How do strangers see your Nihon Kens?

edited March 2015 in General
My Akita mix is rather polarizing. Strangers often stop me on the street and ask if he is an Akita. Either they hate him immediately and tell me off for walking him in a neighborhood or they gush and tell me how beautiful he is. Even after I explain he is a mix no one ever changes their tune, he's wonderful, or they hate him.

Do Akitas specifically and Nihon Ken in general, always get such extreme reactions, or is it just the people in my area?


  • Dog parks: "How did you get a fox?!" "Is that a dog?" "She's so wolfy!" combined with a lot of attention lol.

    Streets/Walks: Usually comments of "Aww she's so cute/dainty!" and little kids will always want to pet her. Ren's not all that comfortable with strangers, much less hyper kids. So that doesn't always go that well, but if they're polite and actually listen then I'll hold Ren while they can gently pet her neck.

    Actually, I haven't had any negative responses outside of one lady with an aggressive anklebiter asking me to pick up Ren so that her dog doesn't get in a fight with her... while her dog was offleash... lol
  • edited March 2015
    People are curious about her, and it usually results in me trying to get them how to say 'shikoku' correctly... not 'shikuukuu'. And then I give up. That, and emphasizing it's not a shiba mix.

    I sense a little hesitation once in a while, especially after comments such as "she looks like a coyote"... but overall it's been ok. Mostly just generous compliments. There's no real baggage with the shikoku breed, though, so I don't expect any negative attitudes going her way. Mostly just lots of questions and "awwwwe she's like a long legged fox!".

    Once in a while I feel obligated to tell people she's talky when she plays. Some people aren't used to that and it freaks them out.

    I've seen people with stigma against American Akitas, but not so much the Japanese Akita. Weird!
  • I try not to let children pet Tin just because he is so large and tends to excite easily (we're working on that) but if they insist and seem ok around big dogs I let them ruffle him up a bit. Tin loves kids. For me the kids have never really been the problem it's the parents. I'm praying the Akita doesn't go the way of the pit bull. I'm hoping seeing Tin on a regular basis might change their minds about the purebreeds.
  • edited March 2015
    With my 3 it's usually the following from kids; "That one looks like a fox! That one looks like a, it looks like a coyote!". *Shrug* I usually cross the street when people are incoming because 3 dogs on leash is enough to make anyone wary and I don't usually abide by making sure my dogs are on a strict "heel" so they can enjoy the sights and sounds of the outside.

    Also, any adults who engage me fall under 1 of 2 conversations

    Conversation 1:
    Them: "Are they Shibu Emus?"
    Me: "Shiba Inu? Well, that one is. These two are cousins of a Shiba."
    Them: "Oh, well they're beautiful!"
    Me: "Thank you."

    Conversation 2:
    Them: "Oh they're beautiful, what are they?"
    Me: "Thank you. These are Japanese hunting dogs/huskies."
    Option 1:
    Them: "Well they're just beautiful."

    Option 2:
    Them: "Oh, what are they called?"
    Me: "They're called Shikoku."
    Them: "they're what?"
    Me: "Shikoku. Like the Japanese island of Shikoku?
    Them: "...."
    Me: "Just do a google search for 'Japanese husky'"

  • edited March 2015
    - wolf
    - husky
    - elkhound
    - coyote
    - German Shepherd
    - or any of their mixes

    People try to pet TK without asking ALL the time. I have to constantly be on guard because he WILL bite them.

    With the Kishu...
    - wolf
    - husky
    - coyote
    - German Shepherd
    - "what breed is that?"

    People tend to not stop me about the Kishu as much. I think they assume they are mixed breeds because they aren't as obviously refined as the Shikoku.

    We get Akita and Shiba Inu for both breeds, too.
  • I get a mix result for Ty (kai ken).
    Although, I love it when people are very determined and say that he 'is a mix'. Even after going through the spiel of Japanese etc.

    So common ones are - Shepard, Akita
    and then my favorite - "Is that a Hyena!?" "He isn't? He sure looks like one" "Oh, well that's cool"

    Although, I do get the occasional "He is GORGEOUS"
    I even have a neighbor who will stare at him (and my shiba) when they are on the balcony, because she cannot get over who amazing they look. Yea, she's creepy.

