By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 17th November 2022

Japanese Terrier


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 17th November 2022

The Japanese Terrier is a small sized breed, believed to be a descendant of the pointers, fox terrier varieties as well as the dog breeds indigenous to Japan. Characterized by a square-shaped body, smooth glossy coat, wide forehead, well-defined muzzle, high set ears that is folded forward, deep chest, black nose, oval-shaped eyes as well as a thin tail, this breed is covered with black hair all over his head along with a fully white body along with black spots, giving it a unique appearance. These rare breeds, common to Japan, serves as an excellent companion dog because of its lively nature.

Japanese Terrier Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesNipon terrier, Nihon teria, Nihon terrier
NicknamesMikado terrier, Kobe terrier, Oyuki terrier
CoatShort, fine, glossy, slick, smooth, dense
ColorWhite and tan, black and tan, black
GroupTerrier, Rare dog
Lifespan/ Life Expectancy10-12 years
Height8-13 inches
Weight5-9 pounds
Behavioral Characteristics Lively, affectionate, spirited, intelligent
Good with childrenYes but not very small kids
Shedding (Does it shed)Low-moderate
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationDRA, ACA


The history of the Japanese Terrier dates back to the 1600s when they were believed to have been developed by crossing the breeds (German Pinscher, Smooth Fox Terrier) brought along by the Dutch and English traders with the local canines.  Some opine that they were initially used to hunt vermin and gradually became a companion dog.  However, in due course of time, they developed into exclusive lap dogs particularly along the ports of Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Kobe.  Kuro, a male Japanese Terrier, born in 1916, that was an English Toy Terrier- Bull Terrier cross is regarded as the founding stock of this breed. Selective breeding began in the 1920s, and it attained recognition by the Japanese Kennel Club in 1930. Its numbers declined devastatingly after the Second World War, and at present, it is not much popular outside its native land. However, its fanciers in Europe are gradually picking up, with the UKC and FCI having acknowledged it. The Japanese Terrier is not a part of the Japanese Spitz group unlike breeds such as the Akita and Shiba Inu.


This lively, spirited, affectionate and energetic breed is a great lap dog loving to be cuddled and petted by its family. They are suited for households where someone of the other would be present to cater to its needs. Leaving it alone for prolonged periods might make it bored as well as destructive.

They are wary and cautious about any unknown face entering into their premises and may bark to intimate the owner about the same. They would get along well with children though older ones are preferable over younger kids, as the little ones could indulge in handling the small dog roughly resulting in any injury.

They would also share a good rapport with dogs of their size, though interacting with larger ones could pose a problem. However, some of them develop a unique inclination towards their master and may get possessive if he shows his affection to other pets of the family.

The Japanese Terrier is not a good option for homes with noncanine pets as they may have an urge to chase them.



These active dogs need to be exercised on a daily basis, sufficing with a long walk and sufficient play time. They cannot bear extreme hot or cold weathers so ensure not to take them out when the temperature is soaring high or chilling cold. They would be fine in an apartment provided you have a lot of interesting toys to keep them stimulated mentally.


These low to moderate shedders need to be brushed once or to times in a week to remove any dead hair. Bathe them when needed and also brush your Japanese Terrier’s teeth, clean its eyes and ears as well as trim its nails on a regular basis.

Health Problems

Though a healthy breed some of the common problems may suffer from is patellar luxation, ear infections, and eye problems.


Though training the Japanese Terrier would not be difficult it needs a firm master to handle it well.

  • Crate training these affectionate dogs is essential since their puppy days to help them get over their problems of separation anxiety.
  • Socialize it properly by taking it out to dog parks and making it meet big and small canines so that it may learn to live with them peacefully and not get possessive.


Feed your Japanese Terrier good quality dog food along with nutritious homemade diet.

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