Japanese Terrier

By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 9, 2011

Also known as the Nippon, Nihon, Mikado or Oyuki Terrier, the Japanese Terrier was developed to be a small companion animal. Though admired for its lively and cheerful character, it is considered a very rare breed, especially outside of its native Japan.

Physical Characteristics

The Japanese Terrier is a small dog, with a standing height of about 8 to 13 inches, with a short, smooth, dense and glossy coat. The hair on the head is black, darker in color than the rest of the body, which is typically colored white with black or tan spots.

Personality and Temperament

The Japanese Terrier has a lively temperament, but is a very loving companion.

History and Background

Many experts believe the Japanese Terrier stock was developed by mixing native type dogs with several other terriers brought over by European traders in the 18th century, including the Smooth Fox Terrier. However, it was not until 1916 in the Nada district near Kobe that the founding father of the modern breed, a male terrier named Kuro, was born. He was the result of crosses between the ancestral terriers, an English Toy Terrier and a Toy Bull Terrier.

From Kuro's offspring a more stable bloodline was established, and in the 1930s Japanese enthusiasts in the Osaka region began a breeding program.

The United Kennel Club formally recognized the Japanese Terrier in 2006, though it is mostly unknown outside of its native country. Today the Japanese Terrier is kept mainly as a lapdog.

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