The Kai Ken: A Complete Guide

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The Kai Ken comes from Japan where it is somewhat revered as a dog.

Even though Japan is its native country, this is still a relatively rare breed of dog which is also protected thanks to various regulations and laws being put into place.

It is seen as being a medium-sized dog, and it is also a natural hunter.

Of course, with it being such a rare dog, it will mean that most people know either very little about it or have never heard of it at all.

That is where our complete guide is going to come into play.

Throughout this guide, we will cover the different aspects that make up the needs of this breed as well as to provide you with a better understanding of what you are getting into.

Kai Ken Puppies – Before You Buy…

The Kai Ken being held
The Kai Ken deserves to be more popular than it really is.

Before we go ahead and start to provide you with information about the breed, there are just some important factors that we must work through at this stage.

The best place to start is with you.

This is where you have to be honest with yourself before you go ahead and purchase your Kai Ken puppy to reduce the chances of you feeling that you have made the incorrect decision.

Remember that this is a medium-sized dog, and it does have a significant amount of power, so think along these lines as you work through our guide.

Have you ever owned a dog of this size before?

  • Are you confident enough in your ability to train and control a dog of this size?
  • Do you know all about their various needs and requirements?
  • Can you ultimately provide them with everything that they need?
  • Can you afford to pay for a vet should something go wrong?

This part is all about getting you to look into your self, but the questions that we want you to answer can be applied to any breed of dog that you wish.

What Price are Kai Ken Puppies?

Let’s start things off by looking at the price of Kai Ken puppies.

Different things can directly influence the end price that you pay, but you need to be aware that the better the pedigree, then the higher the price that this will cost you.

Also, as this is a rare dog, then it does mean that the price will be more than with the majority of breeds due to that rarity factor.

In the United States, the average price is going to be anywhere between $1500 to $2000.

In the United Kingdom, then expect to pay a minimum of £1000, but the price can climb to close to £2000 with some breeders as they are so difficult to find and can charge a premium price.

How to Find Reputable Kai Ken Breeders?

One of the problems with Kai Ken breeders is that there are not that many around, but then some could argue that this makes it easier to find those that have a good reputation.

The Kennel Club should always be your first port of call when it comes to this breed, and they should have at least some options that will be available to you.

Their register of breeders that meet their high standards will always make life so much easier, so use that resource.

Another option is to find other owners and do so via any groups that are dedicated to the breed.

This can also allow you to find breeders that can be trusted as the people within those groups are going to always have the future of the breed at the heart of what they do.

3 Little-Known Facts About Kai Ken Puppies

As you have probably never heard of this breed, finding little-known facts about them is going to prove to be rather easy.

That being said, we have stuck to only three facts to keep things nice and simple.

  • There are two types

There are two recognized types of Kai Ken dogs. The first is shishi-inu-gata with a stockier build and the other is shika-inu-gata which is more fox-like and slender.

  • They come from the Kai region

It is believed that they are descended from ancient dogs that only lived in the Kai region of Japan.

This was a remote place and that is why they are viewed as being the purest of all Japanese breeds of dog.

  • They can climb trees

Something rather surprising is that this breed of dog can climb trees. They did this when out hunting and not that many dogs are going to ultimately climb as well as this breed.

Physical Traits of the Kai Ken

An adult Kai Ken walking on the grass
The Kai Ken has a wonderful temperament.

When it comes to the physical traits, then what we see is that the Kai Ken is regarded as being a medium-sized dog.

However, the one thing that makes them stand out from the rest has to be their fur which often takes on something similar to faint tiger stripes.

They have a strong stance and muscular legs with a larger head and a medium-length muzzle.

Their triangular ears sit high on their heads while their soft tail gently curves around and is more feathery.

Also, it will curve up almost resting on their body, and it is a sign that the Japanese Spitz is part of their heritage.

They have a double coat that can be up to medium length but is often relatively close to their bodies.

They are quite clean dogs, so grooming is only once a week just to remove the dead hair, and their colors are often muted in nature or even just black.

How Big is a Full-Grown Kai Ken?

A typical full-grown Kai Ken is going to be anywhere in the region of 17 to 22 inches in height to the withers with the male being more towards the 22 inches and the female being slightly smaller.

For their weight, then this is a well-built dog which is why their weight is anywhere between 30 to 50lbs and, once again, the male will tend to be closer to the upper end of the weight range.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Kai Ken?

The life expectancy of the Kai Ken is quite good for dogs as it is around 14 to 16 years of age.

Of course, there are so many deciding factors that can have a direct impact on this, but we are going to continue to cover the main parts throughout the rest of this guide.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Kai Ken

The Kai Ken is certainly an intelligent dog, and while it is relatively easy to train because of this, it can also mean that it has a stubborn side and will only listen when it wants to.

They will be fun to train as they do enjoy learning new tricks, but be prepared for it to take some time if they are in that stubborn mood.

Also, they just want to please their owners, and they are not that good at being left alone, so keep that in mind.

They are just very loving towards their family, and they are wonderful with children, but they can get quite lively when it comes to playing, so perhaps be careful around smaller children as there could be a problem.

They will be attentive and are slightly wary of strangers, so they can be a good guard dog and their naturally inquisitive nature is also going to prove to be rather useful.

Overall, even if you feel that they look quite aggressive, the truth of the matter is that they are not. Instead, their softness is to be admired, but they will protect their family if the need arises.

