Shikoku is a breed of dog that is considered the property of Japan and is protected by the state. This animal is common in its homeland, but not too well known beyond its borders.
According to some dog breeders, Shikoku are the descendants of wild wolves, now extinct. Other scientists voice information that this breed was bred for the purpose of hunting a large animal in the Kochi regions. Kochi Inu – this is how this dog is called differently – was kept by hunters in the western and northern points of Shikoku. Since the territory is dominated by mountains, the possibility of mating dogs with other breeds of dogs was excluded.
Therefore, until today, purebred animals have been preserved in certain areas of Japan.. During the Second World War, Shikoku were practically exterminated, but after the end of this terrible period, the number of representatives of this breed began to rapidly recover.
In 1982, the Shikoku breed became officially recognized by the FCI. Currently, this dog is considered a rare representative of the animal world, even in its homeland.
In Japan, there are about 7,000 representatives, the number of which is increasing by 500 puppies annually.
Description of the breed
Kochi Inu are dogs that have the appearance of Japanese dogs. They are characterized by a magnificent tail that is thrown over the back in the form of a ring. The fit of the animal’s hair is loose, for this reason the coat seems plush. The ears of the Shikoku are erect, triangular in shape, slightly tilted forward. The pet is characterized by small, very expressive eyes and a special smile. This breed has average body size, reaching a height in height from 42 to 55 cm, with a weight of 20-25 kilograms. The head of the pet is commensurate with the dimensions of the body. The muzzle of the Shikoku is elongated, with a slightly pronounced stop and a wide forehead. The nose of the animal is characterized by a straight back and a black lobe. Dry lips are well-groomed.
Representatives of this breed are characterized by the correct bite, a wide fit of small eyes with a dark iris. The dog is characterized by a compact physique, muscular development and strong bones. The height and length of the Kochi Inu body are related as 10 to 11. The pet has a strong neck, a straight back, a deep chest, a tucked up stomach and bulging ribs. A thick sickle-shaped tail lies on the back.
The limbs of the dog are strong with powerful joints. The paws are quite well assembled, they have dense pads with strong dark-colored claws. Shikoku moves easily and confidently, preferably with short strides. The double coat of the animal’s coat consists of short coarse hair, as well as a low, delicate undercoat. The hair on the tail is longer than on other parts of the body.
Shikoku fur can be dyed sesame, black or red. The sesame type of coloration consists of the main color and a light tan added to it in several versions. In this situation, the base can be either black or red.
Character and behavior
Despite the primitiveness of the breed, the Kochi Inu has a close connection with its wild past. This suspicious and courageous animal is devoted to its owner and his family. With a strong will and self-confident owner, this dog will be an obedient pet. Shikoku loves affection from a person, and also prefers to be the center of attention. For children, these dogs can become great friends if they are accustomed to this.
The dog treats strangers with tolerance, restraint. The representative of this breed has a strong territorial instinct, so he is always ready to warn the owner of intrusions and threats. Many Shikoku show aggression towards their relatives, especially towards strangers. However, with good training, this problem can be avoided.
This dog treats other animals as game, but most of the hunting instincts of the beast have been lost due to domestication.
Often, Kochi Inu put up with other pets that live with him. This small Japanese dog is characterized by dedication, integrity, poise, firmness of character. A loyal dog that lost its owner in adulthood will not be able to get along with another person. Shikoku have passionate and enthusiastic natures, they are persistent and collected hunters.
A vigilant and devoted pet can become an excellent watchman and protector, as well as an indispensable friend and companion. Representatives of this breed of dogs are easy to train, as they are used to looking for authority in a person. A gifted pet understands and perceives everything that the owner tells him. In education and training, it is important to establish a respectful and trusting relationship with the pet. A Shikoku teacher will need patience, enthusiasm, as well as kindness in their approach to class.
The animal also needs socialization and obedience education, while the important point is that Shikoku should not be allowed to lead in the family. The owner should control that the dog does not enter the door first, does not sleep on people’s beds. When training a thoroughbred animal, you should not use physical activity, shouting at him and beating him is simply unacceptable. The best training option for a dog will be a game in which the Kochi Inu will quickly learn everything new.
Conditions of detention and care
A pet in the form of a Kochi Inu can be taken by experienced dog breeders, as these are not the simplest animals. The optimal conditions for them is considered to be a private house with an adjacent territory. Living in an apartment is not very suitable for Shikoku. These dogs require exercise, long walks and 6 miles of running daily. A four-legged friend can be a great companion for morning and evening runs.
Representatives of the Japanese breed are well adapted to keeping in the street. In Japan, a pet lives in a booth equipped for him. The room for the dog should be spacious with an area of about 3 square meters.
In the apartment, the dog will behave calmly, but only on condition that the walking is done regularly and for a long time. With a lack of physical activity, the animal will become restless, uncontrollable.
Kochi Inu shed heavily, so that the situation does not bring inconvenience, during this period they need to be combed regularly and thoroughly. The rest of the time they are combed out every 7 days, since the fur of this breed is able to self-clean. For this procedure, you will need a comb. You need to bathe your dog every few months.
Shikoku’s eyes and ears should be inspected daily and cleaned if necessary. Dog nails grow quickly, so they need to be trimmed. It is recommended to brush your pet’s teeth once every 7 days.
The geography of the origin and residence of Shikoku determined the nutritional characteristics of the animal. Previously, they were fed rice porridge, fish, boar and deer meat. Buckwheat, oatmeal can be introduced into the dog’s diet. It is also worth feeding pets with lean meat, boneless sea fish that are thermally processed. From an early age, puppies should be taught to eat raw vegetables and fruits.
It is strictly forbidden to feed the dog from your table, as this can be harmful to his health. Kochi Inu should not be given flour, seasoned, pickled and smoked food. Animals should not be overfed, and food should be served strictly at the same time.
Most breeders and owners of Shikoku feed their pets with industrial feed. It is with this method of nutrition that the dog receives everything necessary for normal life. In the variant with feeding with natural products, with a lack of certain components, dementia may occur in dogs. An unbalanced menu can lead to disruption of the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, heart and blood vessels.
Health and longevity
The Shikoku dog breed is a hardy animal with good health, they can adapt to a variety of conditions. This pet is sick infrequently, but among the most common ailments are the following:
- allergic dermatitis;
- dysplasia of the hip and elbow joints;
- diseases of the cardiac system;
- food allergy;
- problem in the functioning of the ears;
- eye diseases.
Genetic pathologies in this group of animals are not observed. As a preventive measure, dogs should be vaccinated regularly. The owner of the dog should not forget about vaccination against rabies, distemper, enteritis. With proper care and feeding, Shikoku live for about 14 years.
Kochi Inu can be called a relic exotic among dogs. You can buy a real purebred puppy only in Japan. This pet is a luxury purchase, as it costs up to $12,000. When a Shikoku appears in the house, the owner can be sure that he has got a real watchman, a true friend and companion.
If you are a traveler, sportsman or fisherman, then a dog of this breed is just for you.
In the next video, you will find interesting facts about the Shikoku dog breed.