Hokkaido Dog - A Family Pet and Hunter

Hokkaido is a Japanese breed which is lovingly called as Do-ken. The dog is renowned for its extraordinary hunting ability and great addition to family. This dog was bred to hunt large animals like boar, deer and bear.

This breed is bestowed with agility, strength and stamina which make it perfect for hunting in rough terrain. The dedication and adoration towards the owner is unmatchable by other breeds of dog. They are vociferous and can make many kinds of voices.


They crave for human love and care and therefore makes suitable family dog. It is important to provide socialization to the dog at an early age else they may become shy and wary of strangers.

Being from hunting background, they have high prey drive towards small animals. It can be aggressive towards animal but not towards human. As the dog is a Spitz-type so it should not be domesticated in warm areas.

Hokkaido Dog
Hokkaido Dog Puppy

Hokkaido Dog Origin

Hokkaido is a native breed of Japan and has been in existence since centuries. The exact documentation about its history is unknown but it is believed that the dog is descendant of Matagi-ken. The breed belongs to Tohoku region which is an isolated place and as a result this breed was hidden from rest of the world. In 1868, this breed was discovered by the English zoologist Thomas W. Blankiston.


In 1902 the breed became famous and was used in army for search and rescue operation. In 2007, it was used in commercial of Japanese Telecom Company and that gave this dog the limelight. Experts hold the opinion that this breed can be descendant from Chow-Chow and Shar Pei because of blue-black color of its tongue.

Hokkaido Dog Characteristics

  • The breed belongs to Japan and is a hunt dog.
  • It makes great companion dog because of its desire to please owners.
  • It is not an ideal dog for families with pets.
  • They are good with toddlers, if they are raised with them.
  • Lifespan of this breed is 11-13 years.
  • They are courageous, alert and loyal dogs.
  • Height of the dog is 46-56 cm.
  • Weight of the dog is 20-30 kg.
  • Dog comes in black, brindle, tan, white and black-tan color.
  • Average cost of the dog is $800 to $1000.
  • The dog is not suitable apartment life as it remains active inside home and needs yard to live freely.
  • It is moderately easy to train.
  • The dog requires infrequent grooming.
  • It is not a hypoallergenic breed.

Hokkaido Dog


Hokkaido is a sturdily built up muscular dog. It is slightly longer than tall. The dog has double coat which is weather resistant and waterproof. It has a wedged shaped skull with pointed muzzle. The dog’s nose and lips should be black in color.


Its teeth should meet in a scissor bite. It has small ears which is triangular in shape and erected atop its head. It has medium sized eyes of brown color. Its neck is thick and muscular with deep chest. Back is strong and leveled. It has bushy tail which gets folded at its back. The dog has cats like feet.

  • Size and Weight

It is a medium sized dog. Male should be around 49-56 cm tall. Ideal height of the female should be 45-52 cm. Male breed should weigh around 26-30 kg and female breed should be 20-26 kg.

  • Coat and Color

This breed has the thickest coat in comparison to other Japanese breeds. It has double coat which is waterproof and weather resistant. As a result, the dog can work in extreme cold and heavy snowfall. Topcoat should be straight and coarse and undercoat should be dense and soft. The dog’s coat is medium-long. It comes in tan, black, white, brindle and black-tan color.


  1. Personality - Hokkaido is a fearless and courageous hunter that could bring down predators double its size. The dog makes sweet family companion because of its desire to woo humans. Never leave your dog alone, else it can get destructive in nature. Include your dog to every of the family activities. They are good with adult children. They need to be trained to respect small children too. A dog raised with children will consider it as a part of its pack and will protect it. They are not animal friendly; special care should be taken with small animals.
  2. Behavior - Apart from being a ferocious hunter, they are also remarkable guard dog, watch dog and search and rescue dog. The dog has a great sense of direction and orientation. If you leave the dog alone at a place far from the home, it will find its way back to home. At the hunting spots it shows accurate pointing and distance. The dog has great sense of smell as well as sight. All these qualities make it a perfect dog for hunting. The dog rarely barks and mostly it
  3. Activities Requirement - It is an energetic dog that needs great deal of exercise and mental stimulation. Provide the dog minimum 2 hours of exercise. Occasionally take it to hunt. It makes wonderful run/jog and hike partner.
  4. Trainability - The dog is moderately easy to train because it loves to please owner. Foods works wonder in motivating them for the lesson. Training should be of short duration and interesting so that the dog doesn’t lose its focus. Early socialization and basic canine manners should be taught to this dog. Teach your obedience lesson and they can respond to “sit, quiet, go, come, stay and leave”.


They are active working and hunting breed so they should be given quality dry food that contains 30 percent protein 20 percent fat.


The dog can live up to 11-13 years.

Health Issues

Hokkaido is not hypoallergenic dog. The dog is not prone to any major health issues. Few common health issues are deafness, hip dysplasia, collie eye disease, bloat and diabetes.

Hokkaido Dog


The dog doesn’t need daily brushing. Hokkaido sheds moderately throughout the year and intense shedding is done twice a year at the time of season change. Brushing should be done with pin brush followed by metal comb.

It is a naturally clean dog and doesn’t require frequent bathing. Three-four times bathing is enough for the dog. Check its ears periodically for any sign of infection and wax built up. Trim its nails if it doesn’t wear down naturally. Dental plan should be adhered to in order to have healthy teeth and gums.


It is not meant for apartment life. The dog should have open space to run, jump and romp. They are cold countries dogs.

Pet Names

  1. Akira
  2. Linda
  3. Linu
  4. Babu
  5. Shona

Things To Consider Before Buying 


  1. A wonderful family dog and companion dog.
  2. It is a one of the remarkable hunt dogs.
  3. It is easy to groom as the dog doesn’t need daily bathing and brushing.


  1. The dog is not meant for apartment living because it is an energetic dog.
  2. The dog is not hypoallergenic.
  3. It needs active owner that can satiate its physical activity needs.