Japanese Terrier, Nihon Teria

The Japanese Terrier, or Nihon Teria, is a small-sized dog with a clear-cut and compact outline. It is believed that the breed was created in the 17th century by crossing smooth-haired Fox Terriers, exported to Japan from the Netherlands, to small-sized native dogs, about whom little is known today. Its planned breeding started around 1920, and it was not until about 1930 that its type became fixed. The breed is quite rare even in its native Japan.

Japanese TerrierPhoto courtesy of "White Oleander" kennel

The coat is very short, smooth, dense and glossy. Its coloring is unique: the entire facial area is dark, like a mask, but the body is white. The coat coloration must include three colors: black, brown, and white. The tail is customarily docked. A distinguishing feature of the breed is that it has either a "bamboo-grass" ear or a rose ear. The bamboo-grass ear folds over in a V shape, while the rose ear, being slightly wider, bends over and forward. The dog's outline is square in appearance with the height for both males and females being approximately 12 - 13 inches at shoulders.

The Japanese Terrier is a charming pet which, despite its small size, makes an excellent guard dog. He is always alert, cautious, and a little shy. Training should be conducted in a rather gentle manner, as this dog resents harsh treatment.2


  1. FCI-Standard # 259/20.01.1998/GB
  2. Michiko Chiba, Lucy North. Japanese Dogs: Akita, Shiba, and Other Breeds