Hokkaido Inu Temperament Overview

Hokkaido dogs

Ever wonder if Hokkaido dogs are aggressive or just docile enough to fit in well with your family dynamics? 

As a direct descendant of the most skilled hunting dog breed, you would expect the Hokkaido dog breed to be vocal, aggressive and intelligently tactical thinkers who can outwit even the most dominant predators in the wild.

So, Are Hokkaido dogs aggressive? No! Hokkaido dog breed is a docile dog breed with amiable temperamental traits for a pet dog who is not aggressive and perfectly fits in families with both young kids as well as multiple pets. 

As long as you socialize them from when they are puppies, Hokkaido pet dogs will go on to tolerate the most annoying pets you can through at them. 


The Hokkaido dog is one of the most intelligent breeds, despite that, only a few people know about these amazing dogs. 

Due to their intelligence, these dogs are easy to train and they can remember their taught commands quite well. This means you won’t have to repeat yourself too much during training as that can be stressful. 


These dogs have strong loyalty for their owners. They only listen to commands given to them by people they are familiar to- if that’s not loyalty, then I do not know what is. 

Also, they are protective, and they will often be seen barking to scare any strangers away. A dog with great loyalty. 


The great Hokkaido originated as a hunter as well as a tracker. Besides this, they know just how skilled they are. 

They are so determined in every work that they have been given. This is the dog that will follow you until it finds you. If they have so much confidence in themselves, why don’t we put confidence in them too? 


Your dog may be a lot of things but once he is identified as gentle, this will automatically make him eligible to play around small children- because who wants to be rough about kids.

Your dog should be able to socialize with everyone in the family. 


Dog affection comes in different forms, but when it come to the Hokkaido dog’s affection, this dog craves for cuddles than most of the Japanese dog breeds which are independent and not as cuddly as many pet owners would love to.

So, are Hokkaido dogs affectionate? Yes! The Hokkaido is affectionate to its loyal masters. Once your dog develops a bond with you, they will often show you affection, especially when they are young. Older dogs have a much higher level of independence, and they get less affectionate over time. 


For a hunter dog like this one, friendship can’t come as easy as you would likely notice in other dog breeds. 

However, because of the bond that they develop with their family in the long run, they end up getting along with just about everyone.

Besides that, their desire to only be around their family can make it become protective of them, leading to an excellent guardian dog.


Hokkaido is a very happy dog. Being around this dog will make you want to smile every time. 

Plus they tend to be very clownish when they are playing (even with themselves). This can be very entertaining to watch- you will definitely get some laughs out of this.


Having a dog that is not social can be a stressful experience for you. If your dog has never gone through social training, they will often not associate with other dogs. 

They will also chase away other pets like cats or smaller animals like squirrels. You do not want that. 

Therefore, they must socialize your dog more often while they are still puppies so that they should get used to having other pets around the house. 

The Hokkaido Inu Is Energetic

The Hokkaido Inu is likely one of the most energetic dogs. They can run at breakneck speeds, and they can hunt and still have energy left for other activities. 

For all energetic dogs like this one, they have to be exercised regularly to drain away some of that energy and prevent the distracted behavior that is often caused by lack of something to do. 

Spend at least an hour a day just to exercise your dog.

The Hokkaido Inu Is Playful

If you like to spend most of time outdoors and active, then this is the dog that I would recommend to you. 

This dog likes to play a lot of games, including retrieval ones like fetch. They can also participate in sports- you can go for sporting events in which your dog will be tracking for fun.

Once you have this dog in your compound, you will never be bored. 

The best part is that if you are not in the mood to play with them, they will go to something they like to do- track and chase, just as long as you ensure they do not get in trouble or ingest something that is harmful to them.

The Hokkaido Inu Is Alert

This is one of the characteristics that make this dog an amazing hunting dog. Hunting dogs have to be very alert to any changes in their surroundings. 

