First of all, the Akita dog is a national dog of Japan. I believe that no one will object to that statement. However, many are not aware that the type of Akita dog of today was formed about sixty to seventy years ago. [Read more]
Akita History

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(The Large Type Dog only Is Included Here)
By Nipponinu Hozonkai (Nippo)
By The Nipponinu Toroku Kyokai (The Japanese Dog Registry Society}

The Large Type

1. Honshitsu (Essential Qualities) and Hyogen (Expression)

Kan-i (Full of spirit), ryosei ni shite (of good temperament), soboku no kan ari (with simple pristine appearance), kyoso juko narubeshi (with composure and dignity).

2. Ippan Gaibo (General Appearance)

The male and female are distinguishable. The bodies are well proportioned with solid (ganjo) frames and well-developed muscles. Height;body length ratio of the male is 100:110, while body length in the female is slightly longer proportionally than that of the height.

Height in the male is from 64 to 70 cm (25.2 to 27.6 inches), while height in the female is from 58 to 64 cm (22.8 to 25.2 inches).

3. Ears
The ears are small, triangular, slightly leaning forward and standing firmly.

4. Eyes
The eyes are somewhat triangular and raised at the outer corners. The iris is dark tea brown.

5. Muzzle
The bridge of the nose is straight. The sides of the mouth are tight. The nose is hard. The lips are tight.

6. Head and Neck
The forehead is wide. The cheeks are well developed. The neck is sturdy.

7. Forelegs
The should blade is at a moderate angle and well developed. The forearm is straight and the paws have firm grips.

8. Hindlegs
The powerful hindlegs have a firm stance.The hocks are strong.

9. Chest
The chest is deep with moderately sprung ribs. The forechest is well developed.

10. Back and Loins
The back is straight. The loins are strong.

11. Tail
The tail is thick and fully curled and almost reaches to the hock joint.

12. Coat
The coat is stiff and straight. The undercoat is soft and thick. The length of the tail coat is somewhat longer and standing. Coat colors are goma (sesame), red, black, brindle and white. Coat quality and coat colors should have the characteristic features of Japanese dogs.


1 Injuries and malnutrition.
2. Disharmony between color of nose and body coat.
3. Large pinto spot on trunk and extremely unsightly pinto coat.


1. Lacking features of a Japanese dog.
2. Marked undershot or overshot jaws.
3. Short tail since birth.
4. Uncurled tail.

Additional Rules

1. Tail Terminologies
1. Curled tail: Taikomaki (top curl), right curl, left curl and nijumaki (double curl).
2. Coat Colors
1. Goma: (sesame) (Goma, white goma, red goma, black goma).
2. Red: (red, light red, crimson).
3. Black.
4. Brindle: (Brindle, red brindle, black brindle).
5. White.


The standard is a guide to attain uniformity. Standard time ( Greenwich Mean Time ) and standard language are some of the examples.

Animal husbandry includes horses, cattle and domestic animals, among which dogs are included. dogs, body, structure, intelligence, temperament and kan-i (full of spirit), must harmonize to be useful for their specific work. Harmony in appearance can lead to the ideal type of domestic animal in time. The ideal body type will then be looked upon as the standard for that animal. Therefore, the standard describes its distinctive characteristics for any given species.

Dogs also conform to a standard pertaining to each section of the dog's body, appearance and other desired qualities. One should work toward producing dogs that approach that standard. Dogs that conform to such a standard are then considered as excellent and beautiful. Thus, a standard is needed to improve the dog toward the standard.

The Japanese dog standard also points out the basic features needed in Japanese dogs, and is used to improve and attain the goal of the Japanese dog by informed judges, breeders and owners. This standard is the guide that can contribute to advancement of Japanese dogs.

However, the key words in the standard should be precise and brief. Therefore, words with broad applications were used. For example, the term honshitsu (essential qualities) when described as the original (natural) temperament and character of Japanese dogs may need further elucidation. Nor could one easily comprehend the term, "kan-i," when it is defined as "the awe inspiring kihaku (spirit) in Japanese dogs. One could easily write a book on the standard to make it more understandable. Thus, any standard merely points to the basics. Therefore, with progress and changes in trends in the Japanese dog circles, judges' evaluations on various parts of the dog's structure may change, as the occasion demands.
For example, should the ears and facial features greatly improve, but is accompanied with more faults in the hindlegs, points may be given or taken away according to importance of the section of a dog's body. In this way, allowances are made but still staying within the standard. However, since the standard points to the basic features of Japanese dogs, changes in the standard should not be made too often.

