Animals >>

Ainu Dog

Ainu DogAinu Dog
[Jump to Article]

Ainu Dog Facts

Common Name:
Most widely used name for this species
Ainu Dog
The area where the animal first came from
The domestic group such as cat or dog
Average Size (H):
The average length (L) or height (H) of the animal
50cm (20in)
Average Weight:
The average measurement of how heavy the animal is
30kg (65lbs)
Average Lifespan:
The average time the animal lives for
12 years
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
The animal group that the species belongs to
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Grey, Tan, Brown, White
The way the animal thinks, behaves or reacts
Fearless, determined and loyal
The level of house-training needed for the animal
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Sharply pointed ears and upturned tail

Ainu Dog Location

Map of Ainu Dog Locations
Map of Asia

Ainu Dog

Ainu Dog History and Domestication

The Ainu dog is thought to be one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world, first bred by the indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido, to hunt Salmon, Deer and Bears. Despite being hunter-gatherers that survived in freezing conditions, the Ainu are thought to have kept Dogs from the very beginning and respected them in nearly the same way as other Humans. The Ainu Dog is thought to have descended from medium-sized Dogs that arrived on the island with migrants from the main island around 3,000 years ago. Today, despite its strong links to the Ainu people, it is more commonly referred to as the Hokkaido-Ken by the native Japanese people. Although the characteristics of the Ainu dog are thought to have changed a little over the years due to cross-breeding, this breed is said to still have a very wild streak.

Ainu Dog Physical Characteristics

The Ainu Dog is a medium sized canine that is well known for its strength and power. Generally the double coat of thick fur used to keep the Dog warm, is light in colour, with white, grey and fawn being especially common. They are known to have a fearsome expression, due to their small dark, brown eyes, a broad head and a pointed muzzle that is tipped with a black nose. The ears of the Ainu Dog are small and sharply pointed making this breed appear even more alert. The tongue of the Ainu Dog is commonly covered in black spots which is said to suggest a relation to the Chow Chow, a smaller species of domestic Dog that is natively found in neighbouring China.

Ainu Dog Behaviour and Temperament

The Ainu Dog breed is a naturally wild and powerful Dog, making this breed an excellent guard Dog, They are also suspicious and alert and incredibly courageous when needing to protect their owner. The Ainu Dog is well known for its faithfulness, bravery, and the ability to withstand the cold, among its other desirable traits. It has an innate sense of direction and can therefore return to its master no matter how great the distance it has travelled alone. The Ainu Dog is also known to howl, making a similar sound to that of a Wolf, when it believes it has done good by its keeper. They are incredibly active Dogs and are known to not be suitable for apartment living or in households that contain other animals or young children.

Ainu Dog Breeding

The Ainu Dog was originally bred by the indigenous hunter-gathers to both help them to catch food, but also to protect them from large animals. Since then, the breed has changed slightly from these original Dogs, due to cross-breeding with similar domestic breeds throughout the Far East. Despite its long history as a working breed, the Ainu Dog ideally now combines the roles of family pet and hunter. Today, Ainu Dogs are most commonly kept for hunting or as guard Dogs due to their alert and incredibly bold nature. On average, the female has around 7 puppies per litter which, like many other canines, are born both blind and with hardly any fur. Within their first month however, the Ainu Dog puppies will be up on their feet and begin to grow fast. The Ainu Dog can live to be 14 years old and is known to have relatively few genetic health issues.

Ainu Dog Interesting Facts and Features

The Ainu Dog has made a name for itself through its courage nature, known to actually take on very large Bears, a number of times their size, in order to protect their owner. Today, although they can be found in households in parts of Europe and America, the Ainu Dog is most commonly found in Japan, where it remains to be considered a cherished national breed by the Japanese people. The Ainu Dog was officially named the Hokkaido-Ken in 1937, despite its rich history with the Ainu people.


Are you Safe?

Are you Safe? is an online safety campaign by If something has upset you, the Are you Safe? campaign can help you to speak to someone who can help you.

Are you Safe?

Ainu Dog Comments

Nite M. Barki
"Dogs are awesome! The dog look-a-like breed to the Ainu is the Kishu. I like all dogs. Whites ones seem to have a royal wisp to their appearance because the color resembles...snow. ^u^ DOGGIES! "
Lizzy M. Walker
"Awww these dogs are so cute I love their fluffy tails! :D"
Anthony K. Beatty
"I love dogs most of all because of their intellect and loyalty. I've found that most who have had an Ainu have been deeply connected on a family level for their inheritated trates. A great addition to the family, not pet, this breed deserves the highest level of respect."
Showing 3 of 3 comments.

Post Comment

Please enter a nickname which you can use to identify your comment, but which others can not use to identify you. Please do not use your online usernames/handles which you use for social networking.

Article Tools

Add to Phobia Filter
Update your Ainu Dog phobia filter.
Print Article
View printer friendly version of Ainu Dog article.
Source/Reference Article
Learn how you can use or cite the Ainu Dog article in your website content, school work and other projects.

First Published: 10th November 2008, Last Updated: 20th October 2019

1. Ainu Dog Breed, Available at: [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
2. Ainu Dog History, Available at: [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
3. Ainu Dog Origin, Available at: [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
4. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
5. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
7. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
8. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
Subscribe to A-Z Animals and enjoy our website without advertising! Subscribe Now