Dog owners get a real rarity with a Shikoku in the house. Even in its country of origin, Japan, the Spitz breed is now almost non-existent. This is interesting, since the breed shares its name with one of the islands of its homeland. Originally, the Shikoku was a hunting dog. Nowadays, the independent, alert animals often act as companion dogs.
The dogs come in three color varieties: sesame (even ratio of black, red and white hairs), black-sesame (the black portion in the coat predominates over the white) and red-sesame (red base color with black hairs mixed in).
The hard, straight top coat lies over the dense, soft undercoat. Towards the tail, the coat becomes slightly longer. All coat variants are robust and easy to care for.
Females of the breed grow about 49 centimeters. The males can be about 52 centimeters. At this height, the Shikoku brings a weight of 16 to 25 kilograms.
As with most Spitz subspecies, the small ears of this breed are forward. The curled tail lies over the back. It is strong and thick.
The Shikoku's stature, on the other hand, is slender and beautifully proportioned. As former hunting dogs the breed has a well-developed musculature. This should be exercised regularly with plenty of exercise. For the energetic and persistent animals, a dog liability insurance and a dog health insurance are recommended. This way you are covered in case an unintentional hunting trip of your four-legged friend should go wrong.
The life expectancy is between 10 to 12 years. So the purchase should be well considered, because the four-legged companion will be part of the family for a long time.
Despite its characteristic stubbornness, the Shikoku is loyal to its owner. That's why it's important to schedule downtime together for cuddling after extensive exercise.
The breed is considered independent, loyal and vigilant. But he can also stubborn be and needs a lot of movement, to exercise his strong hunting instinct.
Obedience exercises, on the other hand, are not popular with most representatives of the Spitz species. You should consider this before you get such a four-legged roommate.
So, sporty people with dog experience are the most likely to enjoy a Shikoku. If you are looking for an unusual companion, this breed is just right for you. When choosing a Shikoku, make sure that it comes from a reputable breeder and that it gets enough exercise. This way, you will be able to give your playful bundle of energy a long, happy dog's life.
The right food
Like humans, dogs need healthy food to feel their best and stay healthy.
Whether wet or dry food - it must be of high quality and contain all the necessary nutrients. You can also prepare the food for your Shikoku yourself. Here you should also make sure that it is balanced. The amount depends on age and activity.
Every now and then you can also give your Shikoku Treats indulge. This can be an important help in training. Don't forget to subtract the treats from his daily meal.
Clean fresh water should always be available.
Health & Care
Due to its hunting roots, this type of dog needs much movement and would like to prove his endurance. It is best to focus on a time that you can spend together with your four-legged friend. Shikoku are usually not very fond of their peers. They are considered stubborn and therefore need an experienced hand. Therefore, the education should begin quite early in puppyhood. Only in this way can the animals enjoy their dog life at the side of a human.
Shikokus are loyal to their owners. Jogging or extensive hikes will do him good.
The agile Japanese can be a real asset, especially during the bi-annual coat change let quite hair. Just in this time you should use your Shikoku Brush daily. This shortens the transition phase - and avoids hair in the apartment.
During the rest of the year, the robust hair does not require care. Brush it once or twice a week is enough.
To bathe the dog frequently is not necessary. Regular brushing removes the coarsest dirt from the thick coat. Should your animal roommate ever become dirty, use mild dog shampoo. It is best to already accustom your puppy to being washed. Otherwise, problems can arise with stubborn animals.
In addition to coat care, you should make sure that the ears of your Shikoku are clean. Clean them with a special agent for dogs. If necessary, also use a Claw pliers. Especially in elderly dogs, too long claws can cause injuries.
For a breed that was originally bred for hunting, a strong urge to move should be considered normal. Therefore choose Toyswith which your dog can really work out. Also offers like Agilty or Tracking give pleasure to the smart, active four-legged friends.
The important thing with a Shikoku is to only use it on the leash to let run. Especially if you go jogging together, the hunting instinct might kick in. With a long leash your dog has enough space to let off steam. But you always keep control. In addition, there is a suitable collar.
Food and water bowl, dog mat or a basket, transport box, brush as well as tick tongs should be included in the basic equipment.
Origin & History
With a Shikoku you get yourself one of the National dogs of Japan into the house. Breeding this breed has a correspondingly long tradition. For example, evidence of these animals could already be found in ancient Japan. Among other things, ancient ceramic figurines were found.
Nevertheless, this breed is less known and widespread than other breeds from the Land of the Rising Sun. They have been largely displaced by Akitas or Shibas.
The Shikoku is a mixture of the nowadays extinct Nippon and the Smooth Chow. In addition to the common three colorings, the Japanese Spitz comes in several varieties.
From inaccessible regions comes probably the purest cultivated form: the Hongawa Shikoku.
The medium-sized breed has become very rare. Despite this, in Japan there are many names for them. This shows the long tradition of breeding these animals. For example, they are called Tosa-inu/ken, Mikawa Inu or Kochi-ken ('Kochi dog').
The last name comes from Kochi Prefecture. There Shikoku were traditionally used for the Wild boar hunting used. Today, the breed's perseverance and curiosity still point to its origins as a hunting dog.
The breed was finally recognized by the FCI in 1982.