Ainu (Hokkaido Dog)– Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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Breed Type: Spitz

Present Use: Companion

Original Use: Bear hunter; companion; guard; draft

Registry: FCI

Typical Weight: 45 to 65 lbs

Typical Height At Shoulders: 18 to 22 inches

Color: White, grey, red, black, sesame, tiger, black and tan

Type Of Coat: Dense, northern spitz breed style double coat

Background: An ancient breed, coming to Japan in about 1140 AD. The type of hunting this dog did is similar to a number of spitz breeds, typically seeking large mammals, in this case, bear. I don’t believe the stories that this 50 lb dog could take down a bear by crawling up its back and making a killing bite behind the skull. From the training photos I’ve observed, the dogs will attack a cornered bear, but unless they were in packs, they couldn’t kill a bear or take it down. I do believe the dogs would locate bear and corner them, such as up in a tree. Treed bears are then killed by the hunter. The dogs were also used to hunt for deer in packs, grabbing it and taking it down, probably killing it, too. It is said the dog has an excellent ability to find its way home, which indicates the dog worked much as the European scent hounds have when finding bear. As with most dogs, they have had multiple roles… they couldn’t be hunting bear all the time. So, they’d have to be companions to the family. The Asian breeds have typically been guard dogs. And apparently these dogs were used as draft dog, pulling sleds. It is interesting to note they have a dark mouth similar to a Chow Chow. Dogs like this typically have difficulty living in city environments. They really aren’t a “pet”, they are a specialized hunting dog.

Temperament: Faithful. Docile (easily led and managed). Strong prey drive for mammals. Aggressive towards strange dogs, which is typical for many of the northern spitz breeds. Aggressive towards strangers. Independent (almost like a terrier), territorial and alert, courageous. A dog like this would have to be naturally athletic and energetic, and would have a strong motivation to explore, so it could easily get out, and want to get out, of the home in an urban environment to go looking around.

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