The Hokkaido dog is a relatively rare breed that originates form Japan. These Spitz pups are intelligent and highly devoted to their owners, making a wonderful pet for large families or even individuals or couples. An adaptable breed, the Hokkaido can live wherever they get lots of love, but they need a fair amount of exercise every day!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Hokkaido breed, also known as the Hokkaido Ken, Hokkaido Inu, Ainu-ken, Seta, and Ainu dog, keep reading below to see whether one of these dogs is right for you.
History Of The Hokkaido Dog
The Hokkaido dog is a medium sized Japanese dog breed that can make the perfect companion. Primarily found in Japan, these dogs are still fairly rare in the United States. However, they are recognized by both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC).
The Hokkaido dog originated from the main island of Hokkaido, Japan, and is thought to be the oldest of all the Japanese breeds. The Hokkaido was originally a hunting dog and were highly respected. These dogs were very courageous and fearless, even chasing bears and catching fish.
While this dog is now a companion dog and is found in other parts of the world, including the United States, they are still extremely rare outside their native country.
Characteristics Of The Hokkaido Dog
Hokkaido dogs are very rare outside of Japan and so, if you’re looking to buy one of these dogs, you may have to be put on a waiting list. You should always make sure you buy from a reputable breeder.
These dogs are normally born in litter sizes of between four and seven puppies. A Hokkaido puppy can set you back around $500, although due to their rarity you can also end up paying a lot more than that.
The Hokkaido is a medium sized dog. These pups usually weigh between 45 and 65 pounds and stand between 18 and 22 inches, with females normally smaller than males.
Appearance wise, these dogs can look like fluffy teddy bears! They have small, triangular upright ears and their small eyes have a rising triangular outline. Their tail curls upwards and is bushy undeneath.
The Hokkaido dog has a thick coat which helps them to withstand the harsh weathers in Japan. It is a double coat that is long and stiff on top with an undercoat that is shorter and softer. These dogs are known to shed and therefore you must keep on top of their grooming to help minimize shedding. The Hokkaido is certainly not the breed for those with allergies!
The Hokkaido dog can come in a range of colors. These include black, red, black and tan, white, brindle and sesame.
The Hokkaido is a breed of dog that is extremely devoted to their people. They love their owners and will be very affectionate towards them, yet also very protective of them. This means that they can make excellent guard dogs and watchdogs.
Hokkaido dogs want to be around their people all the time and can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time. They’re also a very active and agile breed, and therefore like to spend a lot of time outside (particularly with their family!). They can be very playful but will also stop abruptly if they get bored.
Thanks to their intelligence, the Hokkaido is very easy to train and will listen to their owners. They are generally quite social dogs but do need to be socialized from a young age. They can see strangers as a threat and won’t be afraid to bark if they feel something is wrong!
The Hokkaido dog has an average life expectancy of between 11 to 13 years.
Known Health Issues
The Hokkaido dog breed is generally very healthy, although unfortunately this purebred can be prone to some hereditary health problems.
The main health concerns in the Hokkaido are hip dysplasia and luxating patella. Hip dysplasia is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. Luxating patella is caused when the patella is not properly aligned. This can cause lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, sort of like a skip or a hop.
Other issues the Hokkaido might be prone to are Collie eye anomaly, heart murmurs and idiopathic seizures. Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced. Trusted breeders will do health checks on both parent dogs and will not breed if there is a chance of passing on any severe issues to offspring.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Hokkaido dog, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these Japanese dogs on a day-to-day basis is really like. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to care for and don’t have very high needs. Below we will cover their exercise needs, their food and diet and their grooming requirements.
Food And Diet
The Hokkaido is a breed of dog that loves their food and can easily gain weight. You should always monitor how much you are feeding your dog to ensure they don’t eat too much! Your Hokkaido’s diet should change depending on their age, weight and activity level. You can check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding your Hokkaido based on these factors.
Try to feed your pup a food that is formulated for all their needs so you can be sure they are getting all the nutrients they need. A food designed for medium to large breeds is often advised. Take a look at one we recommend below.
Best Dog Food For The Hokkaido Dog
Iams Large Breed Adult Dry Dog FoodBUY ON AMAZON
For the Hokkaido Dog, we recommend the Large Breed dry dog food from Iams. This food is specially formulated for medium to large breeds of dogs and gives them all the nutrients they need to live a healthy and happy life.
This food includes real chicken as the number one ingredient, ensuring your Hokkaido gets protein to main healthy and lean muscles. Also included in this formula is glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which are both included to promote healthy bones and joints and prevent health issues within the joints that larger breeds are more prone to.
Even better, your pup will maintain a healthy digestive system and immunity with the blend of fiber and prebiotics in this recipe.
The Hokkaido dog is an active breed that needs a fair amount of exercise every day. You should walk them at least twice a day and take them for long walks on the weekend. They’ll also happily accompany you while you’re out exercising and they love to play games with all the family!
The Hokkaido dog makes a wonderful family dog. Loving and affectionate, this breed worships their people and will want to please you and be by your side at all times! Because of this, they don’t like to be left alone for very long and therefore won’t do well if you are out at work for hours at a time.
Although this breed is very adaptable and can live in a big home or in an apartment building, you must be prepared to exercise with them. A historic working dog, the Hokkaido loves nothing more than to be outside with their people. They can also make excellent exercise buddies!
Hokkaidos get on very well with children that they are introduced to at a young age. Because they are quite pack orientated and have a strong sense of hierarchy, you will need to supervise these dogs with children they don’t know. They can also get on well with strangers but again socialization is a must. They believe it is their job to protect you and won’t mind barking at someone who they think is a threat!
Thanks to their intelligence, the Hokkaido dog has fantastic trainability. These dogs love to please their owners will learn commands quickly and easily, making them a great dog for first time owners!
Like all dogs, the Hokkaido responds best to positive reinforcement and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats. You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
Hokkaido pups are very sociable with their family members and those they know, but socialization with strangers is very important. These dogs are protective of their owners and won’t be afraid to bark if they seem someone or something as a threat.
You should introduce your Hokkaido to new sights, sounds, smells, places, people and animals in a calm and controlled way at a young age. This will allow them to see there is nothing to be afraid of.
The Hokkaido dog has a thick coat that sheds a lot and therefore their grooming requirements are relatively high. You will need to brush them at least twice a week to remove loose fur and prevent matting, and you’ll need a good wire comb to reach their undercoat. The amount you groom them will increase during the shedding period.
Hokkaidos do not enjoy baths and it can take a very long time for their coat to dry. This is why it is recommended that you only bathe your Hokkaido when it is really necessary, or only a couple of times a year.
You should check their ears regularly and clip their toenails as and when is needed. Also try to brush their teeth as often as possible, ideally daily, to prevent dental decay and disease.
Hokkaido Dog FAQ’s
How much does a Hokkaido dog cost?
A Hokkaido dog costs around $500, although this can be more or less. It really depends on the breeder and they can be quite hard to find. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder who can give you health clearances for both parent breeds. This will ensure your Hokkaido is less prone to health issues.
Can I adopt a Hokkaido?
Adopting a Hokkaido is one of the easiest ways to own one of these dogs, thanks to their rarity. A quick search online will show if there are any Hokkaidos out there for adoption. You can also check your local shelter!
The Hokkaido is a wonderful affectionate and happy-go-lucky breed of dog that originates from Japan. Although they can be difficult to find in the United States, these pups make fantastic family pets and truly love their owners! They want to be by your side at all times and can make great playmates for children, too. Although they shed a lot and their grooming needs are high, these adaptable dogs are happy as long as you give them attention and exercise. Do you think a Hokkaido dog is for you?