With improvements in the Japanese dogs, some revisions may be made from time to time. Some allowances may be made on the distribution of points from a scientific view. For example, when the standard states, "The teeth are strong with proper bite," no teeth must be missing. The teeth must be strong and be proper aligned. However, if a dog lacks one or two of the bicuspids along with faulty incisors, and have a slight fault in the bite, an otherwise excellent dog may be heavily penalized. Heavily penalizing a Japanese dog with only a few minor faults is similar
to the saying, "Killing the cattle to correct its horns ( meaning "The remedy is worse than the disease ."). "Although the standard may point out the proper form of a dog, some allowances should be made during this transition period toward standardization. Such practices are allowed and carried on for a time for reality's sake.

Creation of The Standard

The Nippo standard divided the Japanese dogs into the large, medium and small types in 1934 (9th year of Showa). This division was based on studies on the taikaku (body build), shieki (use) and taikei (body type) of Japanese dogs that were seen nationwide at that time, and classified into one breed, and then divided into the three types. This standard was agreed upon to hasten the progress of Japanese dogs. The changes toward more uniformity seen in Japanese dogs today can be credited to those who took on the responsibility of studying and following the standard.

The announcement of the original standard was an important event, The statement, "The Japanese dog standard expresses the course that one should take to produce such dogs in the future, that is Japanese dogs with the features of Japanese dogs from ancient times."

When trying to meet the requirements in "the standard at the beginning,dogs that were between the three types in sizes increased, making it difficult for judges to clearly delineate the size categories. They often had to move a dog from the large class to the medium class or vice versa. Registration records show that at times medium dogs produced large dogs. Breeding a medium dog to a small dog, at times, produced medium and small dogs. This may have occurred since these Japanese dogs came mostly from the mountain areas to the cities to be raised by those who were trying to breed their dogs to the dog standard. The determined height at that time was 2 shaku 5 bu to 2 shaku 4 sun (approximately 62.1 cm, 24.4 inches to 72.7 cm, 28.6 inches) for the male, and 1 shaku 9 sun to 2 shaku 1 sun 5 bu (approximately 57.6 cm, 22.7 inches to 65.1, 25.6 inches) for the female. However, this standard with the foregoing height requirements established in 1934 did not go into effect until 1937 (12th years of Showa). The lower limits of the height were lowered to 2 shaku (approximately 60.6 cm, 23.9 inches) for the male, and 1 shaku 8 sun (approximately 54.5 cm, 21.6 inches) for the female, because, at that time many of the males were only about 2 shaku (approximately 60.6 cm, 23.9 inches), while the females were only about 1 shaku 8 sun or 9 sun (approximately 54.5 cm, 21-5 inches or approximately 57.6 cm, 22.7 inches) in height. Also among those dogs that were near the height standard, those lacking the jukomi (air of composure and dignity) seemed to be in larger medium dogs with large ears that barely stood or were bent. Their muzzles with droopy lips and square faces were similar to those seen in the Tosa fighting dogs. Narrow tails were veryloosely curled over the back. When one looks at the so-called excellent dogs of today, some of these dogs remind one of those excellent dogs from the olden days, one must agree that much progress has been made in the large type Japanese dog.

The Dog Standard of Today

The establishment of Nippo led to the recognition and increased knowledge on Japanese dogs. This caused a rapid rise in those who became interested in Japanese dog. When the Japanese dogs were designated as natural monuments, Japanese dogs began to improve. However, wartime and immediate postwar conditions made it almost impossible for one to raise dogs. However, from around 1947 (22nd year of Showa), Japanese dogs began to gain in popularity, especially the large type Japanese dog, and soon led to a golden age of these dogs. From the few foundation dogs that were available after the war, that such a great popularity for the large type dog was achieved was due to the efforts of those who carried on for the Japanese dogs.

This popularity was used as an opportunity to improve the temperament of Japanese dogs, a portion the standard was revised carefully, because of necessity without altering the basics. This was presented at the judges' meeting and also made widely known to other judges and breeders. Difficult clauses in the previous standard were revised with more adequate explanations to compensate for inadequacies found in the previous standard. However, the present standard is still not entirely satisfactory. However, the basics are still preserved in the standard. With improvement and advancement of Japanese dogs in the future, we must work every more toward a more complete standard.

