The Kishu Ken: A Complete Guide

The Kishu Ken often called a Kishu or Kishu Inu, is one of several ancient Japanese breeds of dogs.

Many of these dogs are similar in nature and appearance, and their main differing feature is their size.

In the 1930s a Japanese breeder named Haruo Isogai decided to classify all of these dogs into small, medium, and large-sized dogs.

The Kishu Ken belongs to the medium classification. These dogs have been bred by various breeders over the centuries using different other dogs.

For the most part, they served as hunting dogs but were sometimes used as working or guard dogs. They have acute senses, and they can track their prey through almost any environment.

When it came down to a confrontation, these dogs could perform great as well. They are fast, agile, and perform lethal strikes. Kishu Kens are almost wolf-like in their nature.

Kishu Ken looking out the snow
The Kishu Ken loves to run around and play outside.

Shortly after Haruo Isogai classified the breed in the 1930s, the breed was standardized, and cross-breeding occurred less often.

They aren’t commonly owned around the world, but they are popular in the Japanese countryside where hunting is still commonplace.

In the rest of the world, Kishu Kens are considered to be an exotic pet, and sometimes make appearances in dog shows.

These dogs need a lot of outdoor exercise and will need to be trained beginning at an early age. They aren’t the type of dog that you want to bring home if you live in a small city apartment.

Kishu Kens can survive in a wide variety of climates, and as long as they get fresh air and plenty of exercise, then they will be happy.

Kishu Ken Puppies – Before You Buy…

The Kishu Ken is an exotic animal, and when most people see these adorable puppies, they will immediately want to get their hands on one.

However, owning one of these dogs is a responsibility. Owners will need to be able to provide an open environment for them and spend a lot of time training them.

If you aren’t able to provide this, the Kishu Ken may develop some destructive habits. Let’s take a look at all of the information that you should know before bringing home one of these puppies.

What Price are Kishu Ken Puppies?

Unlike most rare dogs, the Kishu Ken is relatively cheap. You can bring home one of these puppies for between $300 and $500.

This is because they are a relatively uncommon breed of dog and not well-known around the world.

Kishu Ken litters also tend to be fairly large, so this can drive the price down further if you meet a breeder who is having trouble getting rid of the dogs.

Since training the Kishu Ken at a young age is so important, the older they get, the more their value decreases.

Most breeders don’t want to have a bunch of 5-month-old puppies on their hands without homes, so you can use this as a bargaining tactic.

How to Find Reputable Kishu Ken Breeders?

Although there are some Kishu Ken breeders in the United States and Europe, these dogs are most commonly found in the Japanese countryside.

The good news is, if you are willing to pay some extra shipping fees, then you can bring home one of these dogs for half the price that you would pay for other foreign imports.

The main thing that you will want to look for is a breeder who can take proper care of his stock. Kishu Kens need a lot of exercise and training to be happy and healthy.

You will also want to screen your Kishu Ken for any outstanding health or behavioral issues. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

3 Little-known facts about Kishu Ken puppies

  1. Kishu Ken puppies love to run around outside and play. It’s important that you give them a large outdoor play area. This will ensure that they get the exercise they need to grow into strong, healthy adults.
  2. These puppies need to be socialized early in their puppyhood. They tend to have a wild nature at heart, and if they don’t get used to people at an early age, then they can become quite a handful.
  3. Kishu Kens love to chase around small animals which means they’re not a good idea to bring around if you have other small rodents for pets.
Kishu Ken puppies
The Kishu Ken can weight around 60 pounds.

Physical Traits of the Kishu Ken

The Kishu Ken is a medium-sized dog, that is almost always white. When the breed was first classified, only 30% of the dogs had an all-white coat, and the majority had a brown or fawn-colored coat.

However, the appeal for white Kishu Kens became high, and as a result, most of the other colors were slowly bred out over time. Today, it is very rare to find one of these dogs that isn’t all-white.

