Ainu = Men   Inu = Dog

Ainu Inu — Men’s dog

Name of the breed reflects the nature of Hokkaido dogs…

“Japanese dogs Akita, Shiba and Other Breeds”

Michiko Chiba, Yuichi Tanabe, Takashi Tojo, Tsutomu Muraoka,


“The medium-sized Hokkaido inu is also referred to colloquially as the Ainu inu. The breed’s ancestors are said to be the medium-sized dogs that the Ainu – an indigenous people of Japan – took with them when they moved or where pushed northward from the Tohoku region of Honshu to the island of Hokkaido about a millennium ago. In Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, the summers are short and the winters are bitterly cold and snowy. Here in this land, abundant with the riches and the rigors of nature, the Hokkaido dogs lived with the Ainu people, whose lifestyle depended heavily on hunting; the dogs were used to hunt such wild animals as bears and foxes. (The word matagi, meaning “hunter”, was incorporated into Japanese from the Ainu language.) In 1937, when they were designated as Protected Species, the dogs were officially named Hokkaido, in keeping with the custom of naming breeds after the region of their origin. Perhaps because the Ainu lived largely by hunting and fishing, the dogs seem to have been developed mainly in coastal areas and along major rivers, in areas like the Ishikari Plain and Hidaka region. In order to fight bears in the wild, these dogs needed not only tremendous courage but sharp senses and great vigilance. They are physically very hardy and able to withstand extreme cold, and they also have superb judgement, stamina, and endurance. All these qualities have been built up in the Hokkaido as a direct result of the extremely tough environmental conditions in which they have to survive. Living in frigid temperaturesgave these dogs an outer coat that is very thick compared to other medium-sized Japanese breeds, and a much denser undercoat. Their coat colors are highly varied, and include red, brindle, sesame, white, and very dark brown. The tongue may be blue-black, suggesting a link to the Chow Chow of China. The hokkaido is like a Kai, on the small side for medium-sized dog, and there are some who agree that it is too small for that category. Hokkaido are wary off strangers and can react aggressively to them, but towrd their owner they are extremely loyal. Given a rigorous basic training, they can be dependable partners and may very good watchdogs.” Author – Tsutomu Muraoka

Hokkaido Inu (sometimes called Ainu Inu)

ainugroup ajnomkl
1. Ainu group. 1904 photograph, taken in Tokyo. *1 (source)
2. Ajno from 30. XX age *1 (source)
3. Chiba Michiko: Japanese Dogs, KODANSHA INTERNATIONAL, New York 2003 *3 (source)


Eros Sumici Kridla – owner Iwona Miśkiewicz – Tajgeta kennel – POLAND

Photographer – unknown.


Satsuki – owner Sophie Parent – Kyuden Kitsune Kennel – FRANCE

Photographer – Sophie Parent.

Yuku – one of Dokenho show winner 2006 – JAPAN

Photographer – unknown.



Riki – owner Itsuko Sakata – JAPAN.

Photographer – unknown.

Riki Hokuhoueiyuu Mikasa Oikawa – owner unknown – JAPAN

Photographer unkown. Source – DOKENHO callendar.

Itsuhime_father.jpg Kaito Hiroo Hokushinsou – owner Katarzyna Jabłońska, breeder Minoru Furukawa – POLAND.

Photographer – K. Jabłońska.

1077512_596136043743102_977900300_o Itsuhime Kitami Hokuryuusou – owner Katarzyna Jabłońska, breeder Tatsumi Saito – POLAND. Photographer – Żaneta Żmuda-Kozina.


All photos – owner unknown.

3rd photo – photographer: K. Jabłońska (JAPAN, Nagano)