Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken - Origins, Characteristics and Care

Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Among all these incredible dogs categorized as Spitz type, we...

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Among all these incredible dogs categorized as Spitz type, we present to you in this article the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken. This small dog of Japanese origin is characterized by its friendly and playful character. Formerly, it was used as a hunting dog, as we will see later in this breed sheet dedicated to the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken, nowadays families appreciate it more and more as a companion dog.

Did you know that the origin of this dog goes back more than 3,000 years? We invite you to continue reading this PlanetAnimal breed sheet to learn all about the characteristics of the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken.


  • Asia
  • Japan

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group V

Physical Characteristics

  • Muscular
  • Proportional
  • Long ears


  • Average


  • 45-55

Adult Weight

  • 10-25

Life expectancy

  • 10-12


  • Balanced
  • Society
  • Very loyal
  • Smart
  • Active
  • Docile

Ideal for

  • Children
  • Apartment
  • House
  • The hunt
  • The guard

Recommended climate

  • Cold

Hair type

  • Medium
  • Hard
  • Big

Origins of Kishu inu or Kishu ken

The Kishu ken or Kishu inu is completely different from other dogs for its long and unique history. Indeed, these dogs lived in the Japanese archipelago 3000 years ago. Its exact origin remains unknown, but it is thought that it would have shared a filiation with dogs that accompanied groups of nomads from China.

" This canine breed owes its name Kishu to the eponymous mountainous region, which is located in the Japanese districts of Wakayama and Mie.Historically, the Kishu ken or Kishu inu was used as a hunting dog specializing in hunting wild boar and deer. In 1934, the breed was awarded the honor of being declared a natural monument, which allowed the formalization of its existence and the name Kishu inu or Kishu ken. Nevertheless, this breed saw itself seriously threatened with the arrival of the Second World War, a period during which it practically disappeared. Currently, the breed seems to have regained stability, slowly recovering in the country where it was born, Japan. Nowadays, the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken is a dog perfectly adapted to city life."

Characteristics of the Kishu inu or Kishu Ken

The Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken dog breed is of medium size, its weight varies between 16 and 18 kilograms and its height at the withers is between 46 and 55 centimeters. The males should ideally measure 52 centimeters and the females 49 centimeters, it is necessary to count a margin of more or less 3 centimeters.

The Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken has a well-proportioned body that has extremely well-developed musculature and a sickle-shaped tail that curls on itself. It is a broad-boned dog with a strong and solid constitution, this includes its legs which are powerful and robust. It has dense fur, covering the entire body and appearing longer at the tail as well as on the sides of the muzzle.

The head of this dog is square-shaped and it has a long muzzle that tapers to a nose that is usually black in color. Its ears are straight, small and triangular and its honey-colored eyes are round and expressive.

Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken colors

Before 1934 Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken were accepted in the standard with markings of a secondary color on the base one. However, from this date, only unicolor dogs are now accepted.Among the accepted colors, we find sesame, red and white.

The Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken puppy

The Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken is a very sociable dog, but rather wary with strangers. Fortunately, this problem can be solved easily thanks to a good effective socialization from an early age, by accustoming the young puppy to being in contact with other animals and people outside his family unit.

In general, the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken puppy shares great similarities with the majority of other puppies: he is curious, playful and cuddly. He needs a lot of affection and tenderness and, of course, he loves spending hours playing. He is usually an obedient and disciplined puppy.

Character of Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken

The Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken is a lively, alert and very alert dog. This is why he has always been considered an excellent hunting dog.This character trait associated with its natural distrust of strangers has led it to become an excellent watchdog or shepherd. It is a really active breed, but which, when it is at home, does not show nervousness and knows how to behave - taking into account an education made beforehand. This dog needs exercise and constant movement, it is curious by nature and loves to explore the environment around it. Among its main characteristics, we can point out its tendency to be cautious and particularly intelligent.

On the other hand, it should be said that it adapts smoothly to any type of environment, but keep in mind that it does not tolerate loneliness well. With his family, the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken is very cuddly, confident, docile and loyal. On the other hand, with strangers, he is shy and reticent by nature and if he feels in danger, he is able to show signs of aggression.

Caring for a Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken

As mentioned above, this breed of dog is characterized by its energy and an active nature, which is why it needs daily exercise. But not just physically, he also needs mental stimulation, as his great intellect needs constant nurturing and nurturing. We recommend that you make him play mental stimulation games, such as search games or games designed to stimulate him mentally.

This dog has dense fur, so he is well protected from the cold, but he suffers from the heat. Pay attention to the possible symptoms of thermal shock if it is too hot. If you live in an area where the climate is hot, we recommend that you take him to a groomer who knows how to keep his coat in a condition that will allow him not to suffer too much from the heat. On the other hand, this fur must be brushed every day in order to remove dirt and dead hair.

As for the diet of the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken, as with all dogs, it is recommended to opt for a balanced and quality diet, whether you feed him kibble or homemade food. If your preference is for a diet based on kibble, we advise you to buy natural kibble.

Education of Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken

The education of Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken must begin as soon as possible in order to establish the rules of the home and thus establish a peaceful and happy cohabitation. To do this, it is essential to socialize him from an early age, to set the rules, to teach him to relieve himself in the street, to offer him a comfortable basket as well as a space where he can relax and feel safe.

As for education, the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken is a docile dog, especially with his human companions whom he obeys without any problem.However, he can be stubborn and obstinate, which can sometimes complicate training. He is an intelligent dog, very persevering and you will see in just a few sessions the great progress he will make. As always, and as with all animals, results will show if proper training techniques are used. These techniques must be based on respect for the animal, avoiding any aggression and punishment.

The socialization of this breed deserves special attention, because if you want your Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken to establish good relations with strangers, you will have to get him used to it little by little, since, by nature, he is a slightly reserved and shy dog. If you get him used to being around other animals and people, he will have absolutely no problems socializing.

He alth of the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken

The Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken stands out for its iron he alth. Experts explain that their good he alth is linked to their history which dates back to time immemorial, indicating that these ancient dog breeds present fewer he alth problems due to natural selection having already operated on the breed.

The most common diseases in a Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken breed dog are hip dysplasia, patella luxation and digestive problems, as well as gastric torsion. In some cases, congenital diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy or hypothyroidism may occur. But in general, the Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken dogs are in good he alth if they receive all the care they need, and to do this you will need to take them to the vet periodically, have them vaccinated and deworm them.

Where to adopt a Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken?

Although it is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, seeing a Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken outside Japan is rare, so adopting one outside Japanese borders is therefore complicated. You have another option, which is to get in touch with shelters in Japan and assess the possibility of going there to adopt a Kishu Inu or Kishu Ken.

If you find a specimen in a shelter in your area, before adopting it you will need to make sure you are able to support it.

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