Kishu Ken Breed Magazine - Showsight

Kishu Ken Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


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FEDERATION CYNOLOGIQUE INTERNATIONALE (AISBL) SECRETARIAT GENERAL: 13, Place Albert 1 er B – 6530 Thuin (Belgique) ______________________________________________________________________________


10.02.2017/ EN


FCI-Standard N° 318



ORIGIN : Japan.


UTILIZATION : Hunting dog, companion.

FCI-CLASSIFICATION : Group 5 Spitz and primitive type. Section 5 Asian Spitz and related breeds. Without working trial. BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : This breed originated from medium-sized dogs that existed in Japan in ancient times. It became established as a breed in the mountainous districts in Kishu (W akayama and Mie Prefecture). Initially, these dogs’coats were often marked with conspicuous colours such as red, sesame or brindle. From 1934, however, only solid colours were accepted for this breed; conspicuously marked coats had disappeared by 1945, never to reappear. Currently, white coats may be found in this breed. These dogs are used for hunting, now mainly wild boar, but at one time also deer. The breed took on the name of the region where it was bred. It was designated as a « natural monument » in 1934. GENERAL APPEARANCE : Medium-sized dog, well balanced and muscles well developed. The dog has pricked ears and a curled or sickle tail. The conformation is strong, well boned and compact.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS : The ratio of height at withers to length of body is 10 : 11.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Dog of noteworthy endurance, showing nobility, dignity and naive feeling. The temperament is faithful, docile and very alert.

FCI-St. N° 318 / 10.02.2017



CRANIAL REGION: Skull: Forehead broad. Stop: Rather abrupt, with a slight furrow.

FACIAL REGION: Nose: Black. Slight lack of pigmentation in white dogs is accepted . Nasal bridge straight. Muzzle: Fairly thick, and wedge-shaped. Lips: Tight. Jaws/Teeth: Strong, with a scissor bite. Cheeks: Relatively well developed.

EYES : Nearly triangular, not too small, and dark brown in colour. The outer corners of the eyes are slightly upturned.

EARS : Small, triangular, slightly inclining forward and firmly pricked.

NECK : Thick and muscular.

BODY : Withers: High.

Back: Straight and strong. Loin: Broad and muscular.

Chest: Deep, ribs moderately sprung. Underline and belly: Slightly tucked up.

TAIL : Set on high, thick, carried vigorously curled or curved like a sickle over the back, the tip nearly reaching to the hocks when let down.


FOREQUARTERS: Shoulders: Moderately sloping with well developed muscles. Upper arm: Forming a moderate angle with shoulder blade.

FCI-St. N° 318 / 10.02.2017


Elbow: Set close to the body. Forearm: Straight. Metacarpus (Pastern): Slightly oblique. Forefeet: Toes well arched and tightly closed. Pads thick and elastic. Nails hard and preferably dark in colour. HINDQUARTERS: General appearance: Well developed, strong and moderately angulated. Hocks: Tough and strong. Hind feet: Toes well arched and tightly closed. Pads thick and elastic. Nails hard and preferably dark in colour.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Light and resilient.

COAT Hair: Outer coat harsh and straight, undercoat soft and dense. The hair on cheeks and tail fairly long.

Colour: White, red, and sesame ( well mixture of black, red and white hairs in whole).

SIZE : Height at withers: Males

52 cm. 49 cm .


There is a tolerance of + 3 cm.

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. • Lack of sexual dimorphism. • Long hair. • Slightly overshot or undershot mouth. • Shyness. • Pinto colour.

FCI-St. N° 318 / 10.02.2017


DISQUALIFYING FAULTS : • Aggressive or overly shy. • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities. • Extremely overshot or undershot mouth. • Ears not pricked. • Hanging tail, short tail. N.B. : • Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. • Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation, should be used for breeding.

The latest amendments are in bold characters.

