Piebald/Pinto in Japanese Dogs

Piebald + Japanese Dogs often lead people to think of the American version of the Akita.

American Akita              Photo from Wikimedia Commons

However, the truth is, Japanese breeds can also have Piebald Markings.

As I was doing my monthly rounds of being super interested in Japanese dogs born in the 1900s, I decided for once to go onto the Shiba Inu Pedigree Database and have a gander. There I found an interesting dog amongst the Red and Whites, Black and Tans and Sesames.

A dog called “Korotama Go Hakkakusou” (Kanji: コロ玉号)

He is listed as your typical Black & Tan, but when you look at his picture, he’s actually a Black and Tan Piebald, in Shiba Inu this is known as “Pinto”. It is very much a possibility that a lot of the Pinto Shiba Inu we occasionally see crop up have Korotama Go in their Pedigree, because he did produce 2 known offspring, “Michime Go Inoguchi” and “Tamahime Go Yorokobisou” both of those dogs also produced offspring

Korotama Go Hakkakusou

This made my brain tick a bit and I remembered an old Discussion on the Nihon Ken forum about Pinto Shikoku that was started by a North American Kishu Ken breeder. A lot of the pictures she posted were from a Japanese Shikoku breeder’s Ameba Blog.

Pinto Shikoku Ken

Pinto Kishu Ken are also a thing, they, like Shikoku and Shiba are against the breed standard but a few Hunting Kennels in Japan still produce them and a few dogs alive today have Pinto dogs in their background

Pinto Kishu Ken
Pinto Kishu Ken and puppies from a Hunting Line Kishu Kennel

As far as I am aware, only Kai Ken and Hokkaido Ken haven’t, thus far, come up in the Pinto/Piebald Mismark. Although, if I do find any, I’ll add them to this post.


The 4 Shiba’s of Japan

I promise that, first off, I am 100% sure I don’t need my eyes tested. A lot of people both in Japan and outside of Japan don’t actually know there’s more than one “Shiba Inu”.

When people see the word Shiba Inu they think of a cute Chubby-cheeked orange ball of cuteness. Basically this:


Photo found on Wikimedia Commons

This is what I call the “Modern” Shiba. This is the most common of the 4 and the one almost everyone knows. This is the only Shiba breed found in the western world. They stand at 33-43cm tall and are well known for their characteristic screaming (and also the Doge meme), because this Shiba is so well known, I’ll be refraining in this post from mentioning it any further.

Jomon Shiba

The Jomon Shiba is what a lot of people call the “Original” Shiba and the “Wolf” Shiba. When compared to Taxidermied Japanese Wolves, they look the spitting image of them despite not being wolves nor Wolf hybrids nor are they really that old. Jomon Shiba are a “re creation” breed. They were purposely made to resemble the dogs in Japan from over 1000 years ago. They are taller, leaner and have a shallow stop unlike the “Modern” Shiba Inu. Jomon Shiba rarely have the words “Inu” and “Ken” put next to their name in English for some reason despite the Japanese breeders using “Jomon Shiba Inu”

Jomon Shiba, unlike “Modern” Shiba Inu, are used a lot in Hunting Boars.

There is, as of 2014, 1 Jomon Shiba in the USA.

A lot of Jomon Shiba are registered with SHIBAHO and JSRC rather than NIPPO.

Mino Shiba

Mino Shiba are a very eye catching breed. Their other name is the Minowa Shiba Inu. They have their own registry, although a few Mino Shiba have showed up at NIPPO Shows in a bid to educate about the breed. No Mino Shiba are currently found outside of Japan. The key characteristic of this breed is the lack of Urajiro and the deep red colouration.

Sanin Shiba

The Sanin Shiba is an odd breed. It has genetic ties to the Korean Peninsula’s dog breeds. The thing that makes this breed odd is the fur and also the face. It’s not typical of a Japanese breed. Not much is written about the breed.

Shinshu Shiba

Not much is written about this breed either and even finding photos of it is difficult. From the few photos I found, it seems to be another name for the Kawakami Ken, either way. This is the only photo I found of a dog being labelled as Shinshu Shiba.