Ainu dogs are natural hunters and will protect their owners from bears.
Ainu Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Canis lupus
Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.
Ainu Conservation Status
- Fun Fact
- Ainu dogs are natural hunters and will protect their owners from bears.
- Distinctive Feature
- Sharply pointed ears and upturned tail
- Fearless, determined and loyal
- Average Litter Size
- Common Name
- Ainu Dog
- An innate sense of direction!
Ainu as a Pet:
- General Health
- Energy Level
- Tendency to Chew
- Family and kid friendliness
- Yappiness / Barking
- Separation Anxiety
- Preferred Temperature
- Cold climate
- Exercise Needs
- Friendly With Other Dogs
- Pure bred cost to own
- $500 - $2,000
- Dog group
- Male weight
- 52-67 lbs
- Female weight
- 44-58 lbs
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These strong, loyal, and dedicated pets are known for being extremely devoted to their owners and are often sought out as lifelong companions. Ainu dogs have chipper, upbeat personalities that are well-suited to outdoor activities, but they’re also gentle enough to spend time in indoor environments. Although they’re primarily bred in Japan, these dogs are popular around the world and are often imported directly from native breeders.
The Ainu Dog is a devoted pet that will be right at your side for all of your adventures. If you’re looking for safety, affection, and companionship, the Japanese Ainu dog is an excellent choice.
The Ainu people were bear and deer hunters that lived in Japan in the 1100s, eventually settling on Hokkaido. To this day, these dogs will defend their owners from bears at any cost.
3 Pros and Cons of Owning
|Loyal and Devoted! Hokkaido dogs are known for being incredibly loyal. In fact, most Ainu dogs are hard to re-home because they never lose the attachment for their original owners.||Exercise Needed. Ainu dogs need a lot of exercise and don’t do well in apartment settings. Your Seta dog will be happiest living in a house with a big yard.|
|Energetic and Playful! These dogs love to run, play, and go for long walks in the woods. You’ll never be bored with one of these fun-loving pups in your life.||Dominant Personality. Ainu dogs like strong leadership. If they don’t feel like they can trust you, they may be unwilling to obey your commands. You can solve this by establishing a strong training bond early in your puppy’s life.|
|Clean and Tidy! Ainu dogs are incredibly clean pets with no distinguishable odor. Even though their coats are thick, they only have light shedding that can be easily managed with regular brushing.||Older Kids Only. Ainu dogs have calm temperaments, but they don’t like small children. Ainu dogs can be around older children who know how to respect a dog’s boundaries.|
History and Evolution
This breed dates back almost 10,000 ago, and they are connected to the Ainu people. Historically, the Yamato people of Japan pushed the Ainu out of their southern island and north to the northernmost Japanese island, Hokkaido. They brought their dogs with them, of course, and they ended up mixing with local breeds there.
These dogs adapted to their new location with thicker coats, strong jaws, and other robust characteristics. Because their masters were hunters of large game, the Ainu dog also developed fierce loyalty and bravery.
In 1954 measures were taken to protect the breed that had been on the brink of extinction. The Hokkaido Ken Hozonkai works to continue the Ainu breed’s appearance and temperament. They do this through shows and tests that involve interacting with live bears and determine how well the dogs behave.
Size and Weight
Hokkaido dogs are a medium breed with short but thick fur, sharply pointed ears, and distinctively curled tails. Most Ainu dogs stand between 18 to 22 inches in height, and they can weigh anywhere from 45 to 70 pounds. Female dogs are slightly smaller than male dogs; they usually weigh around 5 to 10 pounds less and stand about 2 to 3 inches shorter.
|Height (male)||19-22 inches|
|Height (female)||18-20 inches|
|Weight (male)||52-67 pounds|
|Weight (female)||44-58 pounds|
Common Health Issues
These dogs are incredibly healthy and are not known for having any breed-specific health issues. With that in mind, the dog can still suffer from some of the most common issues that impact adult dogs, including arthritis, hip dysplasia, and heart murmurs. Hokkaido dogs also occasionally suffer from collie eye anomaly, which is a rare mutation that can cause the eyes to be small and underdeveloped. Due to this condition, you should get an eye exam for your new puppy immediately after adoption.
In short, the conditions that these dogs might suffer from include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Heart murmurs
- Collie eye anomaly
Temperament and Behavior
These dogs are known for being incredibly loyal, attentive, brave, friendly, and intelligent. These dogs have extremely devoted personalities and will become completely attached to their original owners. Expect your dog to exhibit obedient and loving behaviors; most Hokkaido dogs follow their owners around the house and never want to be separated from the core members of the family.
These dogs were used as hunting dogs back in rural Japan. They are known for having a brave temperament that allows them to stand between their owner and a bear, but they’re also sweet enough to spend time with children and other animals. Ainu dogs love to play and make great companions for outdoor activities.
How to Take Care For
Hokkaido dogs are hunting dogs designed for cold climates. Because of this, your puppy will need plenty of exercise, regular training-style interactions, and consistent grooming. Luckily, these dogs are also extremely healthy; aside from standard vet visits, they usually won’t need much medical care.
The Best Dog Food
These dogs like to exercise a lot, so they may need more calories than other dogs of the same size. Look for a dog food that is high in protein and is suited to an active lifestyle. If you prefer to make homemade food for your dog, go with a mix of low-fat meats and hearty vegetables like green beans and carrots. Remember to consult your vet to make sure that your dog is getting the exact nutrition it needs to thrive.
Ideally, a well-formulated dog food will help protect Ainu dogs from their most common health concerns. So the best option for Ainu Dogs will be a food that supports the health of bones, joints, eyes, and heart.
We recommend Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food.
