Hokkaido

Canis lupus

Last updated: October 10, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Known for its bravery and ability to withstand the cold.



Hokkaido Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
mam
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Hokkaido Locations

Hokkaido Locations

Hokkaido Facts

Fun Fact
Known for its bravery and ability to withstand the cold.
Temperament
Docile, faithful, bold
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
4 puppies

Hokkaido Physical Characteristics

Colour
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
  • Brindle
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
12-15 years
Weight
44-66 pounds

Hokkaido as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Moderate
Seperation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
Moderate
Friendly With Other Dogs
High
Dog group
Working
Male weight
44-66 lbs
Female weight
44-66 lbs

Hokkaido Images

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Bred from Japan, the Hokkaido also goes by the names “Ainu-ken,” “Seta,” and “Ainu dog.” It’s rare to find them anywhere but in Japan without a high price tag.

Showing off with a beautiful coat of many colors, the Hokkaido’s intelligence and adoration for their family makes it an excellent companion. They tend to maintain a sense of hyperawareness, allowing them to spot any trouble nearby. The thick coat needs regular brushing, but you might have a hard time with their bath – they are not typically fond of the process. However, the warmth of the coat makes them perfect for cold weather.
For a dog with a love of family and playtime, the Hokkaido fits the bill nicely.

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Hokkaido vs. Shiba Inu

While it is hard to distinguish the Hokkaido and the Shiba Inu, one of the telltale differences is their size since the latter tends to be a little smaller. Their colors are relatively the same, as is their tendency to shed. Still, even when full-grown, the Hokkaido dogs end up weighing at least twice as much.

For the most part, these dogs are so close in their personality, ease of training, and nutrition that either would be a great choice for a family. Just make sure they get their exercise, or they can sing a pretty loud song.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Hokkaido

Before investing in the Hokkaido dog, consider these pros and cons.

Pros!Cons!
Protective: There are few dogs as productive as Hokkaidos. These pups form an incredible bond and will alert their family of possible danger.Lots of grooming: As soft and lovable as Hokkaido dogs are, one of the most time-consuming concerns is grooming. Though baths are infrequent, they need brushing 1-2 times a week to keep matting under control.
Lovable: One of the most notable features of Hokkaido dogs is their loyalty to their family.Inherited disease: While the Hokkaido is a relatively healthy breed, its relationship to other spitzes gives the dog a predisposition to certain genetic disorders.
Intelligent: Easy to train, this dog is brilliant already, allowing him to pick up cues quickly from their owner.Howling: Though the dog generally makes little noise, they love to howl when they are happy and excited.
Hokkaido Running
Fiercely loyal and protective, the Hokkaido is a great family dog.

Hokkaido Size and Weight

Every Hokkaido dog – whether male or female – has a medium-sized build with many colors across its thick coat. Most of these puppies reach a height of 18-22 inches when they are full-grown, complementing their weight (44-66 lbs.) for a girthy dog. The females tend to be a little smaller, so they may be closer to the lighter end of this weight range.

Height (Male):18-22 inches tall
Height (Female):18-22 inches tall
Weight (male):44-66 lbs., fully grown.
Weight (female):44-66 lbs., fully grown.

Hokkaido Common Health Issues

Part of the reason that the adoption of Hokkaido dogs is so popular is due to their overall healthy genetics. However, they still need regular visits to a local veterinarian to stay that way, and they are at risk of certain hereditary diseases.

For instance, about one-third of Hokkaido dogs have the Collie Eye Anomaly, which leads to vision loss. They can also lose their ability to walk correctly if hip dysplasia or a luxating patella are left to progress. However, their limping is a good indication that one of these issues has occurred. Since these dogs naturally love to eat, pica (a condition that causes the dog to eat non-food items) is a concern to watch for as well. It may be accompanied by psychogenic polydipsia, causing them to deal with incredible thirst.

Anxiety and idiopathic seizures can occur in these dogs as well. Even by paying a high price with a breeder, the most common issues that these dogs face include:

  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Pica
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Anxiety
  • Idiopathic seizures
  • Psychogenic polydipsia

Hokkaido Temperament and Behavior

The vocal personality of the Hokkaido gives them quite a range of noises. Though they will occasionally bark at passersby and other animals, their true range comes out when they become excited or happy. Be prepared for this ever-expressive breed to let out a big howl in those moments! Completely and utterly devoted to their family, the Hokkaido dog wants what it wants. If the dog no longer wants to play, they stop.

Their instinctual behavior to hunt and look for prey interferes with their ability to be around other animals and strangers, but good training can help. They have a pack-oriented behavior, making them protective of every family member they bond with.

Despite their medium height and weight, the Hokkaido seems to be suited to any living quarters. Whether you live in an apartment or townhome, they just need a little time outside to get their playtime, preventing their temperament from going.

Health and Entertainment for your Hokkaido

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How to Take Care of Hokkaido

The Hokkaido dog is relatively rare in the world, which is why any potential owner should consider their care before adoption. When adopted as a puppy, they still have a lot to learn about the world around them, but the proper diet, training, and maintenance many a big deal. Consider these tips for their care to help your pet live its best life.

