Shikoku Dog Breed Information, Temperament, Facts With Pictures

Shikoku Inu dog breed

The Shikoku dog breed is a Japanese native pet dog that was originated in the Shikoku Islands, which is located in the southern part of Japan.

The Shikoku dog breed is no stranger to mainland Japan as this dog was originally bred to help ancient Japanese hunters who hunted wild game in the mountain ranges of Kochi Prefecture on the Island.

 As a hunting dog breed, this dog is very active, muscular and has a great running speed. 

Quick Facts About The Shikoku Inu Dog Breed.

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Temperament: Cautious, Intelligent, Energetic, Loyal, Agile, Brave

Height: Female: 43–49 cm, Male: 49–55 cm

Coat Colors: Red Sesame, Black Sesame, Sesame

Average Weight: Female: 16–25 kg, Male: 16–25 kg

Origin: Japan, Shikoku, Kochi

Dog Breed Temperament Overview

Dogs naturally have different temperaments. However, the same dog breed is likely to have the same temperaments because they have the same traits that they inherited from the same ancestor. 

Let us look at the details of the Shikoku’s characteristics.


This dog is very intelligent and it is known to be a smart learner. It picks up commands faster because it has a good memory.

However, they may show signs of stubbornness during training. To address this, make sure you sure the right training method- for instance, introducing a reward-based training.


The Shikoku Inu shows signs of great loyalty by always sticking close to their masters. They are generally not as independent as other dogs.

Because of this trait, they sometimes tend to be protective of their owners, making them an excellent family watchdog. 

However, their level of loyalty dramatically depends on your home and how they are treated. 


The Shikoku Inu is the most confident dog among the other Japanese breeds. The best part is that their confidence will never surpass the loyalty that they have for their masters. 

As such, they are a balance of confidence and master’s respect. 

On top of that, they are very determined to accomplish a task that you have given them. So make sure to give them something challenging to do from time to time. It will refresh their mind and make them smarter.   


While they may not be as gentle as other breeds, the Shikoku Inu definitely has a good level of gentleness around their owners. 

As such, they can easily play with kids.

Note: They must be kept under minimal supervision if they are playing with very small children as they might unintentionally knock a child over. 

Also, if your kids are playing with other kids, the dog may mistake it as a conflict, in which case their prey drive will kick in.

Affectionate Shikoku Inu

Despite that they have such a high prey drive, these dogs are actually very affectionate with their owners. 

When indoors, these dogs are calm and they like to cuddle.


The Shikoku Inu, as we mentioned earlier, is very protective of its owners. This might make it hard for you to have visitors over, especially if you do not put your dog on a leash. 

They bark at anyone whom they are not familiar with. Despite all this, they are very friendly around their family and familiar faces.

Take some time to introduce this dog to your friends and new family members. 


Similar to its close cousin, the Shiba Inu, this dog has a very proud temperament and it likes to entertain its owners. 

You will often see it running around the compound- chasing anything that catches their sight. They also like to dig. 

Shikoku Inu Is A Social Dog

When it comes to being social, the Shikoku Inu can probably end up last. They do not like to associate with other dogs. As such, this should be the only dog in your compound. 

Also, because of their high prey drive, they do not get along well with other pets like cats or even smaller animals. 

Fortunately, this behavior can be minimized if you start socializing them while they are still puppies. Take them to the dog park and let them learn how to get along with other dogs. 


Due to the purpose that it was bred for- hunting, this dog is highly active and has a level of energy that you wouldn’t believe. 

They were also bred to survive in long hunting trips. This is not the type of dog you should get if you are not an active person yourself.

On top of that, energetic dogs like this breed need a lot of exercises to burn away some of that energy.

Exercises must be mental, to stimulate their brain, and physical, to maintain their overall health and keep them from becoming too fat.


The Shikoku Inu loves to play with its owners. Whether you want to play with them inside- games like hide and seek, or outside to play fetch, this dog will adjust to the environment that you want to play in. 

