General Information

Dog NameHokkaido
Other NamesAinu-Ken
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypeSpitz
Breed ForHunting big game
Country of OriginJapan

Physical And Size

Min Life Span11
Max Life Span13
Min Ideal Weight for male23
Max Ideal Weight for male26
Min Ideal Weight for female19
Max Ideal Weight for male26


Intelligent Rank
Affection Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability


TemperamentAlert, Protective, Devoted
Prey DriveYes
Fighting DogNo


Stranger FriendlyMedium
Child FriendlyMedium
Cat FriendlyMedium
Dog FriendlyMedium
Office FriendlyLow
Apartment FriendlyMedium
Senior Citizens FriendlyMedium
Service DogMedium
Search and Rescue DogMedium
Biting PotentialMedium
Country of OriginJapan
Nicknames and Other NamesHokkaido-Ken, Dō-ken, Ainu-ken, Seta, Ainu dog,
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupSpitz-type, Working Group
Bred ForHunting big game
Recognized ByAKC, FCI, UKC
Life Span11-13 years
Ideal Weight44-66 (male and female)
Ideal Height18-20 inches (male and female)
Fur TypeHarsh outer coat, soft undercoat, straight
Common ColorsBlack, Brindle, Red, Black and Tan,
Red Sesame, White, Sesame
AvailabilityRarely available
AchievementsFeatured in movies,
part of a search operation
Suitable for ApartmentsNot suitable
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToShikoku

The Hokkaido are large dogs with sturdy looks and intelligent personality. These breeds are also known as Katana the Hokkaido Ken. Hokkaido Are Spitz-type dogs with pricked ears, dense coat, small eyes, and curled tail.

The Hokkaido dog breeds are one of the rarest breed in the world. In Japan itself, these dogs are not more than 12,000. Now think! how rare these breed are. If you’re planning to add a Hokkaido then here are things you must know about the beautiful breed.

Origin And History

The Hokkaido, also known as Ainu is an ancient Japanese Spitz type dog that is believed to be descended from the Matagi-Ken dog breed. These dog breeds are known to be the earliest dog breeds in existence living alongside the Japanese people. Hokkaido were developed long before the written records were kept, so it is impossible to speak about how exactly this dog came to be in the world.

The Hokkaido breeds were said to be kept hidden from the rest of the world until the British Zoologist, Thomas Blankiston discovered the breed in 1869. It is Thomas Blankiston who is said to have given the name to the breed.

Hokkaido were used as hunting dogs long before the guns were developed. It is also believed that they used to hunt brown bear with an ease, clamping onto their neck until they go down. The ancient Japanese people also trained them to catch fish from the streams. Despite of their hunting abilities, they were wonderful guard dogs for their families as well as a fantastic companion.

In 1937, the breed were given their official name ‘Hokkaido-Inu’ and was elected to be the national monument. They were recognized by the UKC in 1996 and were known as Ainu however, the name was updated to Hokkaido in 2008.

Hokkaido’s Behavior Around Children

Hokkaidos are very protective towards children as they think that they are the member of their pack. Hokkaido can be a good playmate to your kids since they love being busy. They are very tolerant and will sit patiently even if they are not in a mood to cuddle with their friend.

They love being busy. They are very tolerant and will sit patiently even if they are not in a mood to cuddle with their friend.

Not only children but Hokkaido are also seen to be good around cats. So if you have one already then they can be a good match!

Behavioral Traits And Personality

One of the best way to describe a Hokkaido is that they are extremely loyal and fearless. They will go down to anything to protect their loved ones if needed. Hokkaido will break down any predators without hesitation. Despite their strong personality and aggression, they are calm and gentle with their family.

Hokkaido love their family.
Hokkaido Wants To Go On A Ride. Photo Credit- Instagram @hokkaidotimes

Hokkaido is highly intelligent which makes them a quick learner but they might have strong will of their own. They might want to cross-check to ensure that you’re leading them or not. In other words, Hokkaido are not recommended for novice owners or for those who can’t handle a constant leadership character.

Hokkaidos are very devoted to their master. They tend to develop separation anxiety very easily when left alone. Hokkaido Inu hates being left alone and may become destructive and aggressive. Make sure you give your pet enough time to make him happy.


The Hokkaido dog as being an inherent hunter, makes easy to train. The Hokkaido will respond well to obedience training followed by treats and affection. However, their high prey drive may be an issue while training them outside.

Training Hokkaido dog.
Training Hokkaido Dog. Photo Credit- Instagram @hokkaidotimes.

The trainers should assume the ‘alpha’ personality with the Hokkaido while training to make sure that the dog are respecting them. The trainers should make the breed realize about what kind of behavior are acceptable and what kind are not. They can sometime become stubborn and strong willed which can be controlled with positive reinforcements and treats.

Facts About Hokkaido Inu

  • Hokkaido loves howling when they are happy.
  • According to some prediction, they are known to be 3000 years old.
  • In 2007, the Hokkaido was featured as Otosan (Father) in the Japanese telecommunication company SoftBank Company.

Health Issues

General HealthHealthy
Common Health IssuesBlocked Tear Ducts, Heart Murmurs,
Hypodontia, Cryptorchidism, Allergies,
Hip Dysplasia
Vaccination RequiredCanine Distemper, Rabies,
Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza,
Kennel Cough, Canine Coronavirus,
SheddingModerate Shedding
DroolingAverage Drooler
GroomingAdvance Grooming Required
Weight Gain PotentialAverage
Separation AnxietyHigh Chance
AllergiesSkin Allergy
Diets and SupplementsProtein: 29%
Fat: 15%

Hokkaido is known to be a healthy breed but there are some common issues that are found in Hokkaido.

Hip And Elbow Dysplasia

As with every large breed, Hokkaido are also prone to have hip and elbow dysplasia. It can occur when they age or even with environmental factors like injuries while running or jumping.

Collie Eye Anomaly

This is a condition mostly seen in Border Collies, but a number of dogs can develop this syndrome including Hokkaido. This disease may lead to vision impairment or total blindness.

Color Patterns

Hokkaido are found in six colors.

  • Black
  • Red
  • Black And Tan
  • White
  • Brindle
  • Sesame

Price of Hokkaido Puppies

So how much do you expect to pay for a Hokkaido Puppies? Well, they cost anywhere between $400-$500. Remember, since they are rare breed, the cost will depend upon the quality of the breed as well as the breeder.

The Hokkaido gives birth to 4-6 puppies at a time.

Height And Weight Of Hokkaido

The height of the female Hokkaido is 46-48 cm while an adult male will reach up to 48-52 cm.

The average weight of both male and female Hokkaido is 20-30 kilograms.

Breeds Similar To Hokkaido

Lastly, Hokkaido are wonderful addition in the family which will never disappoint you since they are fabulous guard dogs will well behavior.

Explore More On Doglime About Dog Various Dog Breed.