Japanese Dog Breeds

The Many Japanese Dog Breeds:

Most Japanese dog breeds feature a distinctive appearance that canine admirers all over the world have come to love. You don’t have to live in Japan to have access to many of these popular canines. Just like breeds from any other country, each features its own list of unique traits and abilities that should be reviewed before deciding to take one into any home.

The Akita

AkitaThe Akita hails from northern Japan. There are two different types available today, including the Akita Inu and American Akita.  The American version is accepted in a variety of colors including solid white, white masked, black masked, brindle and those with different colored guard hairs. The Akita Inu, or Japanese Akita, are only accepted in sesame, fawn, red, pure white, brindle and with Urajiro markings which are similar to those seen on the Shiba Inu. This alert and devoted breed is loving with its family but territorial with strangers.

Japanese Chin

Japanese ChinThe Japanese Chin is a small dog, coming to a mere 8 to 11 inches tall on average.  They weigh anywhere from 3 to 15 pounds, usually falling into the 7 to 9 pound range. This unique little dog has a large head with wide eyes and a short muzzle. Its ears feature wispy feathering that gives it a charming appearance that almost looks playful. The Chin is often described as cat-like because it is independent and often uses its paws to clean its face.

Shiba Inu

Shiba InuShiba Inus are handsomely featured dogs that are smaller in size. They are agile, which allows them to maneuver in the mountainous terrain that is found throughout their homeland. This breed weighs between 17 and 23 pounds on average and grows a thick double coat. There are a variety of colors including cream, black and tan, sesame, buff, red and those with a grey undercoat. A white or cream colored Shiba Inu coat is considered a fault by the American Kennel Club and should not be bred. This breed has a strong prey drive and can become dog aggressive if not properly trained and socialized.


Tosa inuThe Tosa has a look that is completely different from other Japanese dog breeds. This canine is rare and is not be easy to come by in most regions. The average Tosa weighs 80 to 136 pounds and was designed specifically for fighting. It can have a brindle, red or fawn colored coat. Dull black versions have been found but this is very uncommon.

Anyone interested in adopting a Tosa should be aware that the breed is outlawed in many regions. The United Kingdom regulates this type of canine under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.  Owners can obtain an exemption from the British court to import or own the Tosa legally. It is also banned in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Denmark, Norway, Iceland,  Turkey, Malta, Cyprus and the city of Dublin. Whether adopting a Japanese breed or one from any other country, potential owners should look into the training needs  and any potential legal concerns associated with the canine before bringing it home.