Kai Ken – The Rare Japanese Hunter

The importance of hunting dogs stems back to thousands of years ago, wherein people used them on the field to hunt down small to large mammals. In various places of the world, there are traces of history when it comes to the use of dogs in hunting; one of the countries that are known to utilize hunting dogs is Japan.

Japan is known for its greatness in developing various breeds that are known across the globe. Some of the dogs that originated in Japan is the Japanese Spitz, Japanese Chin, Akita Inu, and so on. However, not all Japanese dogs are popular, and some are even considered a rare breed, even in Japan. Among these rare breeds is the Kai Ken.

The Kai Ken is a medium-sized breed that is bred for hunting. It is rare even in Japan, and it holds fascinating characteristics, which explains its rarity. The greatness of the breed makes it part of the Nihon Ken, also known as the six native Japanese breeds. Just by looking at this breed, it is certain that the Kai Ken is a dog that many dog enthusiasts would surely love.

In this article, we are going to look into the origins and characteristics of the Kai Ken, as well as ways on how to take care of it.

Origins of the Kai Ken

As mentioned earlier, Kai Ken is known as one of Japan’s native breeds, also called Nihon Ken. We can trace back its origins to the early 20th century, and similar to other breeds, its name is derived from its birthplace: the mountainous regions of Kai province. Ever since its early existence in the region, the Kai Ken has already proved its expertise as a useful hunting dog capable of working on various targets from small to big-games. The reputation of the Kai Ken captured the attention of dog breeders, which led to the creation of the oldest and largest Kai Ken registry in 1931 called the Kai Ken Aigokai.

Years after establishing the Kai Ken Aigokai, the breed was introduced to the Japanese Kennel Club. The greatness of the Kai Ken was not limited within the country; it didn’t take long for it to make its introduction in the United States, mainly in the 1980s. There were no concrete records of the breed’s history in the United States because of the language barrier, but there are accounts showing the breed’s existence during the late 20th century. In the span of fifty years, roughly twenty puppies were imported to the United States, which built the foundations of the Kai Ken outside Japan. Over the years, the Kai Ken continued to develop and reached the stage that it is today.

Today, there are two known variations of the Kai Ken: Kaikuro and Dairo. The Kaikuro showcases a thicker and more massive body; it is also known for its bear-type face. On the other hand, the Dairo displays its sleeker physique, which is thinner and longer; it is also known for its deer hunting expertise. However, despite the Kai Ken’s varieties, the Japanese people do not consider them as two types; they admire the breed no matter what type. The Kai Ken built its reputation as a remarkable hunting dog and companion.

Characteristics of the Kai Ken

Height: 15.5 – 19.5 inches

Weight: 20 – 40 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

Hypoallergenic: No

From Kai Ken’s incredible history, it is apparent that this dog possesses fantastic qualities that make it a lovely dog. It is a medium-sized breed that could stand up to more than nineteen inches tall and weighs up to forty pounds. Its small-medium size is enough for it to dominate the field. Despite its size, its body is equipped with a muscular and athletic physique, making it more competent as a hunting dog.

Speaking of hunting, Kai Ken earned its reputation as a hunting dog ever since its early years of existence. Its sleek and powerful body allows it to track down targets, big or small. Its robust body plus its finesse make a perfect combination; it is a clear definition of a substantial and sleek hunting dog, as well as an adorable family companion.