Hokkaido Ken Club of America

Thank you for visiting. This blog space is currently in it’s infancy stage, but I hope to post resources and links as they become available. There are two primary reasons for this blog. Firstly, the information about the Hokkaido Ken is difficult to come across in English, so my intention as the creator of this space is to make it easier for English speakers to find and locate info on the breed. Secondly, there are maybe 10-15 Hokkaido in North America. It is my plan to begin a controlled importing process of Hokkaido from Japan to improve numbers in the States.

Briefly, the Hokkaido Ken is one of the 6 Nihon Ken, or Japanese Heritage breeds reagrded as National Tresures. The breed descends from the medium-sized Japanese dogs that followed migrants, the Ainu people, from Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands, to Hokkaido during the Kamakura period (around the middle of the 12th century). The Ainu people used these dogs to hunt bears and other animals.

Today in Japan, although primarily kept as watch dogs and companions, they are still tested against bears in a very controlled setting. Hokkaido have a physique that is well suited to working in extreme cold and heavy snow. They also display acute judgment and great stamina. Medium-sized and well proportioned, Hokkaido are robustly built dogs with solid bones, toned muscles and strongly pronounced secondary sexual characteristics.The breed was declared a Natural Monument in 1937, when it was named after its native island. They are shown at Nippo events and there are at least two preservation societies.

Very brief and spotty breed description from Wikipedia.

Better breed description from the Nihon Ken Forum.
FCI breed description in English:  Click on Hokkaido

Some wonderful, although limited resources in English on the Hokkaido are here Ainu Dog Museum, and here at the Hokkaido forum.

Please email or post any questions you may have.