Tanuki - Japanese Raccoon Dog, is a subspecies native to Japan. The animal has been significant in Japanese folklore since ancient times. The legendary tanuki is reputed to be mischievous and jolly, a master of disguise and shapeshifting, but somewhat gullible and absentminded. It is also a common theme in Japanese art, especially statuary.
Although the raccoon dog resembles a raccoon, due to its shape, size and facial characteristics, it is very much a member of the dog family. It is considered to be one of the earliest species that other dog species have evolved from.