(Kochi-ken) The Shikoku is looks like an arctic breed. They have a round head and square muzzle much like the Shiba Inu. Their dark brown eyes are small and slanted eyes. Their ears stand straight up in a triangular shape while their mouth closes in a scissor bite. Because of their strength, they have a thick neck and a broad chest, plus short muscular legs which end with small rounded feet. Even their back thighs are extremely muscular. The breed’s tail curls up onto their back much like a Shiba Inu’s. The coat is double-layered and very thick. Their fur can come in a few color varieties, such as red, black, red-sesame, or black-sesame.
Shikoku may also come in cream and black, and tan; however, these colors donít qualify for the show ring.
The Shikoku is a devoted family dog. They love attention from their family all the time. They do well with kids if they are socialized with them, but they are reserved – although not aggressive - with strangers. They can be aggressive with other dogs but if they are socialized at an early age they will be friendly. However, they should not be trusted around any small animals because of their fierce hunting instincts. When young, they will bark often but not as much later in life. They are usually calm and quiet in the home but very active outside. They are extremely smart and love doing obedience training which is good because they pick up on training quickly and easily.
The Shikoku is a very hardy breed and has no known genetic concerns. This breed has an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years of age.
The Shikoku is probably a descendent from the same ancient Chinese breed brought to Japan 2,000 years ago that created the Shiba Inu and the Akita, as well as several other dog breeds. Unlike other dog breeds, the Shikoku has always been a very pure breed because it had few chances to be mixed with other types of dogs since it lived primarily on the isolated island of Shikoku from which it got its name. Seventy years ago, Japan proclaimed that the Shikoku was one of the country’s treasures, despite its continued rareness inside and outside the country.
The Shikoku is not intensely hard to groom. They should be brushed often especially while they “blow” their coat. The breed should be bathed but only once every couple of months to avoid drying out its skin. Exercise is essential for their happiness. Being walked or allowed to run in a safe area will make the Shikoku immensely happy. Being trained in obedience or agility keeps their mind and body active, plus they enjoy these activities immensely. Having the proper fence is important for letting the Shikoku run and play outside because they will try to run off to chase things.
Shikokus are good watchdogs or training dogs. Their family is very important to them, and they always want love and affection. They do well with children if socialized with them. Strangers are usually ignored by Shikokus but not attacked. Socialization with dogs is exceptionally important because without it they will be aggressive towards other canines. Small animals should never be around them, because they have strong hunting instincts to kill small animals. Obedience training is a must, and it also keeps them happy because they love learning. Any activities, such as agility, their owner has time to practice with them will be enjoyed a great deal. They need exercise often and a secure fence, so they cannot run away to hunt.
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