Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Nihon Ken Hozonkai

The Nihon Ken Hozonkai 日本犬保存会(which translated means The Japanese Dog Preservation Society) was founded in 1928 to classify and preserve the aboriginal dogs of Japan. As contact with the West had grown, foreign dogs in Japan had increased, and they interbred with the free ranging local dogs. The founding of the Nihon Ken Hozonkai (referred to as NIPPO) saved the native dogs from extinction.

Today, as at its founding, NIPPO's goal is preservation of the 6 (originally 7) native breeds. These 6 breeds are the Shiba, Kai, Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kishu, and Akita. Of the 6 breeds, NIPPO is the default governing club for 3, the Shiba, Shikoku, and Kishu. The other three breeds can be registered and shown with NIPPO, but are mostly not. The Kai, Hokkaido, and Akita have their own breed clubs. The reason for this is mostly disagreements with NIPPO over the standard governing the Nihon Ken.

Here is NIPPO's website:

TEL: 03-3291-6035

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Awa Satsukihime Go: 52 Days

In between more spring showers, I snapped some pics of Goji (Satsukihime aka Godzilla). You can see she's of a different type from Seki, but quite stunning nonetheless. She's got nice thick ears that I really like.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Awa Sekiryuume Go: 51 days

In between spring showers, I let the pups out and snapped a few pictures. Seki's ears just stood up today, and all of a sudden she's looking rather stunning. She's been my number 2 pick out of the KotofusaxTochimitsuhime litter, but if I were to pick today, she'd be my first pick.

The Japan Kennel Club

Here is the website for the Japan Kennel Club (JKC), the FCI recognized registry for Japan.
The phone number for the JKC: +81-3-3251-1651
Fax: +81-3-3251-1615

The JKC is the FCI recognized and largest canine registry for dogs in Japan. However when it comes to the Japanese breeds, very few are shown in the JKC system. The Nihon Ken have their own registries that always have been and continue to be the premier registries for the 6 aboriginal breeds. NIPPO (Nihon Ken Hozonkai or Japanese Dog Preservation Society) registers all 6 breeds, but is the main registry for the Shikoku, Kishu, and Shiba. AKIHO (Akita Inu Hozonkai or Akita Dog Preservation Society) is the main registry for the Akita. The Hokkaido is registered with DOKENHO (Hokkaido Ken Hozonkai) or DOKENKYO (Hokkaido Ken Kyokai), and the Kai is registered with the Kai Ken Aigokai (Kai Dog Protection Society). The largest number of Nihon Ken are registered and shown in these clubs, so the competition is high, the judges are breed specific with lifetimes of experience, and so the overall quality of the dogs is second to none.

If you import a Nihon Ken from Japan, they may be eligible to receive a JKC export pedigree. Due to new JKC rules that took effect from January 1st 2022 however, new transfers from Nihon Ken registries are only eligible to receive JKC Appendix Pedigrees.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kunitaka x Bishoume: 35 Days

Sesame Female

 Red Female

Sesame Male

Not sure how they'll turn out. They're still nice, but there's a few quirks in my opinion. Final judgement will be passed in around 2 weeks.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My Story

Someone sent me an email asking about how I came to be where I'm at now, and if I had any advice for someone interested in getting involved with the Japanese breeds. I was inspired to write a blog post about it.

I got to this point in time through following my passions. I'm the type of person who goes into fits at having to hunker down for a 9-5, and I figure 'work' takes up the majority of a person's life, so I'm going to choose mine carefully. I've found that letting my desire to enjoy what I'm doing, coupled with hard work and a willingness to take risks, has worked for me. I've had the opportunity to work with celebrities, run massive music festivals, work for international fashion brands, travel the world for free, direct film projects, do running translation on the radio, TV, medical translation, and broker huge international business contracts. And through all this I've met so many amazing people. When people ask me what I do for a living, I'm stumped. I do a lot of things. Really. And it would probably make your head spin if I started listing everything.

Breeding and exporting Nihon Ken was not something that I planned to do, and definitely not as a business. It still is not a business for me, it's an extension of who I am, and how I live my life. I've always tried to live as ethically and sustainably as possible, and that lead me to try out being a vegetarian for a while, but I had issues with that (another long conversation). I figured if I was going to eat meat (and plant matter too) I wanted it to be from an ethical, sustainable source. That lead me to hunting. I've always loved dogs, and already owned some terriers. Being in Japan I figured that the Japanese breeds were best suited to the terrain here, and since I get really immersed in everything I do, I started doing a lot of research and study on them. This lead to me realizing that there was a lot of misinformation online regarding the Japanese breeds, and in the interest of sharing what I was experiencing and learning, I started blogging. I realized I was in a special place being bilingual, and in Japan with direct access to all the people and dogs that I would need to meet. Because there was no one in my position, I knew I could make a big difference in the Nihon Ken globally.

My focus has been to get correct information out there. I put a lot of work into researching the things I say on my blog. I've spent years, and a lot of finances to drive long distances to meet people and see dogs. The amount of my life that I've poured into this passion boggles my mind sometimes. Somewhere along the way I started getting a lot of requests to help find dogs to send overseas. For the first few years I turned most of them down, and would only send a few dogs to friends. I always lost money on these projects. Finally one of my breeder mentors told me that if I truly wanted to make a difference in the prservation of the Japanese breeds here in Japan and overseas, I'd need to do it in a sustainable manner. I was getting slowed down by the fact that paying the bills would take precedence over my dogs, hunting, and sending dogs overseas. I was managing some rather large projects that would have me living out of hotels for months on end, away from my dogs. You can see some big blank spots in my blogging. That's what was going on.

