Kai Ken

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Kai Ken
Image of Kai (dog).jpg
A Kai Ken
Other names Kai
Common nicknames Tora Dog
Origin Japan
Weight 25–55 lb (11–25 kg)
Height Male 50–56 cm (20–22 in)
Female 45–51 cm (18–20 in)
Coat Double coat of medium length
Color Black brindle, red brindle and brindle.
Classification / standards
FCI Group 5, Section 5 #317 standard
AKC FSS standard
The AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) is an optional recording service for purebred dogs that are not yet eligible for AKC registration.
UKC Northern standard
Notes The AKC does not have its own standard and instead links to that of the FCI
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Kai Ken (甲斐犬?, also called the Tora Inu or Tiger Dog) is a breed of dog that hails from Japan where it is a natural monument and has been bred for centuries. It is an extremely rare dog even in its native land and is related to the Japanese Spitz dog type.


Stuffed specimen of Kai Ken named "Kai-kuro-go" at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan.


The Kai Ken is a medium-sized dog with a wedge shaped head and prick ears. Males are typically 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder, while the females are slightly smaller, 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder. The tail may be curled over the back, or carried in a sickle position. Limbs should be strong and hocks should be well developed reflecting the dogs’ history of mountain life. The coat is of harsh texture, medium length, and comes in various shades of brindle (tiger stripes). The red is the Aka-tora, the black is the Kuro-tora and between them, the Chu-tora. Puppies are born a solid color and their brindle markings develop as they age, sometimes taking as long as five years before fully showing.


The Kai Ken is intelligent, agile, alert and brave. They are natural hunters and make good watch dogs, being reserved with strangers but loyal to their families. They are friendly, often good with children and are not usually aggressive towards other dogs. Many love to swim, and have been known to cross rivers and climb trees while chasing their prey.[1]


The Kai Ken is considered to be the most ancient, and purest dog breed in Japan.[citation needed] It was developed in the isolated district of Kai (Yamanashi Prefecture) as a hunting dog.[citation needed] Kai were used to hunt boar and deer. This breed was designated a natural monument in Japan in 1934. It is part of the Japanese Spitz group.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]

External links[edit]