Kai Ken

Tora Inu, Kaï Toraken

Even if he is independent and not very affectionate, the Kai Ken is an easy-going dog and very attached to his masters. He is more and more appreciated as a companion dog, and less for hunting. Ardent, alert and very lively, his alertness and beautiful qualities make him more sought after by families looking for a pleasant life companion while benefiting from the qualities of an excellent guardian, than by others that are simply looking for a hunting companion.

Height 45 to 56 cm
Weight 23 to 27 kg
Life expectancy 14 to 16 years
Home country Japan

Quick Overview of the Kai Ken


  • Lively and independent
  • Gentle and respectful
  • Intelligent and faithful
  • Slightly stubborn


  • Strong and well-developed muscles
  • Very strong limbs
  • Distinctive look
  • Ears firmly erect


  • Solid and very robust
  • No specific pathology
  • Generally enjoys excellent health
  • Rarely ill

Temperament of the Kai Ken

Despite his strong temperament, he is gentle and very attached to his family. Safe for children, he enjoys all their games with real pleasure.

He is not a very affectionate dog having rather an independent character. However, he is nevertheless present for his family and devotes exemplary fidelity to them.

He is constant and his great vigilance makes him an excellent guardian seeking to protect all members of the household.

Sociable but rather reserved with strangers, he prefers to deter any kind of intrusion on his territory. If deterrence does not work, he does not hesitate to intervene to protect his own from possible danger. He is a very brave dog but generally devoid of aggressiveness.

Breed Appearance


This medium-sized dog has a very well proportioned constitution.

This robust, well developed dog has all the physical characteristics of a dog living in the Japanese mountains, with particularly well developed hocks and very vigorous limbs.

His distinctive coat gives him a unique and very typical look.


Between 50 and 56 cm (19.69 to 22.05 inches) for the male
Between 45 and 51 cm (17.72 to 20.08 inches) for the female


Between 23 and 27 kg (50.71 to 59.52 pounds) for the male
Between 23 and 27 kg (50.71 to 59.52 pounds) for the female


The colour of his coat is brindle, but it can vary between brindle black or brindle red. It is quite peculiar that babies are born single-coloured, with stripes only appearing later as they grow up.


His coat is straight, rough and rather coarse, while his undercoat is dense and very soft.


His head is broad and the stop is abrupt. His rather small brown eyes are triangular.

His firmly erect ears are also triangular. His nose is completely black. His tail is carried curved over the back or strongly curled and the hair covering it is open and long.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 5, section 5 and is #317

Tips About this breed

Endowed with a strong character, the Kai Kan is an excellent hunting dog, used as much for hunting pheasant as for wild boar and deer.

Very powerful and with an outstanding hunting endurance, he is an all-terrain dog. He can hunt very well on all types of terrain without any problem.

He is very intelligent and his education is relatively easy, but it must be firm and adequate in order to control his strong temperament.

The owner must pay attention to the socialization of his dog, so as not to exacerbate his natural fear of strangers.

As he is sometimes stubborn, education must be firm, constant and commensurate with his temperament and strong character.

The master must impose himself as leader of the pack in order to ensure his dog's total respect.

He can live just about anywhere and with any type of owner. He likes children and can easily adapt to all types of families.

However, he must always be led with a firm and steady hand, in order to maintain this balance and keep his place in the family hierarchy.

Health of the Kai Ken

Solid and very robust, this hardy dog does not suffer from any specific pathology. Generally enjoying excellent health, the Kai Ken is rarely sick.

The longevity of the breed is also very appreciable.


His pretty, distinctive coat requires weekly brushing to ensure its cleanliness and health. No other particular maintenance is necessary.

History of this breed

Native to Japan, more precisely the Kai district, the breed is said to be descended from ancient medium-sized Japanese dogs that once existed in the land of the setting sun.

Previously established in this mountainous region of Japan, the breed distinguished itself because of his very distinctive brindle coat.

Used mainly to hunt deer and wild boar at the time, he was declared a "Natural Monument" by the Japanese authorities in 1934.

It is only towards the 1990s that he crossed the Japanese borders, to make his appearance on American territory. The tendency to stay in packs would have greatly contributed to keeping the purity of the breed intact to this day.

This excellent hunting dog can easily chase unwounded as well as wounded game by smell. Even though he is very easy to live with, he has a strong temperament, less suited to company, but still very much appreciated by those who employ him for this task.

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