Kars Dog vs Kai Ken - Breed Comparison | MyDogBreeds

Kars Dog is originated from Turkey but Kai Ken is originated from Japan. Kars Dog may grow 34 cm / 14 inches higher than Kai Ken. Kars Dog may weigh 58 kg / 128 pounds more than Kai Ken. Kars Dog may live 4 years less than Kai Ken. Kars Dog may have more litter size than Kai Ken. Both Kars Dog and Kai Ken requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Working dog
Working dog
Height Male:
60 - 90 cm
23 - 36 inches
43 - 56 cm
16 - 23 inches
Height Female:
60 - 90 cm
23 - 36 inches
43 - 56 cm
16 - 23 inches
Weight Male:
60 - 80 kg
132 - 177 pounds
14 - 22 kg
30 - 49 pounds
Weight Female:
60 - 80 kg
132 - 177 pounds
14 - 22 kg
30 - 49 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
14 - 16 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
2 - 7
Giant dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Kars Turkish Shepherd, Caucasian
Tiger Dog, Tora Inu
Colors Available:
Reddish brown, grey, black - mixed colors
Brindle color in black or red shade
short or long-haired variety
Medium length and coarse
Moderate, Seasonal
Affectionate, Aggressive, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


The Kars Dog is found in Turkey, hailing more specifically from the Kars province, after which it is named. He actually has a long history of at least 600 years.

Referred to as a Molosser, the dog is still used to this day for shepherding livestock. There are many varieties and sizes of the dog, with the most common Kars type being similar to the Nagazi variant of the Caucasian Shepherd Dog.

The Kai Ken dog hails from Japan and is both an ancient and rare dog. In fact the dog was discovered in 1929 in the Kai province near Mount Fuji. The dog has the nickname Tora Inu in Japan which means 'Tiger Dog'. Maybe its got to do with the brindle striped coat or his bravery.

He falls into the working class category. In 1931, the Kai Ken Aigokai registry was formed to preserve the dog. In fact in this year Dasuke Adachi discovered these dogs and in 1934 was actually designated a Natural Monument in Japan and also protected by law.

The Kai Ken was recognized in 1934 by the Japanese Kennel Club. It is not 100% certain but it is thought that the dog was brought to the United States in the 1950s.


Large and heavy, the Kars Dog is strong, with a large head and broad chest. The height of the dog at the withers is 60 to 90cm and he weighs in at roughly 60 - 80kg.

At one time the ears were cropped but they are left these days and then they are of medium length and floppy. The coat varies too in terms of length and color - short to longer variety coats. The coat can be a solid color or it can have patterns. You’ll find reddish brown dogs, grey and black dogs as well as dogs with a mix of colors.


The Kars is an aggressive, territorial dog, but with the correct training, socialization and upbringing, it can be a loving, amicable family pet.

Known also as the Kars Turkish Shepherd or Kars shepherd, he makes an ideal guarding dog as he is brave and devoted to those he is protecting. He is cautious and even unfriendly towards people he doesn’t know, and it is thought that because of his robustness, it might not be a good idea to leave him unsupervised with small children.

Nonetheless with training and socialization, the Kars is capable of being a super pet for all members of the family. Training him won’t be that easy as he is large and strong-willed, but the training will provide him with some basic good manners.

He will require a firm, confident owner and will require living in a home with a big garden or in the countryside as he requires a good amount of exercise.

The Kai Ken has always been used for hunting purposes. He comes as recommended for hunting people and those who are active.

It is a medium sized dog standing at between 43 to 56cm in height both male and female and weighing between 14 and 22kg.

The ears of the dog are erect, the muzzle is fairly tapered and the nose is black. The tail is bushy like that of a fox and curls over the back. The double coat of the dog is of medium length and harsh and is a brindle color in a reddish or black shade.

Puppies are born black and then the brindle stripe-like pattern comes in later. He has an athletic body and is a keen swimmer.


The Kai Ken is an intelligent dog, loyal to his human family while being somewhat reserved around strangers. They are amicable with both children in the home as well as other pets.

