Dog Breed Group: Working Dog
Life Span: 12-15 years
Weight: Male: 25-30, Female: 20-28
Height: Male: 18-20, Female: 18-19
Origin of Name: The Hokkaido is one of the oldest of the six native Japanese spitz breeds.
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Hokkaido is one of six native Japanese spitz breeds, including akita, sheeba inu, kai ken, shikoku, and kishu ken. They are said to have originated from medium-sized Japanese dogs that came with the Ainu people from Hokkaido to the main island of Honshu in Japan during the Kamakura era in the 1140s, when exchanges between Hokkaido and Tohoku District developed.
Over time, the Ainu people and their dogs adapted to survive the severely cold winter climate and rugged landscape. The dogs were revered by the Ainu people for their devout loyalty, bravery and ability to hunt big game. Bear and deer were hunters by Ainu culture, and their livelihood depended on their famous bear dogs.
In 1937 Hokkaido was classified as a living natural monument by the Government of Japan. There are two main breed registries: Hokkaido Ken Hozokai (Hokkaido Dog Conservation Society) and Hokkaido Ken Kyokai (Hokkaido Dog Association). There are almost no Hokkaido registered outside of these two clubs.