Therefore, I shall now discuss the revisions since 1951 (26th year of Showa) made at the judges' meetings, the present standard, and all of the data that were gathered on the standard.

The Revised Dog Standard

Height: Male, 64 cm to 70 cm (approximately 25.2 inches to 27.6 inches). Female, 57 cm to 64 cm (approximately 22.4 inches) to 25.2 inches).

Reason: By surveying large type dogs with excellent body forms and other dog breeds, the height standards were set as shown above. Also, the previous height standard of upper and lower limits of 3 sun 5 bu (approximately 10.6 cm, 4.2 inches) for the male, and 2 sun 5 bu (approximately 7.6 cm, 3 inches) for the female were reduced to 6 cm (approximately 2.4 inches). The purpose of this reduction of these upper and lower limits of the height was to facilitate standardization of body type.

Disqualifications: Lack of tail curl.

Reason: Prior to the revision of the standard, lack, of tail curl was a fault. However, in the large type dog, a curled tail is
regarded as necessary for its appearance. Therefore, an uncurled in the large dog is now a point of disqualification. Also, when a dog is standing, the tip of a tail that is below the horizontal line of the back is still recognized as a curled tail, if it is a thick tail that is powerfully curled from the loins to the flank.

Resolutions From The Judges' Meetings

Although the following details are not mentioned in the standard, it was decided at the judges' meetings that they do conform to the standard and should be made known to the general membership to be adopted.

Excess Height: Dogs short of the required height are penalized. However, in dogs that exceed the height standard, but having the proper form, composure and dignity, movement and appearance of the characteristic large type Japanese dog are tolerated.

Reason: Although the current height standard for the large type dog is from 64 cm to 70 cm (approximately 25.2 inches to 27.5 inches) for the male and 57 cm to 64 cm (22.4 inches to 25.2 inches) for the female, more allowances were made for the larger type dog. However, in dogs that exceed the height standard, other factors such as bone volume, well-developed muscles, adequate body width, adequate weight, and movements that express the large type dog must also be present in order to be allowed for this leeway.

Chest depth: Chest depth must be approximately one half of the body height, and is measured from the top of the shoulder blade to the bottom of the chest line.

Reason: Proper depth and width of the chest is important. At the very least, in relation to height, the depth requirement should be between "45% to 50%."

1. Minor undershotjaws and improper bite are penalized.

2. Level bite, slight misalignment of incisors may still be allowed in dogs in the excellent category.

3. Missing teeth. The following penalties points for missing teeth were decided.

a. First premolar 1 point
Second premolar 2 points
Third premolar 5 points
Each missing incisor 5 points

A dog with less than 6 penalty points under the foregoing rules with no other faults after careful examination may still be
rated excellent.

b. Missing of upper fourth premolar and lower first molar are heavily penalized. Missing lower fourth premolar, second molar, upper first molar and second molar are penalized less than dogs in the foregoing category. Missing lower third molar is lightly penalized.

The extent of penalties will be decided in each situation based on penalties of more than 6 points for missing teeth under a and in each missing teeth category in b above, and the dog will be appraised accordingly.

d. Hereditary and acquired missing teeth, regardless of cause.

e. The judge is allowed to decide on the amount of penalties on teeth that are broken, poor, small, weak or eroded.

Reason: Although correct number of teeth and proper bite are necessary, due to circumstances mentioned above, the foregoing actions were taken. Very noticeable overshot and undershot jaws are disqualified, but minor conditions are penalized. Although level bite, minor misalignment of front teeth, a few missing teeth are not normal, due to present circumstances, some leeway's are allowed.

Reproductive organs: Monorchidism is acceptable. Venereal disease is a disqualification.

Reason: Stud dogs must have normal testes in the scrotum. Bilateral cryptorchidism and other deformities are not allowed. However, in spite of fertility in monorchidism, it is a degenerative process that should be penalized. Venereal disease is a transmittable disease that should be prevented and is a disqualification. However, with complete recovery, the disqualification is then removed.

Injuries: No severe penalties are imposed on injuries unless severe and detracts from the distinguishing characteristics of the Japanese dog.

Reason: Although the standard states that injuries are penalized, small injuries from hunting and accidents are penalized
lightly. However, any deformities or loss of the Japanese dog appearance due to these injuries must be more heavily penalized. For example, droopy ears from injuri's, large gashes, deformed tail bone from injuries that detracts from the characteristic appearance of a Japanese dog are penalized. However, slight injuries to ear tips may be allowed.

