(japanese Kai Dog, Tora Dog, Kai Ken)
The Kai inu 甲斐犬 originated from medium-sized dogs that existed in Japan in the ancient times. It became established as a
breed in the Kai district (Yamanashi Prefecture), which is surrounded by mountains, where it served as a tireless, all-weather hunting breed. Like the other native Japanese dog breeds, the Japanese Kai dog is a stocky, spitz-type breed with a thick neck, pricked ears and a tightly curled tail. He can be distinguished from the other Japanese dogs by his narrower skull and slightly more tapered head.
Another name for this breed is "Kai tora-ken", tora meaning tiger. Fanciers of the breed believe the dog's wild, untamable disposition influenced the choice, but it is more likely derived from the dog's brindle coat. A distinguishing feature in this dog is, indeed, its black (Kuro-Tora), red (Aka-Tora) or red-black (Chu-Tora) brindled coat. Puppies are all born solid-colored and the brindle pattern emerges as the puppy matures, but may not be apparent until after six months of age.
As former hunting dogs of the matagi for the hunt on wild bear and deer, they were often referred to as "deerhounds".
Their strong inclination to form a pack is thought to have contributed towards maintaining the purity of the breed. With his "wild", untamed temperament, the Kai dog was long considered too rough to make a good house pet. However, when living within the family, the Kai dog is a one-man dog with people and very loyal to his master. The breed was designated as a "natural monument" in 1934.
The first Kai dogs, three females and one male, were imported to the US in 1990.
JAPANESE DOG BREEDS
Send us your
Kai inu photos
to illustrate this page !
The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World
Owner: Carlye Crisler