Shikoku Inu
(Shikoku dog, Kochi ken, Kochi dog)
The Shikoku inu 四国犬 is one of the native Japanese breeds intermediate in size between the large Akita and the small Shiba inu. It was bred as a hunting dog, mainly for hunting deer and boar in the mountainous districts of Kochi Prefecture. It is sometimes called "Kochi-ken".
A study of the 1930s carried out by the Japanese cynologist Haruo Isogai classified all native Japanese dog breeds into three categories: large, medium and small sized. The Shikoku belongs to the Shika-inus, i.e. the medium-sized dogs. Ohter medium-sized dogs are the Kai inu and the Kishu inu. They are all very similar with overlapping colors and only minor differences in size and morphological points, with the Shikoku being the smallest of the three Shika inus. Like the Kai dog, the Shikoku inu was used for hunting deers and were often referred to as "deerhounds".
Three varieties of this breed have been identified: the Awa, the Hongawa and the Hata all named after the area where they were bred within the Shikoku prefecture. The Hongawa breeding area being the most remote and least accessbile, the dogs of the Hongawa line maintained the highest degree of purity and was considered the best type.
Shikoku dogs are tough and sufficiently agile to run through a montainous region. They are the ideal companion for active outdoor people.
They are very energetic and active outside but they are calm and quiet indoors. The Shikoku is a very intelligent dog and a quick learner. They are not as stubborn and independent as the other native Japanese breeds, but still it is not a dog for every person.
The Shikoku stands 17-21 inces (43-53cm) high and comes in brindle (white, red, black) or solid red. The body confirmation is typically of the spitz-type: the square body, the wedge-shaped head, the prick triangular ears and feathered curled tail.
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