Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bishome x Unta: 8 Weeks Old

The pups hit 8 weeks at the end of last week. I took a few photos and video, but I've been so busy I haven't had time to put them up till today.

Male 2 'Jiro'

Female 'Kazumi'

Male 1 'Goro'




All the pups have temporary names now, haha. I was at the vet for their health exam and needed to put something down for their paperwork. So, it's Goro, Jiro, Taro, and Kazumi. I'll be coming up with their pedigree names soon.

Taro is the little man of the litter, and he'll be placed in a pet home here in Chiba prefecture. Goro is the largest of the pups, and he'll be going to the East Coast of the US. Jiro's planned home backed out due to housing issues, so he is still available. I thought long and hard about keeping Kazumi, and was getting ready to turn down all the offers for her, but tonight I have decided that she too will be placed. I already have her mother and grandmother here at my kennel, and I plan to base my Shikoku program off of the excellent dogs now being bred by the Chiba NIPPO branch. I have Hime and Bishome from Izumo Yano Sou as outcross females, and will probably be keeping a female out of one of the litters born in Chiba this winter.

I've had a few scares over the last few days. I was filming the pups and snapping these pictures when a large hawk started making low passes over us. It looks like he's a good distance away in the video, but believe me he was only around 15-20 feet up and kept maneuvering toward the pups. I had to continue to get in his way, and try to keep 4 playing Shikoku pups to stay close. He finally gave up after around 5 minutes of this dance. The hawks are always around, but I've never felt threatened by them. They're called 'Tonbi' and their diet mostly consists of ocean fish and scavenging. It definitely worries me a bit since the pups are out in the run in front of the house quite often.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Health Issues in the Shikoku Ken

I've been working on a much larger compendium of the health issues seen in all the Japanese breeds, but since that is turning into a small book, I'll start with health problems that I have personally seen in the Shikoku.

Panosteitis (possibly other joint & pain related issues as well)
Hip Dysplasia
Split or abnormal heats
Luxating Patella
Unknown neural disorder (fatal)
Male Infertility

I have listed the issues I have seen, in the order of frequency that I have seen them. Hip dysplasia may be out of place on the list. The frequency may be more related to the fact that it is tested for in most all of the Shikoku outside of Japan.

A young Shikoku diagnosed with HD

Ever since I became interested in the Shikoku, I have seen and heard of a very nebulous issue that here in Japan they call 神経痛 'Shinkeitsuu' which basically translates to 'nerve pain'. It is usually seen in dogs that are just hitting their growth spurt, and continues on till they are around two years old. In some dogs however, it lasts for life. Dogs affected start limping, which affects some in only one leg, but in many it can pop up in any leg at any time. The dog often heals after a few weeks, but after a bit of strenuous activity, will start limping again.

A few dogs have now been tested, and have come back with a diagnosis of Panosteitis. Due to the variance in symptoms in dogs said to have shinkeitsuu, it is possible that not all these dogs have Pano. There may be other issues as well. This shinkeitsuu however, is the most common problem I have seen in the breed. Anecdotal evidence points toward it being more prevalent in certain lines than others, so it may be hereditary. In all but one case, the affected dogs I've seen were male.

A young Shikoku diagnosed with panosteitis

Split or abnormal heats seem to be fairly common in the breed, though this does not always seem to lead to infertility, and I have heard of females that grow out of it. 

I have seen some allergies in the breed, most seem to be seasonal, though some have been food related.

Entropion, or inverted eyelashes, is something I have seen a couple of times. LP, male infertility, and Pyometra I have also only seen a few times.

A previously unknown nerve disorder affected some pups out of a litter in Canada which was discussed at length in this thread on the Nihon Ken Forum I have seen two dogs here in Japan that may have suffered from the same disorder. Unfortunately both have passed away which does not allow me to gather any data from these dogs.

As I've mentioned before on my blog, there is no genetic testing being done on the breed here in Japan, so importing has its risks. Kennels and owners in Europe and North America are much further ahead in getting diagnosis and treatment for dogs that are affected by illness, and in planning their breedings accordingly. However because their dogs are only a few generations removed from the gene pool in Japan, kennels will most likely only have tested 1 or 2 generations of their dogs. Issues may become more visible in the future. In Japan, they are not tested for, and dogs with some of the above conditions may still be used for breeding.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Matrix Puppies

Love @devinsupertramp's work. Watch his videos in 1080p or higher. Experience the world in all its brilliance and color.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals (UPDATE)

To anyone interested in purchasing a dog from a kennel in Japan, now or in the future, this update concerns you.