FCI-St. N° 318 / 10.02.2017

THE KISHU KEN A Wonderfully Wild Dog Living in a Modern World

M any breeds have an origin story or mythology which enthusiasts hold on to or repeat. The Kishu Ken breed is no exception, though their story sometimes reads more like a fairytale. This tale has been written by a number of authors and passed down by orators through the years, and has some differences based on the author, but it goes like this… Once upon a time, there lived a boar hunter who had cut out a life for himself in the mountains of Japan’s Kii Peninsula. This area was defined by its steep volcanic mountain ranges and thickly forested areas, and was blessed by temperate weather. One wet and cold winter day, when he was returning from a hunt, the hunter found an injured she-wolf on the road. The wolf was a great hunter herself, and so, he showed compassion for her; he fed her and restored her to health enough so that she could return home. In return for his kindness, the wolf offered the hunter a gift to show her gratitude, but when asked what he would like for his generosity, the hunter asked the wolf for one of her pups. Life in the mountains was difficult and lonely without a companion, and she was surely a superior hunter. Having a companion to hunt with would make life safer and easier for both of them. Many months passed after the wolf had made her way home. It had been so long without contact that the hunter believed she had forgotten her promise. Yet, one day in the spring, when the hunter returned home from an unsuccessful hunt, he found a wolf pup waiting at his door. This pup went on to become a fierce, tireless boar hound and the progenitor for the Kishu Ken breed.




to even their “wonderfully wild” tempera- ments and personalities. The Kishu Ken should be a docile hound with people, but fierce in the face of animals. To this day, the Kishu Ken is still the foremost purebred Japanese dog used worldwide in the pursuit of wild boar. The breed has also been chosen for hunting deer in Japan, tracking moose in Europe, and exterminating legal non-game ani- mals in the US, and the breed has even had famous bear dogs among its numbers. Originally standardized in 1934 by the Nihon Ken Hozonkai, the Kishu Ken is a medium-sized dog of the aboriginal Japanese hound type. Though once its only use, the breed is far more than an accomplished hound today. These are dogs which have proven their accomplishments in several conformation, performance, and companion venues, including Conforma- tion, Agility, Nosework, Rally, Obedience, FastCAT, Coursing Ability Tests, Barn Hunt, and more. They do not fall short on spirit or versatility. In the realm of perfor- mance, their history and use as a dedicated hunting dog and hound has created a “try it” kind of dog that is dedicated and trac- table with its handler, and willing to do anything for its handler. Despite its energy and drive to get out and do anything, the breed also makes a wonderful companion dog that is able to relax inside the home on their down time, making the breed a handsome choice for many modern homes. Unfortunately, their critically low numbers and relatively few

enthusiasts have caused the breed to go tragically overlooked and undervalued as a companion or sport dog. Likewise, their rarity and the lack of numbers in the US makes them under-selected as a prospec- tive hunting dog. The Kishu Ken does currently enjoy a niche, but dedicated, following that enjoys the breed’s endless charm and gentle nature at home. This following has slowly been growing, but unfortunately, this has not been enough to sustain the breed as of yet. Registration numbers with the Nihon Ken Hozonkai (the Japanese breed club) dropped to just shy of 250 individuals in 2020 and 2021. This number is often representative of the majority of Kishu Ken registration numbers worldwide. The National Kishu Ken Club, the official AKC parent club for the Kishu Ken, has had a total of 69 dogs listed from 2009 to 2022 and zero population growth as of the third quarter of 2022. If you are interested in the Kishu Ken breed as a companion, a conformation dog, a sport choice, or a hunting dog, there are options available for domestic-born lit- ters from health-tested and proven parents from breeders listed through the National Kishu Ken Club. The National Kishu Ken Club provides more in-depth snapshots of life with the breed, the breed standard and history, and the opportunity for import. National Kishu Ken Club: ;; (971) 266-0108

In the case of the Kishu Ken and many other tall tales, this mythology may have a sliver of truth to it. The Kishu Ken is currently known, by genetic testing, to have a maternal haplotype that is unique to the Japanese archipelago and unique to the Kishu Ken breed. This maternal haplotype is clustered in the same hap- logroup as the Australian Dingo and the New Guinea Singing Dog—both relatives of the lost Honshu wolf. There are several traits the Kishu Ken retains that enthusi- asts and hunters sometimes say are signs of wolf blood; from their large, straight teeth, believed to be uncommonly strong,



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