Being alert comes with other benefits such as trainability- an alert dog is very easy to train because they are less distracted- or more interested in the training treat. 

On top of that, an alert dog like this one will make an excellent guard dog. This is because they will bark to alert their owners if they see something unusual. 


Hunting dogs such as the Hokkaido are naturally vocal. They have different types of howls as well as barks that range from short to long barks. 

At home, they will often be seen as calm and less barking dogs, unless its play time, training time or, as we said earlier, to alert their owners if they see something suspicious. 


Even though the Hokkaido has evolved over time, their natural-born thing instincts do not fade way, even if the dog becomes a couch potato.

In addition to that, they have a great sense of smell which can track a scent for hours- it is the ultimate tracking dog. 

As a result, this breed has a high prey drive, which can be minimized through socializing them. 

Take them out often and let them meet new dogs or even other pets. In the long run, you will be surprised when your dog and cat are playing together outside. 

Dog breed Quick History 

The Hokkaido dates back to as early as the 12th century in Honshu, where its ancestors are said to have come from. 

In those times, the breed was just as rare as it is today. As such, many people never paid attention or even hear about the breed at all.

It was not until the early 20th century when these dogs were declared by the ministry of education to be “rare species under protection of the law”. 

It was at this declaration that the final name of the dog was decided to be “Hokkaido Inu”.

After the declaration, the dog gained some popularity in its home country, despite that it was still rare to find.

People were amazed by this dog would do. It could track a man that was hours away and be able to find him, it had great hunting skills.

 It was also very muscular-build and used to fight bears in the forest to protect their owners.

Soon it began to make its way into a lot of Japanese homes around the country where it made a good guard dog as well as great family companion. 

These days, it is very rare to find this breed outside of Japan, where there is an estimated population of 10, 000 to as high as 12, 000.

Because they are so rare outside the japan, importing this breed into the country attracts a lot high tariffs.  

Behavior Problems

  • Escaping

Because they have such high prey drives and amazing a scent-tracking nose, they tend to run off out of your compound to track down a scent.

This is not only dangerous to your dog, it is also dangerous to other people that the escaping dog may encounter. 

To avoid this behavior, make sure that you have a tall fence around your house to keep the dog from leaving. 

That being said, these dogs are not suitable for you if you are living in an apartment. 

Dog Breed Training Needs In Line With Their Temperament

  • Be patient with them, especially when they seem to be getting distracted by something around their surrounding
  • Reward their success
  • Do not use harsh methods of training as they may have an opposite effect on the dog overall training. 

Finding the Perfect Dog Breed Puppy

For information about these dogs, you can consider finding a breeder from Japan because most of the purebred dogs are found there.

Also, because they are so rare, be prepared to pay a thousand dollars or more for this one-of-a-kind breed.

Before you buy a puppy, always consider the temperaments of the dog. A lot of a dog’s temperaments are noticed as they get older. 

Final Word on the Hokkaido Inu- Temperament

If you like hunting, you will be amazed by what this dog can do. On the other hand, if you are not into hunting, you can play with your dog. 

Either way, they like to have fun with their owners. The Hokkaido Inu will be your best friend and an excellent Family pet. 


Hey, I’m Eddie, one of the publishers at Japanese Dog Breed Guides. And from an early age, dogs have been a massive part of my life. I remember the day my family brought home a Shiba Inu puppy dog, and we called him Ginger. It was love at first sight, no wonder I’m always partially gravitating towards Japanese dog breed. Growing up around a dog breed like the Shiba Inu opened up a new window into this rare dog breed of Japanese Origin. And you would think that having been through with more than one of them, I would lose interest. Strangely enough, my passion for these blue-eyed dogs has exponentially grown from strength to strength! The magic of owning a pet dog is the unconditional love they exhibit towards their owners. And the Japanese dog breeds are no different at sharing that love, which is something special. They’ll always be a part of my life and I hope yours too.

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