Japanese Terrier

Other names: Nippon, Nihon, Mikado, Oyuki

Japanese Terrier

The Japanese Terrier is an animated, smart and happy dog. It can be a little reserved but enjoys playing games and chasing squirrels. This is a gentle dog that loves cuddle time and sitting on your lap while you watch television or work on your computer. The Japanese Terrier will form a close bond with its family, and will quickly become jealous if its owner pays too much attention to other pets or even people. Expect your Japanese Terrier to bark loudly when it feels jealous and wants your attention. Generally, this breed will do well with other dogs as long as everyone is given the same amount of attention.

Key facts about the Japanese Terrier

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

You’ve probably already figured it out by now, but the Japanese Terrier originates from Japan. It’s believed that the breed descended from Smooth Fox Terriers in the 17th century, which supposedly travelled to Japan with Dutch sailors. The breed was initially commonly used to hunt vermin, but quickly gained popularity as a companion dog due to its warm, friendly and loyal nature. Fast forward to 1930, and the breed was finally recognized by the Japanese Kennel Club.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 3 - Terriers


Section 2 : Small sized Terriers

Physical characteristics of the Japanese Terrier

Adult size

Female : Between 12 and 13 in

Male : Between 12 and 13 in


Female : Between 9 and 11 lb

Male : Between 9 and 11 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



The Japanese Terrier is a small-sized dog which is significantly smaller than some other Terrier breeds. The dog has a square and sturdy appearance, despite being tiny. It has a quirky and sweet look, with large, fold-over ears, dark and alert eyes and a petite black nose. The Japanese Terrier is distinguishable by the black hair which falls all over the head and face which, in most cases, suddenly gives way to a snow-white body.

Good to know

The Japanese Terrier is an extremely rare dog breed, even in its native Japan. It will be quite a challenge to find one!


  • 100%


    The Japanese Terrier is an incredibly family-orientated dog and loves nothing more than spending time with its family. However, this breed does seem to get particularly close to one person in particular.

  • 100%


    This jolly little pup loves nothing more than clowning around, playing with its toys or getting involved in sports or games.

  • 66%


    Although the breed is lively and playful, it can be calm and docile within the home if its exercise needs are met. As this pup is sensitive in nature, it is actually best suited to a quiet, calm home.

  • 100%


    This breed is fairly intelligent and learns quickly. However, this intelligence means the breed is extremely sensitive to stress and conflict within the home.

  • 100%


    Like most Terriers, the Japanese Terrier instinctually chases prey and will need to be kept on a lead when out and about around wildlife or small animals.

  • 66%

    Fearful / wary of strangers

    Due to the Japanese Terrier’s protective and territorial nature, it is slightly wary of strangers. However, it’s rarely aggressive, preferring to simply keep its distance and remain aloof.

  • 33%


    The Japanese Terrier seems to be far less independent than other Terrier breeds, but will still need thorough training to become a well-rounded, obedient dog.

    Behaviour of the Japanese Terrier

    • 33%

      Tolerates solitude

      This breed loves company and can actually be fairly needy towards the one person it takes a liking to. It is therefore not suited to those who want to leave their dog for long periods of time.

    • 100%

      Easy to train / obedience

      Thankfully, the Japanese Terrier is very easy to train due to its great intelligence and calm nature. However, because the breed is highly sensitive, it’s important to remember to keep training sessions positive and avoid harsh criticisms -  this dog will never forget!

    • 33%


      The Japanese Terrier is a discreet dog who barks far less than the average terrier.

    • 33%