[Nickname: Tora (Tiger) Dog]
The Kai Ken is a medium sized dog with a wedge shaped head and prick ears. Males are typically 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder, while the females are slightly smaller, 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder. The tail may be curled over the back, or carried in a sickle position. Limbs should be strong and hocks should be well developed reflecting the dogs history of mountain life. The coat is of harsh texture, medium length, and black or brindle in color. Its coat could be red or black at the "background". The red is the Aka-tora, the black is the Kuro-tora and between them, the Chu-tora.
Kai Ken Temperament
Kais are extremely devoted to their family and require a fair amount of love and attention from their owner in order to be happy and they will do best kept as inside house dogs.
You should brush the coat of this breed once or twice a week to keep in good condition and to minimize on shedding. For show dogs the coat may need to be stripped every few months, where the dead coat is stripped off. The coat may also require some clipping to keep in looking its best.
The Kai Ken is a native of Japan. The Kai was wild and was living in the mountains in the province of Kai. The Province of Kai is located on an island which is called Honshu which is now known as the Prefecture of Yaminashi. The Kai were geographically isolated by mountains and is therefore believed to be the purest of all Japanese breeds. Traditional writings describe the Kai as a natural hunter and Kai's have been known to swim and climb trees in pursuit of game. They were first used by the hunters for tracking deer and wild boars. The Kai was recognized in 1934 by the Japanese Kennel Club. Because of the language barrier there is very limited information on the Kai dog.
It is believed that the first Kai's were brought to the United States in the 1950's. They were brought back to the U.S. by service men in the military. A pair was also sent to Salt Lake City. It is not known what happened to these dogs or if there are any surviving offspring. The next known arrival of the Kai's was in 1990. In 1990, a four year old male was brought over and shortly after 3 females puppies. In 1991 6 more puppies were brought over. And in 1992 one more male puppy was imported. These Kai made up the genetic pool for all the American bred Kai Ken. These are the foundation of the Kai we have today.
There was originally two types of Kai's. There are two great foundation studs given credit for these distinct characteristics found in today's Kai dogs. KAIKURO willed the "shishi-inu-gata" type which is a thicker, stockier dog with a more bear type face. DAIRO famed for his deer hunting, is credited for the thinner longer bodies with foxier faces called the "shika-inu-gata" type. Each dog gave strength, speed, agility and quick thinking to its descendants as evidenced in the breed today. Currently in Japan, they do not distinguish the two types anymore and no one type is preferred over the other.
The Kai is highly intelligent and learns quickly. They seem to learn as fast as the other Japanese breeds if not faster. They are not as independent and are more willing to please their companions.
In Japan the Kai is regarded very highly by the Japanese people. The Japanese describe the Kai as a trustworthy guardian and extremely devoted to his master. The Japanese have high respect and admiration for this breed. They say a Kai will lay down its life to protect its master. In Japan the Kai is very loved and protected. The Kai is considered a "Natural Treasure" In Japan.
Because of the Kai's primitive nature and wild origins, it is important that the Kai be well socialized, starting at birth, with the breeder handling the newborns and exposing them to new sounds, sights, and people. It is of utmost importance that the new owner continue this socialization from the time the Kai comes home as a baby puppy well into adult hood, taking him to training classes and any where else possible to expose him to different people, places and situations to have a happy well adjusted pet that is not fearful and timid.
he Kai Ken is not known to be prone to the usual congenital and hereditary problems other canines have. Though the breed appears to be a hardy lot, owners must still be diligent and watch out for signs of PRA, and Canine Hip Dysplasia.