The Kishu Ken and the Akita are both Japanese dogs breeds. Both breeds were once standardized by the greater landrace of hunting dogs native to the Japanese archipelago, both breeds were standardized about 100 years ago, and both breeds have an appearance often described as "spitz-like" - that is, erect ears, a double coat, a roughly square body, and a tail that is sickle or curled over the back.
Sometimes, it's easier to say that is where the similarities between the breeds end, but here, we're going to break down just how the Kishu Ken is like their sibling-breed, the Akita.
In every major registry around the world except the American Kennel Club, there are 2 breeds of Akita: the American Akita (sometimes called the "Akita") and the Japanese Akita (sometimes called the "Akita Inu" or "Japanese Akita Inu".) We will not discuss the difference between these breeds for the sake of the article, but it is important to understand there are some differences between these two breeds for further research. We will be generalizing as fairly as we can and merely using the term "Akita" for both breeds.
Further commonalities exist. Both breeds are utterly dedicated to their owners, and it may not be uncommon to find a well-bonded Kishu or Akita who would put their lives on the line to serve their people, even without being asked. Both breeds can be hyper-intelligent, independent problem-solvers, and may be combative - particularly with strange animals.
But once we really start to look at the Akita and the Kishu in comparison and contrast, even their fundamental function is different: the Akita was standardized from dogs bred to hunt bear in Akita prefecture, which is a more northerly region of Honshu. The Kishu was and is still bred to hunt wild boar (and sometimes, deer) in the southerly Kiishu province of Honshu. They hunted in different terrain and different skills are needed to pursue their specific (and equally dangerous) game.
Kishu, due to their modern use and recent history as a large game hunting dog even today, tend to be far more energetic and driven to work and hunt than their Akita counterparts. They need a job to do, and this job cannot be monotonous. Kishu are also incredibly athletic; not that the Akita is not an athletic and active dog in their own right, but it is not uncommon to know a Kishu to climb a tree in pursuit of game, or scale a six to eight foot fence for the same.
Kishu might have higher drive and higher energy than the average Akita, but it may be that they are easier to motivate during training - many Kishu are highly food-motivated, and work easily for simple food rewards as long as they are not frustrated with the monotony of the exercises.
Physically, Kishu are a smaller dog. The largest Kishu are only as large as some of the smallest Akita. They also have a closer coat than their Akita relatives, and many have larger, thinner ears. Bodily, they tend to be leaner and frame, but otherwise, the Akita and the Kishu do share many similarities in appearance, and it isn't uncommon for someone new to the breed to think that the Kishu is a small Akita-mix.
To learn more about the Kishu Ken, and about how Kishu may be different from Akita, please join us on Facebook and ask our community for more information, or reach out to meet a Kishu Ken today!
Sporting with your dog can seem like an impossible task as a pet-owner, either with too many options for sports to become involved in, or a training requirement prior to entry that looks too difficult from a distance.
This article hopes to demystify sports, and help you get involved: even pet dogs can have fun with performance venues, and you can too!
Find the Right Sport
There are lists of sports out there to enjoy with your dog. The Kishu Ken has skills and abilities the membership have found best suited for the following sport venues:
Kishu are not limited to these venues, and there are many other titles and sports even pet dogs may complete and compete in, but this list is meant as a jumping-off point.
Sports like Barn Hunt and Lure Coursing require very minimal to absolutely no training for even the greenest of Kishu Ken and owner/handler teams, as long as your dogs are registered with the respective organizations/registries. These rely almost purely on your dog's instinct, and can be something you simply sign up for and go. Enthusiasts at these events are generally very helpful when first starting out, and understanding when approached by newcomers to the sports.
Other sports, such as Agility, Obedience, and Tracking, do have a training requirement prior to entry, but many training schools will hold classes or seminars pertaining to these sports, and there are whole additional clubs formed around these sports to help pet owners and serious competitors alike to get involved.
All of these sports can add AKC titles to your dog, and help promote the Kishu breed - but more than that, sports are a fantastic way to bond and train with your Kishu Ken!
Kishu Ken centric articles written by club members. If you are a club member who would like to submit an article for the website, please contact us.