The Kai Ken’s Diet

The Kai Ken is a purebreed
The Kai Ken is a dog with a soft and kind heart.

As with any dog, giving them the correct diet is going to prove to be rather important.

If you bought your dog as a puppy, and from a breeder with a good reputation, then you should be provided with a plan that details what to feed them and when.

Stick to this plan for the sake of your dog.

You should also make sure that you provide them with the best quality food that you can afford.

Cheaper food may look impressive, but they fill it with the likes of cereals and grains which do nothing for your dog.

Instead, look at the dry food that is high in nutrients as that should serve them better than anything else that you may have previously considered.

They only require a maximum of two cups of food per day, and if you want to include some of your food into their diet, then you can do so.

However, it should not make up more than 20% of their diet and the meat should be lean. Fish can be good for them, and some vegetables but not too much.

They are also quite an active dog, so make sure that their food reflects this.

Remember that their nutritional requirements also change as they age, so continue to change their food to accommodate this.

If you require some help, then your vet will be the best person to ask.

How Much Exercise Does a Kai Ken Need?

A Kai Ken does have a reasonable energy level, so their exercise requirements are going to prove to be pretty average for dogs.

You need to make sure that you take them on a good walk at least once a day, and this should amount to around 60 minutes. However, providing them with more is not going to do them any harm.

You will also discover that they get on better when there is a yard to run around in and explore whenever they want.

They can become bored, and will love playing with you as part of their exercise.

They are good at both agility and obedience training, so try to incorporate that into what they are doing daily and they will love you for it.

Kai Ken Health and Conditions

The Kai Ken can be prone to several different health conditions that you should be aware of.

The breeder that you go to should also be in a position to provide you with information on the health of the parents and whether or not they have been scanned for various potential conditions.

The key conditions that you need to be aware of are as follows.

  • Luxating Patella
  • Allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip Dysplasia

As you can see, the list is not that extensive, and it is believed that it is because of it being one of the purest breeds around.

Of course, they can still pick up various infections, but those listed above are going to be the most common health conditions to be concerned about.

Supplements and Vitamins

The right supplements give at the right time in the right amount can do wonders for the health of your dog.

The Kai Ken is a fairly active dog and hence its diet is always relative to the amount of energy it’s expanding.

Although in most cases routine good quality food is enough to keep your pup well-fed and healthy, supplements can often bring their own benefit and further boost the immune system of your dog.

Supplements and vitamins, however, should never be taken lightly as they are often strong and an adverse effect can prove to be discomforting for your dog.

In the case of Kai Ken special scrutiny is required when selecting a supplement as the breed has a history of allergies.

Hypoallergenic supplements need to be sought out and if they are grain-free as well then that’s always an added benefit.

Make sure to carefully read the product labels to see what ingredients are used in the products that you’re about to feed your dog.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are great providers of energy and fatty acids that help in the development of muscles of the Kai Ken.

Make sure to have an in-depth discussion with your vet or breeder on what the best supplements for your dog can be.

Perhaps the breeder can suggest the same supplement used by the Kai Ken’s parents and that is always the safest option.

Supplements are often used as an added benefit on top of a normal diet but there can be times when your Kai Ken requires special supplements to make up for lack of growth or illness.

All in all, never be hasty when deciding on what supplement to give your pup.

Remember, it’s always best to not give a supplement at all rather than giving the wrong one!

Grooming Advice

This good looking breed of dog is surprisingly low maintenance.

Although the Kai Ken has a thick and luscious coat of fur, and it’s a double coat so it has extra layers to consider, this is an extremely low maintenance breed.

Bath times are often few and far between for this breed, much to the envy of other dogs, because of how well the Kai Ken takes care of themselves.

With so many of these dogs not enjoying the bathing process, this is a bit of a lucky break for dog and owner alike.

Grooming, however, needs nothing more than perhaps 15 minutes of gentle brushing per week.

The fur of this dog lays well naturally and brushing just gets any dust and dirt out of the coat to help your dog feel fresh.

It’s also a good way of getting closer to your pet, as well as checking on their teeth, claws, and nails, ears and eyes.

As required, you can clean these parts of your dog too sometimes, but also use this as ways to measure if your pet is in good health.

Much to many a dog lover’s relief, the Kai Ken sheds very minimally and only does so twice a year as its seasonal coat changes to match the temperature.

Sometimes, a little extra trimming, combing, and brushing can help this dog to have his or her double coat transition between seasons neatly.

Of course, if you’re feeling like pampering your pet, you can send your Kai Ken to a dog salon, but those specialist brushes and extra professional attention aren’t super necessary to keep your dog in clean and pristine shape.

If anything, it’s a bit of a treat for your pet rather than a necessary part of their hygiene and grooming regimen.

My Final Thoughts on the Kai KenA Kai Ken looking alert and active

The one thing that is a real shame about the Kai Ken is that it is not that well known.

Being a rare dog in a country where you are held in such high regard is also not the best for the future of the breed.

When you then realize that this is a dog that has a wonderful temperament and loving towards its owners, you then wonder why it is not more popular.

Also, people just get the wrong idea when they look at their physical appearance because this is a dog with a soft and kind heart.

They are full of so much joy and happiness that it will be contagious for you and the rest of your family.

They are very intelligent, love to learn new things, and they will also just enjoy snuggling up to you and sleeping as they adore that sense of closeness to their family.

Overall, the Kai Ken deserves to be more popular and widespread than it is at this point because of it having so many positives attributed to it.

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