The Japanese Terrier is a happy, lively, loving, playful, and loyal dog. He is a wonderful and affectionate companion who needs to be with his family and who thrives on being the center of attention. Although he is fairly active and energetic, he is also a lapdog, and not a pet who can be left alone in a yard. He often attaches himself very strongly to one person, and may bark and be belligerent toward anyone who appears to threaten his "favorite." It's best not talk loudly or shout at his "favorite"--but otherwise he is generally friendly and polite. He is sensitive and undemanding and lives to please you. He is fairly easy to train and learns fairly quickly, but since he is sensitive you will need to be gentle as well as consistent to train him. He is clownish and loves to learn tricks and perform them. He's always ready to play, and loves games, balls, and toys. He may gather his toys together and lay them all around himself! He needs a moderate amount of exercise, including a daily leashed walk or run and chances to run free in a secure area. When outdoors, he should always be on a leash or in a fenced area, since he may chase after small animals. He gets along well with other dogs, especially dogs of his own breed, and can learn to live with cats. He may not be good with smaller pets. With his keen senses he makes a good watchdog, able to hear even the slightest sound whether awake or asleep, and ready to alert you to an intruder. He gets along well with responsible children, and is cheerful and playful with them. He should be protected from cold weather with a sweater or coat, and also protected from the heat. He is a very clean dog, but a medium-shedder, so he might not be a good pet of you are concerned about dog-hair in the home.
The Japanese Terrier is 8 to 13 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 5 to 9 pounds. He has a short, smooth, glossy coat. His coat color is white with black and tan.
He only needs an occasional brushing. Some owners who dislike hair in the home will brush him more often to remove the loose hair before it falls out in the home.
The Japanese Terrier is a very rare breed of dog, even in his native country. He is probably descended from Smooth Fox Terriers who arrived with Dutch sailors in the 17th century, and then interbred with local, Japanese dogs. Originally he was bred to hunt vermin, but over time was transformed into a lapdog and a companion pet to be carried. Planned breeding began in 1920, and in 1930 he was admitted to the Japanese Kennel Club. The breed nearly died out during World War II, but survived and can now be found in small numbers both inside and outside Japan. He was admitted to the United Kennel Club (England) in 2006.