Spotted tongue: Spotted tongue is common in many breeds of dogs, but any excess is penalized.

Reason: Spotted tongue is not desirable. However, they do not necessarily reveal the purity or impurity of a dog. Therefore, small spots on the tongue are allowed. However, large spots on the tongue are unsightly, and may be penalized.

Pinto: Pinto coats that are allowed at the present time.

Excluding the large pinto coat on the trunk, any very unsightly pinto coat is not allowed.

Note: When one mentions the large pinto coat on the trunk, one is referring to the "button" shaped pinto coat, the type of pinto seen on the Holstein cow. The unsightly pinto that is any pinto coat that is unbecoming of a Japanese dog. Pinto coats seen in white areas on the face, neck, lower chest, legs (including the upper arm and femur), rump (rear), and tail are not desirable.

Note: Red seen in the white coat at the tips of the legs or the small black pinto spots (sarasa = calico) are not desirable, not heavily penalized.

Pinto on Dirty White ( e.g. dirty white, according to Junichi Ono ) : At certain times of the time of year or due to other factors, the white coat may appear as faded (boke) red behind the ears, back; region, tip of the tail, and hocks. Although faded red on white is not desirable, they are accepted for now as white.

Reason: The necessity of differentiating dogs with dirty white coats due to environmental, seasonal and soiling (yogore keiro) from dogs with faded coats colors were recognized. However, these dogs could be differentiated from the latter group by the amount of pigment in the eyes, lips, nose and anus in the former group. Lack of pigmentation with soiled coat (yogore keiro) are penalized.

The foregoing stipulations for penalties may be confusing, if a dog with other excellent features to compensate for its faults, may not be highly rated. Also, depending on each dog s circumstances, some faults are heavily penalized, while, in other situations, they are not. If a dog's body form is far from the standard, the penalty should be greater. Although such allowances may be not be scientific, because of the present state of Japanese dogs ( much lack of uniformity due to mixed breeding ), such allowances are necessary at this time to comply to this reality. With gradual improvements in Japanese dogs, these allowances should be gradually diminished.

This ends my presentation of the details and requirements on the present Japanese dog standard. I would now like to make some brief comments on this standard.

Comments on The Standard

Honshitsu (Essential Qualities) and Its Hyogen (Expression)

The term honshitsu (essential qualities) refers to temperament, nature, disposition (seishitsu, shishitsu, hinsei) of
the large Japanese dog, and includes seishinryoku (mental power, will) , chiryoku (intelligence) and seikaku (character, personality) inherent in the Japanese dog.

The term hyogen (expression, manifestation) reveals; the yukeimukei (visible and invisible)parts of the honshitsu
(essential  qualities). This includes facial expressions and movements based on the dog's kanjo (emotion) of that moment.

This honshitsu (essential qualities) and hyogen (expression) are stipulated in the following sentence:  " Kani-i ni tomi (full of spirit), ryosei ni shite (having a good temperament), soboku no kan ari (with the pristine appearance),  kyosojuko narubeshi  (with composure and dignity)."

"Kan-i ni tomi" is the most important honshitsu (essential quality) of Japanese dogs. Kan-i refers to kihaku (the spirit, vigor,  vim)  that  is  awesome  and  imbedded  in  the  honshitsu (essential quality) of Japanese dogs. This may also be called the hakuryoku (force,  intensity, appeal). Kan-i must also include yukan (courage), chinkaku (calmness) and daitan (boldness) with eibin (alertness) .  This must also be accompanied by chujitsu (faithfulness) and jujun (obedience).

Dogs without kan-i lack the beauty of the spirit of Japanese dogs. Such dogs often try to frighten others by pretense, may be vicious or shy.  This kan-i and kihaku are essential qualities of Japanese dogs that are the forever necessary values.  Ryosei refers to the gentle character or temperament of Japanese dogs. They are faithful, obedient household guard and companion dogs. These were excellent working dogs that were bold and had the fighting spirit in them. Dogs that are vicious,  annoying to other dogs,  shy, lethargic, lazy and disobedient are turn out to be poor working guard dogs.

"Soboku no kan ari." Soboku refers to the composure character without gaudiness and coarseness, but having the beauty of shibumi (plainness, simplicity). One will not become tired of gazing at such a dog.