  • My Kais are simply "Black Shibas" usually accompanied by the "I didn't realize Shibas came in black!" comment. :)
  • edited March 2015
    These comments are hilarious. A few weeks ago I'd wanted to make a thread asking "how do you deal with explaining what breed your dog is?" but thought it'd be weird. Apparently not rofl

    If I'm getting the sense that explaining what she is would be difficult, I resort to saying she's a "Japanese Wolfdog' and leave it at that. That way they can at least google it if they want, and shikoku will come up on wikipedia xD
  • Yeah I've used the term 'Japanese wolf dog' more than once. When I respond with 'shikoku' that usually gets a 'huh?! What's that?'.

    'A bigger breed than a Shiba but smaller than an Akita' just seems kind of clumsy. Everyone thinks he is an awesome looking dog though. I've only been asked if he was a coyote once.

    We have an ID card for Rollo for when we travel but the vet tech put on the card that he was a Shiba inu. We actually argued with her and had her do a google search for her to actually believe that a shikoku is an actual breed!
  • Always get the comment " your huskies are so beautiful"
  • edited March 2015
    Always get the comment " your huskies are so beautiful"

    to which I think it's not worth it to correct and just kindly reply..."Thank you!"
  • Kouda (Shiba) gets called a fox and husky all the time. Followed up with "how big will she get?" - always female, lol.

    But on our Sunday evening walk we passed a gentleman who paused and exclaimed like a statement, not a question, "Oh, a fox terrier!" He seemed very proud of himself, but we had to tell him the truth. ;)
  • edited March 2015
    Fox Terrier?? That's not even close!

  • There are quite a few Shiba Inu in the SF bay area, so a lot of people ask if Kuma is a Shiba, which he is. Then they ask if Kiyomi is as well, and I usually tell them she's a Shikoku. The usual reaction is "oh, okay" and that's where it ends. Only one person asked how to spell Shikoku so that he could google it...

    With, Kuma and Kiyomi on leash most people tend to steer clear. I think Kiyomi looks a bit intimidating to most folks.
  • I personally dislike including "wolfdog" or "husky" in my breed explanations because I don't think they are accurate to the temperament of the Shikoku I have met. They act more like a terrier and a herding dog love baby, to me, so I usually just tell people the breed name if they seem genuinely interested or say "Japanese boar-hunting dog", lol.
  • I don't even say "boar" because I appear to lose all credibility when i do and conversation stops. Nobody believes these little dogs hunt boar (they only seem able to envision catch dogs), so I say "one of the hunting spitz-types" or "Japanese hunting dog."

    THEN we get down to "looks like a fox" or "pretty sure that's a coy dog."
    but only if it's Juno.

    Matsu is easily accepted as a "dog" and most people ID him as a young akita or akita mix. Nobody ever says he looks like a fox or a coyote.
  • I never used to add "boar" in there, @wrylybrindle, but I remember when I was talking to Jessica about the Shikoku - when I went to meet her dogs - was when I started including the "boar" part. She brought up some points that made sense to me: when you say hunting dogs, people think retrievers and spaniels. When you tell them what they hunt, it paints a much different picture of the dogs because they ARE so small.
  • edited March 2015
    Usually when I'm out in public, the hubby and I will have all of the dogs (1 light grey male husky, 1 mostly white male husky, 1 b/t male shiba, 1 b/t female shikoku). Most often people seem to think that the NK are the puppies of the huskies, and are really surprised when they find out that the shiba is the oldest of the bunch. When people ask about my Shikoku's breed, the conversation went as follows:

    person: What breed is that
    me: Shikoku
    person: Shibu-what?
    me: It's a Japanese hunting dog, related to the Akita.
    person: Oh, it's an Akita. How Kawaii!! (*yes, after that they sometimes pretend to be Japanese*)

    If I feel that the person make get dollars signs in their eyes, I just go straight to saying she's a Japanese hunting dog or miniature AKita, and often they just assume she's a pretty mutt.
  • edited March 2015
    It's just easier for the asker if I reply with 'Japanese Wolfdog' and like I say, they can research it closer if they want to because it's a hell of a lot easier for english speakers to remember than the alternatives. Haha. Though if they tarry a while, I'll go in to the proper breed name and expound on their histories a bit. It's just a mouthful to go in to if you do it for every person!

