There are some legends about the Kishu Dog.
Kobo-Daishi’ s story
About 1,000 years ago, there was a famous high Buddhist monk named 弘法大師 (Kobo-Daishi). While he was lost on Mt. Koya(in Kishu region) , he met a local hunter.
The hunter had a black and white dog with him that he let loose to guide him. This ancient story tells us that, at least at that time, hunters in Kishu region were already using dogs for hunting.
A painting of Kano-Mojin
A white dog is depicted in a painting of 狩野明神(Kano-Mojin), also from 金剛峰寺(Kongobuji-Temple) on Mt.Koya too. This painting was painted about 700 years ago, and the fearless appearance of the dog gives us an indication of the Kishu dog’s situation at that time.
The lengendary story of Yakuro and Mann
300 years ago, there was a skilled hunter named 弥九郎(Yakuro) in the village of Oroshi in present-day Mie Prefecture.
One day, on his way home from hunting, Yakuro found a wounded wolf (maybe a dog). Yakuro bandaged the wolf's wounds, and as he left, he said to the wolf, "If you have a baby, give it to me," and parted ways.
One day six months later, Yakuro woke up in the morning, having forgotten all about it, and found a puppy on his doorstep. Yakuro was so pleased that he named him "Mann" and took good care of him.
Mann grew up quickly and became an excellent dog, outdoing all the other dogs.
The names of Yakuro and Mann became known throughout Kishu region, and their skill was such that they could hunt not only deer and boar, but also large bears.
On another day, the lord of Shingu organized 巻狩り(Makigari : A type of hunting practiced in the Middle Ages for entertainment, Shinto rituals, and military training.), in which Yakuro and Mann also participated. Towards the end of the hunt, however, a wild boar attacked the lord. The boar approached so fast that his servants could not reach him in time, but Mann pounced on the boar and killed it with a single bite.
The fame of Yakuro and Mann continued to spread. However, one day his aunt came to visit and said, "It is said that a wolf which eats a thousand prey will then devour its master. It is better to leave Mann as soon as possible.
" Yakuro could not accept such a story and refused to accept it, but Mann heard her and howled sadly two or three times, then ran into the mountains and never returned.
Legend has it that Kishu dogs are excellent hounds because they have Mann's blood in their veins.