"Kyosojuko narubeshi."   Kyosojuko refers to movement and behavior that goes along with the sturdy body type of the large Japanese dog, with the air of composure and dignity .  As a large type dog, one desires the stately appearance when in motion.

One should not confuse kyosojuko (composure and dignity) with donju  (the appearance of heaviness). The large type dog with composure  and  dignity  must  also  reveal  robust  health  and resilience.  A sluggish obese body cannot have the kyosojuko (composure and dignity) of the Japanese dog.

General Appearance

"The male and female are distinguishable." The male in all respects must appear masculine, whereas the female appear feminine.

"With a symmetrical body." This refers to the proper construction of each section of the dog's body that should be in
balance to each other. A balanced body is an important factor for beautiful appearance and function. A body cannot be correct unless the angles and lines of various parts of the body such as the head, front and rear torso, height, body length and weight are in harmony. For example, requirements of the body height and length ratio of 100 to 110, with the chest depth being 50% of height, and proper angulation of each joint in the legs result in the proper body structure as required in the standard.

"Sturdy frame and well-developed muscles." The bones and muscles make up part of the dog's body. The bone must be sturdy and powerful enough to support the main parts of the body. The large type dog with thick sponge like legs may seem to be heavy, but are not strong structures.

The term kanso ("dry") is used to describe the well developed muscles and tendons that attach to the skeletal frame. The term kanso refers to a tight muscular body with springiness. The large type dog with an obese and loose muscles in the structure is not desirable.

"The height:body length ratio of the male is 100:110, while the body length in the female is slightly longer proportionately than that of height." When the dog is standing, the height measured from the top of the withers vertically is 100; the body length measured from the tip of the sternum (breast bone) to the rear end of the ischium (hip bone) is 110 proportionately. For example, a male with a height of 67 cm (approximately 26.4 inches) must have a body length of 73.7 cm (approximately 29 inches). In the female, the height:length ratio/ when compared to that of the male, is slightly longer due to their function of gestation. This is proper from a physiological standpoint, appearance and sexual characteristics. A male with the body length that of a female, or conversely, a female with a proportionately shorter body length can be void of their proper sexual characteristics.

" The height in the male is from 64 cm to 70 cm (approximately 25.2 inches to 27.6 inches), while the height in the female is from 58 cm to 64 cm (approximately 22.8 inches to 25.2 inches)."

The allowed range of height is 6 cm (approximately 2.4 inches) from the lower limit to the upper limit. In large dogs, the minimum height in the male must be 64 cm (approximately 25.2 inches) and 58 cm (approximately 22.8 inches) in the female.

On the other hand, males taller than 70 cm (approximately 27.6 inches) and females taller than 64 cm (approximately 25.2 inches) are allowed if they still have the essential qualities in body structure and appearance of Japanese dogs. (Reference: Resolutions from judges' meeting on dogs that exceed the height standard) In the large type dog, the tendency is to go to 70 cm (approximately 27.6 inches) or even to 73 cm ( approximately 28.7 inches) . In this situation, it is important to preserve body balance. Further increase in size may not produce a dog with the proper form.


"The ears are small, triangular, slightly leaning forward and standing." The ears and tail are important features of Japanese dogs. The ears must be small and triangular. It is said that the smaller the ear, the purer the dog. However, extremely small ears are not desirable either. Oversized and longer ears are seen more commonly, and extremely small ears seem rarer. Ear size should be proportional to the head.

"Triangular." The term triangular here does not denote a true triangle. Although the inner and outer ear lines have length
differences, the overall appearance must be triangular. The inner and outer ear lines must be straight and not be excessively rounded. Ryokei (diamond shaped ear lobes that thrust out excessively), yorimimi (ears that lean toward each other), hanmimi (ears that bend backwards), marumimi (inner and outer ear lines and ear tips with excess roundness). None of these are the ideal triangular ears.

"Leaning slightly forward." When viewed from the side, instead of being vertical, the ears are leaning slightly forward.
From the side view, the ideal angles, in relation to the gakumensen (surface of the forehead) are:

1. 60 degrees for the jiheisen (back line of the ear),

2. 90 degrees for the jigaisen (front line of the ear).

