Shikoku: a loyal wolfhound from Japan

Shikoku in het bos

The Shikoku is a Japanese dog breed and is related to the Shiba. It comes from the island of Shikoku. Another name for the Shikoku is Japanese wolfhound. It gets this name from its beautiful, wolf-like appearance. In Japan it is a popular dog breed, in the Netherlands it is less known. The Shikoku is an active dog and benefits from an active owner.

It is a faithful and loyal dog. The Shikoku gets along well with children; this makes it a suitable family dog. It is an enthusiastic hunter and is very alert. His alertness makes him a suitable watchdog. Are you curious what other characteristics the Shikoku has and do you want to know if this breed suits you? Then read on!


History: a Japanese hunting dog

The Shikoku originates from Japan. The dog was bred in different areas in Japan, creating three varieties of this breed. Eventually, the dog got its name from the mountainous region in which it originated. The Shikoku has a close relationship with the Japanese dog breed Shiba Inu. Although these two breeds are very similar in appearance, they have very different character traits.

The Shikoku was used in Japan as a guard dog and as a hunting dog. It helped hunters hunt big game such as deer and wild boar. The Shikoku would drive the game into a corner and he would then wait for the hunter. The Shikoku still has this hunting instinct today.

The popularity of the Shikoku increased in 1999. In that year a movie was released about this breed of dog and the island of Shikoku. This film introduces viewers to the Shikoku’s loyal character.


The character: enthusiastic, brave and loyal

The Shikoku has an independent and courageous character. Compared to the other Japanese dog breeds, the Shikoku is very social and more willing to please its owner. This dog breed can easily adapt to different situations, provided its owner is around.

In general, the Shikoku is friendly towards strangers. Should he not trust it, the Shikoku will bark and be reserved and cautious. Towards their owner, the Shikoku is very loyal and loving. He loves to cuddle and can make it very clear when he wants to be cuddled. A Shikoku gets along well with children, but with unfamiliar children it is important to keep an eye on them. This dog breed is suitable for a family. You can build a strong bond with a Shikoku.

The Shikoku is alert and has a strong hunting instinct. This makes the Shikoku suitable as a watchdog. It is important to be careful if you have small pets. The Shikoku may see a small pet as prey. If a Shikoku is well socialized with other animals, it can generally live well with them. A Shikoku is also happy to form a social bond with other dogs.

Shikoku close-up

The appearance of a Shikoku

A Shikoku is a medium sized dog and has a balanced and powerful body. This dog breed is also compared to a wolf. This is because both animals have the same physique. The coat and head are also similar. A male dog has a height at the withers between 49 and 55 centimeters and weighs between 16 and 25 kilograms. A female has a height at the withers between 43 and 49 centimeters and weighs between 16 and 25 kilograms. The coat can have different colors, namely:

  • Sesame
  • Red sesame
  • Black sesame

These colors are interspersed with beautiful, white markings. He has a double coat that sheds twice a year. The outer coat is rough, short and straight. The undercoat is dense and thick. On the tail the hair is longer than on the rest of the body.

The eyes of the Shikoku are medium sized and dark in color. The ears stand up and are triangular in shape. The tail is a large plume and stands up in a curl. The head is pointed and triangular in shape. Its body is muscular and its legs are powerful.


The care

The Shikoku has a double coat and sheds twice a year. During this period, it is a good idea to brush it every day. Brushing removes loose hairs, which makes the coat less prone to tangles. Brushing also prevents the entire house from being cluttered with dog hair. Outside of this period a Shikoku should be brushed once a week on average. This will keep the coat looking groomed and prevent tangles and mats.

Besides brushing, it is important to keep the ears and eyes clean. This will prevent infections. The nails must be regularly checked and trimmed. If a dog has nails that are too long, he may not walk properly and experience pain. Oral hygiene is also essential for dogs. It is nice if you teach a dog to brush teeth early on. Brushing teeth is a dominant act, so it is important that he gets used to it.


Are there any diseases that are common to this breed?

On average a Shikoku lives to be between 10 and 12 years old. It is generally a healthy breed of dog with no known hereditary diseases and disorders. Of course, every dog is different and it could happen that your dog’s health is not as good as it should be. It is therefore essential that you keep a close eye on his health. This means being alert to changes in behavior or appearance. If you are worried, you can always contact your veterinarian. He will examine your dog further and can help him further.