He is a friendly, intelligent dog, forming close bonds with his family. Have him trained and socialized and he'll make you a splendid pet who will be willing to guard you if anyone threatens.

One look at that bright face and you can see that he is an intelligent, independent dog. He is also courageous and fearless and makes a great watchdog, especially because he is naturally reserved and suspicious with strangers.

Health Problems

The Kars is generally healthy and long-lived, being able to reach 12 years of age with ease if cared for properly. Every dog, even the most healthiest ones, will have some health issues, and with a large dog like this, it is hip dysplasia, obesity, cancer and heart problems.

Heart Problems:

Coughing is a symptom of different illnesses, with one of them being heart disease. If your dog is still coughing after several days, its time to see the vet.

When your dog hasn’t exercised, you’ll see him battling to breathe or the breathing will be rapid. He’ll be reluctant to walk and play too and may be disinterested in his food. Edema, the swelling of body tissues is also a sign of heart disease.

With a lifespan of 14 to 16 years, and given the genetic purity of the Kai Ken, you aren't likely to battle with congenital health problems with your dog, but it is always good to be aware of certain minor health issues that he could succumb to.

He can suffer from a few common dog diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy or hip dysplasia.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy:

This is a disease of the eye where there is wasting of certain parts, and in this case the cells of the retina develop abnormally. This can eventually lead to blindness. It’s an inherited disease that can occur in pure- and mixed breeds, and dogs with PRA shouldn’t be used for breeding.

It isn’t a painful condition, and the first symptom usually noticed in a dog is night blindness where you may notice him bumping into things at night and being reluctant to walk around in the dark.

Caring The Pet

Your Kars dog can be a wonderful addition to your home, but you need to know how to care for a big dog before you get carried away and add a large puppy breed to your family.

Too many people buy a cute bundle of fur and get rid of it when he is no longer a cute puppy. Before you bring a giant breed dog into your home, take note of some useful tips to keep him in tip top condition -


If you bring a puppy home, he’ll need to be fed 4 times a day with special puppy food. There are excellent commercially manufactured puppy foods on the market and you will need to get the one that caters for ‘large- or giant puppy breeds’, as the Kars is a very big dog.

As your dog reaches adulthood you’ll feed him less. If in any doubt as to the kind of food to give your dog to maintain good health, speak to your vet.


Every dog will need exercise to keep him trim and fit but to also stimulate their minds. Providing your Kars dog with exercise such as walks and ball games will also ensure he doesn’t become bored.

General Care:

Your pet will need a nice quiet, warm, dry place to sleep and rest. If he is an outdoor dog during the day, make sure that he has a place to rest in the shade. Make sure he has a non-stop supply of fresh, cool water too that is placed in a cool, reachable spot.


Your large pet is an average shedder and to keep his thick coat in tip top condition, you want to be sure to brush him at least twice a week.

Even though the coat is thick, the Kai Ken will require basic canine care, so a brush twice a week will be enough to keep the coat free of loose hair. He sheds more heavily a couple of times a year and then he will require more brushing.

He has always been used to hunt so he is a dog that will require regular exercise such as walks, hikes, swimming and ball games.

The nails of the dog should be trimmed regularly once they become long as long nails can be hazardous and can hook onto things, causing injury to the nail area.

The ears of the dog should be checked regularly for fleas and ticks, and teeth should also be brushed with canine toothbrush and toothpaste.


The Kars is a large dog and because of his past where he used to guard livestock, he is a dog used to wide open spaces. He will require a home with a good sized garden and a family who exercises him frequently.

With the right kind of care, the Kars is able to strongly bond with his human family, taking his role as guardian and protector very well. He is alert and smart and that is why he will need training and socialization and a firm, fair human owner. He will then become a loving, devoted companion.

The Kai Ken is a working- and hunting dog, so he is used to being active and will want a home where he can be played with and exercised regularly.

He can be slightly stubborn and independent so training and socialization are imperative. This is also because the dog’s curiosity and his athletic skills can lead to trouble if he isn’t properly trained.

Treat him the way he deserves and you’ll see that he is able to develop a strong bond with you and be altogether an excellent family pet.

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