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

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

Large Game Hunter
Date of Origin

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

The Shikoku is one of only six spitz breeds native to Japan. The Shikoku originated on the island of Shikoku in the mountains of the Kochi Prefecture. He was 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 him with the Tosa Fighting Dog. When Japan suffered economic hardship starting in 1926, dog ownership became a luxury and he was 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 Skikoku, 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 Shikoku 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, the Shikoku was not a well-known breed. It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that he was imported into countries within the western hemisphere. The Shikoku was 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. He has a dense, double coat and ears that stand erect. His eyes are almond in shape, slanted and dark brown. He has a quizzical look to his sharp features. He has a wedge shaped head with a broad back skull and long, tapering muzzle. His nose is black with smaller nostrils; his lips are also black and tight fitting. The Shikoku is a muscular dog with a compact body. His topcoat is straight and harsh to the touch. His topcoat is longer around his neck and chest, on his tail and forming feathering on the back of his legs. He has a softer undercoat that is dense. He has strong hindquarters allowing him to make direction changes in an instant. His close fitting, well rounded feet allow him keep his footing on rough terrain. The Shikoku 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
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Shikoku straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Shikoku Breed Maintenance

The Shikoku is a seasonal shedder and will shed heavily once or twice a year. Because of his dense double coat, the Shikoku is not hypoallergenic. It is a good idea to brush him at least once a week to keep his coat looking glossy and healthy. Brush him using a slicker brush, metal comb and during times of heavy shedding, a deshedder or undercoat rake. Do not over-bathe him; he does not have a strong smell. Bathing him 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 his ears weekly and clean as needed. Check his nails every few weeks and clip as needed. A nail grinder may be used if he is not fond of the nail clippers. Set up a dental routine to ensure he has strong teeth and healthy gums. 

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

Shikoku Temperament

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

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Shikoku Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.6 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Shikoku Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Shikoku size stats at six months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 17 lbs
Female Shikoku size stats at six months
Height: 15 inches Weight: 17 lbs
12 Months
Male Shikoku size stats at 12 months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 37 lbs
Female Shikoku size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 37 lbs
18 Months
Male Shikoku size stats at 18 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 45 lbs
Female Shikoku size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 45 lbs

Shikoku Owner Experiences

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