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10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Japan in 2024 (With Pictures)

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Dogster Team

chihuahua sitting on wool rug

10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Japan in 2024 (With Pictures)

Regardless of what country you’re from, owning pets is definitely something that most of us gain many benefits from. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted pet ownership numbers quite drastically, due to more people staying at home and looking for a companion. Japan is no exception.

While Japan is well-known for having its own breeds, have you ever wondered what breeds Japanese dog owners love best? Here are the latest statistics on the 10 most popular breeds of dogs in Japan.

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The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Japan

1. Small Mixed Breed

Mauxie mixed dog breed
Image By: David Clarine, Shutterstock
Weight Varies
Height Varies
Temperament Varies
Lifespan Varies

The most popular dog breed in Japan is a mixed breed dog! They have been among the top favorite dogs in Japan for years, but this is possibly the first time that they have surpassed the purebreds.

Mixed breeds can be almost any mix of dog breeds, so they range quite widely in size, temperament, and appearance. However, the small mixed breed (up to 35 pounds) seems to be the go-to, as they account for 22.2% of dogs owned in Japan.

2. Toy Poodle

brown toy poodle at home
Image By: NDAB Creativity, Shutterstock
Weight 4–6 pounds
Height Up to 10 inches
Temperament Intelligent, friendly, devoted
Lifespan 10–18+ years

The Toy Poodle has long held the number-one spot in Japanese homes and hearts but is now found in the number-two spot. The Toy Poodle was specifically bred to have all the amazing attributes of the Standard Poodle but in pint-sized form to act as a companion dog.

They are energetic dogs that need a fair amount of exercise but can do well in apartments due to their size. They are smart and easy to train. About 20.3% of Japanese homes have a Toy Poodle.

3. Chihuahua

Chihuahua_Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay
Image by: Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay
Weight 3–6 pounds
Height 6–9 inches
Temperament Devoted, playful, feisty
Lifespan 10–18 years

Chihuahuas are small in size but huge in personality! They form strong bonds with their family, making them relatively easy to train. They are known as “purse dogs” because they can fit in an average-sized purse.

They make great apartment dogs but might be a little noisy (small dog syndrome equals plenty of barking). Since they are so tiny, they fit in well with people living in cities, which is why they are in third place, with 11.9% of dogs owned in Japan being Chihuahuas.

4. Shiba Inu

Image by: Thorsten Schulze, Pixabay
Weight 15–25 pounds
Height 13–16 inches
Temperament Devoted, playful, good-natured
Lifespan 13–16 years

The Shiba Inu is probably the most well-known Japanese breed, possibly due to the Doge meme. They are small to medium-sized independent and active dogs. They can be left alone for periods of time, but you shouldn’t overdo it.

They must get plenty of activity to not only help burn off the tons of energy that they have but also to keep them from getting bored. Bored dogs tend to engage in more destructive behaviors. They are in the fourth spot as the most popular dogs in Japan, at 8.8% owned.

5. Pomeranian

Image by: Nick Stafford, Pixabay
Weight 4–7 pounds
Height 6–7 inches
Temperament Friendly, bold, lively
Lifespan 12–16 years

The Pomeranian is a feisty, independent little dog that is fluffy with an adorable foxy face. They are smart and easily trained and enjoy frolicking and clowning for our entertainment.

Their small size makes them great dogs for city dwellers, and 5.3% of dogs owned in Japan are Poms.

6. Miniature Dachshund

miniature dachshund
Image by: JeebyJeeby, Pixabay
Weight 8–11 pounds
Height 5–7 inches
Temperament Friendly, outgoing, curious
Lifespan 12–16 years

The Miniature Dachshund is a rambunctious, sweet, easygoing dog full of energy. They are also quite intelligent and love to spend time with their humans. They come in two sizes, including Standard, which isn’t a large dog, but the Miniature Dachshund is even smaller.

They are perfect dogs for apartments or one-level homes because of their long spines—stairs and Dachshunds don’t mix. They are the sixth most popular dog in Japan, coming in at 4.8% of Miniature Dachshunds owned.

7. French Bulldog

Sitting French Bulldog dog wearing pink bandanna around neck
Image Credit: firn, Shutterstock
Weight 16–28 pounds
Height 11–13 inches
Temperament Playful, agreeable, affectionate
Lifespan 10–12 years

The French Bulldog is a lovely little dog that is becoming increasingly popular among city dwellers. They are charming, affectionate, and easygoing dogs but are known to be a little stubborn at times. This means they are smart enough for training, but you should expect more of a challenge with a Frenchie.

This is a small dog that’s perfect for urban dog owners, and the Frenchie comes in seventh place with 2.9% owned.

8. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer
Image by: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock
Weight 11–20 pounds
Height 12–14 inches
Temperament Outgoing, friendly, playful
Lifespan 11–16 years

The Miniature Schnauzer is a sporty little dog that is sturdy, intelligent, and playful. They adore being a part of the family and playing with people of all ages. They are bright, friendly, and small enough for apartment living but could also do well in the country.

About 2.3% of dogs owned in Japan are Miniature Schnauzers, and that’s no wonder considering how amazing these little dogs are!

9. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier standing on a wooden table
Image by: Mr. SUTTIPON YAKHAM, Shutterstock
Weight 7–9 pounds
Height 7–8 inches
Temperament Brave, affectionate, jaunty
Lifespan 10–15 years

The Yorkshire Terrier is a sprightly little dog with a gorgeous long silky coat. While they might look fragile, they aren’t. They are just as vigorous and tenacious as any other terrier. They form strong bonds with their owners and don’t do well when left alone for too long.

They are the ninth most popular dog breed in Japan, with 2% of dogs owned in Japan being Yorkies.

10. Shih Tzu

shih tzu with teddy bear cut
Image by: chaoss, Shutterstock
Weight 9–16 pounds
Height 9–11 inches
Temperament Affectionate, lively, playful
Lifespan 10–18 years

Shih Tzus are wonderful family dogs because they are affectionate and playful with children. They enjoy playing as much as sitting in your lap in the evenings, which shouldn’t be a surprise because they were bred to be companion dogs. They are devoted to their owners and will follow you as you walk around your home.

Coming in last doesn’t mean the Shih Tzu isn’t the best dog that you could own. Around 1.7% of Japanese dog owners love their little Shih Tzus!


Japanese Dog Breeds

Now that you’ve seen the most popular dog breeds in Japan, here are a few interesting facts about Japanese dog breeds.

  • AkitaThis is a large dog that is a spitz breed. They are strong, brave, loyal, and loving.
  • Japanese Chin: It’s believed that these dogs came from China or Korea, but the Japanese nobility made these adorable dogs popular. Chin means “royalty” in Japanese.
  • Shikoku: These dogs were bred to be hunting dogs, and they are loyal, alert, and intelligent.
  • Tosa Inu: This is a Mastiff type of dog, so they’re also the largest of the Japanese breeds that were bred for dogfighting. They form powerful bonds with their owners and can be aloof and watchful of other dogs and strangers.
  • Kai Ken: They were bred to be hunting dogs, and they can become attached to their families. They are also quite rare.
  • Hokkaido: This is an ancient hunting dog that does best with active families and when spending time outdoors.


Final Thoughts

It’s interesting to note that the most popular breeds in Japan are quite small. The largest in the bunch is the only Japanese breed, and even they are a small to medium-sized dog. These statistics likely reflect city-dwelling dog owners, so the dogs are small in stature but large and loving in personality.

Related Read:

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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