Breed Standard

The Kai Ken Standard

Kai Ken Aigokai Breed Standard, as translated by Shigeru Kato

Substance and Appearance:   Showing proper sexual dimorphism, and an unadorned unsophisticated air coupled with composed boldness. Movement light and nimble, the breed is agile and powerful with strong homing instinct and a propensity toward loyalty to one master for life.

  • The outer coat standing upright, undercoat thick, and animals should have a mane.
  • The breed is split into three coat colors, black brindle, medium brindle, and red brindle.
  • There are two body types, boar type, and deer type.
  • Height roughly 40-50 centimeters at withers.

Ears:   Moderately thick, triangular in form, of good shape and angled forward, spacing between ears neither too wide apart or close together, lines clean and without looseness, and ears slightly larger than the other Japanese dog breeds.

Eyes:   More or less triangular in shape, the iris dark brown, which depending on coat color may show some shading.

Muzzle:   Lips tight, with good pigmentation, teeth strong, proper bite.

Head & Neck:   Forehead wide falling to a moderate stop, neck having appropriate thickness and length, without looseness.

Back & Hips:   Line of the back straight, hips powerful and tight.

Tail:   Tail thick and strong, either sickle tail or curl tail type, roughly reaching the hocks in length.

Limbs:   Robust with hocks especially well developed, firm while providing for excellent leaping ability and speed.

    The Kai Ken Aigokai was formed in 1931 as a preservation society for the breed. The Kai was accepted into the Nihonken Hozonkai or “NIPPO”, a preservation society and registry for all 6 native Japanese breeds in 1934. The two organizations have differing standards for the Kai, however, with NIPPO idealizing a more uniform approach to the 4 medium sized breeds and KKA standard being more specific to the Kai as it was actually traditionally found. (The Hokkaido and Akita Inu also have their own breed specific societies outside of NIPPO as well.) Disagreement is largely regarding the height range and the pigmentation of the tongue.

    The Kai Ken Society of America honors and promotes the breed standard as written by the Kai Ken Aigokai as the truest, Kai-specific standard for the dogs from their country of origin. As an American club with AKC, we have adapted the KKA standard to the AKC format so that the AKC standard for Kai will also have the same integrity as the Kai Preservation Society in Japan going forward.