The Nihon Ken Standard

 One of my other remaining projects, something that is a bit of a monster to tackle, is a translation of the original Nihon Ken standard. 

What follows is my translation, point 1 of 12. It is based on the current standard, along with official commentary from NIPPO's website. I keep it as dry and exact as possible, attempting to capture the nuance of how it was written and expressed in the original Japanese. I do not include any personal opinions or commentary. It's still a work in progress, so anyone with comments, feel free to comment.

The Nihon Ken Standard

The standard for the Japanese Dog (Nihon Ken) based on the characteristic traits of the Nihon Ken, and guiding the direction of the Nihon Ken that should be produced in the future was published in 1934 by the Japanese Dog Preservation Society (commonly referred to as NIPPO). It divided the Nihon Ken into three categories: small, medium, and large. It can be said that the Nihon Ken breed standards of all canine registries worldwide, including the preservation societies in Japan, were created based on this standard.


*This Nihon Ken standard is written in a style that aims to concisely and precisely summarize complex points, so the expressions used can be difficult to understand. In commentary we will attempt to explain each section, and draw attention to points of importance.






Essential qualities and their expression

Abounding in Kan-i, exhibiting Ryōsei and an air of Soboku, senses keen, movement agile, stride is light and elastic.


NIPPO commentary:



Kan-i, Ryōsei, and Soboku are extremely important essential traits of the Nihon Ken. Kan-i means spirited, with an air of authority. Ryōsei, loyal and subordinate. Soboku is a word that describes an innate quality of the Nihon Ken: an unadorned, unpretentious but refined air.

Additionally, the standard goes on to describe visually expressed traits: the small and medium size breeds are described as having senses keen, movement agile, stride is light and elastic. The large size breeds (Akita) are described as having a bearing of substance.


  1. I find your site fascinating and helpful. How do I get in touch with you directly? I am a Tosa breeder that helped start the Tosa Club in the Americas. I have many questions about the Tosa, the Akita, and the Shikoku. Can you help?


Post a Comment