Thursday, November 26, 2015


Seriously slacking on the blog. I do it all the time, with a lot of things. I forget to record them. So caught up in the doing. I'm going to try to play catch up now, but everything's going to be in the wrong order. Sorry.

For starters the hunting season started on the 15th. It doesn't mean as much to us as it used to since we hunt all year now, but that's just within the confines of Tateyama city, and only by request of the city or landowners. I've been busy, busy, busy, and with the 14th/15th being the NIPPO Grand National in Hiroshima (which Mark and I drove down to!), the first day I could actually make it out was the 19th.

I think the typical hunter gets all worked up for his one day a week he can go out. He's planned the day, all the gear is prepped, and he's up and out there at the crack of dawn. Here you can see Baron and I getting into the truck at 11:45 haha. We're like that. I'm not a fan of wasting time (quality over quantity yo!), so we try to get in, get a boar, and get out. Efficiency. It ties into everything, including hunting with 1 dog over a whole pack, and then hunting style too. I just don't want a quality hunting dog I've put years of work into getting injured. Our hunting style has evolved to fit this ethos, though it may appear strange to some. We don't do it the 'right' way haha.

So 11:45 we head out, and by 12:45 we head into the mountain. I pick the ridge, we move up, Baron goes off to the right to a known boar nesting area. He runs a little loop in there, so I move around on the high ground, and out pops a little boar. I yell to Baron that it's up here, the boar runs downhill, Baron catches, I dispatch with knife. All of 15minutes and we have our first boar of the season. Nice start, so I decide to go for one more. First we get the 15kg boar to the truck, and gut it. I pop it in the river to cool it, and realize I dropped my jacket somewhere on the trek down. We head back up, I grab the jacket, and notice that Baron is ahead with tail high and twitching. He starts barking into a bunch of gnarly undergrowth, so I load up the shotgun as the boar bolt out the back. Baron gives chase for a bit, then comes back to get me. I move downhill with him and see the boar around 50m away. Not a good shot though. We move forward, Baron lures the boar toward us, and they charge, but Baron's in between me and them so no shot. We give chase for a bit more before calling it.

We move across the stream at the bottom and over onto the facing ridge. As we climb through the bamboo there's plenty of fresh track. We get in under some orange trees, and I notice Baron's picked up fresh scent, and the boar are close. It's 14:15. Baron moves into a complete tangle of undergrowth, and I hear him growling, low and quiet. The boar's in there. I'm not crawling straight down after him, so I move to on the high ground to the right to cut off one escape route. As I'm wondering how to get in there, Baron and the boar make contact for a second and I hear the scramble and growl of Baron in close quarters. I have to get in there before Baron has a chance to get hurt. I crawl in.

I'm gonna throw the video in here as well, but that's the running commentary. I'm sliding in on my ass, the undergrowth is too low for me to stand, and it's a bit dangerous since I can't really move to get away from a charging boar. I pick the only 2 thin trees in there, and make eye contact with Baron. He knows what's up, and moves to the right and downhill to push the boar back up toward us. He moves around a bit to make sure he knows exactly where the boar is, and I go back to pick up my pack that I took off when crawling in. I just want to make sure I'm ready for a chase. Baron goes to my left to lure the boar into charging, and I set up my position. I hear the boar take the bait, Baron comes flying through, the boar right behind, and at 3 meters I drop the boar. 58kg and a nice female. 3 slugs through the head, pretty much instant death.

We bleed the boar, and then drag it out of the mountain. It's just past 14:20, but that's enough for today. We run into a few farmers down at the bottom of the mountain, everyone thanking us for keeping the boar in check. It was a good day and a good hunt.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


So I got a few questions and mail about my last post. To answer them all here...

Nothing really has changed in the overall amount or type of requests I get from overseas, or what I'm seeing through the internet, pictures, and in dog shows. THIS is exactly what I'm a bit worried about. When the only feedback people getting interested in the breed, owner, and even breeders, are getting is from people who know nothing about the breed this will create a problem. I think even unconsciously it will affect what breeders breed toward. In the worst scenario I think people breeding for profit or solely to produce pets will produce what the majority of their customers want. It's been a few years now, but other than getting some diversity overseas, it just seems to me that with a few exceptions, the quality of pups produced drops off after a generation or two.

People generally seem to love the wolf-like appearance of the breed (the black sesame coloration), and while saying they've done their research, still want a dog that does well with other dogs, can go everywhere with them, is super friendly etc.

We can have the argument here that a breed that is difficult for the average person to own will have trouble being 'preserved'. I get that. I also understand that a lot of breeders will want to produce dogs that are easy to sell. With my post I'm just trying to tip the scale in the other direction a bit. Hopefully the people that are interested in keeping type, understanding more about the different lines in the breed, and the different type they have, the history and temperament of the breed etc, will read this and move in a different direction. Let the others create a pet version of the breed that comes with a list of BIS BOB CH HDA.

That's something I guess, but there's more to the breed than that. NIPPO members are actually preserving a piece of the past, possibly a breed that no longer really fits into the average person's lifestyle, but that's what they've chosen to do. There doesn't seem to be too many overseas that understand that.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Shikoku is Not a Wolfdog

If most will not admit it, I usually get the feeling that people overseas who find the breed and are attracted to it, well they find it 'wolfy', and they like that. It's funny because in Japan if you tell breeders the breed looks like a wolf, they generally tend to give you a funny look, half smile, and an ohhhhkay sort of a nod.

It really is okay. I have no judgement for pet owners who love the 'look' of a breed. If that's what draws you to it, that's okay. If that's why 90% of requests from people overseas are for black sesame Shikoku, that's okay too.

But I beg and implore anyone getting into the breed as a breeder to remove the 'wolf' attraction from your brain. The reason why I'm saying this is that it will affect the 'type' you breed toward. Even if it's subconsciously, you'll be breeding toward an incorrect image of the breed. Learn what the breed is in its entirety, if possible come to Japan to see it over here, and learn from NIPPO members that have been breeding them since the early days of the breed.

There is a stereotype image that is prevalent here in Japan that says that the Japanese breeds turn into something else once they are exported. Breeders overseas breed toward their idea of what the breed should be, and give it a few generations and it's a different dog. Hey, if the dogs are healthy and going to good homes I guess that's not the end of the world. But the totality of the breed that attracted you to it, that bit of Japanese culture, wouldn't it be cool if you were actually preserving that correctly?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Dogs

Had a few minutes before walking the dogs, so ran in and grabbed the camera to snap a few pics. Some of the dogs are mine, some are just pups I'm taking care of.