The Kishu (紀州犬 Kishū-inu), sometimes called Kishu Ken or Kishu Inu, is a Japanese breed of dog, developed there for thousands of years. It is descended from ancient medium-sized breeds and named after the Kishu region, now Wakayama Prefecture. This breed is similar to the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu but predates both breeds. Sometimes it is mistaken for the white variant of Hokkaido or a white Japanese Spitz because of very similar appearance. The Japanese originally used this breed of dog for boar and deer hunting. Like the Shiba, they are often quiet. Kishu will stalk prey quietly rather than bark.
Kishu Kens are a one person/one family dog. They are courageous and brave as hunters, and will be loyal to their owners. They have a strong prey drive, and will hunt small animals. They do well with other dogs if socialized well as puppies, however, due to their pack instincts they might cause some fights for dominance. They are quite headstrong and willful, making training necessary, but they are devoted and loyal to family, getting along well with children, if raised with them. Kishu Kens like to keep an eye on whatever is going on, and sometimes find a high place to look out from. They can be aloof or shy around strangers. They are easily housebroken, intelligent, and strong willed.
The Kishu is a Foundation Stock breed with the American Kennel Club. The American Kishu Registry is the official Kishu registry in the United States and is recognized as such by AKC. Other registries include Japan Kennel Club (JKC) and Nihonken Hozonkai (Nippo), both in Japan. The Kishu is recognized as a natural monument of Japan, thus export of the Kishu from Japan is severely restricted. Since this dog breed is so rare in North America and Europe, you may only get a chance to see him in his native homeland, Japan. There are only two known breeders outside of Japan – one in Texas and one in the Netherlands.
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