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Japanese Terrier
Other names Nippon Terrier
Nihon Teria
Nihon Terrier
Nicknames Kobe Terrier
Mikado Terrier
Oyuki (snowy) Terrier
Country of origin Japan

The Japanese Terrier (日本テリア?) is a small terrier native to Japan. It is believed to be descended from the progeny of fox terrier types, pointers and indigenous Japanese dogs. This dog is also known as the Nippon Terrier. The breed is rare, even in Japan.




The Japanese Terrier is a balanced, square dog, most often black head with predominately white body that has little black spots. It is 8 to 13 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 5 to 9 pounds, its ears are high set and fold forward, and the coat is short, slick and fine. Its tail can be docked.


The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) breed standard describes this breed as having "a lively and cheerful character" and as "swift and lively in temperament".


It is generally believed that the ancestors of the Japanese Terrier were brought by Dutch merchant ships to Nagasaki, the only Japanese port open to the West in the 17th century. It is unclear whether these dogs were Dutch boerenfox (a Dutch terrier strain, like the Fox Terrier of England or the German Pinscher of Germany) or whether these were dogs brought along by English sailors. Unlike other descendants of Fox Terriers, the JT seems to have been developed exclusively as a pet. The dogs became very popular as lap dogs in ports such as Nagasaki, Kobe and Yokohama.

According to the Japan Kennel Club (JKC), planned breeding of Japanese Terriers did not begin until around 1920, when fanciers began selective breeding from the progenitor, the Kobe Terrier. The Japanese Terrier was recognized by the JKC in 1930. The Japanese Terrier is recognized by the Japanese Kennel Club and the FCI. It is little known outside of Japan, but does have its admirers in Europe.

The Japanese Terrier’s tiny stature and short coat make it a low-maintenance pet, but it does not do well in the cold.

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