The cutest breeds of Japanese dogs

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  • Most of you are familiar with German Shepards, French Poodles, American Cocker Spaniels and it seems that each country has a flagship breed. So does Japan, and to no surprise, most of the popular breeds are extremely kawaii! Unfortunately most landlords do not allow any pets in apartments and if you do not have a house, it can be difficult to own a pet. But do not worry, with crazy rental services like these ones here, you can even rent out a pet for a night or even a week, if your purse allows it!

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    Japan is so obsessed with dogs (and cats, too, by the way!) that they even often appear in commercials. The most famous dog would be “otousan” (お父さん) from the “Shirato Family”, which is a fictional family used by SoftBanks in mostly television advertisement.
    The most known breeds, that originated in Japan are the following, that happen to be named after the region they were bred in!

    Hokkaido-ken (北海道犬)

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    From the most northern prefecture, this breed has is a medium size, with male dogs having a height of 50cm and females being a bit shorter. Weighing up to 20kg, they adjusted to the cold of Hokkaido by having big stiff fur.
    Light colours are most common, but darker such as red, black and gray are present, too.

    Akita-inu (秋田犬)

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    Hachiko dog from Shibuya, Tokyo, made this breed famous: they are usually large and in various colours. Akita dogs are know for being strong, independent and excellent family members. Akita prefecture is in the north of Honshu (本州), Japan’s main island, and therefore this breed is adapted to cold weather conditions.

    Shiba-ken (柴犬)

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    A small to medium sized breed, it looks similar to Akita-inu and Hokkaido-ken, but the dog character is very different, showing sometimes a bit of aggression. The fur is short and stiff.

    KEN or INU? (犬)

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    The Japanese character for “dog” is 犬 and can be read in two ways: either “ken”(onyomi 音読み) or “inu”(kunyomi 訓読み). Some breeds can be read as both, i.e. Shiba-inu and Shiba-ken, both are used, but on the other hand some breeds only have one reading, like “Shiba-inu” and “Kai-ken”. There is no reasonable explanation for this, it has just became a standard for each individual breed.

    100 Things to Do in Shibuya, Tokyo’s Fashionable Metropolis, in 2018