Hokkaido Ken

Hokkaido Ken

This is a breed that is full of primitive strength. There was a time when they were referred to as "Ainu Ken," and in December 1937, the breed was designated as a national natural monument.
Born of the harsh natural environment on Hokkaido island, Hokkaido Ken have small, thick ears and dense fur. Because the front chest is strongly developed, their center of gravity appears to be lower, giving the dog a more solid look when compared to other medium-sized Nihon Ken.

Their original purpose was hunting the wild animals that inhabit the vast spaces of Hokkaido. Since this is a hunting dog that takes on brown bears as well as other animals, it is sometimes assumed to be a dangerous breed, but its personality is not dissimilar to that of a typical Nihon Ken.
Historically there were bloodlines that came from the different regions of Hokkaido, but today the differences and characteristics of these lines are less and less visible, as they are blending into one breed of Hokkaido Ken.

Standard Size


Height: 52m (47cm to 55cm allowed)


Height: 49cm (44cm to 52cm allowed)

*Height: Measured from ground to shoulder

Coat Color

While the majority of dogs are red, of the Japanese breeds the Hokkaido allows for the most variety of coat colors, which includes white, black (black and tan), sesame, and brindle. In recent years, there has been an increase in white dogs.

Red北海道犬 雌 White
Brindle Sesame

Famous Hokkaido Ken

Born in 1927, Aku-go was a male with a light red coat. Out of the mainstream Chitose Line, he is said to have formed the basis of today's Hokkaido Ken. A dog with excellent bone, his entire physique gives off an almost steel like aura .