The Shikoku is Not a Wolfdog

If most will not admit it, I usually get the feeling that people overseas who find the breed and are attracted to it, well they find it 'wolfy', and they like that. It's funny because in Japan if you tell breeders the breed looks like a wolf, they generally tend to give you a funny look, half smile, and an ohhhhkay sort of a nod.

It really is okay. I have no judgement for pet owners who love the 'look' of a breed. If that's what draws you to it, that's okay. If that's why 90% of requests from people overseas are for black sesame Shikoku, that's okay too.

But I beg and implore anyone getting into the breed as a breeder to remove the 'wolf' attraction from your brain. The reason why I'm saying this is that it will affect the 'type' you breed toward. Even if it's subconsciously, you'll be breeding toward an incorrect image of the breed. Learn what the breed is in its entirety, if possible come to Japan to see it over here, and learn from NIPPO members that have been breeding them since the early days of the breed.

There is a stereotype image that is prevalent here in Japan that says that the Japanese breeds turn into something else once they are exported. Breeders overseas breed toward their idea of what the breed should be, and give it a few generations and it's a different dog. Hey, if the dogs are healthy and going to good homes I guess that's not the end of the world. But the totality of the breed that attracted you to it, that bit of Japanese culture, wouldn't it be cool if you were actually preserving that correctly?


  1. Hey Shigs,
    Interesting topic. Are you hearing an increase of inquiry from people wanting/preferring black sesame over all the other colors?

    Or are there other characteristics about being "wolf-like" that you're hearing that you see as an erroneous mischaracterization of the breed?


  2. This post coincides very well with a recent topic on the forum about western influences on temperament. Good post!

    To my understanding, the Japanese breeders feel the Shikoku become too soft once out of Japan. Is this the stereotype you reference? And do you agree? (Is there any room to evolve to fit a modern environment when the historical one no longer exists?)

    As for the "wolfy" thing - this reaction is common with laymen on the street (though I hear husky more frequently), in the same way they will say a Shiba looks foxy. Are you actually seeing foreign breeders changing appearance/type in this way?

    1. Should I adopt a Shikoku, it would be for the diversity of pedigrees. I, too, like the black sesame coloration, but it would definitely affect the health of the breed should the color preference reign. For me, the different Shikoku coloring needs to be emphasized and color should have no bearing on anything when choosing a pup.


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