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November 03, 2022 12 min read


If you're looking for a dog companion, then the Hokkaido breed is certainly a good choice. This dog breed originated from Japan, where it was originally bred as a working dog. Today, they are still used as working dogs on farms and ranches but they also make great pets in cities and suburbs. The Hokkaido is known for being loyal and friendly towards people, which makes them good family dogs. They’re also very intelligent and easy to train which makes them perfect companions for active families who want an obedient dog who doesn’t need much exercise or grooming time.

Hokkaido Breed overview

The Hokkaido is a medium-sized, spitz-type dog that was originally bred as a working dog in the northern island of Hokkaido. It has been used for hunting and herding since ancient times.

The Hokkaido descends from a combination of smaller Japanese Spitz breeds like the Shiba Inu, Akita Inu and Kai Ken, crossed with larger European breeds like the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) and Malamute. This mix gives it an excellent ability to withstand harsh weather conditions while still being able to work all day long without tiring out too quickly.

Characteristics of the Hokkaido

The Hokkaido is a medium-sized dog with an alert expression and a double coat. The outer coat of the Hokkaido is straight, long, thick and harsh in texture. The undercoat is dense and soft. The hair on the head forms a beard around the neck and throat that hangs down to just below the chest. The legs have feathering on them as well as along their underside up to the abdomen.

History of the Hokkaido

In Japan, the Hokkaido is a Spitz-type dog that has been bred for centuries to be a hunting dog and companion. The breed’s ancestry can be traced back to the Ainu people of northern Japan, who used them as hunting dogs. The Hokkaido was originally named after the island of Hokkaido in Japan. Its name came from the Ainu word “hokkai” meaning “north sea.” It is believed that this breed was first introduced to Europe in 1877 when a Japanese trader brought one to France as a gift for his friend's birthday


The average lifespan of the Hokkaido dog is 12-13 years. The cause of death for a Hokkaido is not known, but it can be assumed that they live a relatively healthy life.

Height and Weight of Hokkaido

The average height of male Hokkaidos is between 35 and 40 inches, with the average weight being between 19 and 21 pounds. Female Hokkaidos are much smaller, averaging in at 30 to 35 inches tall and weighing in at 16 to 18 pounds. The breed is known for its long legs, so if your Hokkaido looks like he or she has shrunk an inch or two since you brought them home, don't worry—they're just compact!

Hokkaido Appearance and Color Variations

Hokkaido are medium-sized dogs with a thick, double coat which can be black, white, brown or red. They have a wolf-like appearance and their thick undercoat is covered by the outer guard hairs. The undercoat is softer than the guard hairs and it provides insulation during winter months.

Hokkaido Personality

Hokkaido is a friendly, loving and calm dog. He is good with children and has a gentle temperament that makes him excellent with kids. Hokkaido likes to play with toys and will enjoy playing fetch or tug-of-war games. This breed of dog is also an excellent watchdog since they are territorial by nature, which means they will alert you if someone comes near your home or property but not in an aggressive manner like other breeds such as German Shepherds or Rottweilers would do.

Hokkaido dogs love affection from their family members; however, this doesn't mean he won't bark at people who try to approach him outside of his comfort zone (i.e., strangers). In fact, the only time Hokkaidos tend to growl or snarl at others is when they feel threatened by them physically (i.e., someone tries touching them without permission).

Hokkaido Temperament

Hokkaido are independent but love to be around their families. They are loyal, protective, and intelligent. They don't need a lot of training because they're quiet dogs who don't bark much or have a high prey drive.

What’s the price of Hokkaido?

  • If you’re looking for a prize-winning Hokkaido, expect to pay $2,000-$3,000.

  • The average price is $1,000-$2,000 and varies depending on the breeder and bloodline of the dog.

  • For pet quality dogs (those who have not yet been bred), expect to pay somewhere between $300-$600.

Pros of Hokkaido

Hokkaido make wonderful companions, as they are loyal and friendly. They love to play with children, but make sure to teach them not to jump on the Hokkaido.

Hokkaido are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcement methods such as treats and praise. They will also quickly learn to come when called if you use their name often in everyday conversation with the dog.

If you have other pets at home, you don't need worry about introducing your new Hokkaido into the family; they generally get along very well with other animals (including cats). If your dog is a biter or has aggressive tendencies toward other dogs, it's best not to bring them into contact until these behaviors are corrected through training or medication--but even then there's no guarantee of success!

Cons of Hokkaido

There are a few cons to Hokkaido that you need to be aware of before you get one:

  • They're large dogs. If your home isn't big enough for a dog of this size, then it's probably not the right breed for you. The Hokkaido can grow up to 100 lbs (45 kg), which is bigger than most people expect. They also require plenty of exercise and don't do well being left alone all day in a crate without any interaction or stimulation.