"Standing well." This refers to the "ikioim no aru (powerfully)" standing ears. The ear should be standing taut without any bends and not be floppy when walking. Thin ears imparts an appearance of frivolity, while thick large ears contributes to lack of presence. However, although well-standing, long ears with narrow bases and pointed tips are not becoming of
Japanese dogs. Therefore, ear thickness, width of ear base, space between ears must be proper.


"Somewhat triangular and raised at the outer corners, with dark brown iris of the eyes." The term "somewhat triangular" applies to slits of the eyes. The upper eyelid of Japanese dogs forms an arch. The nearly vertical part of this arch with a more acute angle is at the inner corner of the eye. The lower eyelid forms a nearly straight line. Therefore, the shape of the eye is mainly determined by the angle of the upper eyelid, and this triangle is not equilateral. The eyeball must also appear to be deeply set. The term okume(deeply set eyes) refers to eyes in which the cornea and eyeball are deeply set below the surface of the eye socket. The term dome(protruding eyes) refers to the opposite condition, in which the eyes are shallow and not deeply set. In shallow eyes, the arches of the upper and lower eyelids are more pronounced. This results in protruding eyes that are round.

"Raised at the outer corners." The outer corners of the eye must slant somewhat upward. This slanting of the outer corners of the eyes greatly contributes to the tight facial features and appearance of the kan-i (fullness of spirit). However, extreme slanting of the eyes can give rise to an angry appearance, while the lowering of the outer corner of eyes could result in unrefined eyes with no tightness. Among Japanese dogs, the Akita dog's eyes slants less when compared those of medium and small dogs. Therefore, in spite of the large head of the Akita dog, their relatively mild appearance is due to the shape of their eyes.

"With dark tea brown iris of the eye." The iris of the eye should be dark tea brown or dark purple (budoiro) with an air of
composure. Although some differences in eye darkness or lightness are seen in dogs with different coat colors, iris with brass, light red or light blue should be excluded.

The eyes are said to be the windows to the heart and manifests the seishin jotai (state of mind). Eye movements and expression should reveal cheerfulness and much composure. Side and upward glances with exposure of the whites reveal an ill-tempered dog. Eyes that look around restlessly reveal timidity.


"The bridge of the nose is straight. The sides of the mouth are tight." The bridge of the nose must be straight and not curve, be convex or concave. The sides of the mouth are tight. The cheeks are full and borders around the stop. The muzzle gradually tapers to the tip of the nose. The muzzle consists of the upper and lower jaws, with the most important structures being the nose and mouth. Therefore, the muzzIe must have the proper length, width and depth. A boxy muzzle with loose lips and short muzzle can result in loss of facial dignity. Also, a thin long muzzle can result in less biting power and poor facial features.

"The nose is firm and the lips are tight." The nose must be of the proper size and be firm. Excluding the white dog, the nose must be black, shiny and wet.

The upper and lower lips are drawn tight and must form a straight line when the upper and lower lips are together. The lips
must not be loose like the loose lips seen in the Tosa fighting dog. The lips also must also be black with luster at the nose, and a dark color is desirable.

"The teeth are strong with the proper bite." The teeth is for chewing and eating. In the dog, it is the one of the means of defense against any attack. Therefore, the teeth must be powerful and in excellent condition. The correct number of teeth must be present, and all of the teeth must be well developed with the proper bite. The proper bite is the scissors bite. Protrusion or receding of upper or lower jaws are not normal. Overshot, undershot and even (level, pinch) bite are also abnormal. Discoloration of the enamel on the teeth related to distemper are also undesirable.

However, a mild level bite, a few missing teeth, mild malocclusion are allowed, and will be penalized as faults for now until at a later date (Reference: Actions regarding the teeth taken at the judges' meeting).

Head and Neck

"The forehead is wide, the cheeks are well-developed. The neck is sturdy." The head region consists of the skull, facial region and jaws. The skull encases the brain. The facial region has the vital organs for vision, smell and hearing. This is the most important part of the dog's body. Through these sense organs in the facial region, the working of the mind, facial expression, and the character of the Japanese dog are revealed. The head size must be in balance with the body with an air of vigor and reassurance. The forehead is wide and somewhat flat. A vertical shallow groove runs along the midline of the forehead. A round forehead with wrinkles of different types detracts from the dignity of the face.

The cheeks must be well-developed and full. The muzzle begins at the boundary of the stop and tapers toward the nose. The stop must be distinct and sloping gently. The absence of a stop can result in lack of tightness in the face, while a deep stop can cause an unsightly sad face.

