Frequently Asked Questions

 Much of the following comes from the FAQs on the website of my mentor and friend the late Hilary Stephens of Abaseiko Kennels and is used and attributed with the permission of the website


Q1.  Are these dogs suitable for families containing older people or children  ?  

A1.  Yes most definitely.  Although they are lively, they re not a heavily -built dog, and therefore don't knock over frail elderly people, or small children.  


Q2.  Are they good watchdogs ? 

 A2.  Yes.  They have accute hearing and therefore, will warn you of any stranger entering your property. (Note : They are not guard dogs at all  & will only tell you someone is there.) 

From the day the pup arrives at your home, you should teach him when it is OK to bark &  when it is not. These lessons require consistency  - distracting your pup from barking at the passing parade;  getting his attention  & then  letting him know gently what is appropriate and what is not.   


Q3.  Do they enjoy the company of other dogs and cats ? 

A3.  Yes.  They make friends very quickly with other animals.  


Q4.  That white coat looks as if it requires a lot of maintenance.  How much time must I spend on grooming ?

A4.  Believe it or not, a couple of baths a year and ten minutes with a brush and comb twice a week is all you need.  This is because the "Non-Stick Teflon" coat allows the mud to dry& dirt to drop off.   Japanese Spitz have no "doggy odour" & therefore, there is no need to bath them frequently.  Two baths a year is usually enough.  They do not need any clipping or plucking.  Regular toenail cutting is necessary to maintain their neat  tight "cat feet".   

 Wonderous, but true ! This pup was transformed from how he looked in the picture on the left, to the pristine fellow on the right, just by allowing him to dry in a warm dry environment for 30 minutes.  All the mud dropped off his coat: & in true Japanese Spitz fashion, he licked his legs & feet clean. 

Q5 What about exercise requirememts ? 


A5. This is really up to you.  Whilst they like frequent walks for socialisation and to enrich their lives, they can amuse themselves , particularly if they have another dog to play with.  As long as you spend time with them, even if it is at home, they are content.  If you have a family member who enjoys long brisk walks, or even jogging, they will love to accompany them. 

We do not recommend "endurance" activities or excessively long sustained running until their bones, muscles & ligaments have finished growing.  Once this has happened, they will be happy to accompany you on 5km walks & rides & even further.  As pups,  this is fine in short & small bursts. 


Q6.  What about feeding them ?

A6. Once they are adults they are cheap & easy to feed.  They aren't fussy eaters, & don't have digestive problems.  (Also see our downloads page on feeding your dog and things not to feed them.)   


Q7 Do they suffer from Heart or Ear complaints ?  

 A7.  No, not as far as we know.  

Generally the KoFuji dogs only go to the vet for their vaccinations and the occasional accident (e.g. hitting a leg on  the fence when running at 100 kph in the garden when they  were not watching & did not turn the corner etc.)  As long as they are kept a healthy weight, your Japanese Spitz should slip not so gracefully & with great verve & joy into older age (14-16 years) & still think he is a puppy. 

Q8.  Are they easy to train ?

A8.  Yes,  being very intelligent they are easy to train and love to learn new things and show you what they have mastered.  However,  dogs don't train themselves ! As with any dog, you have to put some time into showing them what you want them to do.  A Puppy School (or ideally a longer term attendance at Dog Obedience classes will help.  In addition there are some very good books and DVDs on how to make your dog a pleasure to live with. 

It is worth noting here that between the ages of 3 to 9 months, any pup requires a high level of socialisation.   A good foundation at this age will ensure that your Japanese Spitz confidently knows his place & is well able to cope with the world  & all its challenges. 

Q9.  Is this breed prone to skin complaints ? 

 A9.  No.  Skin problems are extremely rare. 


Q10.  What about other health issues ?  

 A10.  Japanese Spitz can have luxating patellas (slippy knee-caps) , some monorchidism  (one teste)  & sometimes get weepy eyes if the tear ducts don't easily drain. Unlike some other dog breeds in Australia,  these are relatively benign.  Provided breeders are cognizant of the risks & screen for the problems by selecting only suitable parents  they can be managed.

Patella luxation is a problem of smaller dogs (pedigree, designer, & cross-breed) as the knees are one of the last things in a dog's body to adapt as dogs become smaller over 100s of years.    A small Japanese Spitz & his bigger brother or cousin is likely to have the same risk for patella-luxation as the relative size of the breed is measured against large and giant breeds

Our vet routinely screens all our adults and pups for movement in the patellas and we only breed from those with tight knees in order to minimise this problem. 


Please download  the Health  & Morbidity survey of the UK Japanese Spitz Club  conducted in 2009 & released in 2010.   This sort of  research is invaluable to responsible breeders in tracking some of the reasons pets die & for the futurity of the breed. 


Contact Details

Ms Aldith Graves
Canberra, ACT, Australia
Email : [email protected]