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Japanese Terrier

Terrier Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following 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.


In the 17th Century, smooth-haired Fox Terriers were imported to Japan from the Netherlands. These dogs were bred with small pointers and native type dogs, and the Japanese Terrier eventually emerged, with type being set in the breed around 1930. The breed is kept mainly as a lap dog.

The Japanese Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2006.

General Appearance

The Japanese Terrier is a short coated, small sized, clean cut dog, with a smart appearance and a compact outline.


Lively and cheerful.



Flat and moderately narrow, with a moderate stop.


The same length as the skull, with a straight nasal bridge and thin, tight lips. The cheeks are lean and free from fullness.


The Japanese Terrier has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.

Faults: Slightly overshot or undershot bite.
Disqualifications: Severely overshot or undershot bite.




Moderately sized, oval in shape, and dark in color.


Set on high, fairly small and thin, V-shaped, and folding forward. Rose ears are also permitted.


Moderately long, strong and tapering, with a clean throat.


The shoulders slope gently.


Straight, with moderate bone.


The body is square in proportion. The chest is deep, but not too broad, with well sprung ribs. The withers are high and the back is short and firm. The loin is slightly arched and powerful. The belly is well tucked up.


The thighs are long. There is moderate angulation at the stifle and the hock. The rear pasterns are vertical.


Tight, with elastic pads, and hard nails that are preferably dark in color.


Moderately thin, and generally docked at the third or fourth joint.


Short, smooth, dense and glossy.

Disqualification: Long hair.


Tricolor; white with black spots; white with black or tan markings on the body.


Height at the withers is 12-13 inches.


Light and agile.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Severely overshot or undershot bite.
Long hair.

The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.

UKC Breed Standards: Japanese Terrier

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Official UKC Breed Standard

©Copyright 2006, United Kennel Club