10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Japan in 2022 (with Pictures)

The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things about having a pet, and Japan is no exception. In 2020, there were more pets in Japan than there were children. It is now thought that the number of cats and dogs in homes is higher than the number of children.

The most popular dog breeds in Japan are different from those in the U.S. Since there are more people living in cities in Japan, many people prefer dogs that do well in cities. So, you’ll notice that most of the most popular dogs in Japan are small breeds that either like to be with people or like to be on their own.

Please keep in mind that research on this topic is still going on, so there isn’t much data or statistics from the last year. But we made sure to add the most recent information. Here are some of the most common dog breeds in Japanese households.

The Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Japan

1.Small Mixed Breed

Mauxie mixed dog breedImage Credit: David Clarine, Shutterstock

Mixed breed dogs are the most popular type of dog in Japan. They have been popular in Japan for a long time, but this may be the first time that they are more popular than purebreds.

Mixed Breeds can come from almost any combination of dog breeds, so they vary a lot in size, personality, and looks. But the small Mixed Breed (up to 35 pounds) seems to be the most popular, as 22.2% of dogs in Japan belong to people who own them.

2.Toy Poodle

brown toy poodle at homeImage Credit: NDAB Creativity, Shutterstock
Weight4 – 6 pounds
HeightUp to 10 inches
TemperamentIntelligent, friendly, devoted
Lifespan10 – 18+ years

The Toy Poodle used to be the most popular dog in Japan, but now it is the second most popular dog. The Toy Poodle was bred to have all of the great qualities of the Standard Poodle, but in a smaller size so that it could be a companion dog.

They are active dogs that need a lot of exercise, but because they are small, they can do well in apartments. They are extremely intelligent and easy to train. A Toy Poodle lives in about 20.3% of Japanese homes.


Chihuahua_Christel SAGNIEZ, PixabayImage Credit: Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay
Weight3 – 6 pounds
Height6 – 9 inches
TemperamentDevoted, playful, feisty
Lifespan10 – 18 years

Chihuahuas may be small, but they have big personalities! They are very close to their family, which makes them easy to train. They are called "purse dogs" because they are small enough to fit in a purse.

They are great dogs for apartments, but they might be a bit loud. Because they are so small, they are good for people who live in cities. This is why 11.9% of the dogs owned in Japan are Chihuahuas, which puts them in third place.

4.Shiba Inu

Shiba-Inu-on-beachImage Credit: Thorsten Schulze, Pixabay
Weight15 – 25 pounds
Height13 – 16 inches
TemperamentDevoted, playful, good-natured
Lifespan13 – 16 years

The Doge meme may have made the Shiba Inu the most well-known Japanese breed. They are small to medium-sized dogs that live on their own and are very active. You can leave them alone for a while, but you shouldn't do it too often.

They have a lot of energy, so they need to do lots of things to burn it off and keep them from getting bored. When dogs are bored, they tend to do more destructive things. They are the fourth most popular dog in Japan, with 8.8% of households having one.


PomeranianImage Credit: Nick Stafford, Pixabay
Weight4 – 7 pounds
Height6 – 7 inches
TemperamentFriendly, bold, lively
Lifespan12 – 16 years

The Pomeranian is a small, independent dog with a fluffy coat and a cute, fox-like face. They are smart and easy to train, and they like to play and clown around for our amusement.

Poms are great dogs for people who live in cities because they are small, and 5.3% of the dogs owned in Japan are Poms.

6.Miniature Dachshund

miniature dachshundImage Credit: JeebyJeeby, Pixabay
Weight8 – 11 pounds
Height5 – 7 inches
TemperamentFriendly, outgoing, curious
Lifespan12 – 16 years

The Miniature Dachshund is a high-energy, sweet, and easy-going dog. They are also very smart, and they love to spend time with people. They come in two sizes, the Standard and the Miniature. The Standard isn't a big dog, but the Miniature is even smaller.

Because of their long backs, Dachshunds are best in apartments or homes with only one level. They don't do well on stairs. With 4.8% of dogs in Japan being Miniature Dachshunds, they are the sixth most popular dog there.

7.French Bulldog

French BulldogImage Credit: Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay
Weight16 – 28 pounds
Height11 – 13 inches
TemperamentPlayful, agreeable, affectionate
Lifespan10 – 12 years

The French Bulldog is a cute little dog that is getting more and more popular with people who live in cities. They are sweet, friendly, and easy to get along with, but they can be stubborn at times. This means they are smart enough to be trained, but a Frenchie will be harder to train.

This is a small dog that is great for people who live in cities. The Frenchie is the seventh most-owned dog, with 2.9% of all dogs.

8.Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature SchnauzerImage Credit: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock
Weight11 – 20 pounds
Height12 – 14 inches
TemperamentOutgoing, friendly, playful
Lifespan11 – 16 years

The Miniature Schnauzer is a sturdy, smart, and active little dog. They love being with the family and playing with people of all ages. They are bright, friendly, and small enough for an apartment, but they could also do well in the country.

About 2.3% of dogs owned in Japan are Miniature Schnauzers, which is no surprise given how great these little dogs are.

9.Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier standing on a wooden tableImage Credit: Mr. SUTTIPON YAKHAM, Shutterstock
Weight7 – 9 pounds
Height7 – 8 inches
TemperamentBrave, affectionate, jaunty
Lifespan10 – 15 years

The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog with a long, silky coat that is very active. They might look weak, but they're not. They are as active and determined as any other terrier. They form close bonds with their owners and don't do well when left alone for too long.

They are the ninth most popular breed of dog in Japan, where 2% of all dogs are Yorkies.

10.Shih Tzu

shih tzu with teddy bear cutImage Credit: chaoss, Shutterstock
Weight9 – 16 pounds
Height9 – 11 inches
TemperamentAffectionate, lively, playful
Lifespan10 – 18 years

Shih Tzus are great family dogs because they love children and like to play with them. They like to play as much as they like to sit in your lap at night, which shouldn't be a surprise since they were bred to be companion dogs. They are very loyal to their owners and will follow you around your house.

Even though the Shih Tzu came in last, that doesn't mean it's not the best dog you could own. About 1.7% of dog owners in Japan love their Shih Tzus.

Japanese Dog Breeds

Now that you've seen Japan's most popular dog breeds, here are some interesting facts about them.
  • Akita: This is a large breed of dog called a spitz. They are brave, strong, loyal, and love each other.
  • It is thought that these cute dogs came from China or Korea, but it was the Japanese nobility that made them popular. In Japanese, "chin" means "royal."
  • Shikoku: These dogs were raised to be hunting dogs, so they are smart, loyal, and watchful.
  • Tosa Inu: This dog looks like a Mastiff, so it's also the biggest of the Japanese dog breeds that were made for fighting. They have strong bonds with their owners and can be distant and wary of other dogs and people.
  • Kai Ken: They were made to be hunting dogs, and they love their families. They are also not very common.
  • Hokkaido: This ancient hunting dog does best in active families and when they spend a lot of time outside.


Overall, having a pet is becoming more and more popular in Japan, and the most popular dog breeds tend to be small and easy to care for in apartments. 

Adoption and fostering programs continue to push and encourage people to bring pets from shelters into their own homes. Because of this movement, the most popular dog breeds may change in the years to come.
Princy Hoang
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