Few countries love dogs as much as Japan. In fact, according to an October 2020 survey, dogs are the number one pet choice across the country. Dogs are extremely popular throughout Japan, and can easily be purchased from pet shops and health centers. The Japanese consider their dogs a part of their family, always making sure their pups are healthy and happy.
Japan is home to several dog breeds, and in this blog, we will be discussing a few facts about two of the most famous Japanese dog breeds – the Shiba Inu and the Akita Inu.
Japanese dog breeds: Did you know these six facts?
1) The Akita Inu breed is considered to be a Japanese national treasure
The breed’s noble character and appearance made the Akita Inu so desirable throughout Japan that it was ultimately declared a national treasure. What’s more, this breed was so highly regarded in the country that only imperial families could own it, and these pets were treated like royalty. In addition, the Akita Inu breed holds tremendous spiritual significance across the Japanese culture, and every Japanese newborn receives an Akita Inu statue as a symbol of happiness, health, and longevity.
2) The Akita Inu has an imposing size
The Akita Inu’s formidable size has led to it being used as guard dogs throughout history. Even female Akita Inus can weight of up to 100 pounds and a maximum height of 25 inches. For this reason, this breed is excellent for taking down any intruders. In spite of being large, Akita Inus possess a sleek appearance and a fairly calm demeanor – both traits make the breed appear quite noble. These makes it a suitable pet for families belonging to the upper classes. The Akita Inu puppies are fairly small, but grow at an almost alarming rate – something that comes as quite a shock to dog owners who are not familiar with this breed.
3) Akita Inus are fiercely loyal
Indeed, dogs are strongly associated with loyalty, and breeds like German Shepherd, Rottweiler, and Doberman Pinscher are some of the most loyal. However, when it comes to loyal breeds, the Akita Inu takes the crown.
Nothing reflects the unwavering loyalty of this breed better than the story of Hachiko. Hachiko was an Akita Inu owned by a teacher who taught at the Imperial University of Tokyo.
The professor used the train to go to work and, whenever he would return, he would find Hachiko at the station, patiently waiting for the return of his master. This went on for every single day throughout a two-year period. The professor passed away while still at work one day, but the loyal Hachiku continued to wait at the station. What’s more, Hachiko stayed at the station for nine years following his owner’s death.
Unsurprisingly, then, the Atika Inu is considered to be the most loyal dog breed across the world.
4) The Shiba Inu nearly went extinct
The Shiba Inu breed declined rapidly during the Second World War, and the nationwide food shortagese led to the breed coming dangerously close to extinction. However, this breed was eventually saved due to the preservation efforts that involved crossbreeding across the remaining three Shiba bloodlines. What this means is that the dogs involved in the crossbreeding program are the ancestors of every contemporary Shiba Inu dog.
5) Sagamihara possesses the Shiba Inu ancestor
Speaking of Shiba Inu ancestors, the most dated dog bones throughout Japan belong to the Jomon era; it is believed that these bones belong to the Jomon Shiba, the Shiba Inu ancestor.
Based on the scientists’ perceptions of the Jomon Shiba, several contemporary breeders have initiated a project with the objective of recreating Jomon Shibas. These breeders are achieving this through careful breeding of the modern-day Shibas.
There are only around 300 such modern Jomon Shibas as of now, and you can see one of them at Sagamihara’s ‘The Life Museum’, which is a part of the city’s Azabu University. This display involves a Jomon Shiba placed side-by-side with its skeleton, allowing visitors to appreciate the similarity between the replicas and their prehistoric inspirations.
6) Shiba Inu is one of several official native Japanese dog breeds
A lot of people think that Shiba Inu is the sole official Japanese native breed. However, the country has five other national dogs: Kai, Kishu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, and, of course, Akita. The Nihon Ken Hozonkai – the Japanese association, created for the purpose of overseeing the preservation of native dog breeds – now officially categorizes all six dog breeds as natives.
The Shiba Inu breed is believed to be the most popular and the oldest of the six and accounts for approximately 75% of Japan’s native dog population.
To conclude, Japan has a rich and fascinating history with regard to dogs, and even today, dogs are immensely loved and respected throughout the country. In addition, as we mentioned, the country is home to several breeds. If you are a dog enthusiast, we hope that this blog helped you learn some important yet fascinating information regarding Japanese dog breeds.
Discover how to create a joyful, healthy home for your pet.
Subscribe to your weekly rundown of practice, real life ideas and training tips straight to your inbox.