As of September 1st, 2013, the law governing the welfare and management of animals has had some bylaws added to it. While there are several very good points covered by the new regulations, there is one stickler that will affect you if you are looking to import.

In Japan, all commercial kennels (anyone selling dogs) are required to register with, and receive a permit from the local authorities in order to do business. This includes pet shops, breeders, pet hotels etc. The new bylaw that will affect imports, requires that the sale of a dog by commercial kennels must involve a face to face transaction, in which the seller verbally explains certain required information regarding the dog's breed and care, to the buyer. The information must also be in writing, and the seller must receive the buyer's signature stating that they have received the verbal explanation regarding the dog they are buying.

So, in order to abide by the law, every point of sale of a dog must be conducted face to face. This means you cannot have pictures sent to you, agree to buy the dog, and have it shipped over. Either you will need to come to Japan to meet the seller face to face, or the seller will have to take the dog to you and transfer ownership face to face.

The reality is that many of the NIPPO kennels are not registered, so are already conducting their business outside of the law. I also imagine that many of the kennels will continue to ship pups overseas without ever meeting the buyers. However, this is now the law of the land, and I've already heard of some people overseas being told that they will need to come to Japan to pick up dogs from now on.

This law does not affect me very much, since I am licensed, and as such can have dogs sent to me from other licensed kennels without having to do the face to face meeting (this is an exception to the rule for people with animal management licenses). The majority of the dogs I ship overseas are accompanied by me, or their new owners. But for anyone that was hoping to have a dog shipped to them unaccompanied (as cargo), from now on this will not be possible.

Already this past week I have had a couple from Finland fly over to pick up a pup, and a couple from the US as well. After all, it's cheaper than shipping the pup as cargo, and you get a bit of travel!

I see a lot more travel in my future... 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


If you're looking for hand crafted collars, leashes, and leads for showing your Nihon Ken, 'Adachiya' is the place for you. Located in Tokyo's famous Asakusa, it's been around since 1885. Adachiya often has a stall at the NIPPO national, but most of their products are made to order.http://www.asakusa-nakamise.jp/shop-4/adachiya/index.html
Adachiya has a 1 month waiting list for collars at the moment. 

UPDATE 2014/4/17: ADACHIYA IS NOW ACCEPTING ORDERS FROM OVERSEAS AT THIS EMAIL ADDRESS (in English or Japanese only!) adachiya@jcom.home.ne.jp

Now if you're looking for leashes and collars for Shiba (and a small selection for the medium size breeds too) then look at this site http://laed.e-shibainu.com/ It's much cheaper, as the gear is not hand crafted.
#################EDIT: E-shiba does not ship overseas. They also do NOT have English speaking staff, so please do not mail them or call them unless you speak Japanese. People continue to try to contact them directly after finding this information on my blog, and if this persists I will have to remove these type of postings.#####################

However, for Akita and Tosa collars, and quality original items, Adachiya is the place.

A Tosa collar for 38,850 JPY

Collar with chrysanthemum ring stud for a medium sized Nihon Ken.

The same design, but in gold or silver for Akita. This is what you want for show right here. Size 51 is for females 10,080 JPY, and size 57 for males 11,760 JPY. Size 54 is an in between size for large females, or smaller males. There is also a size 60 for large males.

Akita show leashes in gold, silver, and a gold/silver combination. Size 3 for males 23,600 JPY. Size 4 for females is 19,680 JPY. Size 5 is 15,750 JPY. They also make a cotton version in ordinary colors like black, red etc, for @5000-6000 JPY

How to get there

The closest station is the subway Asakusa station. You can walk here to Adachiya in around 5 minutes. The shop is located along the walking road leading to the temple at Asakusa. If you start from the beginning of the walking road where the big red gate is

Walk around 200 yards toward the temple and Adachiya is on the left. Here's the google maps location I snagged today http://goo.gl/maps/AKxv7
Address: 1-31-3 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3844-1643

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I had a discussion about this with a friend of mine who was saying that designer breeds are healthier because of a bigger gene pool. While mixing two unrelated breeds together dogs give them a larger gene pool, it does not automatically equal healthier dogs. I had to think about this issue when breeding my Shikoku x Kishu, but then again, these dogs are a 1 generation and done deal. They're not going back into either the Shikoku or Kishu gene pools.

