The Kai Ken (甲斐犬, also called the Tora Inu or Tiger Dog) is a breed of dog that hails from Japan where it is a natural monument and has been bred for centuries. It is an extremely rare dog even in its native land and is related to the Japanese Spitz dog type.
The Kai Ken is considered to be the most ancient, and purest dog breed in Japan. It was developed in the isolated district of Kai (Yamanashi Prefecture) as a hunting dog. Kai were used to hunt boar and deer. This breed was designated a natural monument in Japan in 1934.
In popular culture
- Many Kai Kens play important roles in the Yoshihiro Takahashi's series Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin and its sequel, Ginga Densetsu Weed, including the brothers Kurotora, Chūtora, and Akatora. In the sequel, Ginga Densetsu Weed, Kurotora's son, Kagetora, stars as an important character, with his less prominently featured brothers, Harutora and Nobutora, and cousins Dodo, Buru, Shōji, and Shigure.
- Another Yoshihiro Takahashi's manga, Kacchū no Senshi Gamu featured a villainous Kai Ken named Gama.
- Chu, a Canine Warrior from the 2006 video game Ōkami, is also a Kai Ken.