In addition to that, playing with them is a good form of exercising your dog and if you can play with your dog every day, it will be the only exercise they ever need. 


This is one characteristic that every hunting dog has. Being alert during hunting makes them aware of their surroundings.

At home, the alertness enables them to be great guard dogs. No intruder will get passed this dog and not be seen.


When it comes to declaring whether the breed is a loud one or a quiet one, these dogs fall right in the middle. 

They are calm dogs and will bark less indoors. When they are outdoors, you will hear these dog bark a lot, especially during training time or playtime.


While the Shikoku dog breed may have evolved over the years to adapt to being a family pet, they still have their hunting traits deep down in their temperamental traits. 

From time to time, you will likely see those instincts manifest, especially when they chase down animals like rabbits or squirrels.

Shikoku Inu Quick History

The breed dates back to a couple of centuries in Shikoku Island, from which its name came from. 

It is one of the six native Japanese breeds which all belong within the Spitz family of dogs.  

It was created mainly to hunt wild boar in the Kochi Prefecture districts– the population of boars there was said to be high at that time. 

Later, it was recognized in the AKC Foundation stock service because it did not qualify to be registered under the American Kennel Club. 

This was one of the reasons why the breed was not as popular in the US. 

The Canadian Kennel Club put this breed in the miscellaneous class, which is where breeds are categorized when they are waiting to be recognized in the future. 

An organization which is part of the American Kennel Club located in japan called the “Japan Kennel Club” recognized the Shikoku Inu in the early 20th century

This dog was declared as a National Monument of Japan in 1937.

Behavior Problems

Barking and chewing is one of the main concern for pet owners, Luckily, Shikoku dog breeds are neither of the two. Naturally, this dog breed is calm collected and enjoys to keep to themselves.

Pretty much like their distant cousins, the Tosa Inu, this dog breed has an amiable temperament most families look for in a pet.

However, being an alert dog breed, they tend to bark when they are left alone when they notice something moving.

Because they are so attached to their owners, they tend to get lonely when they feel ignored or when you have been away from home for a while.

Hence, they will howl and bark quite a lot. 

And, if you are taking your dog out for a walk, make sure they are on either a dog walking harness or a durable pull and release dog leash.

This goes without saying. The Shikoku Inu has a high prey drive as previously mentioned. 

Whether you have left them home on a leash or you have taken them on a walk with you, they will pull the leash when they see an animal. 

On top of that, they tend to pull the leash when their nose picks up a scent that they want to follow.

Shikoku Inu dogs easily get bored when they are left alone for long period of time. As a result, they tend to develop an instinctive skill of being escape artists.

Though they can be trained to keep busy withing your boundaries, escaping is one thing that most dog owners of this breed have reported.

 Because they have a great sense of smell, as mentioned earlier, they will leave your compound when they pick up an unusual scent.

As such, it is always best to make sure that your compound is enclosed with a fence to keep this dog from escaping and getting into unnecessary trouble. Also, train your dog to be used to a leash. This minimizes this behavior. 

Training Needs

  • Introduce a reward-based training to keep them from distractions
  • Never use harsh methods of training
  • Keep the training short- preferably about 15 minutes in duration 

Finding the Perfect Shikoku Inu puppy

  • Make sure you find a reputable breeder if you want this dog breed. Go for a breeder that resides in their country of origin so that you should increase your chances of finding a purebred. 
  • The costs of this dog breed may vary depending on where you decide to buy the breed but you should expect a price higher than $800 

Final words

  • The Shikoku is also known as the Kochi Ken, which simply means boarhound. This was their main hunting game years ago
  • These dogs very easily adapt to any sort of living conditions as well as weather changes. Whether it gets extremely cold, that won’t affect the activeness of the Shikoku Inu. 
  • Make sure that you feed the dog food that matches their age and activity levels. 
  • In terms of the temperamental traits that we mentioned above, some Shikoku breeds may have different behaviors. It all depends on how they are trained and socialized when they are at young age. The key here is always to teach them!


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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