Japanese Terrier Dog Breed

The Japanese Terrier may be a small dog, but has a bold character with a lively temperament.
By: PawCulture Editors
Japanese Terrier Dog

About the Japanese Terrier Dog Breed

Also known as the Nippon, Nihon, Mikado or Oyuki Terrier, the Japanese Terrier was developed to be a small companion animal. Though admired for its lively and cheerful character, it is considered a very rare breed, especially outside of its native Japan.

Japanese Terrier Physical Characteristics

The Japanese Terrier is a small dog, with a standing height of about 8 to 13 inches.


The hair on the Japanese Terrier’s head is black, darker in color than the rest of the body, which is typically colored white with black or tan spots.


Short, smooth, dense and glossy. 

Japanese Terrier Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



The Japanese Terrier may be a small dog but sure has bold character with a lively temperament. It makes a very loving companion.

Things to Consider

Because of its sensitive nature, the Japanese Terrier may be protective of its people. 

Japanese Terrier Care

Ideal Living Conditions

Because it is small, the Japanese Terrier can fare well in either the city or the country but will require daily exercise on a leash or in an enclosed space.

Special Requirements

A loyal companion, the Japanese Terrier is happy in a calm household due to its sensitive nature.

Japanese Terrier Health

The Japanese Terrier has no record of health issues.

Japanese Terrier History and Background

Many experts believe the Japanese Terrier stock was developed by mixing native type dogs with several other terriers brought over by European traders in the 18th century, including the Smooth Fox Terrier. However, it was not until 1916 in the Nada district near Kobe that the founding father of the modern breed, a male terrier named Kuro, was born. He was the result of crosses between the ancestral terriers, an English Toy Terrier and a Toy Bull Terrier.

From Kuro’s offspring a more stable bloodline was established, and in the 1930s Japanese enthusiasts in the Osaka region began a breeding program.

The United Kennel Club formally recognized the Japanese Terrier in 2006, though it is mostly unknown outside of its native country. Today the Japanese Terrier is kept mainly as a lapdog.

Photo Source: Paweł Gąsiorski