The Shikoku is a small dog that resembles a wolf. Named after the island of Shikoku in its native Japan, Shikokus are a part of a group of dogs called “primitive” breeds because of their traceable ancient origins. While all dogs are ancient in that they stem from the same wolves, primitive breeds are unique in that they have retained the same characteristics for thousands of years.
Shikokus are described as the “middle ground” between the small Shiba Inu and the much larger Akita Inu. They were bred to hunt medium sized game, such as deer, and were well loved in Japan for thousands of years.
Shikokus are not as popular outside of Japan as Shibas or Akitas, but they are well worth the effort if prospective owners are interested in this type of dog. They are definitely unique in the dog world. They are similar in temperament to other Japanese breeds, being very intelligent, somewhat aloof, strongly independent, and almost cat like in their behavior. They are an attractive and clean-cut looking breed that look a little bit like foxes.
Shikokus, despite being bred as hunting dogs for thousands of years, actually adapt quite well to apartment living. They need a lot of physical activity and can’t be cooped up all day, but they are also very happy curling up at their owners’ feet to relax. They also would do well in a suburban or rural home, especially if that home includes a yard where they can run. They do well with other dogs but are not always great with children—it will depend largely on the individual dog and children involved. Shikokus are easy to train, though, so with proper socialization and mature children they should do well.
As with all dogs, Shikokus require a good diet and proper care to stay healthy. Unlike some other breeds, however, Shikokus have delicate constitutions and must be exceptionally well cared for or they may develop illnesses. Because of this tendency, finding a reliable and reputable Shikokus breeder is extremely important. Prospective owners should choose breeders who do health testing and keep healthy Shikokus.
Shikokus are described as having “good judgement,” which is certainly an unusual description for a dog.
Explore some Embark dogs that share Shikoku ancestry.