Erina Shih

Written by Erina Shih

Modified & Updated: 06 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


The Japanese Terrier is a fascinating and enigmatic breed of dog that has captured the hearts of many dog lovers around the world. Originating in Japan, these small, agile, and intelligent dogs possess a unique set of characteristics that set them apart from other terrier breeds.

In this article, we will delve into the intriguing world of Japanese Terriers and uncover 12 fascinating facts about them. From their history and origins to their physical appearance, temperament, and special skills, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of this remarkable breed.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of discovery, let’s dive into the captivating world of Japanese Terriers and unlock the secrets behind their charm and allure.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Japanese Terrier is a unique and intelligent breed with a rich history, making them excellent companions for families and adaptable to various living environments.
  • With their playful nature and keen sense of hearing, Japanese Terriers make great watchdogs and thrive on positive reinforcement training methods for a happy and healthy life.
Table of Contents

The Japanese Terrier has a fascinating history.

The Japanese Terrier is a breed with a rich and intriguing background. Originally developed in Japan in the 17th century, it was primarily used for hunting small game and vermin control. Despite its name, the Japanese Terrier is not actually native to Japan but was brought to the country from England. This unique blend of Japanese and European influences makes the Japanese Terrier a truly enigmatic breed.

This breed is known for its distinctive appearance.

The Japanese Terrier is a small-sized dog, weighing around 6 to 9 pounds (2.7 to 4 kg) and standing about 10 to 13 inches (25 to 33 cm) tall at the shoulder. It has a sleek, smooth coat that comes in predominantly white with black or tan markings. Its expressive eyes and alert, erect ears contribute to its charming and captivating appearance.

Japanese Terriers are highly intelligent and trainable.

Despite their small size, Japanese Terriers are exceptionally smart and quick learners. They are highly trainable and excel in various dog sports, including agility, obedience, and rally. Their intelligence, combined with their eager-to-please nature, makes them a joy to train and work with.

This breed is known for its energetic and playful personality.

Japanese Terriers are full of energy and are always ready for playtime. They love engaging in activities that stimulate their body and mind, such as interactive toys and games. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are crucial to keep them happy and prevent boredom, as they are an active breed.

Japanese Terriers are excellent family pets.

Despite their hunting background, Japanese Terriers are known for their affectionate and loving nature towards their human family members. They form strong bonds with their owners and are generally good with children and other pets when properly socialized. Their small size also makes them suitable for apartment living.

This breed is relatively healthy.

Overall, Japanese Terriers are a robust and healthy breed. They have a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years. However, like all dogs, they may be prone to certain health issues such as patellar luxation (knee joint dislocation) and allergies. Regular veterinary check-ups and a nutritious diet are essential for maintaining their well-being.

Japanese Terriers have a moderate grooming requirement.

The Japanese Terrier’s short coat is easy to maintain. Regular brushing to remove loose hair and bathe them as needed is sufficient to keep them looking clean and tidy. Additionally, routine dental care, nail trimming, and ear cleaning are important aspects of their grooming routine.

They possess a keen sense of hearing and are quick to alert their owners.

Japanese Terriers have excellent hearing and are naturally attentive. They make great watchdogs as they are quick to bark and alert their owners to any potential threats or intruders. This quality, combined with their territorial instincts, makes them an effective guardian of their home.

Japanese Terriers are adaptable to various environments.

These versatile dogs can adapt well to different living situations, be it an urban apartment or a rural home. They are relatively adaptable to different climates, although extreme weather conditions should be avoided. As long as they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation, they can thrive in various environments.

They have a strong prey drive.

Due to their hunting heritage, Japanese Terriers have a natural instinct to chase small animals. It is important to keep them on a leash or within a securely fenced area to prevent them from running after squirrels, rabbits, or other small creatures.

Japanese Terriers are an uncommon breed.

The Japanese Terrier remains a relatively rare breed, both in Japan and internationally. However, their unique qualities and adorable appearance have started to gain attention among dog enthusiasts. As awareness about this charming breed grows, more people are becoming interested in welcoming them into their homes.

They thrive on positive reinforcement and praise.

Japanese Terriers respond exceptionally well to positive reinforcement training methods. They thrive on praise, treats, and rewards, making training sessions enjoyable for both the dog and the owner. Harsh training methods or punishment should be avoided, as they can be sensitive and may become fearful or withdrawn.


In conclusion, Japanese Terriers are truly enigmatic creatures with a rich history and unique characteristics. From their origins as skilled hunters to their loyal and affectionate nature, they make wonderful companions for those looking for a small yet spirited dog breed. Their intelligence and agility make them great candidates for obedience training and various canine sports. However, it is important to note that they require proper socialization and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and potential behavioral issues. Japanese Terriers are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, making them a suitable choice for busy individuals or families. If you’re considering adding a Japanese Terrier to your household, be prepared for a delightful and fascinating journey with this captivating breed.


1. Are Japanese Terriers good with children?
Japanese Terriers generally get along well with children if they are properly socialized and introduced to them at an early age. However, supervision is always recommended to ensure the safety of both the dog and the child.

2. How often do Japanese Terriers need to be groomed?
Japanese Terriers have a short, double coat that requires minimal grooming. Regular brushing to remove loose hair and occasional bathing should be sufficient to keep them looking their best.

3. Do Japanese Terriers have any specific health concerns?
Like any other dog breed, Japanese Terriers may be prone to certain health issues. These can include patellar luxation, allergies, and dental problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet can help mitigate these risks.

4. Are Japanese Terriers suitable for apartment living?
Yes, Japanese Terriers can adapt well to apartment living as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys can help keep them happy and content in smaller living spaces.

5. Can Japanese Terriers be trained easily?
Japanese Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them highly trainable. Basic obedience training and positive reinforcement techniques work well with this breed.

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