Get to know the Hokkaido
All you need to know about the breed
The Hokkaido has a public and private persona. On the street, this Japanese breed carries themselves in a dignified manner. Their well-proportioned physique can draw stares from strangers, which they may be too cool to notice. Behind closed doors, they become devoted and protective guard dogs. Who doesn’t love a canine with a dual personality?
One of six breeds native to Japan, the Hokkaido was previously used to hunt bears and wild boar by their owners. Hokkaidos muscular physique equals stamina and strength, which they gracefully control, so long as their exercise needs are being met.
Hokkaidos require a confident owner who will take the lead, training them to temper their strong-willed streak. If your Hokkaido gets a whiff that the boss role is up for grabs, it’s game over. But this is a highly intelligent breed, so when you take the lead, they instantly respect hierarchy.
Though the breed has evolved to be domesticated, your Hokkaido should always be supervised around other dogs and small children. Pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs may be too much temptation for the breed so it’s best to avoid any... unpleasantness, shall we say?
This breed prefers to stay close to their owners and is often wary of strangers. Early socialisation and a consistent approach to training will help you and your Hokkaido to enjoy each other’s company, guided by mutual respect and affection.
2 facts about Hokkaidos
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Hokkaido
Potential eye problem
The Hokkaido enjoys overall good health, but like several other breeds, they can suffer from Collie Eye Abnormality (CEA). This genetically inherited condition affects their eyes and unfortunately leads to blindness. Just to reassure, CEA is linked to a recessive trait, so your Hokkaido may well carry the gene but never develop the disease. A genetic test does exist for CEA so it’s something that responsible breeders will screen for. The loss of your Hokkaido’s vision will require certain lifestyle changes, which your vet can provide information on, but most dogs adapt well to this new way of living.
Hokkaidos are prone to patellar luxation, a genetically inherited condition that causes the kneecap to dislocate. It’s not as painful, in fact your Hokkaido may not suffer at all. But the condition can cause other knee-related injuries or lead to reduced mobility. If you think that your Hokkaido is struggling with supporting their weight at the knees, schedule a vet appointment for an official diagnosis, as well as the lowdown on treatment options - if they’re required.
Caring for your Hokkaido
Grooming, training and exercise tips
When it comes to grooming your Hokkaido, a weekly brush will remove old fur and maintain a glossy coat. Increase brushing sessions when they blow their coat, twice a year, and gently coax your Hokkaido into the bath when possible - both will help with dead fur removal during peak shedding season and save your sofa as well. Trim nails regularly and ensure great oral health with a consistent dental routine. The Hokkaido is an active dog that enjoys a wide range of exercise. Walking, biking, jogging, swimming, yes to all of these - but they also excel at agility trials and dock-diving! On daily walks, it’s important to keep your Hokkaido on a strong leash. This will prevent them from chasing small animals that catch their eye. Help your Hokkaido overcome their anxiousness around strangers with early socialisation. A kind but firm approach to training will yield the best results - Hokkaidos respond well to positive encouragement and treats, which should be taken from their daily kibble rations.