This healthy dog food includes glucosamine for happy joints and taurine for eye health. Plus, there’s quality protein from natural ingredients, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and plenty of antioxidants for Ainu dogs’ hearts.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is available on Chewy or Amazon.
- Essential, high-quality protein for healthy muscle development, and carbs for energy for an active life.
- Calcium, phosphorus and essential vitamins for strong bones and teeth.
- Glucosamine is added for joint health and mobility support.
- Vitamins, chelated minerals and antioxidants contribute to your pup's immune system health.
- No corn, wheat, soy or chicken (or poultry) by-product meals.
Maintenance and Grooming
Hokkaido dogs have thick double coats that keep them warm in the winter. These coats have short fur, but they still need to be brushed regularly to prevent matting or extreme shedding. Expect to brush your Ainu dog at least twice a week, and give them a bath on a monthly basis.
Luckily, these dogs don’t need to visit the groomer to have their coats maintained. They naturally shed their winter coats when summer arrives; except in extreme circumstances, your dog should never need to be shaved. However, you will still want to take them in for regular nail trimmings, especially if your Ainu dog primarily lives indoors.
These dogs are hunting dogs. They’re easy to train, but it’s recommended that you start their training early to make sure that your dog knows how to communicate with you. Because Hokkaido dogs are high energy, they likely won’t be satisfied with knowing a small handful of commands. Instead, consider teaching your dog to play games, chase lures, and spend time with you in the great outdoors.
When it comes to training temperament, it’s important to understand that Hokkaido dogs respect strong leadership. These dogs will expect you to establish yourself as the alpha. If you don’t, your dog may try to assert leadership for the safety of the pack. This tendency can be counteracted by a trainer who gives direct commands and knows how to give off an aura of strength and confidence.
Hokkaido dogs need a moderate to a high amount of exercise. These dogs do best when they have access to a yard or another place to run and play. In addition to free-roaming, you should also take your dog on a 30-40 minute walk every day; this time will allow you to bond with your pet and ensure that they’re burning off any excess energy. These dogs also love to play fetch, chase lures and take part in other hunting-style activities.
Ainu puppies are sweet but reserved and are likely to cling to their owners. Start training early, and be sure to establish a positive tone of leadership that allows your dog to feel safe in your presence.
Ainu dogs are incredibly energetic hunting dogs. Although they have friendly personalities and can do well with older children, they don’t tend to get along with small children that do not know how to respect the dog’s space. If you’re adopting an Ainu dog into a family, make sure that the parents have time to train the dog and establish themselves as the primary owners. Once the Ainu dog is trained, they will be able to spend time with the entire family with no issues.
Ainu dogs, also known as Hokkaido dogs or Seta dogs, are spitz-type dogs that are native to Japan. If you’re looking for a similar breed, try the Akita or Shiba Inu, both of which are Japanese spitz dogs. If you’re looking for a more traditional spitz dog, you could also adopt an American Eskimo.
- Akita – Akitas are intelligent hunting dogs with long legs and gorgeous brindled coats. Although they’re naturally aggressive, Akitas are also known for being incredibly attached to their owners.
- Shiba Inu – Shiba Inus are incredibly popular Japanese dogs with gold coats and signature faces. Shiba Inus are friendly, vocal, and the life of the party.
- American Eskimo – American Eskimo dogs were bred in the Midwest in the 1800s. These fluffy white dogs are alert, vibrant, and energetic.
Most Ainu dog owners like to give their dogs a traditional Japanese name. Popular names for Ainu dogs include:
Ainu FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are Ainu Dogs herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?
Ainu Dogs are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.
What Kingdom do Ainu Dogs belong to?
Ainu Dogs belong to the Kingdom Animalia.
What class do Ainu Dogs belong to?
Ainu Dogs belong to the class Mammalia.
What phylum to Ainu Dogs belong to?
Ainu Dogs belong to the phylum Chordata.
What family do Ainu Dogs belong to?
Ainu Dogs belong to the family Canidae.
What order do Ainu Dogs belong to?
Ainu Dogs belong to the order Carnivora.
What type of covering do Ainu Dogs have?
Ainu Dogs are covered in Hair.
What genus do Ainu Dogs belong to?
Ainu Dogs belong to the genus Canis.
What are some distinguishing features of Ainu Dogs?
Ainu Dogs have sharply pointed ears and upturned tails.
How many babies do Ainu Dogs have?
The average number of babies an Ainu Dog has is 7.
What is an interesting fact about Ainu Dogs?
Ainu Dogs have an innate sense of direction!
What is the scientific name for the Ainu Dog?
The scientific name for the Ainu Dog is Canis lupus.
How much do Ainu dogs cost to own?
Ainu dogs typically cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 when purchased directly from the breeder. In addition to the price of the dog, you will also need to pay to have your Ainu puppy shipped to your location from Japan; this can add as much as $1,000 to the price tag.
Are Ainu dogs good with kids?
Ainu dogs get along well with children and other animals. However, it’s still not smart to leave small children alone with any kind of dog, especially if they have not been around pets before.
How long does an Ainu dog live?
Ainu dogs typically live anywhere from 11 to 15 years. Your Ainu dog will live longer if you watch their diet and allow them to live indoors, especially when they get older.
Where do you get an Ainu dog?
Ainu dogs are native to Japan, and most puppies are purchased directly from the island. However, you can also occasionally find Ainu breeders across Europe and the United States.
What is an Ainu dog?
An Ainu dog, also known as a Hokkaido dog, is a breed of Spitz dog that is native to Japan. These dogs have pointed ears, curly tails, and highly distinctive faces.
How much does an Ainu dog weigh?
Ainu dogs typically weigh anywhere from 40 to 70 pounds. Female Ainu dogs tend to weigh about 5 to 10 pounds less than their male counterparts.
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- American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/hokkaido/
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