Sunday, November 27, 2011

White/Cream in the NK

I had a question from someone about white Shiba, so talked with some NIPPO members and judges about it, and I'm adding my own thoughts as well.

Why are white coats shunned in the NK?

If you take a look at the present NIPPO standard, white is not a 'non-standard' color. You can register a white Shiba for instance. White is not however, preferred (i.e. will be severely penalized in the ring) in the Shikoku and Shiba. In Akita, Hokkaido, and Kishu, white is allowed. The NIPPO standard specifically calls for all Kai to be brindle, so white is not allowed.

Why is white not preferred? Written into the present NIPPO standard are all manner of details on conformation, among these is a clause calling for all coat coloration to have strong hues, and for judges to watch for lightening or dilution of color. Any dilution of color is seen as a weakening in the coat color genetic code, leading to loss of that color in the breed. Since NIPPO's stated goal is preservation, this is unacceptable. The standard also calls for urajiro in the NK. It is obviously not possible to judge whether a white dog has urajiro, or to judge the color hues of the genes it is carrying (other than white).

Exhibit one, the Kishu. The Kishu was not a predominantly white breed. In the early days of the breed it was predominantly 'yushoku' (having color). There is ancient art from the area depicting hunting dogs from the area as black, and looking back at some of the first NIPPO exhibitions, the numbers show roughly 70% yushoku, with only 30% of the dogs being white. Fast forward to the present day, and the breed is almost entirely white. How did this happen? Apparently there was a line with some outstanding studs who happened to be white, and they were used extensively. General preference leaned toward white these lines, and toward white Kishu in general. White x yushoku breedings result in mixed litters, but white x white breedings result in only white pups (so I've been told and the numbers seem to back that up). So here we are today, the breed has almost completely lost its variety in color.


White dogs can be bred, and litters registered. While this was done possibly more often in the past when a white dog had some outstanding and desired trait, today it is generally not done. As I mentioned earlier, white is severely penalized in the ring, and at best your dog will be given a 'B' grade (cannot receive an excellent). There have been issues in the NK with urajiro creeping up over the body, and into the facial areas, and NIPPO and its members have/are breeding away from that. This issue has been seen recently in the Shiba, along with dilution of coat hues, which has lead to careful selection away from these traits. Other issues that have been seen in the past in coat colors is spotting (i.e. pinto). This is also among the list of unacceptable coat traits, which along with all the other issues involved with preserving color has lead to careful selective breeding when it comes to color, leading NIPPO members to keep the white coloration at arm's length.

1. White Shikoku from a working kennel/line. I'm posting these pictures as examples of what can happen to coat colors in a line that is bred over many generations entirely for hunting ability, with no color selection, however I have nothing more than a cursory knowledge of the lines that this kennel breeds from, and how they manage their breeding system. This line is from the same pool of dogs as the original Shikoku, however the line is not presently registered with NIPPO.

 2. Sesame Shikoku from the same working kennel/line

3. Black sesame Shikoku from the same working kennel/line

4. Black sesame Shikoku from the same working kennel/line

Maki 2
 5. A friend's black sesame female from show lines

Shikoku Female
6. A female sesame with less hue

To side track just a little, black (i.e. black/tan) is allowed in the standard, and while in the medium sized NK it is rare, and dogs with this coloration are not often shown, they are used for breeding to apparently improve coat quality/color. The reason for them not being shown very often is that the facial markings have to be correct, and the black needs to be a solid black hue. Often facial markings (i.e. the 2 spots above the eyes that lead to black often being referred to as 'yotsume' or four-eye) are not clear (ie blurred or misshaped), and urajiro is incorrect, plus many black dogs have red tips on their guard hairs which is not preferred. It is difficult to produce a correctly colored black Shikoku.

Kai Ken Standards

Taken from

 KKA: Height roughly 40cm (15”) - 50cm (19.5”) at withers

 NIPPO: Male standard height: 52cm (20”) Female standard height: 49cm (19”) is a female. On average, males 49cm (19”) from 55cm (21”), and female 46cm (18”) to 52cm (20”).
*NIPPO standard for Kai has been temporarily lowered by 2cm. So male bottom end is 47cm, female 44cm.

 FCI: Dogs 53 cm (approx. 20-21 inches) Bitches 48 cm (approx. 18-19 inches)

 UKC: Desirable height, measured at the withers, ranges from 18½ to 22 inches (47cm-55.9cm) for males, and 17½ to 20 inches (44.5cm-50.8cm) for females. Weight ranges from 25 to 55 pounds.

Desirable height for males 50cm, females 45cm. Allowance +-3cm (males 47-53cm, females 42-48cm).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gotenyama Kennel

I went to Gotenyama Kennel this evening to visit my good friend Ogawa-san, and see some recent pups. There are three litters on the ground at the moment, 8 pups total. It was great fun to see all his Kai and Shiba, even if Boss did try to shred my Armani jacket.

I really liked this male aka-tora pup. He has a crazy thick coat.

Here it is.

And here's a cute female from another litter.

Ogawa-san did try to kill me with this mega portion of Ramen. It was terrific, but c'mon...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mountain/Dog Pics

Here's Baron, he's filled out nicely over the off season as you can see. He's got a terrific temperament, and I really couldn't be happier with him. Everyone I hunt with mentions how amazing he is, he hunts well, hunts hard, hunts close, doesn't fight with other dogs, listens to commands, and is friendly. He's chill in the house, and a monster in the mountain.


Here's Rome. Rome's just turned 1, and he's still a bit of puppy inside. He annoys other dogs by continually trying to play, and he can be rather rude about it. He's pretty vocal too. But, he's a sweet heart, and has been chilling out around the time he turned 1. I think he's going to have a nice NK balance of being friendly, but slightly aloof toward strangers. He also looks like he could have some hunting in him (he's from show lines).