  • They're not good for first-time dog owners because they need extensive training and socialization from an early age to prevent behavioral problems later on down the road (more on this later).

  • Hokkaido have been known to be aggressive towards other dogs, strangers, and children—so if your child has an active imagination or gets scared easily by loud noises (like barking), then it might be best not getting one!

Things to know if you own a Hokkaido

Hokkaido are a very friendly and affectionate breed that make for excellent companions for first-time dog owners. They have an easygoing temperament, so they get along well with children and other household pets. Hokkaido are not aggressive by nature, but they do have protective instincts toward their family members.

Diet and nutrition of Hokkaido

Because of their heavy shedding and tendency to get overweight, it is important to feed Hokkaido a healthy diet.

  • Provide them with a diet rich in protein and low in carbohydrates.

  • Avoid feeding them table scraps as they can cause digestion problems or obesity.

  • Check with your vet before giving your Hokkaido any medication or supplements, as some may be harmful when given together.


Here are some tips to keep your Hokkaido happy and healthy:

  • Brush your Hokkaido’s coat regularly with a pin brush or slicker brush. This will help remove loose hair, prevent matting and keep the dog cool during warmer months.

  • Grooming is especially important as they shed throughout the year, so brushing them once a week should be sufficient to keep their coats looking shiny and healthy.

  • If you have an older dog who needs to lose weight, try reducing their food intake by about 10 percent each day for two weeks (in addition to the exercise). Gradually increase their food intake back up over those same two weeks until you reach their normal diet level again – this will help them lose weight without putting undue stress on their kidneys or other vital organs. * Bathe your dog only when necessary – daily baths may dry out your Hokkaido’s skin and fur more quickly than necessary!


Hokkaido are large, active dogs with a lot of energy. They need room to run and play as well as daily walks for exercise. Hokkaido are also good at running and chasing so be sure you have an enclosed yard for them to run around in—they love chasing balls!


Hokkaido are intelligent, but they can be stubborn. They are eager to please and learn quickly. If you train your Hokkaido puppy well, he will be a pleasure to live with. You should start training right away so that your dog knows what's expected of him at home.

Hokkaidos are good with children and make great watchdogs because they bark when there's unusual activity nearby (like someone breaking into your home).


  • Regular grooming is an important part of keeping your Hokkaido happy and healthy.

  • Brushing: Daily brushing will help keep the coat smooth, shiny, and healthy. Also, it will help reduce shedding by removing dead hair before it falls out naturally.

  • Bathing: A bath once a month or as needed (if they get dirty or stinky) is sufficient to keep your pet's fur clean and soft; this should be followed with a good brushing afterward so that any loose hairs don't get stuck in their paws while they're drying off! Be sure to use only pet-safe shampoos and conditioners on your dog's coat—you can find these at any local pet supply store or online retailer like Amazon Prime!

Hokkaido Dog FAQs

How often should you bathe a Hokkaido?

Well, I’m glad you asked. The answer depends on the breed of your Hokkaido, the amount of time they spend outside and how much you want to spend on treats. If you’re looking for a dog that requires regular bathing, we recommend checking out our list of dogs that need frequent baths. Otherwise, here are some general guidelines:

  • Dogs with heavy coats will need more frequent baths than those with lighter/less dense coats. Longer-haired dogs should be bathed every two weeks at minimum; other breeds can go longer between baths but should still be bathed at least once per month (if not more). You may find yourself having to do this based on how dirty your pup gets from playing outside or running through the mud (which is fine—a little dirt never hurt anyone!).

  • Puppies need baths even more frequently than adult dogs do! Their bodies are still growing and developing into their adult selves so make sure they get all cleaned up before their bodies reach maturity so as not to stunt their development in any way due to lack of proper hygiene maintenance throughout childhood years.

Are the Hokkaido dogs good for families?

Hokkaidos are great dogs for families. They love kids and other pets, and can handle the hustle and bustle of city life just fine.

If you’re considering adding a dog to your family, we highly recommend looking into Hokkaido purebreds! They make excellent companions, and will be happy to cuddle up with you on the couch when you come home from work.

Dose Hokkaido get along with other pets?

If you have other pets, be aware that the Hokkaido is a very friendly dog. If there are any other dogs in your house, your Hokkaido will likely get along with them just fine. As long as they're introduced properly and given time to bond, they'll probably end up being best friends.

The same goes for cats—your Hokkaido will likely love them too! It's not uncommon to hear of these dogs getting along well with cats and even ferrets. That said: if you have an older cat or one that's ill or frail and easily startled by loud noises or sudden movements (like some Maine Coons), it may be better off staying somewhere else while the new puppy learns his manners around home base.

