Also known as Kochi-ken, Mikawa Inu, or Japanese Wolfdog this native and primitive breed from Shikoku Island shares quite a bit in common with its close relative, the Shiba Inu. The Shikoku was bred mainly for hunting deer and boar in the mountain districts of Kochi Prefecture and is referred to as a boar hound. This breed has recently been recognized by the American Kennel Club as an AKC FSS (Foundation Stock Service) and has also been officially recognized by the Japan Kennel Club.
A very graceful and stoic looking dog—typical attributes of the Spitz-type dogs—the Shikoku Ken is of medium stature and conformation. Features such as their wedge-shaped head, prick triangular ears, feathered curled tail, and almost fox-like tapered muzzle will immediately remind you of the Shiba Inu. Their outer coat is rather harsh and straight, while the undercoat is soft and dense. The breed standard in coloring calls for sesame (red and black) while the black and tan or cream are considered the nonstandard color. There is also a “cream” coloring that tends to be very rare. In all of these variations there is usually a mixture of white found around the underside of the body, near the eyes, snout, and legs.
Cautious and brave these dogs are said to have good judgment. They are known for being very loyal and submissive with their human. They can be aloof with strangers and should have socialization early to avoid potential aggression toward other dogs or succumbing to their high prey drive—a result of their original breeding. Shikokus are very intelligent, fast learners, so they need firm, confident and consistent leadership from the humans around them or they can become somewhat stubborn and quite relentless in attitude and play.