i honestly cant remeber seeing what i would consider a real dog since i came to japan. There are however plentiful examples of what several thousand years of selective breading (and the occasional random mutation) can acheive, dogs capable of fitting in handbags.
Im not entirely sure why they are so prevalent, whether its the fact that they are the only dogs that japanese people have space for, or if its just because japanese people like cute little things, im not sure. I have nothing against small dogs, they are essentially just cats which wag their tails, the problem i have is that japanese people tend to dress them in clothes.
Naturally the clothes are not home made, this is japan, i know of 2 stores who only sell dog clothes. These arent little stores in someones garage either, one is right in the center of osaka in between fashion stores and shoe shops.
Availability isnt a problem, but i still wondered why, so i asked a student:
"Ahh its winter and hes little so we need to keep him warm"
"Isnt that why dogs are covered in fur?"
"oh not any more, we gave him a summer style haircut"