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Kai Ken Breed Description

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Breed Organization

North American Kai Association

Native Country

Other Names
Tora Inu, Tiger Dog, Kai Dog, Kai Inu

Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years

Litter Size
Average 3 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

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 comes in various shades of brindle (tiger stripes). The red is the Aka-tora, the black is the Kuro-tora and between them, the Chu-tora. Puppies are born a solid color and their brindle markings develop as they age, sometimes taking as long as five years before fully showing.

Breed Standard

Head: Strong. Broad forehead. Abrupt stop. Straight nose bridge. Pointed muzzle. Tight lips.
Ears: Medium size, triangular. Held erect and slightly forward.
Eyes: Small, almost triangular. Dark brown color.
Body: Solidly constructed. Thick, powerful, muscular neck. Pronounced withers. Chest is well let down. Ribs moderately sprung. Belly well tucked up. Broad, muscular loin. Straight, short back.
Tail: Set high. Thick. Carried tightly curled or curved over the back in the shape of a sickle.
Hair: Short, hard, straight. Longer on the tail. Dense, soft undercoat.
Coat: Black brindle, red bridle, or brindle. Puppies are born solid color.
Size: Dog: 50 to 56 cm (19.7-22 in).Bitch: 46 to 50 cm (18-19.7 in).
Weight: Approx.: 25 kg (55 lb).


The Kai Dog is descended from extinct medium-size Japanese breeds and was developed in the Kai district. The Kai was used for hunting boar and deer. The breed was named as a "Natural Monument" in 1934.


The Kai Ken is intelligent, agile, alert and brave. They are natural hunters and make good watch dogs, being reserved with strangers but loyal to their families. They are friendly, often good with children and are not usually aggressive towards other dogs. Many love to swim, and have been known to cross rivers and climb trees while chasing their prey.

The Kai Dog requires considerable space and exercise. Weekly brushing is necessary.


Hunting Dog (large game), Pet.


This is a very hearty breed. No outstanding issues.

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