Shikoku dog breed was bred as a hunting dog. It is sometimes called Kochi-ken (ken means dog in Japanese language). Japanese people used the Shikoku dog mainly for hunting boar in the mountainous districts of the Kochi Prefecture in Japan. Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s major islands. The breed was designated as a Natural Monument in Japan in 1937. Today there are about 300 Shikokus in Japan and virtually none elsewhere, making the Shikoku the rarest of the Japanese dog breeds.
Shikoku dogs are tough and sufficiently agile to run through the mountainous regions and often referred to as deerhounds. They are characterized by their sesame colored coats.
Shikoku dog Temperament
A dog of marked endurance, keen in sense with a naive feeling, energetic and highly alert; an enthusiastic hunter; docile towards his master. The Shikoku dog is extremely docile in the company of his master. However, the Shikoku dog has keen senses and also reacts quickly. This dog breed possesses a certain innocent nature which is highly valued.
General Appearance: The Shikoku is a medium-sized dog with well balanced and well developed clean cut muscles. It has pricked ears and a curled or sickle tail. Conformation: Strong, well-boned and compact. Important proportion: The ratio of height at withers to length of the body is 10:11.
Height at withers: Dogs – 52 cm (20.5 inches) Bitches – 46 cm (18 inches). There is a tolerance of + 3 cm (1.2 inches)
Coat & Color: Coat: Hair: Outer coat rather harsh and straight, undercoat soft and dense. The hair on the tail is rather long. Shikoku Colors: Sesame, black sesame, and red sesame.
Sesame Shikoku dog: An equal mixture of white and black hairs.
Black sesame Shikoku dog: More black than white hairs.
Red sesame Shikoku dog: Red base mixed with black hair.
Head: Skull: Forehead broad. Stop: Shallow, but defined. Nose: Black. Muzzle: Rather long, wedge-shaped. Nasal bridge straight. Lips: Tight. Jaws/Teeth: Teeth strong, with a scissor bite. Cheeks: Well developed. Eyes: Relatively small, triangular, set well apart, dark brown in color. Ears: Small, triangular, slightly inclining forward and firmly pricked.
Neck: Thick and powerful.
Forequarters: Shoulders: Moderately sloping with developed muscles. Elbows: Set close to the body. Forearms: Straight and clean cut. Pasterns: Slightly inclining.
Body: Withers: High, well developed. Back: Straight and strong. Loins: Broad and muscular. Chest: Deep, ribs well sprung. Belly: Well tucked up.
Hindquarters: Powerful, with muscles well developed. Hocks: Moderately angulated and very tough. Feet: Tightly closed with well-arched toes. Pads hard and elastic. Nails hard and black or dark in color.
Tail: Set on high, thick and carried over the back vigorously curled or curved like a sickle. The tip nearly reaches the hocks when let down.
Gait: Resilient, with rather narrow strides, but light. The action is quick and turning is possible.
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points is a fault in exact proportion to its degree. Bitchy dogs/doggy bitches. Slightly overshot or undershot mouth. Long hair. Shyness.
Disqualifications: Aggressive or overly shy. Extremely overshot or undershot bite. Ears not pricked. Hanging tail, short tail. Disqualify any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities.