Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Hokkaido Pups!

So yesterday and today, I went to Haneda airport, on the opposite side of Tokyo bay, to pick up some more pups. It takes a lot of time and money to do these pick ups. The tolls alone cost over 5000 JPY round trip, and with the cost of gasoline, ouch! If any importers wonder why I have to bill you for transportation, now you know! After the 6 hour round trips, I now have 15 dogs.

Somebody save me already. I feel like any day now the dogs are going to set up a revolutionary committee and march on the house. I keep thinking I need to update the blog with pictures of all the dogs, but there's just never enough time! Food bills are rising! I spend 2 hours in the morning walking and feeding the dogs, and then 2 hours again in the evening (plus lunch for puppies...)

I have become a dog poo wrangler. My life now revolves around collecting and judging each dog's feces, trying to keep their stools in optimal condition. My neighbors are shocked when they ask how many dogs I have here, because it's so quiet. I've got my lay out and management system going like clockwork so that no one really whines or barks, and even if they do, it's just one dog at a time. God forbid my perfect system ever breaks down!

So, numbers 14 & 15 of the pack are two Hokkaido Ken pups at 2 months old. The black & tan female is out of Tokachi Morita So lines, the most famous, and it looks like now the only, kennel that is still maintaining a line of working bear dogs. Her parents are working dogs, and her grandsire is Tokachi Morita So's top dog.
The brindle male is out of show lines, but his brindle sire is a working big game dog, run primarily on bear.

These two pups will be going to Yamabushi Kennel in the US, and hopefully become a part of the Hokkaido Association of North America's breeding program.

Black and tan, and brindle, are both very rare colors in the breed today.

The other two white Hokka pups in the video have been here for a while. They're Masa and Piri, on their way to Italy in October.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Canine Hip Dysplasia

As someone who is involved in picking pups for people overseas, looking for the best and healthiest lines to export, and trying to preserve rare dog breeds, health issues like HD are a nightmare. They're not tested for here, so it's often a shot in the dark as to what any given line/dog/pup will be carrying in their genes.

While I'll still be checking all the dogs I breed for whatever genetic issues I think may be issues in the Japanese breeds, this article was an interesting read. It definitely tweaked my perspective a bit regarding HD.

The most important thing for me in breeding dogs is quality of life for those animals, and their owners. If I can keep that as my focus, it will help me better judge what is most important at any given time, and about any given issue.

A young Shikoku male's hips.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kai Ken Registration and Registries

I thought I'd written a post about this before, but since I couldn't find the link, and I'm asked about this quite often, here it is again.

The oldest Kai Ken registry is the Kai Ken Aigokai (Kai Dog Protection Society). The breed was discovered in 1929, and the KKA was formed in 1931. The  Nihon Ken Hozonkai, or 'NIPPO', (Japan Dog Preservation Society) was formed in 1928, and for a time the KKA members joined NIPPO and showed their dogs there.

The break between the two organizations occurred when NIPPO created the breed standards for the 6 (at the time 7) Japanese dog breeds, and divided them into 3 classifications: Large, medium, and small. The Kai showed quite a range in size, with the average being in between the small and medium standards as set forth by NIPPO. This lead to the KKA members leaving NIPPO, and the controversy concerning the Kai standard began.

Today there are over 800 puppies registered with the KKA every year, around 50 registered with NIPPO every year, and just over 100 with the JKC. This makes the KKA by far the largest registry for the breed (it always has been), and thus the driving force behind the breed's direction. Size is not the only difference in the standards put forth by the KKA, NIPPO, and JKC. You  will also see differences in the amount of tongue spotting allowed, the concept of 'urajiro', ear type/size/angles, eye type etc. In NIPPO, the Kai is definitely the black sheep of the Nihon Ken, consistently finishing in the bottom of their class/group.

Now that I've given a little history and background, here is where the registration issues kick in. Having the KKA as the main registry is not a problem for owners and kennels in Japan, as Kai are shown at KKA shows, and pups are registered with them. If necessary, KKA registration can be transferred to NIPPO, where the dog will be given a 'limited registration'. On this limited registration the dog can be shown at NIPPO shows, and litters produced can be registered (again only receiving limited registration). After 3 generations in NIPPO, the Kai produced finally receive full registration.

