44-66 lbs
Ainu-ken, Seta, Ainu dog, Ainu Inu, Do-Ken, Hokkaidoken

The Hokkaido is a spitz-type, medium sized dog. He is a hardy, well muscled dog with great stamina. He is very bonded to his owner and will remain devoted for life. It can be very difficult to adopt an older Hokkaido because of their devotion to their owners. He is able to handle extremely cold climates and does not do particularly well in warmer regions unless he spends most of his time in air conditioning. He is not recommended for the first time dog owner or families with young children. The Hokkaido can be a good child’s dog provided he is raised with the child, has been properly socialized and understands the child is to be respected.

purpose Purpose
Big game hunter
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry

Hokkaido Health

Average Size
Male Hokkaido size stats
Height: 19-20 inches Weight: 44-66 lbs
Female Hokkaido size stats
Height: 18-19 inches Weight: 44-66 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
Minor Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cryptorchidism
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Hypodontia
Occasional Tests
  • OFA
  • CERF
  • X-Rays
  • Full Physical Examination

Hokkaido Breed History

The Hokkaido dates back to ancient times, although nobody knows his exact date of origin. It is thought that he comes from a Japanese breed called Matagi-ken. These dogs came from the Tohoku region by the Ainu people during the Jomon period. The Tohoku region is very isolated and the development of a new breed was kept hidden from the rest of the world until 1869 when Thomas W. Blankiston, an English zoologist discovered the breed and gave him the Hokkaido name. In 1902, the Hokkaido gained popularity when he was used in a search and rescue operation for an army expedition. The soldiers were caught in a heavy snow storm when crossing the Hakkoda Mountains in the Aomori Prefecture. Because of his ability to withstand very cold temperatures, he was able to search for survivors within the deep snows. The Hokkaido was selected to be on Japan’s protected rare species list in 1937. The Ministry of Education officially changed his name from Ainu dog to Hokkaido-Inu. Most Japanese people call him Hokkaido-Ken. He gained popularity in 2007 when a Hokkaido was used in a commercial for SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company. The commercial won the ACC Grand Prix Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Award. The director was American and helped spotlight the breed in the United States. Despite his earned fame in the commercial series for SoftBank, the Hokkaido is still rarely found outside of Japan. His look has not evolved much from ancient times, he is fierce looking and very similar to his cousin, the Akita. It is suggested that he also descends from the Chow Chow and Shar Pei because most Hokkaido have blue-black tongues.

Hokkaido Breed Appearance

The Hokkaido is a well-muscled dog who looks intimidating to strangers. He is a medium sized dog with thick bone, but he is also light on his feet. He has small ears that stand erect and stand at a right angle to his brow. He has dark brown eyes that are small and triangularly set. Many Hokkaido have blue-black tongues with black spots on the tongue. His nose, lips and eye rims are black. He has a harsh double coat that is straight. His undercoat is very dense and soft to touch. His coat needs to be thick enough to allow him to stay out in the cold weather for long periods of time. His coat is medium-long. His tail curls over his back in typical spitz style. His tail is also thick and bushy.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Hokkaido eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Hokkaido nose
Coat Color Possibilities
gray Hokkaido coat
black Hokkaido coat
white Hokkaido coat
brindle Hokkaido coat
red Hokkaido coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Hokkaido straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Hokkaido Breed Maintenance

The Hokkaido has a very dense double coat that does require weekly brushing. He will have intense seasonal shedding twice a year, in the spring and fall. Use a pin brush and metal comb when grooming to ensure that the undercoat is also being fully brushed. A deshedder can be used when he is shedding to make the process easier. Daily grooming is recommended when he is shedding. Typically, the Hokkaido does not need to be bathed often. Three to four baths a year are recommended to loosen hair and remove dirt. Use a mild shampoo on him. Because of the density of his coat, it will take a long time for him to dry. Trim his nails every two to three weeks or as needed to ensure they are kept neat and tidy. Check his ears weekly and clean as needed. A dental plan should be adhered to so he has healthy teeth and gums.

Brushes for Hokkaido
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Hokkaido requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Hokkaido Temperament

The Hokkaido was bred to be a fearless hunter who could take down large predators. He is determined but also loyal. With proper training, he will be an excellent family companion for families with older children. He is not recommended for families with young children. He is also not recommended for first time dog owners. Because he is extremely devoted to his owner it is difficult to re-home an older Hokkaido. He needs constant training so he understands his role within the family. He is a quick learner but can also be a stubborn dog. It is best to incorporate his training into his daily exercise routine to reinforce your leadership role. He does require a sturdy fence but he should never be left alone outside for long periods of time. It is his greatest desire to be with his family and will become destructive when left alone. The Hokkaido does do well with other medium to large size dogs that he has been raised with but should be closely monitored with other small pets such as cats, rabbits, ferrets and toy breed dogs.

Hokkaido Owner Experiences

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