Hokkaido Food and Diet

Mealtime is an integral part of the day for Hokkaido dogs and puppies alike. To help them maintain their energetic and long lifespan, one of the critical issues to watch for is overeating. Their needs change as they age, but
Instructions: Cover both specific dog food considerations for this breed as an adult and a puppy. Reference the different nutrient needs for puppies and adult dogs, as well as the health concerns above.

Hokkaido Maintenance and Grooming

The beautiful colors of the Hokkaido’s coat – like black, white, brindle, red, brindle, tan, and sesame – provide quite a beautiful sight, and they’ll need regular grooming to stay healthy. The coat is incredibly thick, requiring no less than twice-weekly brushing to stop matting from building up. They go through two shedding periods each year that will warrant a little extra care.

When it comes to baths, don’t be surprised if your Hokkaido dog refuses. Since the hair is so dense, the drying process takes quite a long time. Luckily, they don’t need more than a few baths a year (unless they become filthy).

Hokkaido Training

The Hokkaido dog is easy to train, which is partially due to their intelligence. Their pack mentality could make them a little stubborn, but it also allows them to understand the hierarchy in the home. If you want this dog to list, you must establish yourself as the alpha early on.

Even with special training, they always must be approached with kindness rather than aggression (unless a stranger wants the behavior turned right back to them.

Hokkaido Exercise

With the ability to adapt to any size of surroundings, the Hokkaido is a rather active dog that needs time and space to exercise. With a 12-15 years lifespan, bringing them somewhere that they run, play, and exercise is necessary. They’ll be happy in any home – even an apartment – if you take the time to go outside with them for some open and free exercise.
Active owners are the best matches for Hokkaido’s – these dogs love to tag along on a hiking session or a camping trip. They have incredible skills in endurance activities like pulling weight or dock diving. Even the puppies that never learn to like a bath then to do wonderfully while swimming.

Hokkaido Puppies

The only circumstances you should consider with Hokkaido puppies (rather than adults) is early exposure to much of their care and socialization. They need to spend time with children to learn how to behave correctly, and they need to have some grooming performed early in life – like baths, nail clipping, and ear checks.

Hokkaido Puppy
With its beautiful, thick fur, the Hokkaido requires frequent grooming.

Hokkaido And Children

Hokkaido’s are excellent companions for nearly every family size! It doesn’t matter if you live alone or have a large family with many children – Hokkaidos soak it all in. If they are raised with young children, they find getting along relatively easy and loyal to their loved ones.

As with any breed, take the time to teach younger children to play with this dog appropriately. The weight of the Hokkaido gives it some substantial girth, and children that play too roughly may put their pets and themselves in danger.

Dogs similar to Hokkaido Dogs

If the Hokkaido is not your preferred breed, other breeds of interest include Japanese Spitz, Shiba Inu, and Akitas.

Japanese Spitz. The Japanese Spitz comes from the same dog family as Hokkaidos, but they have a much smaller build for individuals who may want a dog without incredible girth.

Shiba Inu. Often compared to Hokkaido dogs, the Shiba Inu is slightly smaller. Also found in Japan, this dog is agile and alert, making them an excellent companion for hunters.

Akita. The Akita is large, but they are much easier to find than Hokkaido dogs if you live outside of Japan.

Some popular names for Hokkaido dogs include:

  • Rogue
  • Echo
  • Dream
  • Sadie
  • Pepper
  • Coco
  • Poppy
  • Luna

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Hokkaido FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much is a Hokkaido dog?

Purchasing a Hokkaido dog as a puppy from a reputable breeder comes at a price of $1,500 to $3,000. If you’re lucky enough to find one at an adoption center, the price will be much lower.>

Do Hokkaido dogs smell?

Although they do not like baths since their fur is so thick, they are known to have no odor.

Are Hokkaido dogs hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, Hokkaido dogs are not hypoallergenic and shed a lot.

Why does the Hokkaido dog have lots of fur?

The Hokkaido has a thick, soft undercoat with a coarse outer coat for surviving high freezing temperatures.

How do you groom a Hokkaido dog?

The Hokkaido is a relatively easy dog breed to groom since its coat does not need trimming, and because of the natural oils in its skin, its coat has a very healthy look without products. Only regular brushing of their coat, ear cleaning, dental care, and nail trimming is necessary.

Is a Hokkaido good with kids?

When bonded with their family, Hokkaido dogs are loyal and protective, preferring constant companionship. They are wary of strangers. As with any dog, it is important to supervise young children at all times when around dogs.

How long does a Hokkaido dog live?

With proper care and handling, the Hokkaido dog breed has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Sources
  1. DogTime, Available here: https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/hokkaido#/slide/1
  2. Wisdom Panel, Available here: https://www.wisdompanel.com/en-us/dog-breeds/hokkaido-inu
  3. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/hokkaido/
  4. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokkaido_(dog)
  5. Dog Breeds List, Available here: https://www.dogbreedslist.info/all-dog-breeds/hokkaido-dog.html
  6. Hokkaido Association of North America, Available here: https://www.hokkaidoken.org/
  7. Dog Zone, Available here: https://www.dogzone.com/breeds/hokkaido-dog/
  8. BMJ Journals, Available here: https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/74/2/192
  9. BMJ Best Practice, Available here: https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-us/865
  10. Kids Health, Available here: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/pica.html
  11. VCA Hospitals, Available here: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/collie-eye-anomaly

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