Dog Breed

Kai Ken

Primary image of Kai Ken dog breed
Full Name
Kai Ken
Alternate Names
Kuro-Tora, Chu-Tora, Aka-Tora
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Life Span
12 - 15 years
20 - 40 pounds

Kai Ken is a historical Japanese breeds that falls into the "original six" native breeds of Japan. They were historically bred for hunting, and are unique because they come in three different color variations, each that help blend into the natural terrain: brindle, red-brindle, and black-brindle.

Bred For
Hunting in the mountains of Japan
    Family Considerations
    Child Friendly

    Is the Kai Ken good with children?

    Yes, the Kai Ken is very friendly with children. We still recommend introductions to children while they are young so they get used to them, but the Kai Ken naturally loves children.
    Stranger Friendly

    Is the Kai Ken friendly with strangers?

    Yes, the Kai Ken is very friendly with strangers. We still recommend early socialization while the Kai Ken is a puppy to introduce them to various new people, but in general they are friendly with everyone.
    Dog Friendly

    Is the Kai Ken friendly with other dogs?

    Yes, the Kai Ken is very friendly with other dogs. We still recommend early socialization while the Kai Ken is a puppy to introduce them to various new dogs, but in general they are friendly with dogs as soon as they meet them.
    Likes to Cuddle

    Does the Kai Ken like to cuddle?

    The Kai Ken likes to cuddle up every once in a while. They appreciate physical affection, but probably won't stay in your lap for extended amounts of time.

    Does the Kai Ken like to play?

    The Kai Ken is always ready for play! It's important to keep in mind, as they need to be stimulated with games and affection throughout the day.
    Service Dog Ability

    Does the Kai Ken make a good service dog?

    The Kai Ken is not typically used as a service dog. There are always exceptions to the rule, but a service dog has to have many natural traits in addition to the proper training- smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner.
    Overall Ease of Breed
    Ease for Novice

    Is the Kai Ken good for first-time owners?

    The Kai Ken is not the easiest breed for first-time owners, but can certainly still work out if the owner is willing to put the time into training and exercise.
    Training Potential

    How well can the Kai Ken be trained?

    The Kai Ken can be trained very well. With discipline and a routine training program the Kai Ken can be incredibly well-trained.
    Amount of Shedding

    Does the Kai Ken shed a lot?

    The Kai Ken sheds a lot! They may still shed less than a few other breeds, but be prepared for dog hair throughout the home and on your clothes.
    Ease of Grooming

    Is the Kai Ken easy to groom?

    The Kai Ken requires some grooming, but less than the average dog breed. Typically you will not need to take the Kai Ken to the pet salon, and occasional combing at home should be enough.
    Exercise Need

    Does the Kai Ken need a lot of exercise?

    The Kai Ken needs a daily exercise partner! The Kai Ken is best suited for a family where it will get plenty of daily exercise; it has so much energy that exercise is mandatory to avoid destructive behaviors.

    How smart is the Kai Ken?

    The Kai Ken is very smart. Above-average intelligence means they can pick up on cues and signals quickly when it comes to training. But it also means that they need to be challenged mentally, in addition to their standard exercise needs.
    Amount of Barking

    How much does the Kai Ken bark? Does the Kai Ken bark too much?

    The Kai Ken barks a lot. This is important to consider with your living situation- will it be ok when you leave them at home alone or will they disrupt the neighbors? The Kai Ken will oftentimes bark just to express their thoughts... even just to be heard!
    Guard Dog Ability

    Is the Kai Ken a good guard dog?

    The Kai Ken would not make a good guard dog. They can be alert, but typically do not have the desire or instinct to take on "guarding" as their job.
    Tolerates Being Alone

    Is the Kai Ken good at staying alone? Is the Kai Ken independent?

    The Kai Ken considers their owner part of the "pack" and hates being left behind. This can be a good thing for someone looking for an emotional support dog who is loyal and always by their side, but bad if the dog will need to be left at home alone for extended periods.
    Home and Environment Considerations
    Good for Apartment Living

    Is the Kai Ken a good apartment dog?

    The Kai Ken is not a good dog for apartment living for several reasons. It is still possible to make it work if the owner is dedicated to plenty of training and daily exercise, but it may be challenging.

    How big is the Kai Ken?

    The Kai Ken is a medium sized dog breed. They can range in size depending on genetics, and males are larger on average than females.
    Tolerates Heat

    How much does the Kai Ken tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Kai Ken?

    The Kai Ken does not tolerate hot weather very well, and we would not recommend having a Kai Ken if you live in a very hot weather climate. At the minimum, they would need a home with air conditioning.
    Tolerates Cold

    How much does the Kai Ken tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Kai Ken?

    The Kai Ken does very well in cold weather, and loves the snow. They were built for it!
    Potential to Run Away

    Does the Kai Ken try to run away?

    The Kai Ken has huge wanderlust, meaning that it's natural for them to want to run away. They are known as escape artists. It's important to test your yard and have a tall fence that cannot be jumped or climbed over. Sometimes the Kai Ken is not well suited for being off-leash, even if they are well trained.
    Physical Characteristics
    General Health

    Is the Kai Ken a healthy dog? The health of a Kai Ken should be measured not just by how many years they live, but also by how many health issues they've had. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

    The Kai Ken is very healthy, but it is still important to feed the Kai Ken high-quality food and to live a healthy lifestyle.
    Energy Level

    How energetic is the Kai Ken?

    It seems like the Kai Ken never runs out of energy. If you are looking for a 5 AM run partner, the Kai Ken is your dog! A dog's energy level is one of the most important considerations when getting a new dog, and we would only recommend the Kai Ken for a family where it will get plenty of exercise.
    Amount of Drooling

    How much does the Kai Ken drool?

    The Kai Ken drools very little, typically to where it's never a concern.
    Prey Drive

    Does the Kai Ken have a large prey drive? Does the Kai Ken like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals?

    The Kai Ken has a high prey drive and has a natural tendency to chase after any small animal. Every case is unique, but the Kai Ken may not be the best dog for living with other cats or small animals.

    Is the Kai Ken atheltic?

    The Kai Ken is very athletic and would be well suited for a family that frequently works out or goes on adventures.

Breed Variations

  • Image for the Red Brindle variation for dog breed

    Red Brindle

  1. Non-Sporting
  2. Spitz
  3. Kai Ken
The Kai Ken is a purebred dog that belongs to the Spitz sub group, which falls under the larger Non-Sporting dog breed group.
Non-Sporting group: The Non-Sporting group of dogs is probably the most diverse in the sense that it has a variety of dogs, and they were not all bred for one specific purpose. Each breed in the non-sporting group is unique! They have been primarily bred as house pets, and because of that make excellent additions to the family. Exercise is still important for them, but the typical non-sporting dog does not have the energy of of a sporting or working group dog.
Spitz sub-group: Spitz breeds are some of the dog world's most ancient dogs. They have a distinct wolf-like appearance with pointy ears, and a heavy double coat, and a big bushy tail that curls over the back. The majority of them are perfect for cold climates, as they originate from the Nordics, Russia, and Canada. There are many spitz type of breeds, and sometimes it is debated which dogs are "true spitz" breeds. Spitz dogs love the outdoors and love adventure.

Kai Kens for adoption

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