All About the Breed Shikoku

Have you recently fallen for the Shikoku or do you simply love rare breeds? Learn all about the breed here, including: breed history, personality traits, train-ability, benefits and disadvantages of the breed, and common health concerns.

Also known as the Kochi-Ken, Shikoku Inu, and the Mikawa Inu, the Shikoku is an intelligent and loyal breed.

But how do you know whether you are ready to purchase a pet and if this breed is right for you?

This information is absolutely necessary in making the decision to purchase a pet.


The origin of the Shikoku can be traced back to 18th century Japan. Enthusiasts believe that the Shikoku is among the most ancient of all breeds from the region and dates back as far as the 15th century, though this is yet to be proven scientifically or otherwise.

Throughout its history, the Shikoku has been most commonly used for hunting and tracking game such as wild boar, proving its superior abilities to work in the harshest of terrain and climate while providing warm and gentle companionship.

Today, while the Shikoku has attained a regional popularity as both a hunting and companion dog, the breed remains extremely rare outside of its native Japan.

Personality Traits

Best known for its energetic and outgoing nature, the Shikoku loves to keep busy with work or play. These dogs thrive on strong and dependable relationships with humans, and often look to their owner for leadership, guidance, and assurance. This breed is highly intelligent and generally very easy to train.

As a pet, the Shikoku is obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate. The Shikoku is not suited for full-time indoor or apartment living, as it enjoys spending time outdoors and having plenty of room to roam, run, and play.


Due to its need for human leadership and willingness to learn, the Shikoku generally responds well to basic training and commands. This bright breed has the ability to learn to perform most any task its trainer is willing to take the time to teach.

Establishing immediate dominance, trust, and respect is key to successfully training the Shikoku. These dogs require a confident, patient, and caring handler with a stern yet gentle approach to repetitive exercises and tasks.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed

There are many benefits to owning a Shikoku, such as its surprisingly no hassle, low maintenance coat. This intelligent breed is obedient by nature, easy to train, and capable of learning to perform many impressive tricks and tasks. When properly socialized from a young age, the Shikoku gets along well with children and other pets, known for its sweet and gentle approach to small children.

These dogs are alert and aware of their surroundings, serving as effective watch dogs by announcing the arrival of guests and unwanted visitors. The Shikoku is obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate, making an excellent hunting dog, family pet, and companion alike.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to owning a Shikoku. These active dogs require large amounts of daily exercise and room to run and play outdoors. Anyone wishing to purchase this breed lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so. A Shikoku not receiving the proper amount of exercise and space will often act out by destroying property, chewing, barking, whining, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.

The Shikoku has a strong instinct to hunt and will occasionally indulge in a good chase. When on the run, these dogs are rather quick, and may pose a threat to other animals, neighborhood pets, and small woodland creatures. The Shikoku must be leashed or properly secured at all times when outdoors.

This breed is known for being somewhat excitable when greeting humans and while at play. Excessive barking, jumping, and full-body wags can often lead to headaches and accidents. Proper training can reduce these behaviors in the Shikoku.

As previously mentioned, the Shikoku remains extremely rare outside of its native Japan and can prove quite difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, incredibly high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.

Common Health Concerns

While the Shikoku is typically known as a healthy and hearty breed, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: hip dysplasia, arthritis, congenital heart defects, chronic ear infection, hearing issues - sometimes leading to deafness, food allergies, digestive problems, distichiasis - ingrown eye lashes, and bloat.

Now that you know all about the breed, do you think you are ready to own a Shikoku?

Remember, purchasing a pet is a big decision and should be discussed thoroughly and seriously with your entire family.