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Welcome to Our !RARE! Breed of the Month Feature!

Previous !RARE! Breeds of the Month
January's !RARE! Breed of the Month
February's !RARE! Breed of the Month
March's !RARE! Breed of the Month
April’s !RARE! Breed of the Month
2011 !RARE! Breed of the Month Recap

Featuring May’s !RARE! Breed of the Month
the Shikoku Dog / Shikoku Inu or Ken

What is a Shikoku?

The Shikoku dog is a rare breed of hunting dog developed in ancient Japan.  This breed gets its name from the Island of Shikoku in the Kochi Prefecture where it originates.  The Shikoku is also known as the Kochi-ken, both "ken" and "inu" meaning "dog" in Japanese.

Shikoku by SaNNaS Rare lady by SaNNaS

History & Origin

The Shikoku is descended from the medium sized dogs of ancient Japan. It was developed as a hunting dog, mainly used on boar in the mountainous regions of Kochi. There were originally three varieties of this breed, each named for the area in which it was bred.

Appearance & Structure

The Shikoku is a medium-sized, well balanced dog with clean cut muscles that generally weighs 35-55 lbs. and stands 17-21 inches tall when fully grown. It is related to the smaller Shiba Inu and the larger Akita, and is similar in build to both its cousins. The breed is classified as a primitive spitz-type having a thick double coat, curled tail and erect ears.


The Shikoku’s color can vary only from sesame (equal mix of black and white hairs), black sesame (more black than white hairs), and red sesame (ground color of red mixed with black hairs).


The Shikoku dog has a great spirit and is devoted to its master.  They are generally reserved around strangers  and can make good watch dogs. The Shikoku dog is not for everyone though.  Because of their primitive nature and strong prey drive they require proper socialization from puppy hood and obedience training.  The Shikoku is well-behaved in the home but is quite athletic and enjoys a fair amount of exercise. They are wonderful companions for hiking and camping but should not be allowed to roam freely as they are hunting dogs by nature. They are a highly intelligent  breed and show great aptitude for agility and obedience utilities.


Featuring May’s Targeted Breed of the Month
the Cane Corso / Italian Mastiff

The Cane Corso is often subject to breed-specific legislation as well as other forms of discrimination, even at times confused with other entirely different breeds such as the American Pit Bull Terrier and is known to be a "high risk" breed discriminated against by insurance carriers; the breed is restricted and banned in cities throughout the United States and is banned as a whole in Bermuda.

Prior to 1988, the Cane Corso was only known in Southern Italy, and was otherwise considered a well rare breed, and has been officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as of 2010. The Cane Corso is a powerful yet noble and majestic dog, the smaller of the two mastiff breeds native to Italy, the other, larger version being the Neapolitan Mastiff while the Cane Corso is a slightly smaller, yet strong, sturdy and athletic built breed ready to perform any task or meet any challenge.  

Grace the Cane Corso by SaNNaS Cane Corso Italiano, portrait1 by Swan-Lake Little Miss Cane Corso by SaNNaS

Quick Facts:
• Country of Origin: Italy
• Functionality: Guardian & protector, watchdog
• Coat Colors: Acceptable colors are black, lighter and darker shades of gray, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red including brindle which is allowed on all of these colors. Solid fawn and red, including lighter and darker shades have a black or gray mask which does not go beyond the eyes. Markings may be a white patch on the chest, throat, chin, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes.
• Height: Dogs – 25 to 27.5 inches & Bitches – 23.5 to 26 inches

While the Cane Corso is a docile and affectionate breed to its owner, and loving to children and family, it is also a loyal, noble protector and guardian. The breed is intelligent and is described as obedient and easily trained, best when begun during puppyhood.

Add a Comment:
Blankles Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have a Shikoku Ken. I'm a little late to this party, but I just wanted to pop in and say they are certainly not a "bigger Shiba". :) They are their own breed with a much different temperament. I encourage people who want to learn about the native Japanese breeds to visit the "Nihon Ken Forum" - there's a lot of great information there and a very kind community.

I've actually heard they're a dog that, in Japan, is viewed very much like "pitbulls" are viewed here - they have a very bad reputation because of their hunting roots.

Unrelated to the Shikoku, Cane Corsi are amazing, dedicated dogs. :) I love working with the few I work with. They're pretty striking and very easy to teach with the right motivational tools.
Rikkanna Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for the input! I'll have to check the forum out, always nice to find new sites with good info. (:

And thank you for saying it. That's the great thing about all these different dog breeds, no two are exactly alike. (Which is why everyone who wants a dog should do their research... but I digress... ^^; )

I've only had the pleasure of really working with one Cane Corso, but I have met several and they really are striking dogs with lots of personality. ^^
roamingtigress Featured By Owner May 6, 2012
Great breed choices :) I've heard of Shikoku's as being a Shiba Inu alternative :D
Hyena27 Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aww so cute! Wow I'never heard of the Shikoku before. They are very pretty though. I kinda want one now:)
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May 5, 2012
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