Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Harajuku Happy Times

Someone posted this on FB, and since I love the song, I watched it. Got a kick out of seeing some of my friends in the video. HAPPY!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kotofusa x Tochimitsuhime

So, it looks like after 2 years in my care, I'll be getting my first Shikoku litter out of Hime (Tochimitsuhime Go). She was given to me as a gift by Mr.Yano a few years ago, and she spent some time at Gotenyama Kennel while I was living in Tokyo, then moved back with me at the end of April last year.

It's funny, but she just finished blowing her coat a bit ago, and then has gotten progressively darker since. Anyway, she was bred to Kotofusa Go at the end of February, and a vet check a few weeks ago confirmed that there are indeed a few pups in there. The litter should arrive around the 2nd of May.

I'm pretty excited since this is the first Shikoku litter that I actually had to plan, watch for her heat to start, and then breed on the right days! Thanks to my mentor Mr.Iwahori for patiently putting up with 4 days/attempts at breeding (and numerous calls and texts). They only tied once, but it looks like that was all it took.

We're not sure what we'll get out of this litter in type/coloration since this is mostly an out crossing. What I'm hoping to do is to get some of the great structure and bone out of Kotofusa's side, and maybe sneak in some better red as well. From Hime's side I'd like to keep the thick coat and beautiful faces that come with the Yano line dogs. I've got a picture in my mind of what I'm looking for, and an inkling that this pairing might give me a nice male. If I see one that fits the picture I've got in my head, I'll probably hold onto him.

Hime's doing well, looking very pregnant, and not wanting to go very far from the house now. Walks are not so fun when you're waddling around I guess. Her daughter Bishome also looks like she's carrying, but I'll have to take her to the vet to confirm. She'd be due around the 20th of May.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

January in Japan

January in Japan from Scott Gold on Vimeo.

This video is beautiful, and I feel it captures the magic and beauty of Japan. Give it a look!

The Japanese Connection

Oh that holy grail for Nihon Ken lovers outside of Japan, the 'contact'. The person who will make your dreams of owning a Nihon Ken come true. With a bit of experience underneath my belt in this department, and fueled by a bit of frustration at the bad choices people make, I want to impart some of my knowledge gained from experience.

Firstly, in Japan, and especially in the dog world, who you know, and how you know them, is all important. You'll want an introduction if at all possible, as this starts your relationship with a kennel on a much better footing than if you are randomly mailing or calling kennels.

Secondly, internet searches are not the way to find the best dogs and kennels. In fact, this is often one of the worst ways to try to find a Nihon Ken. The Nihon Ken clubs (NIPPO, AKIHO, KKA, HKH etc) are primarily made up of amateurs, and most of the most influential and knowledgeable members are older and do not use the internet. They do not know how, and do not care to learn. The majority of kennels or persons with websites can be broken down into two categories: kennels who are breeding for profit (some better than others, but many are not much better than puppy mills), and individuals who are internet savvy with blogs to chronicle their life with their pet (more often than not they do not have very much knowledge about the breeds).

I'm not saying that you won't find quality dogs by randomly mailing every Japanese person with a Nihon Ken in their Facebook pictures, or a website. I'm saying that you're opening yourself up to a huge amount of risk. If you are new to the breed and probably should not be picking out dogs yourself yet anyway (for show or breeding) then it is even more important to make a connection with someone who can act as your mentor and give you advice regarding which dogs to purchase and breed. Time and time again I see pictures, hear stories, or see firsthand, the poor quality of many dogs that have been sent overseas by unscrupulous sellers. Dogs with obvious faults have been exported for large amounts of money, and it pains me to see this.

If you want to import good dogs, be patient, and do your due diligence. If you can't speak Japanese, find someone that can speak it fluently. Believe me, this will save you endless amounts of frustration. If your English is poor, don't try to use Google translate to communicate in English with a kennel in Japan that also does not speak English, and is using Google translate to communicate back (believe me I see a lot of this nowadays, and it's causing huge problems). Technology is a wonderful thing, but the most important thing is still face to face personal relationships. Don't try to take short cuts or rush to import. This is a sure fire way to fail.

And some advice from an AKIHO kennel I was speaking with yesterday, find someone to translate for you that knows the Nihon Ken, or at least dogs, otherwise very important points can be lost in translation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Just Chilling

So I had some friends over, and we randomly decided to have a 'yakiniku' and 'nabe' dinner. All the ingredients for a good time were present, and I snapped a video so everyone can see what dinner time here looks like.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wandering Paris

Just over a week ago I flew to Paris to deliver a Kai pup. She's a very nice little girl, and went to live with her new family. They already own a Kai male, so hopefully he can show her the ropes, and she'll settle in well. 

This was again, a very short trip. I always wish I could stay overseas longer, but the dogs and work are waiting for me at home.

I had some time to wander around Paris, and tried to capture some of the magic of the city.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Asia Pacific FCI Tokyo Dog Show 2014

I do attend JKC shows every once in a while. It's a great chance to see other breeds, as well as see what's cooking among the Nihon Ken JKC fanciers. This year I ran into some friends showing their Akita, and I was able to cheer on some friends who had brought their Japanese Terriers all the way from Europe for this show.

One of the aspects of the show that I was quite happy to see was a free class for novice handlers (I'm in that category).

Halfway through the show a cookie monster showed up and ate all the dogs, leaving fur and screaming owners in its wake.
Here are the terriers. They took 1st place male/female for the breed.

And the group 3 bitches... watch for the terrier.
 And here they are after the show. They do quite well off leash.

Wandering St.Petersburg

Yes, more travel. At the beginning of April I flew a Kishu pup over to St.Petersburg, Russia. I gave up spring and cherry blossoms, for -3 celsius weather (for a few days anyway). I fly through Moscow quite often, so am used to the feel of things, but actually getting out of the airport and trying to make my way around a city with my rusty Russian was exciting.

