35-55 lbs
Kochi-ken, Shikoku-Ken, Mikawa Inu, Japanese Wolfdog

The Shikoku is a typical Spitz breed and is cautious around strangers. They have a brave and loyal heart and will protect their family no matter what. They do need a strong leader to show them their proper place within the family. The Shikoku should start their training and socialization as early as possible to ensure they are a well-adjusted adult. If not properly socialized, they can become overly aggressive with other dogs and with people. They have a high prey drive and are not necessarily the best choice for a family with small children or other pets. This dog will get along well with older children that they have been raised with.  

purpose Purpose
Large Game Hunter
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry

Shikoku Health

Average Size
Male Shikoku size stats
Height: 19-22 inches Weight: 35-55 lbs
Female Shikoku size stats
Height: 17-19 inches Weight: 35-55 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • None Known
Occasional Tests
  • OFA on hips and elbows
  • Complete Physical Examination

Shikoku Breed History

This impressive canine is one of only six Spitz breeds native to Japan. They originated on the island of Shikoku in the mountains of the Kochi Prefecture. Developed by the Matagi or hunters who remained true to ancient Japanese traditions, the Shikoku is a large game hunter who was first known as the Tosa Ken but was eventually renamed when people kept confusing them with the Tosa Fighting Dog. When Japan suffered economic hardship starting in 1926, dog ownership became a luxury and they were on the verge of extinction. A study was conducted by Haruo Isogai, a cynologist, and he identified only six breeds that were native to Japan and have a Spitz heritage: the Shikoku, Shiba Inu, Hokkaido Inu, Kishu Ken, Kai Ken and Akita. The Nihon Ken Hozonkai or NIPPO was formed in 1928 and dedicated itself to the preservation of these six breeds. NIPPO’s initial focus was on the Shiba Inu and Akita but they shifted their focus to the Shikoku in 1937. NIPPO began the reconstructive effort of the dog by having the breed declared a living natural monument of Japan. Three lines of Shikoku developed from the reconstructive effort. All three of these lines were named after the region within Kochi Prefecture where they originated: the Hata, the Awa and the Hongawa. Because of the remote location of Kochi Prefecture, this breed was not well known. It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that they were imported into countries within the western hemisphere. They were accepted in the Foundation Stock Service of the American Kennel Club in 2014. 

Shikoku Breed Appearance

The Shikoku is a medium-sized dog with the typical curled Spitz tail. They have a dense, double coat and ears that stand erect. Their eyes are almond in shape, slanted and dark brown. They have a quizzical look to their sharp features. They have a wedge shaped head with a broad back skull and long, tapering muzzle. Their nose is black with smaller nostrils; the lips are also black and tight fitting. A muscular dog with a compact body, they have a topcoat that is straight and harsh to the touch. The topcoat is longer around the neck and chest, on the tail and forms feathering on the back of his legs. They have a softer undercoat that is dense. An attractive canine, they have strong hindquarters that allow them to make direction changes in an instant. Their close fitting, well-rounded feet allow them to keep their footing on rough terrain. They can be found in red sesame, black sesame, sesame, red, and black and tan.

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

Shikoku Breed Maintenance

This thick-coated canine is a seasonal shedder and will shed heavily once or twice a year. Because of their dense double coat, the Shikoku is not hypoallergenic. It is a good idea to brush them at least once a week to keep their coat looking glossy and healthy. Brush your dog using a slicker brush and metal comb. During times of heavy shedding, use a deshedder or undercoat rake. Do not over-bathe your companion; they do not have a strong smell. Bathing them every few months or even three times a year is sufficient. Use a mild shampoo that will not cause skin irritation. Be sure to check your pup's ears weekly and clean as needed. Check the nails every few weeks and clip as needed. A nail grinder may be used if your dog is not fond of the nail clippers. Set up a dental routine to ensure strong teeth and healthy gums. 

Brushes for Shikoku
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Shikoku requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Shikoku Temperament

This alert dog is cautious around strangers and is a good judge of character. If they do not like a person, they will avoid them. They are very loyal to the family and will protect them. Socialization is important and should be started as soon as possible to ensure they do not become overly aggressive. An experienced owner is ideal for the Shikoku because they can be a handful if they feel they can take the lead role within the family. Children should respect this dog and for this reason, play time with small children is not ideal since they tend to not be able to understand this concept. Older children who have been raised with them will earn their trust and respect. They have a high prey drive and should never be left alone with small pets such as cats, ferrets or guinea pigs. They need plenty of exercise and social interaction with the family or they will become discontent and cause problems within the home.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Shikoku Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.6 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Shikoku Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Shikoku size stats at six months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 17.5 lbs
Female Shikoku size stats at six months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 17.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Shikoku size stats at 12 months
Height: 19.5 inches Weight: 37.5 lbs
Female Shikoku size stats at 12 months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 37.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Shikoku size stats at 18 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs
Female Shikoku size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs

Shikoku Owner Experiences

Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd