The Hokkaido, also called the Hokkaido Ken or Hokkaido Ainu, is a breed of medium-sized dogs developed in its native land for its working ability and hunting skills. It is sturdily built with a broad, slightly flat forehead, wedge-shaped muzzle, small eyes, triangular, erect ears, powerful and muscular neck, high-set withers, moderately deep chest, somewhat sloping shoulders, and a thick tail curled over its back.
|Other Names||Ainu dog, Ainu-ken, Do-ken, Seta|
|Coat||Harsh, straight outer coat, soft, dense undercoat|
|Color||Red, white, brindle, black, sesame, wolf-gray, black and tan|
|Category||Northern, Working, Spitz-type, Mountain Dog|
|Height||Females: 18-19 in
Males: 19-21 in
|Size of Litter||Approximately, 7 puppies|
|Temperament||Intelligent, devoted, brave, docile, alert|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Country Originated in||Japan|
|Competitive Registration/Qualification Information||ACR, ACA, APRI, DRA, CKC, NKC, FCI|
The Hokkaido dog, possibly the oldest Japanese breed, is thought to have evolved from the medium-sized hunting dogs Matagi-ken, which accompanied the Ainu people from Honshu to Hokkaido about 3,000 years ago. Later, the Ainu people were isolated in Hokkaido because of a surge in the Japanese population, and thus the Ainu dog had little influence from other breeds.
The breed was named the Hokkaido dog by an English zoologist Thomas Blankiston in 1869. In 1902, these dogs were part of a search operation for survivors of an expedition caught in heavy snow in the Hakkoda Mountains. In 1937, the Ministry of Education in Japan declared this breed as a rare species that is protected by law.
Although a determined hunter, defender, and guard dog, it has all the qualities of a well-behaved family companion. Despite its natural prey drive, the Hokkaido is known to get along well with other small animals and children if properly socialized at a young age. As a family pet, it is obedient, gentle, and home-loving.
In the hunting field, it shows great strength, stamina, and accurate judgment based on its inborn sense of smell and direction. It uses specialized sighting signals, including long or short barks and howls. Being able to endure cold weather, this hardy dog is strong enough to fight against wild boars and the Hokkaido brown bears.
Owing to its smart, biddable, and true personality, the Ainu dog can be quickly trained.
Introducing your Hokkaido puppy with other friendly pets in the neighborhood early makes good sense. Setting up play-dates with family members, your friends, and their children is a great way to start, but you may also take your dog to the park where it can explore and play with other dogs in a safe environment.
Whether it plays the role of a family pet or a fearless hunter, you should teach your Ainu dog to obey commands. It should know to respond to some basic commands like “sit,” “come,” “stay,” “leave it,” “down,” and “quiet.”
As an active working breed, the Hokkaido needs a quality dry food with about 30 percent protein content and approximately 20 percent fat content.