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Characteristics, History, and Health


The Shikoku dog, also known as the Shikoku Ken, is one of six native Japanese dog breeds that were initially developed in the rugged and mountainous Shikoku Island. These dogs were primarily bred for hunting game such as boar and deer. The isolation of Shikoku Island helped to keep the breed relatively pure and shielded from interbreeding with other dog breeds for many centuries.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Shikoku Ken, Shikoku Inu, Kochi Ken
Life Expectancy
10-12 years
Average Male Height
17-20.5 inches
Average Female Height
17-18 inches
Average Male Weight
35-55 pounds
Average Female Weight
35-55 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Sesame, Black Sesame, Red Sesame
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Shikokus are known to be generally healthy dogs, but as a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following specific conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.

Personality and Behavior

Shikoku dogs are known to be loyal, intelligent, and agile. They are alert and make good watchdogs. They have a strong hunting instinct and can be aloof or reserved with strangers but are typically good with family members and children if properly socialized. Shikokus require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Fun Facts

Shikoku dogs are considered a national treasure in Japan.

Despite their hunting background, they can adapt to urban living if provided with enough exercise and stimulation.

They are known for their agility and often participate in dog sports such as agility trials, tracking, obedience, and even search and rescue.

While they're known for their loyalty, they also have an independent streak common in many hunting breeds.

When it comes to the Shikoku's coat colors, sesame is an equal mix of black and white hairs, black sesame has more black than white hairs, and red sesame has a ground color of red that is mixed with black hairs.