How Many of These 5 Popular Dog Breeds in Japan Have You Seen?

  • KAWAII
  • CULTURE
  • Japan is the land of “kawaii” (cute) things. From clothing to accessories to stationery to even food, “cute” culture is often incorporated to make many quite ordinary items look adorable! Cute animals are also very popular in Japan and there are even TV shows and social media dedicated to hamsters, rabbits, kittens, puppies, and other cute things.

    Therefore, it will come as no surprise that Japan is also a dog-loving country! Many families have sweet dogs as pets and sometimes they even dress them up in clothes! So if you come to Japan, what kinds of dogs are you likely to see when you’re out and about? Here are five lovely dog breeds I see a lot when I am walking around in Tokyo.

    1. Shiba Inu

    The obvious dog breed is the Shiba Inu, loved for its cheeky “smiling” face, its handsome features, and the famous “Shiba scream.” These friendly and energetic dogs can be seen around Japan as beloved family pets and they are just beautiful to look at. Compared to other dog breeds, the Shiba Inu is quite independent (more like a cat) than other more needy types.

    2. Akita

    The Akita is larger and heavier than the Shiba and is popular in America as well as Japan. Probably the most well-known Akita is the famous Hachiko, who waited for his owner at Shibuya Station to return home from work each day, and even waited longer after his owner died. There is now a statue outside Shibuya Station to remember this faithful dog and his story.

    These beautiful dogs are loyal and brave, making them a popular choice. They take more energy to take care of, but the reward is everlasting faith and loyalty.

    3. French Bulldog

    Not quite as big as the above two nor as clever, this cute and chubby bundle of fun is nevertheless very much loved in Japan. Its squishy face and pointy ears melt the hearts of thousands of owners all over the country. People like to dress up their Frenchies in all kinds of crazy outfits, and the little puppies just love the attention. It is adorable to see people pushing older French Bulldogs along in special cribs or in their bicycle basket.

    4. Toy Poodle

    I see a lot of these cute fluffy dogs around Daikanyama in Shibuya, Tokyo. There is even a man there who owns a big family of them and takes them on walks in a large group! Toy poodles are smart, family-friendly, and don’t need too much exercise, and are therefore another popular choice for owners with children.

    5. Japanese Chin

    This cute ball of fluff weighs less than 10 pounds and was traditionally owned by the Japanese aristocracy or those high up in society. Now anyone can own these sweet little things and it’s not uncommon to see people carrying them up, pushing them around on their bicycle.

    Some honorable mentions include the Pug, which is very similar to the French Bulldog except its ears are floppy. They can be difficult to deal with in the summer as pugs can’t stand the heat. Another runner-up is the Chihuahua, which you can often see carried around in handbags or cribs.

    Japanese people love their dogs and love to spoil and dress them up! What kind of breeds have you seen around the country? And if you could get a dog in Japan, which one would you choose?