Japanese Dog Breeds
While Japanese dog breeds are not overly famous, they are still very well known by dog lovers and, of course, dog breeders. They tend to have the same physical characteristics: an Akita face, square bodies, small ears that point upwards, short coats and a hairy tail that curves upwards.
Japanese have always had a mystic culture, filled with signs (and their writing system proves it) and meanings that go beyond initial looks. And their dogs are no different. Japanese dog breeds are associated with several traits and concepts that the Japanese value.
For example, Japanese dog breeds are considered the embodiment of dignity. This is very important in a culture where respect and station are so important that they are reflected in the language itself. Japanese dog breeds have a very calm and considerate personality, being as playful as other dog breeds. This is coherent with Japanese values of keeping a respectful front to strangers.
On the other hand, Japanese dog breeds are brave and ferocious when forced to fight. They are also very obedient and loyal. In Japanese ancient culture, these were the main traits desired in a Samurai warrior, as well as in Japanese soldiers of any era. Because the Japanese dog breeds show all of these characteristics, they were worshipped as ideal warriors and have been associated with a spiritual image of themselves.
In Japan, the names of the different breeds come from the region they are originally from, except for the Siba inu. Although a lot of Japanese dog breeds disappeared during World War II, great efforts have been done to preserve the Japanese dog breeds that survived, and which today are no longer in fear of extinction. The main Japanese dog breeds are the Akina inu, the Tosa inu, the Hokkaido inu, the Kishu inu, the Kai inu, the Shikoku inu, and the Siba inu. The Hokkaido inu, the Kishu inu and the Shikoku inu are named after islands. The rest of these Japanese dog breeds are named after regions. Only the Siba inu is named after an object, a brushwood, probably because of the small size of the breed. Inu means dog in Japanese, although the suffix ken is also used. Neither of these suffixes is used in western dog breed terminology.
Finally, there are other breeds that despite their name, are not really Japanese dog breeds. That is either because they are not originally from Japan, or because they have been bred with Western breeds for so long that they have evolved in a different breed from the original. These breeds are the Japanese Spitz, the Japanese Chin, and the Japanese Terrier.