And here's a short video of us climbing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hunting Season

Hunting season opened on the 15th, and I racked up 43km's of walking in the first 3 days. It was tiring, had its ups and downs, but I feel pretty good coming out of it. Day 1 was some group hunting, something I don't do much of, but circumstances being what they were, I dutifully tagged along. Baron and I had the honors, and pressure, of walking the mountain and flushing out game toward ambushes. That was definitely a first for us, and the first time I'd ever walked this particular area. There ended up being no boar, but there were plenty of deer, and one of the hunters bagged one of them. We switched areas for round 2, I walked the long ridge with Baron, and a friend of mine walked the shorter with his Kishu female. A troop of monkeys got in our way early on, but we flushed some deer as well. They managed to skillfully elude the ambushers. On the other ridge there were a couple of deer flushed, and a boar, but they all vanished into the mountain as well. For the last round of the day we ran another gentleman's hound. That was interesting to say the least as there's nothing quite like listening to the bay of a hound bouncing around in the mountain for an hour. Nothing came of it though, and my brother found the sound to be appropriately soothing and managed to take a nap while on ambush duty.

So at the end of day 1 Baron was pretty tired out, I was tired, but we were in decent shape. Group hunting though is really not my thing, there's way too much waiting around for everyone else, and then having to walk the mountain in a pre-decided fashion. There was an unexpected development, a negative actually. In round 1 when Baron flushed the deer, I saw him charge down the face of the mountain to where it was hiding. Just as it flushed, one of the ambushers fired the shot that took it down. Gunfire has never bothered Baron before, but it's always been me doing the firing. I think the first shot of the year, and the unexpected direction it came from startled him, and it came back to bite us later.

Day 2 I took my brother and two of my other friends to a different area. As we were driving up the mountain a small boar bolted across the road in front of the car. We nearly hit it, pulled over, rushed to get the dogs in gear, and then we let Baron and Rome tear after it. I got the last bits of my gear together and ran uphill toward the sound of Baron baying. Unfortunately when I didn't show up right away, he started coming back down. When he ran into me, I encouraged him back uphill, and he and Rome took off on the boar's trail. A couple hundred meters up, the baying started again, and when I got close I could see/hear multiple boar uphill. The scene was a bit of a mess, the dogs a bit confused, and the boars ran over the top of the ridge with the dogs following. Rome was pretty much just having fun running with Baron, and looking a bit unsure about what was going on. The boars never did stop after that, and the dogs lit off after them for another half kilometer before coming back.

The rest of the morning we did a lot of serious climbing in some serious terrain without running into any game. We broke for lunch, an outdoor boar BBQ that really hit the spot. After lunch I decided to hit the area near the dam where we had been in the afternoon the day before. We got there about 1, and headed into the first ridge and released the dogs. They almost immediately took off on track, Baron toward the left, and Rome the right, at high speed. There's a spot where the mountain slopes down near the path around the dam, and since I didn't want the dogs going that way I sent my brother and friend that direction. As I took off after the dogs, I could hear Baron baying in the distance, and from the tracks it looked like he was on a decent sized boar. At the same time a troop of monkeys were freaking out in the trees about the dogs running through, and I wasn't sure what Rome was up to. As I hurried toward Baron, I realized Rome was coming back toward me on the slope just across, at full speed. Glancing around 40 meters ahead of him I saw the deer he was chasing. I'm not usually a deer hunter, but decided to take one for the freezer, so lined up the sights, figured I'd miss a deer bounding at full speed anyway, and fired. The deer half tripped, ran another 50 meters or so with me and Rome in pursuit, then dropped. It was a perfect shot. Rome was pretty happy with himself, but I had to get to Baron, and get help to get the deer out. All in all, three hours later we had the dogs rounded up, venison packed in the cooler, and were headed home.

Day 3 I hunted the same area alone, and immediately ran into deer. The dogs spent some time bringing them around toward me, but the trees made for an impossible shot. After the dogs came back, we moved further into the mountain and I saw Baron freeze and look down into a gulley. I followed his eye and saw the boar, as Baron charged down the slope, the boar got up, and I had time for one good shot. Unfortunately the boar moved just then and all the shot did was graze him. Here I saw the after effect of the gunshot on day 1. Baron stopped chasing the boar, just as he had the deer on day 1. When I got to where the boar had been it took a bit of excitement and coaxing to get him to start tracking again. We managed to track the boar for a couple hundred meters, and Baron flushed him. As he was chasing, I had another clean shot, so took it. Same result. Baron stopped chasing. We tracked that boar for a good 3 hours after that, but he stayed ahead of us the whole time. After that, we had the long trudge out of the mountain. Rome was so wiped, we had to keep stopping to let him rest. He'd lay down as soon as we'd stop, and settle in for a nap lol.

We had a good time over those three days, there's a good amount of meat in the freezer, and a couple good stories, but now I'm going to have to work with Baron on the gun shyness. Rome on the other hand, well that hard headed Shikoku doesn't give a rat's ass about gunfire. I took some pictures of the dogs, and will post them later.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Big Litters

I heard of a litter of 11 Kai puppies a little while back, and while that's absolutely nuts, I didn't actually see them. Today I went to visit a friend in Tochigi, and got a look at their litter of 7. Kai litters average between 3-5 I guess, maybe more like 3-4. Here's a basket of Kai bear pups.

And one with mom.

Here's the sire.
The dam.

And a couple videos for fun.

Feeding time was like a brawl.

KKA Exhibition Fall 2011

I only had an hour or so to say hello to everyone, so I didn't snap many pics. The weather was perfect for the dogs, and there were over 150 entries.
DSC_0209 DSC_0208 DSC_0212 DSC_0213