EDIT June 4th, 2021: JKC has announced on their website how they will be handling the new change. I've written about it in the following blog post
So this is timely, and will affect all fans of the Nihon Ken overseas who are interested in breeding/showing their dogs.
This past weekend the Japan Kennel Club held a board meeting at which they voted to no longer give full registration to dogs registered with NIPPO, AKIHO, DOKENHO (and some other Japanese registries). This new rule will take effect from January 1st, 2022.
What does this mean? Well, take a walk with me down the rabbit hole. It means that after January 1st, 2022, dogs with NIPPO or AKIHO pedigrees can only receive a 'limited/appendix/wait list' registration with JKC. Dogs with limited registration cannot receive a JKC export pedigree. Any dogs being exported would only have an AKIHO or NIPPO pedigree, and a JKC 'limited/appendix/wait list'.
What is 'limited registration'? Well I believe the exact rules may vary from country to country, but my understanding is that when the dog arrives in a new country, they are still on limited registration. You need special permission to use them for breeding, and you cannot show them (at the very least you get no points from shows). If you get permission from your kennel club to use the dog for breeding, their offspring will also only have limited registration. This continues for three generations. Anyone who knows FCI rules better than I can feel free to correct me.
Since this new rule goes into effect next year, all AKIHO and NIPPO members in Japan could technically become JKC members and register all their dogs with the JKC before December 31st. Starting next year they could register their litters with the JKC, receiving full pedigrees, which can be transferred to JKC export pedigrees. There's quite an uproar behind the scenes here in Japan at the moment about this as you can imagine, and I am probably the first person going public with the information since the JKC hasn't even announced it yet. But, I know a lot of people who this will affect rather personally, so I'm putting it up here on the blog.
In my opinion this is an extremely cynical move. I called the JKC registration department on Monday for clarification, and the reason they gave for this new rule is that the FCI said that it was against their rules for the JKC to be allowing full registration to dogs from other registries (the parents and grandparents all should be registered JKC dogs). The JKC voted to fall in line with the FCI.
In defence of the Nihon Ken, the Japanese breed registries have been maintained by NIPPO/AKIHO/DOKENHO etc for almost 100 years now. They are the PREMIERE registries and protectors of these breeds. They are designated national treasures, and to basically say that their pedigrees will become worthless is a slap in the face, and major disrespect to a part of the nation's culture (our registries are actually regulated by the Agency for Culturaly Affairs in Japan) and heritage. Surely there was some better way to go about this, some way to fall in line with FCI's request without unilaterally alienating all the Nihon Ken registries and their gene pools.
Now there is a window of opportunity (until December 31st, 2021) for all the Nihon Ken and their owners to become part of the JKC. But the majority of preservationists in Japan are elderly, have no idea of what is going on, and could care less about being part of the JKC or registering their dogs with it. They don't breed for profit or commerce, so they will continue doing what they have been doing for decades. This is a beautiful thing, but the fact that many of the Japanese breeds are nearing extinction within Japan, and their only hope lies in overseas preservationists carrying the torch forward... well you can probably understand the problems that will arise from this. For example, even if I were to register all my dogs with the JKC (most of mine are actually already registered with them), any time I want to use a stud male that is not JKC registered, we start at step one again in limited registration. This is not a problem within Japan, since all we care about are NIPPO pedigrees, but for anyone outside Japan who imports a dog on limited registration, that has serious consequences for your breeding program. What if you have a potential new puppy home who is very interested in helping with breed preservation and wants to show their pup?
This whole situation reeks of untoward influences, but I won't spread the gossip here. There is still time to try to find solutions to preserving the Japanese breeds in the best possible way without essentially making access to large parts of the genetic pool unreasonable for preservationists overseas. Hopefully saner heads will prevail. I will probably get a lot of flack for posting this here, but I've thought about it for a few days now, and this needs to be said. To put even more pressure on dwindling gene pools is the last thing you want to be doing to the Nihon Ken.