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Japanese Dog Breeds
The native dog breeds of Japan are all of the spitz type (except for the Tosa inu, which is not really considered a native Japanese breed). They have the typical Akita face, square bodies, wedge-shaped heads, small upright ears, short, thick stand-off coats, and the tail is curled up over the back. The breed differences lie in the sizes, colors, uses and a few other minor features.

In fact, they are so much alike that in Japan, these native breeds are shown in one classification, divided into sub-groups: large (Akita), medium (Kai dog, Kishu, Ainu dog, Shikoku) and small (Shiba inu).

Their names are associated with particular areas or districts of Japan, such as Akita, Tosa, Hokkaido, Shikoku, etc. See our introduction to the different Japanese dog breeds. The only breed which is not associated with a particular area is the Shiba Inu. More about the Shiba Inu.

The native Japanese breeds are believed to have special characteristics associated with the concepts of spirit, obedience, loyalty and bravery and their temperaments are always calm and considerate, with great dignity. The eyes tend to be triangular and recessed, "suggesting the burning spirit within."
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Shiba inu
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Originally both the Akita-Inu and the Tosa-Inu were native Japanese dogs, but they were crossed with Western breeds. Strictly speaking, they can no longer be considered pure native Japanese dog breeds (especially the Tosa).
The Japanese Chin, the Japanese Spitz and the Japanese Terrier are not considered native Japanese dogs.
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