Hunting, guard and defense dog, the Hokkaido remains first and foremost a companion dog. Even though he can accomplish multiple tasks, being a life companion for his family is his favorite task, and the one in which he really excels. Although these skills make him an excellent hunting, guard or protection dog, being a companion dog is his reason for living.

Height 46 to 52 cm
Weight 18 to 25 kg
Life expectancy 12 to 13 years
Home country Japan

Quick Overview of the Hokkaido


  • Docile and affectionate
  • Faithful and kind
  • Pleasant with everyone
  • Excellent family dog


  • Very well proportioned physique
  • Robust build and solid frame
  • Shows stamina
  • Small dark brown eyes


  • Extremely resistant and very strong
  • Rarely ill
  • No particular pathology
  • No congenital defects

Temperament of the Hokkaido

Docile, affectionate, faithful, kind and pleasant with everyone, the Hokkaido is an excellent family dog. He hates being alone and seeks constantly contact with his family.

His intelligence makes him easy to educate, but both his socialization and education must be carried out early and be firm.

He loves everyone, but he can make an excellent guardian if he feels that his own are threatened. He is not naturally aggressive, but will stop at nothing to defend his family from potential dangers. He is a very brave dog, especially when it comes to defending his own.

hokkaïdo personnalité

Breed Appearance


His medium size and well-proportioned physique give the Hokkaido a robust constitution with a very solid bone structure.

This Spitz-type dog has a typical Spitz-like appearance, showing off his endurance and working ability.


Between 48 and 52 cm (18.90 to 20.47 inches) for the male
Between 46 and 49 cm (18.11 to 19.29 inches) for the female


Between 20 and 25 kg (44.09 to 55.12 pounds) for the male
Between 18 and 23 kg (39.68 to 50.71 pounds) for the female


The color of the coat can vary between black, red, brindle, sesame, white with black and tan.


His harsh coat is straight and has a dense but very soft undercoat.


His head is rather broad and has a shallow stop. His small eyes are dark brown.

His small ears are firmly erect and triangular in shape. His nose is all black.

His thick tail, sometimes carried over the back, may be sickle-shaped or strongly curled.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 5, section 5 and is #261

Tips About this breed

He's a remarkable specimen, reserved and very dignified. Like most Japanese dogs, he must be able to preserve his dignity to be happy.

Courageous, alert, lively, faithful and capable of accomplishing multiple tasks, the Hokkaido is able to evaluate his environment to resist without too much difficulty.

Barking on command must be part of his early education, otherwise he has the annoying habit of barking very often and quite unnecessarily.

Since he is somewhat distrustful of strangers, his education must include early socialization to avoid exacerbating this natural distrust.

Firmness, patience and dignity are the guideline of his education.

He can live anywhere and with all types of owners without any problem.

His fleece allows him to live very well outdoors without suffering from the climate, but he must be able to stay close  to his family because he is anything but a loner.

He much prefers the company of family members.

Health of the Hokkaido

He is an extremely resistant and very solid dog. Rarely sick, he does not suffer from any particular pathology.

His race is fortunately not related to any congenital defects. This superb canine specimen resists very well to the cold.

His dense coat is adapted to harsher climates and allows him to withstand bad weather. Extreme cold or heavy snowfalls do not scare him. This dog generally enjoys a good life expectancy.


His dense coat requires very regular and thorough brushing to keep it clean and healthy. No other special care is necessary.

History of this breed

Originally from Japan, the Hokkaido is said to be descended from medium-sized Japanese dogs, having landed on the island of Hokkaido with Ainus emigrants from Honshu, the country's main island in the 1140s, when trade between the Tohoku district and the island of Hokkaido was growing during the Kamakura period.

In 1937, the breed took the name of his original city and was declared a "Natural Monument" in Japan. To the Japanese, he is also known as "Ainu-ken" because he was brought by the Ainu people who used him to hunt bears and other wild animals.

The Hokkaido is an excellent hunting dog that can chase unwounded game or injured animals by smell.

He also makes a superb guard dog, giving the alarm and dissuading malicious people in his own way.

Formerly used for hunting and guarding, he is increasingly appreciated as companion dog, possessing wonderful qualities that enable him to carry out this task very well.

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