    Then again I'm the sort who gets irked at the mispronunciation of 'sake'. So 'shikuukuu' about does me in ... and correcting people more than once just makes me feel rude xD
  • These are hilarious. Our shiba always gets confused and interested comments because I guess Black and Tan shibas are not as well recognized in our area. Happily, mika loves kids and attention from them, so she's happy to oblige as the smallest of our dogs when kids want to pet her. My moms red stocky shiba definitely gets the "You have a pet fox?!" reaction a lot. But the best was when we had our rhodesian ridgeback out at the dog beach and a guy remarked to his lady friend, "that's one of those lion killing dogs, the Ethiopian Pinback."
  • Then again I'm the sort who gets irked at the mispronunciation of 'sake'. So 'shikuukuu' about does me in ... and correcting people more than once just makes me feel rude xD
    If one more person asks me if Nyx is a "shibu" and/or repeats "shikoku" as "shikoko," I'm going to swat them on the nose. Is this wrong? Are we bad ambassadors of the breed/NKs? It drives me up the wall. The worst is when people whisper "shibu" in passing and don't give me a chance to correct their egregious mistake.

    You want Shibu? I'll give you Shibu (thanks, Google):

    People always ask if she's a fox, wolf, or coyote. I've learned the word for "wolf" in Spanish because of her. The most common assumption is that she's a husky mix and although we don't get it nearly as much as when she was a puppy, basenji was commonly thrown in there. Also,most folks assume she is going to be super friendly, maybe because she's got such a cute face, but she mostly ignores them. Some people are pretty relentless with trying to get her attention so we have to body block and run away.
  • Idk, nothing really bugs me at all... I tell them what my girls are and if they respond in some way that shows they disregarded what I say or pronounce it wrong I just shrug, and hope maybe they learned something from me :)

    If not, I tried! :P

    I think you'll just learn not to care at some point.. ex: at a brewery a little while back, a man in crutches quickly approached my older kai girl.. she got a little scared, and took some time to warm up to him and be comfortable. His friend said "you know, you just gotta take your dog out more and expose them to things, otherwise they'll be fearful of anything like that"... anyone who knows how kona grew up would laugh (she literally has always gone everywhere with me...class, parks, schools, breweries, walks everywhere, hikes, etc...) Old me would've gone on the defensive explaining everything. With this guy I just said "you know, you're probably right" .. smiled, and ignored him the rest of the night :)

    Care about those who care and seem interested, shrug everything else off. not worth it bugging you :P
  • Nero has been called the typical 'wolf' 'fox' 'shiba' etc.

    I just tell people he is a cat.
  • Most people I meet think Kiyoshi (Shikoku) is a coyote, german shepherd, akita, wolf, shiba inu, or husky mix. Everyone thinks he's gorgeous except a lot of people get scared when he looks them directly in the eyes and But I like when there's people that want to know about the breed and will keep asking me questions and try to figure them out. Say they want to do research them/google it.

    The biggest problem is that most people can't spell Shikoku, let alone pronounce it, so I made business cards for Kiyoshi with his breed info and fb page link on it :) They're adorable hahaha. That way there's no excuse to NOT remember how to spell SHIKOKU and they can take it home and look it up :) Maybe even decide to get one someday, who knows!
  • @Dragonfly The shikoku card is actually a really neat idea, rofl! The spelling thing is why I sometimes tell them to google japanese wolfdog. It works ;P

    Also @Oakland thank you for totally understanding my pain, haha. Shibu emu and shikookoo are the ones I hear the most. Though this whole 'card' thing would totes solve that problem...
  • You mean how people see our foxes and little wolves? :P
    I usually just say "Japanese hunting dog" and more often than not that's all they care to know. The rest of the time I just said "Kai" and "Hokkaido Inu, from the Hokkaido area of Japan"... since the Ken part just creates more problems than answers lol.

    @Kaja Shinkookoo LOL first time I've heard that one.
  • @Dragonfly business cards... that's genius!

    Katsu gets the usual fox, wolf, coyote, akita, shiba inu, weasel face comments. Quite a few people think he's a basenji too--must be the curly tail.

    Most people also respond with "shikoko" so I often also say Japanese wolf dog or Japanese hunting dog. There are a handful of Japanese people we've met that get really surprised when they hear he's a Shikoku haha. They usually think a little, ask again, then have a shocked look.
  • edited April 2015
    Yeah! My friend's mom is Japanese and was really surprised when she found out I had a shikoku. Like. REALLY surprised. Though she said something about fighting dogs, so I don't know if she was expecting a shikoku ken or a tosa... since they are also from the Shikoku area.
  • A little boy learning to ride his bike on my street always greets Yuki with "Hi Wolf!"
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