I'm all for genetic diversity and healthier dogs. I've had this conversation about introducing outcrosses to the Japanese breeds, with many people, and while I would be stoned for doing it openly here in Japan (mind you the breeds have been mixed here behind closed doors before), I have no problem with the concept. Perhaps this is because I am very involved in hunting, and have a great interest in preserving working lines. I am one of very few hunters left in Japan who still hunt big game using purebred Nihon Ken. Almost all of the other serious big game hunters (not the I-walk-the-mountains-with-my-dog-and-sometimes-it-chases-stuff type of weekend hunters) I know use 'Ji-inu' which translates to 'local dog'. These are based off hunting lines that were local to different areas of Japan, but they were and are, evolving breeds. They are selected for function, not form. The Nihon Ken were originally born of these hunting dogs that were being bred by hunters in mountain villages.

From the book 住古日本犬写真集

All the Japanese breeds were born from a small handful of dogs, so I'm pretty sure (guessing here!) that the genetic diversity in all the breeds is fairly low. There are health issues in all purebred dogs, and of the Japanese dog breeds, for some reason the Akita seems to stick out like a sore thumb when it comes to health issues. There was a discussion regarding outcrossing on the Nihon Ken Forum in this thread http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/8823/pedagree-dogs-exposed-3-years-on#Item_7
I'm hoping that before it comes to out crossing to a different breed, that enough research has been done, and data collected, to show that it is actually necessary (or when a genetic issue is so entrenched in the breed that an outcross is the only way out, ie the Dalmatian http://www.dalmatianheritage.com/about/nash_research.htm).

In the case of the Japanese Akita, I hear that issues such as hip dysplasia, and sebacious adenitis (among other issues), are seriously impacting the breed. However I have to add to this that most of what I have heard on this issue is from kennels and owners in Europe. This is not to say that the breed is healthier here, because there is just no data on the dogs in Japan, and I am not involved enough in the breed to have any sort of overview. It seems to me however, that there are a very small number of kennels in Japan that have exported a very high number of dogs overseas. There could still be new blood to help fix issues, without something so drastic as out crossing to another breed. To my knowledge there are over a thousand more Akita pups born in Japan than any of the medium size breeds (@1200 Kai, @1200 Hokkaido, @700 Kishu, @300 Shikoku).

If I were not already up to my neck in the medium sized breeds I'd branch out to try and help with the Akita, but unfortunately my time and finances are already maxed out.

I think we kennels and breeders are by nature a conservative lot, so emotions can get pretty heated when talking about the future of our beloved breeds. Let's try and keep things positive, and move in directions with clear goals, and strong facts to back up the decisions we make in our breeding programs.

Ahhhh there's always so much more to learn, and not enough time. I really need to get around to learning about genetics. Since I never went to school, I'm self taught in pretty much everything I know, and biology is a huge gaping whopper of a hole in the encyclopedia of my brain.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bishome x Unta: 40 Days Old

Snapped some pictures today while playing with the pups. They're sweet little heaps of fun. Not much naughtiness out of them yet other than a bit of whining when they want to come out to play.

Mighty Mouse - he's got a home picked out

Female and Male 2

Female - to be determined

Male 2 - to be determined

Male 1 - to be determined


The rest of the year is going to be a whirlwind. My schedule is so full that I think it might pop.
I've got 3 Hokka puppies arriving on Sunday. That should be exciting.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bishome x Unta: 35 days Old

So the pups hit 35 days over the weekend. They're all growing well, and quickly. I'm amazed at how much they visibly change by the day.

On Sunday the NIPPO Chiba regional was held, so I took the pups and Bishome with me to show the rest of the Chiba branch members and get their input. Of course it was great for the pups to experience the car ride, and all the smells/sounds/noises/sights at the tenrankai (show).

Bishome gets carsick on even the shortest of trips, but the pups seemed to be okay. I'll try to keep it this way with lots of short fun trips in the car while they are here.

