Shikoku is one of six breeds of Japanese Spitz. Like another Japanese Spitz, akita, which is much more popular than him, is not a dog for everyone. Despite his smaller stature, he is very strong, fast and independent.
At first glance, shikoku draws attention to its natural appearance. The temperament of these dogs is also very interesting. It differs definitely in some respects from the disposition of better known akita and shiba, although it also has common features.
Shikoku are dogs full of energy and curiosity about the world. A great joy of life is visible in their behavior. Very intelligent and smart, they like to learn new things. It is these two properties that distinguish them from the larger and smaller cousins.
They are friendly to shikoku people, although strangers are treated by them from a distance. It depends on the particular person and dog – they accept some quickly, while others arouse their distrust. Socializing with strangers is important at the puppy age.
Shikoku herds are extremely contacted and affectionate towards home members. A well-behaved representative of this breed works perfectly as a companion dog. He is a forgiving companion of children.
When it comes to relationships with other animals, we must not forget that shikoku is a hunting breed, endowed with strong hunting instincts. Of course, a dog accustomed in his youth, for example, to a cat, can live with him – but he will still want to chase Mruczek in the yard. It’s better not to leave smaller animals alone …
You should also be careful when meeting other dogs, because shikoku can be dominant towards same-sex quadrupeds.
Shikoku. Training and education
However, one cannot forget that shikoku is a primitive dog. Typical for Spitz is his independence. You cannot expect blind obedience from him. You have to outsmart him and make him want to do what we want. Experience in training with positive methods will definitely be useful here.
When arranging a dog of this breed, iron consistency is extremely important. When the rules of the game are clearly established and the shikoku is convinced that cooperation with people is attractive, training them becomes pure pleasure. Then you can be tempted to train in various dog sports, such as agility or sports obedience.
Who is this race for?
Shikoku requires an owner who already has some experience in raising dogs and will be able to gain authority from him, and on the other hand, respect the independence of the primitive race.
Shikoku. Advantages and disadvantages
independent and stubborn
has a strong hunting instinct
can be aggressive towards other dogs
attached to the family
less stubborn and independent than the other Native Japanese breeds
easy to care for
Shikoku is famous for its very good health, it is resistant to various weather conditions. There are no specific genetic problems known for this breed. Egitte van Veghel, who has been growing shikoku for 12 years, ensures that she has never had the slightest health problems with her pupils.
Shikoku is not particularly demanding in terms of nutrition. You can give him ready-made food or food prepared at home.
Care for this spitz is easy. Just brushing regularly, more intense during the molting period, and bathing if necessary.
Shikoku is one of six breeds of Japanese Spitz recognized by FCI. Along with kishu, hokkaido and kai, it is among the medium-sized Spitz. All four, unlike large akita and small shiba, are very rare.
Shikoku comes from dogs inhabiting Japan in ancient times, and they came there from the Asian continent. The breed was formed in the mountainous districts of the Kochi prefecture on the island of Shikoku (Shikoku), in natural isolation from other quadrupeds. They were hunting dogs bred for hunting boars and deer. There were two main lines – east and west, and within them five sub-lines.
Only in the twentieth century shikoku were really appreciated. The Japanese began to document and protect their national races. Dogs from regions of their original occurrence were placed in kennels.
The most important were the Hongawa and Hata lines. The former were characterized by finer build, agility and usually black sesame ointment, the latter were stronger, wider skull, smaller ears, more abundant undercoat and usually red sesame color. In 1937, the breed was given a name from the island it comes from, and was considered a “natural monument”. In the 1950s, lines were connected.
Shikoku is quite rare even in his homeland – the population there is about 1000 dogs. Outside of Japan, the breed is almost unique, because it is difficult to take a pet as a national treasure abroad. The privilege of acquiring shikoku is only those who show serious interest in the breed.
The first shikoku was sold to the Netherlands in 1997. The first dog of this breed came to America from Dutch kennel in 2004. There are several in Holland, Canada and the USA. In Europe, these dogs are born very rarely.
The first bitch was brought to Poland in 2006. The next one came from Japan a year later and she became the mother of the first Polish litter – then two females were born, one of whom stayed in the cattery and the other went abroad.
Shikoku – Group V FCI, section 5, reference number 319
Country of Origin: Japan
Character: smart, energetic, alert dog, endowed with strong hunting instincts, sensitive to members of the home herd; it can conflict with other dogs of the same sex
Size: ideal height: dogs 52 cm, bitches 46 cm (tolerance +/- 3 cm)
Weight: dogs on average 19-26 kg, bitches 16-19 kg
Coat: short, two-layered: topcoat fairly hard and straight, undercoat soft and dense; on the tail, the hair forms a brush
Color: sesame – black and white hair mixed in equal proportions; black sesame – the majority of black hair; red sesame – instead of white, basic red ointment, mixed with black hair
Lifespan: around 14 years
Vulnerability to training: average – learns quickly, but is quite independent
Activity: high – needs a lot of traffic, but at home, it is quiet and peaceful
Resistance/susceptibility to diseases: healthy and resistant breed
Shikoku is also known as kochi-ken (“ken” means Japanese for dog, just like “inu”).
In addition to sesame (willy) shikoku, white and cream ones with white markings are also born. However, these are ointments not recognized by the standard.