The Kai Ken!

The Kai Ken is a breed that came from the Asian country of Japan. The Kai Ken also go by the names “Kai tora-ken”, “Kai Inu”, “Tora Inu”, “Tora Dog” and the “Tiger Dog”. They are well known for its brindled coat, sturdy body and well developed muscles. In 1934, the Japanese government classified the Kai Ken as a “natural treasure” thus making this dog protected by the law. It was called the Tora Dog (Tiger Dog) primarily because of its brindle and coloring. This coat enabled the Kai Ken blend in with the mountainous surroundings from which it hailed, making them effective hunters.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
12 to 15 years

Energy Level:

Living Conditions:
Should have plenty of space.


Exercise Needs:
Daily walk and yard play.

Breed Group:


17-22 inches

30-50 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Black brindle, red brindle and brindle.

National breed club:
North American Kai Association

Kai Ken Skills

Back in ancient Japan, the Kai Kens were used to hunt boar and deer. Though some Kai Kens are still reared for this purpose, the dogs are now being bred to be family pets or companions. Some owners join their Kai Kens in competition as these dogs are good swimmers and (surprisingly) tree climbers.

Kai Ken Personality

Owners of Kai Kens describe their pet to be trustworthy and devoted guardians to their masters. They are reserved towards strangers and are loyal and affectionate towards its owners, especially with children. Kai Kens are alert and intelligent; they can be trained quite easily. The Kai Ken have are very devoted to their pack. This trait was one reason why the breed was able to maintain its purity.

Exercise Needs

Though this dog is very active, it requires very minimal exercise. A daily walk in the park and a weekly run should be enough to keep the Kai Ken happy and satisfied.

Living Conditions

Ideally, Kai Kens should have ample space to move around in. They can live in apartments with limited space but the owner must make time to walk the dog daily and allow him to stretch his legs by running in the park. If the dog is to be let loose, make sure that the Kai Ken is trained to respond to its owners voice, as they may playfully go on a chase or a “hunt”.

Grooming Requirements

What sets a Kai Ken apart from other spitz type dog is its unusual coat. The Kai Ken has a double-layered coat with the top coat being straight and harsh to the touch; and a dense yet soft undercoat. Kai Kens come in three colors: black brindle, red brindle and brindle. Another distinct characteristic of this breed is that puppies generally have a solid black colored-coat that gradually turns brindle as the canine ages. Because of their double-layered coat, grooming these dogs requires that one brush and clean not just the top coat, but also reach the undercoat.

Health Issues

The Kai Ken is not known to be prone to the usual congenital and hereditary problems other canines have. Though the breed appears to be a hardy lot, owners must still be diligent and watch out for signs of PRA, and Canine Hip Dysplasia.

If you liked this dog… may also like breeds similar to the Kai Ken such as the Akita and Shiba Inu.

Kai Ken


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