Now, the Japan Kennel Club (JKC) is the FCI recognized registry for Japan. The JKC gives full recognition to NIPPO pedigrees, but not KKA pedigrees. When someone imports a Kai from Japan, to register it with their local breed club they generally need an FCI recognized pedigree. In the case of a dog from Japan, they will ask for a JKC export pedigree. However, the only dogs the JKC will give these to are JKC registered Kai, or Kai with full NIPPO registrations.

This means that the vast majority of Kai cannot receive JKC export pedigrees, as they and their kennels are registered with the KKA. There are very few NIPPO Kai, so nice pups are almost never available, and JKC Kai are extremely rare as well, with most being produced by puppy mills. I've heard of many health issues in these Kai that are born to extremely small gene pools, so I tend to steer people toward sticking with KKA dogs if at all possible.

The KKA does not allow double registrations of its dogs. You can actually lose your membership if you engage in this type of activity. This is why there are no kennels that register their dogs with all three registries. Well, there was one famous kennel who did this in the past, but they had a huge row with the KKA about it, and were kicked out.

If you are interested in importing a Kai, these issues are something you need to be aware of. While I know one NIPPO kennel producing Kai that I could recommend, they do not have puppies available for export as they are working very hard to increase the number of NIPPO Kai within Japan. Unfortunately there are no JKC Kai kennels that I can recommend at this time. Some individuals overseas have successfully explained the situation with the breed to their local clubs, and gotten the clubs to accept KKA pedigrees.

Here is a translation of the basic KKA standard
And here is a comparison of all the Kai standards

Saturday, August 24, 2013

52 Days Old

Here's the pups at 52 days old. They've been dewormed twice now, and next week should get their first vaccinations. I haven't had time to temperament test them, but they've been getting a huge amount of socialization in. A children's summer camp was held in the neighborhood, and was organized by one of my brothers. Of course, the puppies were a big hit with the kids.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bishome x Unta

At the end of this month there will be at least 1 Shikoku litter born here at my kennel. I have several young females who have been entrusted to me, since their kennels would not have bred them this heat. It takes a lot of time and effort to have multiple litters, and many of the older NIPPO members are finding it difficult to keep up.

The first litter that will be born around the 1st of September is out of Izumo Yano So lines, a pairing of a black sesame male named Unta, and a red sesame female named Bishoume.

Bishoume is the daughter of one of my other Shikoku females, Hime.

Sire: Unta
DOB: 2012/01/21
Registration Number: NIPPO H24-489

Dam: Bishoume
DOB: 2011/01/16
Registration Number: NIPPO H23-523

This is Bishoume's 2nd litter. She produced 5 pups in her last litter, some very nice black sesame pups. She's looking very pregnant at the moment, so we're thinking that there's at least 4 pups. I will probably take her in for an x-ray later this week, or early next week.
Bishoume (aka Bee) has inherited her temperament from Hime. She's very easy going, friendly, and is an extremely easy dog to own.

Here's a short video of Bishoume taken a few days after she arrived here at my kennel.

Friday, August 16, 2013

2 Hokkaido Females

There are two white female pups available that were bred by Uno-san of Howa Sou. I've put up a link to the page with information regarding the pups, and you can see the dam and sire at the bottom of the page.

DOB: 2013/07/16

BBQ in Japan!

Our start up just got a mention in the Japan Times today! Jeremy and I are proud of what we produce, and thrilled to be doing it. Our site's still bareboned at the moment, but stop by for a look, and like our FB page if you can!

Check out the article on the Japan Times

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Free Running Sleddogs

I always get a kick out of this video. It's amazing, but I guess it makes sense that these dogs are working dogs, bred and trained to do just this, run together as a pack and obey commands.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

40 Days Old

The pups are 40 days old now. I took them to the vet the other day for a physical, and they all came back with a clean bill of health. Hearts, bites, joints, overall health, all looked good. Not that Kenzo will ever be used for breeding, but I had his testicles checked as well, and one is already descended. 

