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Submitted on
April 24, 2010
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2.7 MB


14,633 (1 today)
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Camera Data

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10/300 second
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7 mm
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Date Taken
Jun 21, 2009, 6:21:44 PM
Extinct japanese wolf by DiardiWolf Extinct japanese wolf by DiardiWolf

*EDIT: I had a lot of info posted here about Japanese wolves, but I'm going to try and rewrite it in a preferably shorter and more coherent manner, as well as gather and quote my sources more accordingly. It should also help with the keywords as this picture seemingly pops up everywhere because of the previous text wall.

Photograph of one out of two extinct Japanese wolf subspecies. This one if of canis lupus Hodophylax.
It's one of the two only specimens in Europe. There are five more in Japan. This picture is of the one located in Leiden, The Netherlands. The other one's located in London.  
It was on display for a temporary exhibition where the most important pieces of the Siebold collection were shown (Siebold is the guy who collected the specimen).

I'm putting this picture up as stock in case anyone would like to use it for educational purposes.  Please do give credit somewhere if you decide to use it or just link back to it somewhere.
*Edit: no seriously, please give credit somewhere, even if it's just a link back in a corner or something. I don't like doing this, but I'm going to have to paste a watermark all over it if I see it pop up uncredited any more often, which I have seen numerous times by now.



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kazunaodate Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Well Japan has 4 wolf dog breeds, and the akita supposedly has wolf blood along with the shikoku and shiba, but anything wolf has long since disappeared.
DiardiWolf Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Actually, Japan has no actual “wolfdog breeds,” unless you mean dog breeds that look a bit wolfy.  
A wolfdog breed indicates that the breed has been established specifically by crossing dogs and wolves in order to create it, such as the Czechoslovakian wolfdog.
As for alleged “wolf blood,” some historical reports of Japanese wolves and dogs crossing do exist, but from what I understand they were infrequent and not intended to create a separate breed of wolfdog. Native Japanese dogs have also strongly declined in numbers a few times, and a few breeds even nearly went extinct after WWII which only would've diluted it further. On top of that no new wolf blood has been added in well over a century at the very least, but probably much longer.
So any amount of “wolf blood” would've been incredibly little to begin with, and completely undetectable by now. 

kazunaodate Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
No they have two that are verified 
The higo wolf dog and the kumano wolf dog. Only The higo remains. Other nihon ken are speculated to have wolf blood but it was never proven. Do you want pictures?
DiardiWolf Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm really curious now who verified that these breeds are actual wolfdogs, and on what basis they did so. I haven't found any sources to seriously back up any Japanese wolfdog claims so far. I just looked up the higo dog, but from what little information there is on the breed, there's also no confirmation that this is an actual wolfdog. The breed origin is simply uncertain, which could mean anything. 
I'd love to see more pictures (or info too!) of the breed if you know of any.:) So far I only found one picture of a Higo mix. I didn't find anything on the Kumano wolfdog, only Kumano Shibas.  
Nihon ken are indeed speculated to have some wolf blood, I mostly had those in mind when writing my previous comment. 
kazunaodate Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist………

The first is Kumano wolf dog of Nara native.

This Kumano wolf dog early. Improvement is willing, I will be like an wolf Japan more later.

I think you can see in the image also come, but the other day, I was taken up at any NHK Special "Miokami-ki" This breed.

I knew only the name and existence from a few years ago, I was really impressed by being first saw the figure 

Kumano wolf dog to have been produced is that of Showa medium term. Kana was after the war?

It is the one that is considered to be you're left behind in the wild dogs that dog catching the blood of the Japanese wolf researcher to study the Japanese wolf, disappeared living in its habitat, was born for the first time restore using it .

It was completed in an attempt to revive the dog like it by going by multiplying what appears to be a large number capture the wild dogs to launch a cage trap to Kumanosan during, and inherited strongly the characteristics of the Japanese wolf. As well as wild dogs that were captured, hounds hunter in the vicinity are also keeping seems to have been used for the bleeding.

Dog very similar to Japan wolf finally over several decades was born, but the body is weak by nature, the child I have unfortunately died young 

DiardiWolf 6 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the links!:D
The Japanese makes it more difficult to understand though. My translator gives me a different story from yours because it doesn't translate to English.
Mine for example says that the picture of the Komano dog is what it looked like after breeding it to look more like a Japanese wolf.