Looking at their head, these dogs look very much like a cousin of the wolf. They have long snouts, which is where they get their keen sense of smell from.

This is what makes them such excellent hunting dogs. The Kishu Ken can track an injured animal for miles through the forest which is often necessary when hunting.

The most prominent feature on their face is their eyes. They are usually jet black, narrow set, and have an intense gaze.

Their eyesight is incredibly good, and they can pick out small movements from far away.

The Kishu Ken’s ears are tall, triangular, and stand on the top of its head.

How Big is a Full-Grown Kishu Ken?

When full-grown, you can expect your Kishu Ken to weight around 60 pounds. Females tend to weigh a little bit less than males and have an average weight of 55 pounds.

Despite their lightweight, these dogs stand tall due to their long legs. On average, males will be around 19 inches tall, and females will be around 17 inches tall.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Kishu Ken?

Kishu Kens can have a lifespan between 9 and 13 years depending on their level of health.

They will remain active and energetic for most of their adult lives, and these dogs never really seem to get old.

Even when they are 10 years old, they will run faster and be more active than most other dogs this age.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Kishu Ken

Kishu Ken gaze
The Kishu Ken can be a very rewarding pet to own.

Like most Japanese breeds, the Kishu Ken is a very intelligent dog. They are very perceptive and can learn right from wrong easily as long as they are trained in their puppyhood.

These dogs will need to be trained in a firm manner. They are still wild at heart and operate with a pack mentality. In this way, they are quite similar to the Husky.

You will need to prove to them that you are a strong leader and worthy of their respect. Once you have their respect, however, they will follow your lead and will be very obedient.

Kishu Kens are very active and alert dogs as well. They are constantly on the prowl for small animals to chase or for a fun time.

These dogs love being outside and are very playful. Many owners opt to keep their dogs almost exclusively outside.

They don’t do well in indoor environments where they are made to feel cooped up. If you lead a busy life and are constantly at work or school, then this isn’t the dog for you.

As long as they are well-trained during their puppyhood, you don’t have to worry about aggressive behavior from your Kishu Ken either.

While they can be a bit apprehensive of strangers, once they have gained their trust, the dog will immediately warm up to them.

They are very social dogs and love being out in a public dog park where they can run around and play with other dogs.

The Kishu Ken’s Diet

The Kishu Ken will need to eat around 3 cups of food per day. They are very active and are known for having fast metabolisms.

One important thing to note about the Kishu Ken is that due to the fact their domestication is relatively recent, their stomachs can’t handle a lot of processed food.

It’s best to feed these dogs a well-balanced, organic dog food if at all possible.

How Much Exercise Does the Kishu Ken Need?

These dogs need a lot of exercise. Originally the Kishu Ken used to roam the countryside in large packs going wherever the food could be found.

While they don’t have to nomadically roam for food anymore, they still have the same energy levels.

If you want your dog to be healthy, you will need to ensure that they get outside for exercise at least 30 to 45 minutes every day.

If you keep them indoors, then they can become agitated, aggressive, and develop destructive habits.

Kishu Ken Health and Conditions

For the most part, the Kishu Ken is a very hardy dog. This is because their bloodline has been kept relatively pure and because of their wild origins.

The ancient Kishu Kens didn’t live in the safe world that we live in today. Only the fittest dogs were able to survive, and as a result, there aren’t many instances of disease in this breed.

Some of these dogs will develop a thyroid problem in their later life, but this isn’t life-threatening and can be easily fixed with an oral prescription from the vet.

Final Thoughts on the Kishu KenKishu Ken guide

Kishu Kens are still wild at heart, and they are happiest when they are allowed to roam outside to their heart’s content.

If you want to bring one of these dogs home, you will need to make sure that you are prepared to put in the effort required to properly train them, and that you have adequate space for them to get all of their energy out in.

If you can provide these, however, the Kishu Ken can be a very rewarding pet to own.

They are fun, affectionate, and very loyal.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

Info Sources: 1, 2, 3