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Kishu: Wikis


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Other names Kishu-Ken
Country of origin Japan

The Kishu (紀州犬 Kishū-inu ?), sometimes called Kishu Ken or Kishu Inu, is a Japanese breed of dog, developed there for thousands of years. It is descended from ancient medium-sized breeds and named after the Kishu region, now Wakayama Prefecture. This breed is similar to the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu but predates both breeds. Sometimes it is mistaken for the white variant of Hokkaido or a white Japanese Spitz because of very similar appearance. The Japanese originally used this breed of dog for boar and deer hunting. Like the Shiba, they are often quiet. Kishu will stalk prey quietly rather than bark.




The Kishu stands 17-22 inches tall, averages 30-60 pounds and is considered a medium sized dog. The coat color is generally white. There are still occasional brindle or red Kishus in Japan, but the preferred coat color, and the only one seen in show dogs, is white. The nose color is primarily black, but with the white coat the nose can be brownish or pink in color. The bite is either scissor or a level bite. The tail is curled over the back like that of an Akita or Shiba Inu. The coat is short, straight, and coarse with a thick undercoat. There is fringe on the cheeks and tail. The ears incline forward and are smaller rather than larger. This breed is tough, agile, and friendly.


Kishu's are a one-person dog. They are courageous and brave as hunters, and will be loyal to their owners. They have a strong prey drive, and will hunt small animals. They do well with other dogs; however, due to their pack instincts they might cause some fights for dominance. They are quite headstrong and willful, making training necessary, but they are devoted and loyal to family, getting along well with children. Kishu like to keep an eye on whatever is going on, and sometimes find a high place to look out from. They can be timid around strangers. They are easily housebroken, intelligent, and have a strong will.



The Kishu should be brushed weekly to keep their fur mat free and clean. Bathe them as necessary, depending on how dirty they are. Their ears should be checked routinely for wax build up, infection or dirt. Their nails should also be trimmed regularly. Kishu Kens shed once or twice a year, making grooming at these times needed.


The Kishu needs adequate space to roam and exercise, meaning a house with a yard or urban environment with a fence. They need regular exercise on a leash, taking walks or runs. They can also be given a job to do such as herding to satisfy their exercise.


The Kishu is a Foundation Stock breed with the American Kennel Club. The American Kishu Registry is the official Kishu registry in the United States and is recognized as such by AKC. Other registries include Japan Kennel Club (JKC) and Nihonken Hozonkai (Nippo), both in Japan. The Kishu is recognized as a natural monument of Japan, thus export of the Kishu from Japan is severely restricted. Since this breed is so rare in North America and Europe, you may only get a chance to see him in his native homeland, Japan. There are only two known breeders outside of Japan—one in Texas and one in the Netherlands.

In popular culture


The works of manga artist Yoshihiro Takahashi feature many Kishu, characterizing them as skilled fighters.

  • Akame of Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin
  • Kyoushiro of Ginga Legend Weed. Also Sakura, the main character's mother, was a Kishu mix. This makes Weed, the main character, a Kishu/Akita mix—his father Gin was an Akita.
  • Gamu, Kusakage, Shiba, Tsuchigumo, Oboro, and Honou, the Ganin warriors of Kacchu no Senshi Gamu.


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