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Japanese Terrier

Size: Small

Weight: 10 - 13 lbs.

Height: 13"

Life Span: 12 - 14 years

Health Problems: Usually has an excellent health record. Some strains have been severely inbred, resulting in some hereditary physical and mental disorders.

Origin: Japan (1700s)

Also Known As: Nippon Terrier, Nihon Terrier, Nihon Teria

Group: Terrier

Category: Companion Dog, Hunting

Exercise Needs

The Japanese Terrier requires a daily walk, romp or play.

Grooming Needs

Best with older children.


Resourceful and entertaining demeanor of most dogs in the terrier class. Refined and elegant stature. Unfortunately, systematic in-breeding since the 1930s has resulted in some physical and/or behavioral problems in some lines.


After the Dutch introduced the Smooth Fox Terrier to Japan in the 1700s, breeders began crossing it with local breeds to develop the Japanese Terrier. Due to "racy" lines in the breed's figure, it is suggested that Asiatic sighthounds may have played a role in the Terrier's development. Today the breed still serves its original role as a companion and rat hunter.