The architecture in St.Petersburg is quite impressive, and the city had a very surreal feel to it. I enjoyed my stay, and a couple of Russian meals, before I had to hightail it back to Japan to attend a friend's wedding.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

More Yushoku Kishu Pictures

Female 1

 Female 2

 The male

Wandering Italy

So back in the middle of March I flew to Italy again, with a Shiba male in tow. It was great to visit with some of my friends there, experience an Italian dog show, and enjoy another home cooked Italian meal. I also got to see Kazumi Go, a black sesame Shikoku pup that was born at my kennel last year. She was out of coat, and in that lanky adolescent phase, but I was happy to see that she's doing well in a terrific home. I also got to see two Hokkaido pups that I sent over to Italy last year. They're both doing well in show, and have turned out to be terrific dogs.

 The last day of my trip, I had a few hours to wander Rome as I am wont to do. I love wandering around old cities when I travel. All you need is a few bucks in pocket for a random cup of coffee somewhere, and a good pair of shoes.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Yushoku Kishu Pups

I got a call from my friends that the planned home for the male out of this litter backed out, so there is now a male available as well.

Female 1

Female 2

Male 1

If you're interested in any of the pups, hit me up at my email
These are the parents.

Friday, April 11, 2014


'Sae' has several meanings. It can mean clear, bright, sharp, pure, vibrant etc. But one can often hear this word spoken among NIPPO members in regard to a dog's coat color.

Coat colors in the Nihon Ken should carry rich and vibrant hues, so dull colors (ie grey), and faded colors need to be bred away from. You can often hear a mumble that a certain dog is very nice, but in regards to the coat, 'Sae ga nai' (it lacks sae).

Two of the dogs here at my kennel are a fairly good example of this, so here's a pic.

That's Kunitaka Go, a red Shikoku male on the right, and Bishome Go, a sesame female on the left. Notice the difference in the hue and vibrance of the coat in these two dogs? They don't make red Shikoku like this anymore! Even sesame and black sesame Shikoku should have vibrant reds in their coat. I often see black sesame Shikoku with little to no red in their coat, but this is something that needs to be bred away from. I know overseas fanciers find a wolf-like black/grey/white type coat attractive, but this is a Shikoku, not a wolf.

This rule regarding vibrant hues in the NK coat rings true for all the breeds. For example, the brindling in the Kai should be black and red, not black and grey, or black and yellow.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Good Morning! (now with more dogs)

So here's good morning greetings with 8 of the dogs. Any more out at the same time, and I'd be asking for trouble in a confined space like this. This is the puppy play area just outside my dining room. All the pups are let out of their crates in the morning, and we march out here to get chill and greet for a bit.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hunting Season 2013: Day 20

It's been over a month now since the season ended on February 15th. After being stuck out in the snow overnight, I got home at 8:00, walked and fed the dogs, and slept the sleep of the dead. For four hours. It was the last day of our short 3 month season, and the matter of the injured boar was still gnawing at my conscience.

Baron and I headed out.

Rain had fallen after the snow, leaving the southern tip of the Boso peninsula looking as if it had never snowed at all. We had no trouble getting to our spot, and in we went. A few minutes in Baron gave me the look, moved forward to a large fallen tree, and began baying. 10 meters was all that separated us, but the boar was on the other side of the uprooted bottom end. I tried to sneak around for a shot, but getting through the underbrush took too long, and the boar bolted out the back and into bamboo. I consoled myself that this was not the boar I was looking for anyway.

Further on, perhaps 20 minutes, and Baron moved forward and away. He ran a circular pattern, and then dropped over to the right hand side of the ridge we were on. There was heavy bamboo cover up there. He doubled back on his track, and ran into me as I was making my way to him. Again, he moved back to his spot above a steep slope covered in bamboo. Baron was peering below him, and letting out a low growl. Funny thing was, I could hear the strangest growl replying. I could hardly believe my eyes when I got an inch behind Baron to see what he was looking at, and saw a large boar not 10 meters below. I've never heard a boar growl like that before. It was a low guttural sound mixed with some clicking of his tusks. His bristly mane was on end, and I could make out the white patches on his face, for a moment I looked directly into his eyes.

He was definitely not feeling threatened by Baron at all, and basically seemed to be telling him to take a hike. The bamboo was so thick, that the only spot with a clear view to the boar was directly over Baron, and the slope was so steep that Baron was actually in the way of the shot. I couldn't get him to move, so finally got into awkward form sprawled over him, lined up the sights for a head shot, and pulled the trigger. I expected to see the boar roll immediately, but it disappeared. I swear, every time I miss a shot like that, it's as if the animal is instantly just gone. The only thing that let me know it had been there was the sound of a porcine freight train crashing downhill. I really don't know how I miss shots like this. My laser sight's battery had died, and I hadn't picked up a replacement. Rue.

Baron took off after it, but came back pretty quickly. I had followed for a few hundred meters, but there was no blood trail, and the boar's track was solid. Somehow I missed. Again, I told myself I was looking for a different boar.

Baron and I hunted the rest of the mountain looking for her. We hunted the low areas, and checked all the usual spots, but there was no sign of her or the herd. The sun came and went, we crawled out of the mountain through some nasty brambles and swamp, and the season was over. 20 trips, 11 boar.

My body certainly felt the wear from 3 months of pushing it physically in the mountains, coupled with a lot of plane rides and jet lag. It was an extremely busy season work wise, but it had been a good one. I called the hospital and made an appointment for the next day to have my knees looked at. Year of football, basketball, surfing, snowboarding, hockey, and hunting had taken their toll, and I could hear the fiddler coming to collect.