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Ainu dogs, also known as Hokkaido-ken, are one of the six Spitz type breeds, native to the Hokkaido prefecture in Japan. Alert and faithful, Ainu dogs generally show precise judgement and great stamina, proving they are fearless and determined hunters and guard dogs.
See the fact file below for more information on the Ainu Dog or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Ainu Dog worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HISTORY AND ORIGIN
- Ainu dogs have a lot of names, which include: Do-ken, Ainu-ken, and Seta. They are one of the six native Japanese Spitz breeds: Akita, Shiba Inu, Kai Ken, Shikoku, and Kishu Ken. Researchers believe the Ainu dogs to be the most primitive dog breed and the oldest of all Japanese dogs.
- Ainu dogs are working breeds from mainland Hokkaido during the Kamakura era in the 1140s; however, some assume they came from Honsu, another main island below Hokkaido.
- Before the invention of guns, they were trained by the early Japanese to hunt. They were courageous breeds that would even show aggression towards large bears.
- They were also trained to catch fish and help in search and rescue missions.
- In 1869, they were first discovered and named by a British zoologist named Thomas Blakiston.
- The Hokkaido were initially bred to be hunting dogs, but they were crossbred with other dog breeds, causing genetic changes. Most of these dogs have a blue and black tongue, showing their close blood ties with the Chow-chows and/or Shar Pei dogs.
- In 1937, Ainu dogs were classified as a Living Natural Monument by the Japanese government, protecting them by law.
- The Hokkaido Ken Hozonkai (Hokkaido Dog Preservation Society) and the Hokkaido Ken Kyokai (Hokkaido Dog Association) are the two main Ainu dog registries.
- It started to gain popularity in 2007 when a Japanese telecom company SoftBank started featuring a white Ainu named Kai-kun in its commercial campaigns.
- Ainu dogs are lean, muscular, and sturdy-looking medium-sized breeds, with a height of 48.5 to 51.5 cm for males, and 45.5 to 48.5 cm for females.
- They have broad and slightly flat heads with a defined stop and a wedge-shaped muzzle. Their noses are usually black, but slight pigmentations are accepted for white dogs. Ainu dogs are known for their blueish black tongue and nearly triangular ears with outer corners that are slightly upturned.
- They have powerful necks, with slightly tucked up bellies. Their thick tails are set on high and are curved over their backs.
- Their outer coats are coarse and straight; however, their undercoats are delicate and dense. Hokkaido breeds can have black, red, black and tan, white, brindle, and sesame-colored coats.
- Although Hokkaido breeds were originally hunters and guard dogs, they make good family companions. They are obedient, gentle, and faithful to their owners. They also get along well with other small animals and children.
- As hunters, Ainu dogs have great stamina and accurate judgement, and are well-known for their bravery. Since they were bred in the mountains, they are able to withstand cold weather. They have a high prey drive given their history.
- These dogs do not like taking baths, and their coats take a long time to dry due to its density.
- Ainu dogs are highly intelligent breeds; they listen and follow commands. That is why they are easily trainable.
- They do not bark much, but they howl when they are happy or excited. Ainu dogs might get aggressive when they encounter strangers, but are calm when approached politely.
HEALTH AND CARE
- The Hokkaido breeds are generally healthy but they might also be affected with hereditary diseases. Some common health problems these breeds encounter are collie eye anomaly (affects the retina which may cause blindness), hip dysplasia (causes crippling lameness and painful joint inflammation), luxating patella (dislocation of the kneecap), heart murmurs (unusual sounds between heartbeats), idiopathic seizures (hereditary epileptic disorder), anxiety, psychogenic polydipsia (excessive thirst), and pica (eating disorder).
- Given that Hokkaido breeds have thick coats, they should be brushed once or twice a week. Brush their teeth at least three times a week, and trim their nails once a month. Their ears should also be checked every week to avoid bad odor, redness, or any infections.
Ainu Dog Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Ainu Dog across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Ainu Dog worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Ainu dogs, also known as Hokkaido-ken, which are one of the six Spitz type breeds, native to the Hokkaido prefecture in Japan. Alert and faithful, Ainu dogs generally show precise judgement and great stamina, proving they are fearless and determined hunters and guard dogs.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Ainu Dog Facts
- Dogs of Hokkaido
- Anatomy of Seta
- More Facts About Seta
- Mapping Japanese Breeds
- Nihon-Ken Breeds
- I Want a Seta
- Time for Checkup
- Taking Care of Seta
- Hokkaido-ken Origami
- A Tale of the Six Native Breeds
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Link will appear as Ainu Dog Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 2, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.