In temperament I'm finding 3 very nice pups, with Summer being the more subdued of the three. She is the most wary of the pups when it comes to strange noises etc, but she really loves people she knows and will work to get their attention. Kenzo is a cuddly roly poly, and is a pretty happy go lucky guy. Momo (temporary name since she doesn't have a home yet) is the pup I would pick as a working pup. She's more vocal than the other three, is the most inquisitive, has decent recovery, and is tenacious. I'll probably temperament test the pups for fun next week.

So here's a short video of the pups, Kenzo (male), Summer (female 1- red), and Momo (female 2- sesame).

The pups are big. I'm used to seeing pups at around 3kg at closer to 2 months old, but these roly polys are already there. And, Momo is now bigger than Summer.

A pic of Momo since she's still looking for a home.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer, Summer, Summer!

It's summer, it's hanabi, it's critters, it's rice fields, it's Japan.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dog Food

What do you feed your dogs? I've got mine on Taste of the Wild, rice, and wild game meat (cooked). Keeping my dogs happy and in prime condition has always been tricky for me. A lot of Nihon Ken have sensitive stomachs and allergy issues, and some are just picky eaters. 

Baron is a picky eater, with a sensitive stomach. The summer heat does a number on him every year, and he loses his appetite. During the hunting season, it's nearly impossible to keep weight on him as he burns through more calories than he eats. My Shikoku females have great appetites, and are a lot less picky about what they eat.

I've learned that staying away from foods with corn does keep my dogs' digestive systems happier. I'm not fond of kibble in general, as I'd rather feed my dogs a more natural and less processed diet. Unfortunately there are many times when my schedule does not allow me to cook for the dogs, and switching foods randomly upsets their stomachs a lot. Way back when I had 1-2 dogs, I did pre-cook/freeze food for them, and naturally they loved it.

There are many discussions on the internet regarding optimal canine diets and dog food, so if you haven't given too much thought to your dogs diet other than to try to pick up the most expensive food you can, google it! There are a couple sites that give reviews on a lot of the kibble out there, and here are two that I use 

If you feed your dogs a lot of meat, stick to organs and red meat, and stay away from too much fat. Believe me, it wrecks their stomachs, and you will not enjoy the results.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nature vs. Nurture

The ongoing discussion regarding nature vs. nurture. Read this!

It's timely for me because just today I was talking with a buddy of mine that I'm mentoring, about this subject. My thoughts for today were that while getting a pup from a breeder that socializes and raises their pups in an optimal environment is terrific, could it be that getting a pup from a breeder who kennels their pups with minimal socialization, contact, and training, can allow you to better see a pup's base temperament? I've started to realize that often I get to see a pup's raw genetic temperament more clearly when it comes from a situation where the pup has not experienced very much and had time to create experience based behaviors. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Hokkaido Association of North America

There is now a Hokkaido Ken club in North America. Congratulations to HANA, the Hokkaido Association of North America. Now the one Japanese dog breed without an active group of owners/kennels in North America is the Kishu.

Take a look at the site, and if the breed interests you, get involved! There are some great show and working lines that the club is working on bringing into their preservation program.


30 Days Old

The pups are now out in the front yard during the day with mom. They were really enjoying it yesterday, all the new scents, textures, and sounds.

Female 1 is still looking for a home if anyone is interested. She's the calmer of the females.

Observations at 30 days: The females are more agile than the male. Female 1 is a very red sesame, female 2 (Summer) sesame, the male (Kenzo) black sesame. Summer's nose is almost completely black other than a tiny pink spot in one nostril. The pups' faces are more Kishu-like now it seems, though that may be temporary. The're eating a lot of mom's food, so I've started giving the family an extra bowl. Hime is extremely tolerant of the pups. Ordinarily she does not let anyone near things she is eating or chewing, but the pups are allowed to crawl all over her and steal from her. Baron is not so tolerant. He likes the girls and gives them a bit more leeway, but if pretty short with Kenzo.