Shikoku – The Energetic Japanese Hunter

Japan has been known to produce several breeds that possess excellent traits. Breeders often recognize these breeds for their exceptional hunting skills, good nature, and fascinating appearance. Furthermore, Japanese dogs have a significant part in the country’s history; they helped early people in the hunting field to gather food and other necessities. In other words, these dogs played an essential role in their survival. 

A great example of these elegant and powerful Japanese hunting dogs is the Shikoku. This dog once helped the Matagi hunters in the mountain ranges of Kochi, which is why it is also called the Kochi-ken. Besides the breed’s beautiful appearance, dog breeders admire it for its substantial and affectionate characteristics. It is a great combination of a working dog and a family companion. It has the versatility and talent of a hunting dog, and its positive nature makes it perfectly suitable for being a pet. 

Moreover, one trait that you would easily notice in the Shikoku is its hunting skills. Besides its excellent work in the hunting field, this dog is known to be extremely eager to please its master. It is an enthusiastic breed that would make sure to get the job done. If you are looking for a strong and devoted canine companion that works well in various types of activities, the Shikoku is definitely suitable for the job. 

Origins of the Shikoku

We can trace back the origins of the Shikoku to thousands of years ago. It is believed that these dogs originated from ancient Japanese dogs known for dominating the hunting field. Ever since the early development of the Shikoku, it was used to hunt boars in the mountainous areas of Kochi. During this time, the Shikoku quickly gained recognition as a hunting dog. It also acquired the nickname “Kochi-ken” – which means Kochi dog, mainly because of their excellent work in the Kochi Prefecture. 

Interestingly, there were three varieties of the Shikoku; each variety is named after its place of birth. The breed variations include the Awa, Hongawa, and Hata, all having similarities when it comes to working in the field. It is believed that Hongawa was the purest of all varieties, mainly because of its isolation from the outside world. 

Over the years, the Shikoku remained to be a significant part of the mountainous region. This built gained recognition for its toughness and substantial body capable of working in harsh terrain. Furthermore, many people admire the dog for its strong characteristics and gentle nature, which is why a National Monument was built for the breed in 1937. 

Characteristics of the Shikoku

Height: 17 – 22 inches

Weight: 35 – 55 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years

Hypoallergenic: No

One thing that you’ll quickly notice in the Shikoku is its beautiful coat and muscular body. The coat showcases a thick coat; the outer layer is harsh and straight, while the undercoat is soft and denser. Its coat is tough enough to protect its body from the harsh environment, especially in the mountainous region. Furthermore, the Shikoku’s sturdy coat comes in various colors, including red, black-and-tan, or sesame. 

Underneath the thick coat is a muscular and athletic physique. It could stand up to roughly twenty-two inches tall and weighs up to fifty-five pounds. Because of its medium-large body, it could work effectively in the field. Its strong body allows it to run fast and hunt boars easily. 

In terms of the breed’s skills, it is known for being able to work in various types of canine tasks. As mentioned earlier, however, the Shikoku specialized in hunting boars many years ago. Substantial body and keen instincts are both important features used by the Shikoku to hunt in the field. Besides possessing outstanding hunting traits, the Shikoku is also equipped with other qualities to help it work in the field. Many breeders admire the Shikoku for its relentless energy and alert nature. These traits allow the Shikoku to work for hours without rest. Alertness is vital for hunting dogs, which also allows them to work on other tasks, such as guarding. Enthusiasm is another trait that makes the Shikoku more attractive. It is the type of dog that would make sure to get the job done since it is eager to please its master.