Coat Color in the Japanese Dog Breeds

This next part is taken from the current NIPPO judging criteria governing coats.

Permissible amounts of 'buchige' (spotting/pinto/piebald) in the large type dog (Akita)

'Buchige' is permitted, except for large spots on the trunk and extremely unsightly spotting.

Note: Large spots on the torso refers to 'botan-buchi' (peony spots). Unsightly spotting refers to 'buchige' that is not Nihon Ken in nature (e.g. Holstein like patterns).

Concerning 'urajiro' (white markings on the ventral portions of the body) in outer coat color

White fur in the following areas is considered 'urajiro', and not 'buchige'.
1. On the muzzle and cheeks of the facial area. However, the bridge of the muzzle (blaze) and reverse masks are excluded.
2. Underside of jaw, neck, chest, and belly.
3. Forechest, extending up to the shoulder joint, but not spreading over the shoulder.
4. Forelimb to elbow joint, hindlimb to knee joint.
5. Tip of the tail.

Note 1: While 'urajiro' is a distinctive feature of the Nihon Ken, guidance should still be given to prevent it from leading to an expansion of white areas in the coat.
Note 2: Points deducted for conspicuous speckling on the limbs.

Yogore-shiro (dirty white/stained white) in the outer coat

1. Yogore-shiro (dirty white) refers to faded red coloration on the ears, neck, back, top of the hip, the limbs, and the tail. This is not desirable, but is accepted.
2. Yogore-shiro that has obvious edges showing piebald patterns is not allowed.

Outer coat in the medium and small type dog

1. Coat color should be clear and sharp. Give guidance toward rich hues devoid of muddiness, and endeavor to prevent fading colors.
2. A reverse mask (white spreading from above the eye onto both cheeks, and the bridge of the muzzle) is not desirable and points will be deducted.
Coat color in the medium type dog

1. Coat color for the Kishu and Shikoku : 'goma' (sesame), 'aka' (red), 'kuro' (black aka black/tan), 'shiro' (white). However white in the Shikoku is not desirable and points will be deducted.
2. Coat color for the Kai : 'tora' (brindle).
3. Coat color for the Hokkaido : goma' (sesame), 'aka' (red), 'kuro' (black aka black/tan),'tora' (brindle), 'shiro' (white).

Coat color in the small type dog

1. 'Aka' (red), 'goma' (sesame), 'kuro' (black aka black/tan), 'shiro' (white). However white is not desirable and points will be deducted.
2. A good sesame shall be one that is a relatively even mix of black, red, and white hairs spread over the entire coat. Coats showing parts with a strong black predominance are not desirable.
3. Black should be 'tetsu-sabi-shoku' (the color of rusted iron)

Note: 'Tetsu-sabi-shoku' is jet black (coal black) and should not have a glossy sheen. It refers to a black with a touch of brown as if it has been smoked.

Black coats

1. Anything which degrades the quality of a dog's facial appearance.
2. Smudged (loss of circular shape) 'yotsume' (four eye) pattern.
3. Excessive amounts of brown on the head, neck, back, and trunk etc.
4. Coats that begin to show 'nasu-kon-shoku' (eggplant-dark-blue) or grey-black coloration as the dog ages.

The above are all undesirable traits and points will be deducted accordingly.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Yes, I definitely will continue to update the blog with information as it becomes available to me.


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