The Kai Dog, also known as Kai Tora-ken, originated from medium-sized dogs that existed in Japan since the ancient times. These dogs are used mainly for hunting wild boar and deer and are often referred to as deerhounds. They are rarely seen outside The Kai's most distinctive feature is its brindle coat, known in Japanese as torage, or "tiger fur," because of which the dogs are sometimes referred to as Tora inu ("tiger dogs") or Kai tora ("Kai tigers"). The coat comes in black brindle, red brindle and brindle. The coat consists of a harsh, straight outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat. The hair on the tail is fairly long. Puppies are usually born with fuzzy black coat and it may take five years for the coat to fully develop after several sheddings.
According to the breed standard, the Kai is a medium-sized dog, standing 18 to 23 inches at the shoulder, well balanced, muscular, sturdily built dog with strong limbs and hocks. Very keen and alert, the Kai is still used as a hunting dog, but some Kai have also been trained as search and rescue dogs. He needs firm and consistent training and should be socialized early in life. Like many other Japanese breeds, he develops a strong bond with one member of the family.
- FCI Standard # 317
- Michiko Chiba, Lucy North. Japanese Dogs: Akita, Shiba, and Other Breeds