The Shikoku, or Japanese Wolfdog ("ken" or "inu" is Japanese for dog), is an ancient, primitive dog from the island of Shikoku in the Kochi Prefecture of Japan. Bred mainly for hunting deer and boar in the mountainous districts of his homeland, he remains very rare outside his native Japan. Although not a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club, he is recognized by the Japanese Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club, where he shows in the Hound group. The Shikoku was named a living “national monument” in Japan, in 1937.
The Shikoku is a medium-sized dog, generally weighing between 35 and 55 lbs., with a thick double coat, pointed ears and long tail that curls over his back. His coat needs regular brushing to control shedding, but baths are only on an as-needed basis.
The Shikoku makes a fine companion for an active owner who can be a strong leader for him. He is a natural hunter with a very strong prey drive, so he is at his best when given the opportunity to use these skills. Although intelligent and naturally submissive to his owner, his stubbornness and primitive nature means he still requires plenty of obedience training and socialization to ensure he will listen to commands. As long as this natural athlete gets plenty of exercise, he can live comfortably in any home, where he will be loving and loyal to his family.
Though considered a generally healthy breed, the Shikoku is prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect his health — not to mention your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Shikokus are prone to include knee problems such as luxating patellas; and hip problems such as hip dysplasia.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Shikoku inherits anything more than a desire to chase anything that moves, you’re covered.