shikoku’s.

  • Diseases of the skin

The Shikoku are at risk of various diseases that affect their coat, including Alopecia X (loss or thinning hair), allergies and Dermatitis. Allergies can be caused by things like pet dander, pollen, foods and yeast infections in females. Dermatitis can be caused by the following: bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections.

  • Diseases of the digestive system

Similar to humans and other animals, Shikokus are susceptible to a variety of stomach disorders. These include gastric ulcers (caused by too much acid), gastrointestinal bleeding (caused by the stomach producing too much acid), and a variety of gastrointestinal infections (caused by bacteria, fungi or parasites).

  • Joints and arthritis

Like many breeds, Shikoku’s can be impacted by joint disorders – including hip dysplasia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do Shikoku Dogs Shed their coats a lot?

Answer: No, they’ll change from their winter coat to their summer coat and often need a trim in the late fall. They won’t shed parts of their winter coat like many other breeds will before it falls out.

Some breeds have a tendency to shed more than others, but Shikoku dogs typically do not require much grooming nor need to be groomed daily. Two or three times a week is fine if you are brushing them regularly, though.

Question: What is Shikoku’s regular diet? Does it need any special food?

Answer: Shikoku dogs, of course, need to eat a balanced diet, just like any other dog. There is no special food or special supplements required for these dogs.

Top Dog

Top Dog

Editor and Co-Founder of Collar & Harness. There's little he doesn't know about dogs. TopDog loves agility but is far too unfit to keep up. Offers advice and articles on dog harnesses, collars, travel, food and temperament. Has featured articles in Huffington Post, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and others. Is woeful at speaking foreign languages.

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