The third article actually compares a taxidermy mount of a puppy which is thought to be a Japanese wolf (or wolfdog) to the taxidermy specimen on this page, only seen from side-view. This is a really bad idea, seeing this taxidermy mount is not only of a horrid quality, it also might've been a hybrid too and no pure wolf. Puppies are also considered to be less indicative of wolf content due to them still changing a lot until they reach adulthood. The taxidermy pup is also pretty old from what I read (if it's the one I think it is, then from what I understand it dates from the time Japanese wolves were still around), so it's not the offspring of the feral dogs they captured and used in their project. 
Wolfdogs will have certain traits attributed to both dogs and wolves. The higher the wolf content, the more visible wolf traits a wolfdog will have. (even low-content wolfdogs will still show some of these. Think czech wolfdogs or simply F6+ wolfdogs.) 
 Going by historical sources, I'd say that some traits of Japanese wolves were a low-carried bushy tail, long legs, a mostly darker brown coat with grey and darker guard hairs as well as some sandy colors, no well-defined markings, no barreled and a fairly narrow chest, black nails and nose, upright well-furred ears, a long and relatively narrow muzzle, and a head without a clearly defined stop.
the Higo dogs in both the first and second link looked all dog, and didn't seem to have any of these traits or even traits associated with current wolfdogs from elsewhere. They're pretty and cute looking dogs, and I'm sure they're great companions, but they don't seem to have anything particularly "wolf" about them.  

From what I can see (pictures) and read (historical sources/possible breed establishment), their wolf content is completely speculative, like with the other Nihon Ken.:)
The "wolfdog" title seems to be more of a symbolic nature.

kazunaodate 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I think it was that the kumano wolf  is made up of different strays found to have honshu wolf blood.  
And honshu wolves  can be white, as well as light orange. The higo imo no longer  retains any wolf traits. Similar to the German shepherd that supposedly has wolf blood and northern breeds, it's been breed with our dogs for so long, that any wolf-ish features dulled a long time ago. Another faithful recreation of the Japanese wolf is the jomon shiba.
DiardiWolf 3 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes, the link explained of how they were first established and eventually went extinct again. It's a popular assumption that in more remote areas some stray dogs had wolf blood. While it's very plausible, I haven't found anything which more solidly confirms these claims though (like genetic research or something). I also couldn't find when exactly they tried breeding the Kumano dog for the first time. Several decades ago, some people already bred stray dogs to resemble Japanese wolves and released them into the wild. Someone also reportedly released the direct offspring of a Kishu dog and a Siberian wolf into the wild (which would've been solid mid-contents). In both of these cases, the dogs/wolfdogs were released into the Kii-peninsula, of which Kumano and Nara prefecture are a part. So if establishing the Kumano happened after any of these attempts to "re-establish" a Japanese wolf population, they might've caught the offspring of those.

Japanese wolves could have white and light orange markings, but they didn't commonly have solid coats of these colors (unless when they maybe had pigmentation defects like leucism).
A situation similar to that of the German Shepherd is what I was getting at, actually. German Shepherds or Nordic spitz-type dogs aren't called wolfdogs either because they have some very little and now invisible wolf ancestry. I mainly take issue with calling the Japanese breeds "wolfdogs" because it's pretty confusing and can give people the wrong idea of what recently created wolfdogs or higher content wolfdogs are really like (misinterpretation/misunderstanding of wolfdogs can be both dangerous to people who want to own one and to the dogs themselves).  I'm guessing they're calling these dogs "wolfdogs" in order to hone their possible wolf ancestry, but it doesn't correspond to what people generally understand under "wolfdogs" today.

I thought that the Jomon shiba was more of a recreation of the Jomon dog, the ancestor of native Japanese dog breeds (which originated from the mainland, not directly from Japanese wolves).
(2 Replies)
skulls887 Dec 22, 2013   General Artist
I have heard of a dog breed that has it's dna and it is called the Ainu Inu…
DiardiWolf Dec 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Oh, I've heard of that breed. I think it's more commonly called the Hokkaido-Ken. There are other Japanese dog breeds which are thought to have some Japanese wolf ancestry due to their purity throughout the centuries, like the Shikoku-Ken and several breeds of Shiba. (These native breeds didn't originate from Japanese wolves; they were first domesticated on the mainland and brought over some 9500 to 8000 years ago.)
From what I understand, it's uncertain just how much Japanese wolf ancestry these breeds have. There's a lot of dispute about the differences between Japanese wolves and native dogs and about the degree they once possibly hybridized.

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