top of page

About the Breed

The breed was originally introduced into the UK in 1979 by Dorothy Kenyon

However the exact origins of the breed aren't known. The breed is reported to been in Japan as recently as 1920 with the first exhibitor being at the Tokyo dog show in 1921.

Many other spitz type breeds trace their origins back thousands of years, the Japanese Spitz is part of the family of Nordic-type spitz dogs represented by many thousands of breeds throughout the world. Contrary to  belief the Japanese Spitz is not a 'spin off' of the Samoyed.

2 in car.jpg

Breed Standard

General Appearance:

Profuse, pure white, stand off coat. Overall quality of body firm and strong. Pointed muzzle, triangular shaped ears standing errect. Well plumed tail carried over back. Ratio of height to length 10:11.



Affectionate, companionable. Slightly chary at first meeting with strangers.


Alert, intelligent, bold and lively.

Head and Skull

Head medium size without coarseness. Wedge shaped when viewed from above. Moderately broad. Slightly rounded skull, broadest at occiput. Well defined stop, forehead not protruding. Muzzle in proportion to the head, tapering to a small, black, round nose. Lips black, firm and tight.


Dark, moderate size, oval-shaped, set rather obliquely and not too wide apart; black eye rims.


Small, triangular, standing erect. Set high, facing forward, not too wide apart.


Jaws strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Strong, arched and of moderate length.


Moderately sloping shoulder; upper arm of sufficient length to ensure elbow is vertically below point of withers. Forelegs straight, elbow firm and tight; pasterns slightly sloping.



Length from point of shoulder to point of buttock slightly greater than height at withers. Chest broad and deep. Ribs well sprung, belly firm with moderate tuck-up. Back straight and short, full of flexibility. Loins broad and firm, with a slight rise. Level croup with high set tail.


Well proportioned and balanced. Muscular, moderately angulated. Hindlegs parallel to each other when viewed from rear.


Small round, cat-like and well cushioned. Pads black, nails preferably dark.


Moderate length, well plumed, high set, carried curved over the back.


Light, nimble, active, energetic and very smooth.



Outer coat straight and stand-off. Profuse, short, dense undercoat, soft in texture. Shorter on face, ears, front of fore and hindlegs and below hocks. Remainder of body covered with long coat. Mane on neck and shoulders reaching down to brisket. Tail profusely covered with long hair.



Pure white.


Height at shoulders: dogs: 34-37 cms (13½-14½ ins); bitches 30-34 cms (12 - 13½ ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Detailed Breed Standard

Breed Health

The Japanese Spitz has very few breed health problems.

Patella Luxation

One condition that is known to the breed is patella luxation. This is a condition that allows the kneecap to easily 'pop' out of it's normal condition. 

To minimise this condition it is recommended that both parents are tested for patella sub-luxation. It is also important that exercise and 'jumping' is restricted whilst young as this is believed to increase the risk or severity of the condition

Tear Staining

The breed can be prone to runny eyes, although this will not cause any harm it can result in 'tear staining' underneath the eyes - this  results in a brown stain from bacteria. This can be caused or exasperated by stress, allergy, hormones or diets.

To help tear staining regularly bath each eye with warm (ideally boiled water left to cool) or products that are designed to reduce tear staining.

close up jap.jpg
bottom of page