Do Hokkaido bark a lot?

Hokkaido dogs are known to be quite vocal. They don't bark too often, but they do bark when they need to. If you are looking for a quiet dog that doesn't make much noise, this is not the breed for you. However, if you can tolerate your dog's barking at times (or even enjoy it), then this breed may be right up your alley!

Hokkaido dogs are not good choices for people who want a quiet dog since they can be trained to stop barking once they learn that it isn't necessary or appropriate in certain situations.

Are Hokkaidos aggressive?

Hokkaidos are not aggressive dogs. They are very loyal and loving to their owners. They are also good with children, other pets and even strangers, making them a great family dog for people who have never had a dog before.

Are Hokkaidos high maintenance?

One of the best things about Hokkaidos is that they're not high maintenance. They don't require a lot of grooming and they're generally very easygoing dogs. This can be good news if you're an inexperienced dog owner or if your schedule prevents you from spending lots of time with your pet outside of work hours, but it's also good information for people who want a low-maintenance breed because there’s nothing more frustrating than having a dog that needs constant attention.

Do Hokkaido shed?

  • Yes, Hokkaido shed moderately.

  • They shed twice a year.

  • All over your house.

  • Not nearly as much as a husky, but they still have hair everywhere.

How smart is a Hokkaido?

A Hokkaido is not a very difficult dog to train. The breed has an instinctive willingness to please and they are highly intelligent, making them easy to train.

They are very loyal and affectionate dogs, who will go out of their way to make you happy.

Hokkaidos make excellent watchdogs because they tend to bark at strangers or unfamiliar people, but aren't aggressive toward people whom they know well. A well-socialized Hokkaido can become territorial if it feels threatened by another dog or person in your home or yard; however, most people find this trait endearing rather than annoying!

Are Hokkaidos good walking dogs?

Yes, they're great walking dogs. Hokkaidos are highly energetic and very playful, which means they love going on walks. They also love interacting with people, making them excellent walking companions.

Hokkaidos are independent dogs that don't need a lot of attention, so if you want to take the dog out for a walk but not spend time hanging out with it after that, this is probably not the breed for you.

However, if you want a dog that will enjoy spending time with other people as well as exploring new places with them (and even helping find lost items), then Hokkaido could be the perfect choice!

Can Hokkaido swim?

Yes they can, but they're not really built for it. They don't have the sleek streamlined body of a Labrador or a German Shepherd. If you want to take your Hokkaido to the beach, he'll enjoy playing in the water and rolling around in it as much as any other dog, especially if there are balls or sticks floating nearby.

Do Hokkaido like to cuddle?

Hokkaido are known as the "cuddle dog" because they love to snuggle up to you and be close. They will happily cuddle up to you for hours on end, which is great if you're looking for a dog who enjoys being held and loved on.

It's important that any Hokkaido owner understands the breed's need to be physically close with them, but it can also lead some people to confuse this affectionate nature with aggression when it doesn't fit their expectations.

Are Hokkaidos clingy?

Hokkaido dogs are not clingy and don't need to be with you all the time. If you're a homebody, this breed is for you. They aren't needy or overly dependent on their owners and can do well in a variety of living situations, as long as they get plenty of exercise.

They are affectionate dogs that love to cuddle and snuggle up close to their humans—but only when they feel like it! The Hokkaido doesn't demand constant attention, so if you want a dog who'll follow your every step or sit at your feet while watching TV or reading a book then this isn't the right breed for you. But if you want an independent-minded companion who is always ready to play but won't be too upset when left alone with nothing but its own thoughts (and maybe some chew toys), then consider adopting one of these charming pups!

Are Hokkaidos good house dogs?

Hokkaidos are great house dogs. They have a mild demeanor and aren't too energetic, which means they won't be prone to getting into trouble or bouncing off the walls. They're also easygoing enough to be around children, other pets in your home, and strangers who come through your door.

Are Hokkaidos hypoallergenic?

No, they aren't. Hokkaidos aren't hypoallergenic because they shed fur and dander like every other cat in existence. They do not have less of a reaction to people with allergies than any other cat on earth, so if you're looking to get a pet that won't aggravate your allergies or asthma (or any other breathing problems), then this isn't the breed for you. However, if you're looking for an affectionate and playful companion who will be happy to sit with you while watching TV or snuggle up next to you at night when it's cold outside, then this is definitely the breed for you!


If you’re still considering whether to get a Hokkaido, here are some things to keep in mind. The Hokkaido is a great choice for families, but they do require training and socialization. If you’re looking for an independent dog that won’t need much attention from its owner, this may not be the breed for you. On the other hand, if you want something sweet-tempered who will always be there when needed then this might just be perfect!

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