Since I was operating on 3 hours of sleep, and showing dogs, I didn't have much time or energy to run around and take pictures. The only ones I took were of this male, Korei Go. He placed 2nd in the adult male group. He's owned by a friend of mine, and was used as stud for a litter that should be born soon.

I took third place in the adolescent male category, with a black & tan male named Kokurou Go taking 1st. Chacha's sisters were in attendance of course, with Meme Go taking first place again, and Nanahime Go taking 2nd behind her.

As word spread that I had brought a litter of pups, people gathered around the truck, and soon there were around 15 of us all looking at them. I had requests from kennels for every one of the pups, but had to tell them that I already have some reservations, and that I'd be keeping the pick pup. I had a few NIPPO judges drop by to weigh in, a NIPPO board member, and the head of NIPPO HQ as well. We talked about ear size, and how the Shikoku's ears have gotten smaller and thinner, as in the old days their ears didn't go up till they were several months old. Of course this evolved into a discussion about diet and genetics, as due to the changes there, the Japanese have changed as well. We are now a larger lot, and there are many visible changes to how we mature as well. Could this have something to do with how fast puppy ears go up nowadays? Possibly.

Most everyone agreed on the female being the pick, but on the males opinion was divided. Most favored the red sesame male, but there were a few (who's opinions I value very highly) that saw something in the black sesame male. So, end result is that I will be taking the pups over to be looked at again at around 45 days old.

The good news is that seeing them all out in an unfamiliar environment, and being handled by strangers, the pups all held up very well. I thought the black sesame male seemed a little soft in temperament, but he was absolutely fine out there. There was also a couple that came to watch the tenrankai, and they were looking for a Shikoku pup. We were introduced, and they picked the little man of the litter, so he now has a home here in Chiba prefecture.

I need to take more videos with my GoPro. The quality is heaps higher than what I get with my iPhone, it just takes more work to get the gear out, get the settings going, and then to edit later. iPhone quality just doesn't really cut it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Something Look Different?

Played around with the look of the blog. It just seemed a bit too, well, black before. Let's see how long this design lasts.

I definitely had more important things to be doing this evening, but once I get into a creative zone, I'm pretty much stuck there till I feel done. Oh well, work will be waiting for me tomorrow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Black & Tan in the Shikoku

I'm not quite sure how many times I've had to say this, but here I am saying it again: Black and Tan is allowed according to the NIPPO and JKC standards, and it is shown and used for breeding. It is not a fault.

This misconception can be attributed to the fact that the coloration was left out of the FCI Shikoku standard (a quick search for 'fci shikoku standard' will let you download it in its whopping totality). Why it was left out of the FCI standard, well god only knows. I have copied and pasted the portion in question below. How fitting that it sits above the 'size' standard which incorrectly lists Shikoku females at 46cm. I mean I can understand there being errors in translation which lead to a color being left out, but how can you get a number wrong? All the medium size breeds have the same standard in NIPPO, males at 52cm, females at 49cm.


HAIR : Outer coat rather harsh and straight, undercoat soft and dense. The hair on the tail is rather long.

COLOUR : Sesame, black sesame and red sesame.
Definition of the colour sesame :
Sesame : Equal mixture of white and black hairs.
Black sesame : More black than white hairs.
Red sesame : Ground colour of hair red, mixture with black hairs.

Height at withers : Dogs 52 cm.
Bitches 46 cm.

There is a tolerance of + 3 cm. 

It can't even be said that the error was due to the JKC standard being off, because right here http://www.jkc.or.jp/modules/worlddogs/entry.php?entryID=106&categoryID=5 it has sesame, red, and black and tan, in the JKC standard (and of course the sizes are correct).

Forgive me while I catch my breath. I get worked up about this. I don't know how a worldwide governing body like the FCI can do such a horrible job at maintaining hugely important details of a breed's standard. The FCI was contacted about this, and many other errors in the standards for the Japanese breeds, but the reply I got was that the JKC needs to contact them to let them know of the errors. The JKC is too busy trying to write up proper standards for the Japanese breeds (since they have none), and told me that they would contact the FCI with the new/proper standards once they are finished with them.

I'll leave room here to say that I have no idea who translated the standard for the FCI, it could very well have been the JKC that did the botch job, and sent the data to them.