The neck must be thick, sturdy with proper width and depth. The muscles must be well-developed to support the head. The skin around the throat region of the neck must not be loose and is not desirable.


"The should blade is at the proper angle and well-developed." The forelegs begin at the shoulder, then to the shoulder blade, upper arm, elbow, foreman, pastern and paws. The bones, muscles and ligaments of the legs are well-developed, thick and strong. The shoulder blade has the proper angle and adheres to the body. The elbows should seem close to the body with almost no abduction or torsion. Space between the shoulders must have adequate width
and depth for the forechest.

From the front, the upper and lower arms must be straight. Turning of the forearm or inward or outward is not acceptable. The upper arm and lower arm in relation to each other must: not be too long or too short. The pastern must have the proper angulation, and steep or excess angulations are not desirable.

The paws are round and bulging with the proper thickness. Each paw is well attached with a powerful grip (cat paws) and with springiness. Flat paws or toes that are spread out contribute to weak movements and appearances. Nails should be short and stiff. Although nail color should not be limited to black, which is the most common color, dark nails are also desirable. However, light nails are allowed in white dogs.


"The hindlegs are powerful with a firm stance. " The hindlegs have the important function of providing force for the forward motion. The hindleg is part of the anal area, upper thighs, knees, lower thighs, rear pasterns and paws. As in the forelegs, proper joints and bone angulations are important.The anal area and the upper thigh are of importance in transmitting thrust. Therefore, this area must be well-developed and structurally powerful. It is also important for the pelvic bone, upper and lower hips bones to have the proper angulations and connections.

The hock and the knee joint together provide thrust. Therefore, proper angulation, stability, with kanso ("dry," meaning tightness of body) and strength are needed. Dogs with shallow angulation and straight hocks, which can result in a cylindrical look, are not desirable.

The paws must have thickness and powerful grips. Nails on the hindlegs must be similar to those of the forelegs.

Since the hindlegs are the powerful point of origin to provide thrust, it is much more important for this reason than the
forelegs. From the rear, with suitably wide hips, the hindlegs must be straight, with a powerful appearance when standing.; The gait must appear powerful and be springy. Wide stance, narrow stance, o-shaped stance, x-shaped stance (cow hocks) are faults. The cow hocks so commonly seen in the large type dog is a point of disqualification.


"The chest is deep with the ribs sprung moderately. The forechest is well-developed." Since the chest encases the most vital organs, it must be well-developed. The depth of the chest (tip of the shoulder blade to the bottom of the upper arm) should be approximately one half of body height. (Reference: Actions taken on the chest depth at the judges' meeting). It is important for the ribs to be moderately curved (sprung). The vertical cross section of the ribs should be somewhat egg-shaped (with the lower sides tapering) with a boat bottom shape. Thus, a flat chest (narrow flat chest), a round chest (a barrel chest with no depth) are not desirable. The chest must have depth and width.

The forechest is attached to the base of the neck above and with shoulders on both sides. The forechest and shoulders are well-developed and well sprung with adequate width. Thus the forechest has the proper width from the shoulders toward the elbows. From the side view, a forechest that is hidden by the shoulders is poorly developed and not desirable.

The Back and Loins

"The back is straight and the loins are strong." Since the back also has the important function in conduction of thrust, it must be well-developed. The back must be straight with the proper width and length. Both sagging or roach (carp) back can contribute to a weak back and are penalized.

The hips are powerful, due to well-developed muscles, adequate width and could exert a straight thrust toward the buttocks. Lean or scrawny hips are not desirable. From the side, the upper line of the back at the hips must show a straight line. The line extending from the bottom of the chest toward the lower abdomen must gradually decrease to be tucked up. Such a trunk is looked upon as being excellent. The female's trunk is slightly longer.


"The tail is thick, well curled and nearly reaches the hock joint." The tail is made a matter of great importance in Japanese dogs along with the ears.

The tail in the large type dog must normally be thick and well curled at the flank. The curls could be tight or loose. In the large type dog, some judges tend to disqualify a dog without a curled tail. As the judges' meeting, this was discussed as one of the most important agenda as to qualify or disqualify a large type dog that did not have a curled tail.

With the dog at a normal posture in which the tip of tails rests across the back line (the horizontal line running from the
back to the hips) is recognized as the curled tail- A tail that has a slight or no curl are disqualifying features (Reference:
Clause on the uncurled tail).

