Kishu Ken

Kishu Ken

CJ Hammond/Wikimedia Commons

Kishu Ken At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (FSS: Working); FCI (Spitz and Primitive); UKC (Northern)


Medium. Weight: 30–60 lbs est. Height: Males 20.5 inches; Females 18 inches


Short and straight but with thick undercoat.


White; Also Red, Sesame (Red Fawn hair with Black tips)

Life Span:

12 to 14 years.

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

The Kishu Ken is sometimes called 'Kiss-You' dogs by some breed enthusiasts.


Kishu Ken Overview

The Spitz-type dog has been a popular style of dog in Japan for centuries. Used to hunt and kill game, the Kishu Ken and some of his fellow Spitz-type dogs assisted matagi, or professional hunters. The Kishu were courageous, and would block or hold off a boar until a hunter could get there. Today, the dogs are mainly used as companions and guardians, but a few still are hunters with their owners. They are part of the AKC Foundation Stock Service, meaning they cannot compete in shows, but can use the AKC to register and track breeding history.


Kishu Ken Characteristics

This breed sports a mostly white coat, with a curly tail typical to Spitz-type dogs. His upright ears, long snout and thick fur may confuse the breed with similar looking breeds such as white Siberian Huskies or white German Shepherds.


Kishu Ken Temperament

This breed is a brave dog, due to his lineage as a hunter. They are prized both inside and out of Japan for their loyalty and guardianship of their families. They can be standoffish towards outsiders unless socialized to a variety of stimuli as a puppy including people, places and pets. They should be especially socialized with other dogs, to promote good behavior.



Kishu Ken Care

The lifespan of this breed is 12 to 14 years, a bit above average for dogs of their size. There are no reported breed-specific concerns, however proper veterinary and preventive care is key to a long and happy life.


Kishu Ken Coat

The breed has a double coat, like many of the other mountainous and spitz-type breeds. It does shed seasonally, but beyond that only needs brushing a few times a week to be maintained. Regular bathing and brushing should be enough for keeping the coat health.


Kishu Ken Training

They are independent and can be strong willed at times. A firm, but positive trainer that understand the breed and history of the breed is best. Getting and holding their attention can be the biggest challenge, as they may become easily stubborn and uninterested in the activity.


Kishu Ken Activity

As a hunting breed, the Kishu Ken requires lots of exercise. All kinds of weather are fine for him, though he is especially suited for cooler climates. Vigorous, regular exercise is key to keeping the Kishu Ken in shape and out of trouble.

Add a Reply:

Add your comment below.