I decided to make a change to be able to live the lifestyle I really wanted, to be in the mountains in Japan with my dogs. It took a few years of slogging it out in Tokyo to make it a reality, but now I've been out here for a year and a half and it's been terrific. I've been renovating an old cabin, building kennels, working with my dogs, and exporting a lot of dogs. I still work on other projects at times, but my life now revolves around my home and dogs. It doesn't get boring, as I get to travel a lot when I ship dogs overseas, and I've made some great friends all over the globe. My focus now is to live more sustainably, to help preserve and better the Japanese breeds, to improve the quality of the breeds overseas, and to learn and share what I've learned with everyone.

My advice to anyone who is really passionate about the Japanese breeds is to always keep an open mind, be forever open to learning, meet as many people and dogs as you can, have confidence in yourself and what you've learned, but be willing to be proven wrong and move on. There is so much petty arguing and rivalry in the dog world. I shake my head at it. Since my goals are preservation and betterment, I'm not competing with everyone else, I'm working with everyone else, preferably as many people as possible. If you produce a better dog than I do (whether for show/hunting/pet), I'm thrilled for you. I'll ask you how you did it, I will try harder to pursue breeding the type of dog that I think should be passed on to the next generation. If you beat me in show, I will applaud you because I understand that there are all sorts of factors that go into a show win. Maybe the judge has a preference, maybe I did not prepare myself or my dogs properly, maybe the dog was not in peak condition. I'm not competing against you. I'm competing against myself. I am pushing myself to create dogs that I can be proud of. I will do everything in my power to know that I did everything I could to raise a balanced beautiful animal, and I will enjoy doing it. In the end, I want to share that enjoyment with my friends. And of course, the more friends the merrier. Life is better for me when I am drawing ever larger circles that draw people and experiences in as opposed to smaller circles that keep everyone out.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kotofusa x Tochimitsuhime: 6 weeks

The red female 'Awa Sekiryuume' aka Seki

The sesame female 'Awa Fujihime' aka Fuji

The lone male of the litter 'Awa Komaryu' aka Koma

Sesame female 'Awa Satsukihime' aka Godzilla/Goji

I'm still deciding where these pups should go, so if you haven't thrown your hat in the ring yet, feel free to do so and send me an email.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kunitaka x Bishoume: 3 Weeks

I go to Italy for a few days, and this is what I come back to. Surprise, surprise. These pups are surprisingly nice. And the male... I hope they keep this quality for the next few weeks (and for the rest of their lives!).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Just surpassed 200,000 blog views. Thank you for reading! The page views remind me that people actually visit the site, and it keeps me posting. I've got some Nihon Ken standard stuff that I really need to post about, and I should get around to it over the next week or so.

For now though, I am still surrounded by dogs. Luckily two of them will be shipping out this week. I've got a pretty large and odd assortment of pups here now. My nieces are dog lovers, just like me, and they help get all my pups socialized around kids.

World first here I think... there's a Hokkaido pup, an Akita pup, a yushoku Kishu pup, and a Hyuga x Kishu cross, playing tug.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mumu: 6 Months Old

This is Mumu, a pup out of Teruhide x Hanaichihime Iwahori-san had mentioned that he was willing to place Hana if I could find a suitable home for her. She's still available if anyone is interested and passes my screening process, haha. Anyway, he mentioned she was in heat, so I told him to go ahead and breed her, as I would take responsibility for any puppies born. Teruhide is an excellent stud male, producing terrific pups, and is fast and efficient when it comes to mating. 5 minutes later, the deed was done, and 2 months later, well Hana was pregnant but not going into labor.

Usually in Japan things like this are left up to nature, but after day 60 came and went, we were a little curious as to whether she was actually carrying. I took her to the vet for an ultrasound, and there was at least one pup in there. The days kept on ticking by, with no sign of Hana going into labor. At 65 days I took her in again, and an ultrasound showed the pup was still alive, and an oxytocin shot was administered to try to induce labor. Back at the kennel, nothing happened that night, or the next day. Finally by day 67 we decided it was time to get the pup out, and for the first time in two generations and over 50 years of breeding Shikoku, a pup was delivered by c-section at the Iwahori household. Hana came out of surgery, and I kept the pup under my shirt all the way back to Iwahori-san's house.

The pup was large and very nice, and as it happened, Iwahori-san decided to keep her. So here she is at 6 months. I was originally thinking that we could send her to the US or Europe a few weeks after she was bred, but all the people I offered Hana to were not interested at the time. I chuckle when I think that Mumu could have been somewhere overseas, but I guess that's fate right there.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Available Kai Ken Male

He's out of the famous Kai no Kuni Inoue Sou and is 4 months old. He's the brother of the female Kai that is currently on this TV show

Kotofusa x Tochimitsuhime: 33 days

Just snapped a few pictures while my niece was playing with the pups.

 Godzilla being held
 Godzilla seems to be the most photogenic of the bunch.
 Little boy saying hi to mom.
 This quickly turned to...
 And then Godzilla got in on the nap action.
 But the little red female is always getting into trouble. She was always crawling out of the nest as a pup, and somehow she's found a way out of the puppy area. I don't know how she's getting out.
 Little miss naughty herself.

And you may have noticed that these are not iPhone pictures. Yes, my Nikon has been resurrected with a new lens. I won't be taking it to the mountains with me anymore, I promise. It only took me 3 or 4 years to get around to fixing it this time.