The different types of curled tails are: left curl and right curl (when observed from the rear of the dog), and taikomaki (double curl over the back line). These curled tails should be thick and moreover, impressive. A narrow scanty tail with a curl that is too tight, or an unsteady tail with a loose curl are not desirable.

The tip of the tail must almost reach the hock or may be slightly longer. Excessively longer or shorter tails are


"The coat is stiff and straight." The undercoat is soft and thick. The tail coat is somewhat longer and kairitsu (standing up). Coat colors are goma (sesame)/ red, black, brindle and white.

The outer coat is stiff and straight. Curly or wavy hair are not desirable. The undercoat has is soft and thick. Coat on the
head and legs are shorter and lay flat. Coat in the body region is of medium length. The tail coat is the longest, but stiffer, somewhat thick and standing up. Sashige (the scattered faded outer coat referred to as the third coat in Japanese dogs ) seen on the trunk, the short coat, the undercoat that is flattened more than normal, bara-o of the tail coat (long tail coat that flutters in the wind), and the ogami-o (the "praying" tail coat that fails to stand) are not desirable.

Coat colors are classified into the goma (sesame) , red, black, brindle and white. The goma could be subdivided into the goma (white and black) , white goma (white dog with black) , red goma (red dog with black), and black goma (black dog with red). Within the red coat are red, light red, and deep red (crimson). Few Japanese dogs have the black coat, and this usually refers to tarnished black. The undersides of the neck, chest, abdomen, legs and the tail are usually brown interspersed with white. Within the brindles, red brindles have predominant red, while black brindles have predominant black. Dark and lightcolors are labeled accordingly.


"Injuries and malnutrition." Injuries may affect the appearance as a Japanese dog. For example, lameness, dock; tail, drooping ears and other noticeable results from injuries are penalized. However, minor injuries, depending on their extent, may be only lightly penalized (Reference: Stipulations on injuries decided at the judges' meeting).

Malnutrition and poor care, illness and faults will be penalized as stated in the standard.

"Nose color not matching coat color." Although a red nose is allowed in white dogs, dogs with red nose that have coat colors will be penalized. Therefore, dogs with the goma (sesame), red, black, and brindle coats must have black noses. In white dogs, azuki bean red (red bean) is preferred over red. However, a darker color is preferred over the azuki bean.

"Pinto coat." The pinto coat mentioned here is the large pinto pattern on the trunk, and the very unsightly pinto, which are
faulted. However, pinto spots on the white face, neck, lower chest, lower abdomen, legs (including upper arms and upper thighs), buttocks and tail are not included as pinto coats (Reference: Clause on the pinto coat decided at the judges' meeting).


"Lacking the features of the Japanese dog." Lack of honshitsu (essential qualities), the hyogen (expression) ippan gaibo (general appearance) of the Japanese dog, and other features that do not conform to the Japanese dog standard, or that is detracting from the tokucho (distinguishing characteristics) of Japanese dogs are reasons for disqualification.

"Marked undershot or overshot jaws." As mentioned in the section on the muzzle and teeth, noticeably wrong shape of the muzzle, marked malocclusion are unsuitable from functional and hereditary standpoint and are reasons for disqualification (Reference: Clause on muzzle).

"Inherited short coat." The tail must almost reach the hocks. A short tail makes it impossible for the tail to curl and detracts from the characteristics of the large Japanese dog, and is a reason for disqualification.

"Uncurled tail." The large Japanese dog from the standpoint of its body type, movement and appearance requires a curled "tail. As mentioned before, a short tail with no curl is a disqualification (Reference: Stipulation on the tail).

In Conclusion

In relation to penalties and disqualifications stipulated in the Japanese dog standard, Nippo has the following six grades in judging: Yuryo (Best), Tokuryo (Superior), Ryo (Fine), Ka (Good) , Fuka (Poor) and Shikkaku (Disqualification). Dogs rated highly have the essential qualities, excellent body condition and conforms to the Japanese dog standard. Any features contrary to stipulations in the standard could be penalized, and in spite of the presence of other excellent features, an excellent rating overall may be withheld.

This presentation referred to the "large type dog" only from the Japanese dog standard, with comments on each section of the body in the standard.

(Author: Hajime Watanabe, permanent trustee)

nippostd.wat Translated 06/09/1999.Revised 08/22/2000 by Tatsuo Kimura

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