Temperament: Dignified, Alert, Devoted

  • Height: 18-20 inches
  • Weight: 44-66 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Foundation Stock Service 
The Hokkaido is a dog of noteworthy endurance and dignity. His temperament is faithful, docile, very alert, and bold. He also shows accurate judgement and great stamina.

About the Hokkaido

The Hokkaido is a medium-sized, strongly-built dog. They have longer, thicker coats than the other Japanese breeds, and also have wider chests and smaller ears. Like all the Nihon Ken, they have a double coat made up of protective, coarse outer guard hairs, and a fine, thick undercoat that is shed seasonally. The breed comes in several colours: white, red, black, brindle, sesame, and wolf grey. With early training, the Hokkaido is a very loyal and dedicated companion who wants to please his human family. They are incredibly intelligent thinkers and problem solvers, and they excel at tasks given to them. If not socialised properly, however, Hokkaido can become wary of strangers and protective of their families. The breed is extremely rare outside its native country. In Japan, there is an estimated population of around 10,000-12,000, and yearly registrations of between 900-1000.

NUTRITION The Hokkaido is an active breed which requires a high quality diet of balanced proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Properly fed Hokkaido should have thick, shiny coats and clean teeth. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING The Hokkaido is a fairly self-managed breed. The natural oils on their skin and coat help to keep them clean and dry despite unfavourable weather conditions. No trimming or shaving of their fur is required or recommended, just regular brushing to remove dead fur and keep the coat healthy. Hokkaido blow their undercoat roughly twice yearly. During this time, a bath and frequent brushing to remove the dead fur is necessary. Their nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth and cracking. Teeth should be brushed regularly.

EXERCISE Hokkaido are generally a very active breed. They are best suited for an active family who enjoys spending their time outdoors hiking, biking, jogging, and/or camping. Like all working breeds, it’s best to give them a “job” to do. Hokkaido excel at performance events such as agility, rally, fly-ball, weight pull, lure coursing, dock diving, and more. Without proper physical and mental stimulation, Hokkaido can become bored, anxious, and hyperactive in your home. If letting your Hokkaido run in your backyard, you should have a six foot fence, as they are good jumpers. For daily walks, a strong leash and a properly fitted martingale collar or harness is recommended.

HEALTH Well-bred Hokkaido are generally very healthy, living 12-15 years average. However, like all breeds they are prone to hereditary diseases. Hokkaido are prone to collie eye anomaly, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, heart murmurs, idiopathic seizures, anxiety, psychogenic polydipsia, and pica. When living with a Hokkaido, it is important to monitor them frequently to make sure they are not chewing on items which can cause them harm. Inspect all toys carefully and frequently, and throw away toys that are broken or contain small pieces which can be ingested.

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