Is a Shikoku right for me?
It is a privilege to share your life with such a rare and amazing animal, the Shikoku Ken. The stewardship of this privilege comes with certain responsibilities to provide the best possible life for your Shikoku Ken. Responsible ownership starts with education about the breed, its unique temperament, original working function, and the special needs that it has.
What exactly does this entail? The information below provides a general scope on owning a Shikoku:
Photo credit: Instagram @akiratheshikoku
- Shikoku will need daily exercise and stimulation. Shikoku tend to have a very high drive. If not given a suitable outlet for their drive via activities like hunting, obedience/agility training, or other outdoor activities like hiking, Shikoku may develop severe behavior problems. In addition to daily exercise, you must provide a structured outlet for your Shikoku's prey instincts.
- Shikoku are tough, high drive dogs with strict rules for social interactions. A Shikoku ken must have as many positive social experience as possible when young. As a Shikoku matures, they may become less tolerant of rudeness or confidence in other dogs, and that puts an increased management burden on the owner to ensure continued positive social interactions. You must be ready to embrace these socialization challenges.
- Despite their tough exterior and "sharp" temperament, Shikoku are often "handler soft". Being a responsible Shikoku owner requires developing a bond with your dog through positive, non-confrontational training techniques. Dominance and aversive methods (e.g., prong collars, choke collars, or "alpha rolls") are sure-fire ways to ruin your relationship with your Shikoku. You must understand how sensitive Shikoku can be and agree to only use fair, constructive, and non-aversive training techniques.
- Shikoku are high drive working dogs that can be a difficult breed of dog to live with. They need space to stretch their legs and their minds. While a shelter is a highly stressful environment for any dog, a Shikoku would have an incredibly difficult time in a shelter environment. Many of the typical personality traits of a Shikoku would be a death sentence in a shelter. Never, under any circumstances, should you abandon or surrender your Shikoku to a shelter. Should your circumstances change and the need arise to re-home your Shikoku, only do so in consultation with the breeder that produced your puppy.
Photo credit: Instagram @shikgluon
Photo credit: Instagram @asami_and_seiko
- Shikoku are a rare breed of dog, breeding programs need very careful oversight and coordination among breeders. Never breed your Shikoku without the express consent of the breeder from whom you obtained your Shikoku. Should you choose to breed your Shikoku, you must strictly adhere to the Shikoku Ken Breeder Code of Ethics set forth by the North American Shikoku Ken Club, including coordinating breeding programs with other breeders and submitting all health checks and certifications to the NASC Registry and Tracking System.
- Shikoku are filled with endless energy and tend to play very roughly. As a result, they are sometimes injury prone. Further, as a rare breed with a limited gene pool, little is known about the genetic diseases that may occur in the Shikoku population. As an owner of a Shikoku Ken you are making a commitment to care for and provide all of the health care necessary to keep your Shikoku happy and healthy, knowing that your dog may be prone to injury or to genetic diseases currently unaware of.