The Siberian husky and the Shikoku ken are both medium-size dog breeds that originated in Asia. That’s where most of the similarities end. If you’re looking for a friendly, fun-loving family dog, the husky is your best bet of the two. If you’d prefer a more low-key but loyal and loving watchdog, the Shikoku is the way to go.
The Siberian husky is a working breed believed to have been bred for pulling sleds by the Chukchi tribe off the eastern Siberian peninsula. The husky was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930. The husky stands up to 23½ inches at the shoulder and weighs 35 to 60 pounds. The husky has a thick double coat made of a dense, soft undercoat and a longer, coarser top coat that makes him suited to cold climates. His coloring is usually white on the face, chest, legs and underside, with black, gray or reddish markings along the back, sides, tail and top of the head.
The Shikoku ken is a rare Japanese breed not officially recognized by the AKC, although the breed is recognized as a member of the spitz group by both the Japanese and Canadian kennel clubs. The Shikoku is a close relative of the Akita and the Shiba Inu, and is somewhere between those two breeds in size, males standing about 21 inches at the shoulders and weighing up to 45 pounds. Bred for hunting deer and wild boar on the Japanese island of Shikoku, this breed has a thick double coat, erect ears and a curled tail. The coat is solid and can range from red to reddish black. The Shikoku was established as one of Japan’s national treasures in 1937.
Huskies are good-natured, affectionate dogs with a strong pack instinct. They fit in well with families and get along well with other dogs, according to the Siberian Husky Club of America. They're generally too friendly to make good watchdogs, and they can be a little high strung, especially when young. They’re highly intelligent and trainable; however, they’re strong-willed and require strong and patient leadership. Huskies are relatively easy to care for, but they require regular daily exercise, and their thick coats need to be brushed weekly. Although good with children, huskies have a strong predatory instinct and should be supervised around small pets, including cats.
Like huskies, Shikokus are intelligent and highly trainable but strong-willed, requiring strong leadership. Although loyal and loving to their owners, Shikokus are more reserved and tend to be aloof toward strangers. If not socialized from a young age, Shikokus can develop aggression toward other dogs. They can get along with children if properly socialized, but they should not be trusted around small animals. Shikokus are alert and vocal, making them good watchdogs. They should be kept in fenced yards to prevent roaming and should be taken on regular walks on-leash. Shikokus blow coat twice a year and need to be combed often during those frantic sheds.
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