Anyway, all you have is my word that black and tan is allowed in Japan, and shown. Oh wait, you could also trust the two renowned NIPPO judges who placed a b/t adolescent male in 1st place yesterday at the NIPPO Chiba regional (over me in 3rd with a sesame male). Or you could mention to the kennel that placed 4th in the adult male category with a b/t male, that they shouldn't be showing him.

Black and tan is a difficult color to show in the Japanese breeds, as the colors and markings have to be correct, and that's not an easy thing to produce. This makes them less popular with show kennels, but many females are kept as breeding bitches since darker dogs tend to have thicker guard hairs (and some would say it produces better hues in offspring).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Game Cam

Set it up near the house again a few weeks ago and went out with Baron to pick it up this afternoon after work.

Looks like the female is still there from last year, and she's got one survivor from last year with her. The rest of her boarlets were taken in February in the numerous traps set near the fields that the cam was set up behind.

And we got a picture of a bald Sasquatch as well!

Got back to the truck just as it got dark, and realized I had dropped my keys somewhere. Somehow I managed to track them down in the dark, in a marsh, with my little headlamp. Lucky me.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Healthy Weight

I see a lot of overweight pets. In fact most of the dogs that I see are overweight. It doesn't bother me too much, but when some ignoramus comes along that freaks out about my dogs' weight, I just want to clobber them. My dogs are at working weight, especially during the hunting season, and they definitely look thin and muscly compared to most dogs out there.

Here's a great post on the subject that includes a useful method for checking if your dog is over or under weight.


Even in the show world, I notice that a lot of the NK overseas are shown at weights that would draw a comment or two from the judge in a NIPPO ring. These are hunting breeds, and should show athleticism, agility, and strong but light movement.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hanaichihime Go

Hana is another female that we bred recently. She came into heat, and was not going to be bred this heat, but since a lot of the other matings this season are a little suspect as to whether they went well, we went ahead and bred her to Teruhide.

Teruhide is a very nice stud male as I mentioned in my last post. He throws very good puppies, and here's his pedigree http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63337

Hana was very promising as a pup and young dog, but her 1 flaw is that her earset is slightly off. We've kept her as a breeding bitch, and she's produced some nice pups in the past, like these.

Chacha Go

Chacha is out of a repeat breeding of Teruhide Go and Sekihoume Go, the same breeding that produced this terrific male, Kotofusa Go. Here's Chacha's pedigree http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63467

The first breeding produced some excellent pups, and the second did as well. There were 3 females and 1 male in the second litter. All are doing very well in the ring. The three sisters are all owned by various members of the Chiba NIPPO branch, and so we go up against each other quite often. At the national last year one of the females took 1st in class, and I showed Chacha to 5th. The other female, and the lone male, have taken first in class at regionals. All in all, this was a terrific pairing.

Chacha was bred this heat to Kuromasa Go, an amazing stud from Shikoku. Fingers crossed that we get some pups, as it was a bit of an irregular heat.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I got up and walked/fed the dogs. I have an Akita pup here for a change, but that's temporary, as she will be going to Spain tomorrow morning. She's a beautiful girl, with an excellent temperament. I'll say it again, I love her temperament. She was sent up here from Kumamoto, and her sire is out of Aso Inoue Sou.

After everything at home was settled, Baron and I jumped in the truck to head out to Kamogawa to rendezvous with Kondo-san and his Kishu. His GPS collar broke a while back, so I had ordered a new one for him. We had a nice chat in the mountains, and took the dogs for a run.

There's another typhoon headed this way, so there were some great swells all along the coast. I've got way too many hobbies, and hunting puts food on the table, so surfing will have to wait. I had a nice bit of Boshu miso ramen at Bakin, a great little noodle place on the way home.

Then Baron and I made our way home via the beach, picking out some nice driftwood logs to make some furniture. Got home and took care of a small boar that I trapped yesterday, walked and fed the dogs again, played with the Shikoku pups, got some work in, took the Hokka pups out for some socialization to the bank and hardware store, and now here we are.

I'm throwing together a miso nabe for dinner featuring Japanese lobster & crabs that we caught the other night, throwing in some local pork and vegetables.... will knock back a few beers, and get ready to head out to the airport at 5am tomorrow. Geez, that means a 3am wake up.