Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hokka Go

This female was produced by Uno-san, and is now at Samurai Kennel in Italy. She's a beautiful pup, and shows a lot of promise. Congratulations on Best Junioress, Hime-chan!

Name: Hokka-go
DOB: 2013/01/14

Sire: Ezohakuryu-go

Dam: Hokkaihime-go

Kennel: Howa So

Don't Jump!

One of my Facebook friends shared this link regarding dogs jumping up on people. It was a great read regarding the great jumping no-no, and really opened up my eyes to a new perspective. Take a look!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Monkey Business

This is how far in the country I am now. Monkeys come into my back yard. Good thing Baron was in the house.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

24 Days Old

This morning the pups went outside on the front lawn for the first time. It was rather uneventful as they all immediately decided the great outdoors makes a great toilet, and then they attacked my feet as per usual, and then whined that they were hungry.

Tails up! From left to right: Female 1, Male 1, Female 2

Female 1. She's got nice balance in her head, a little sesame going in her coat, but she's very red. Her nose is solid black, she's got 'proper' coloration (urajiro, eye spots etc), and her mask is lightening. She's calm, slightly more reserved than her sister. She's the larger of the two girls. Looks like she leans a little more toward her mom in type.

Female 2 in the back. She's gotten a bit darker than her sister, she's still the smallest, and her nose has a tiny pink spot left at the moment. I imagine it will be all black in another 2 weeks. She's the feisty pup of the litter, very coordinated. I think she leans toward her dad in type, other than color of course.

I didn't get a good shot of the male, but he's doing great. He's chill, a cuddle bug, and friendly. Coloration is still nice and dark, and it looks like he's got a Kishu type head, but very Shikokuesque sesame.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

21 Days Old : First Feeding

Pups are 3 weeks old and doing great. They scamper all over the place now, and have been playing together quite a bit.

Today they had their first meal of puppy formula as I want to take a bit of the load off of Hime. They loved it, especially the little male who face planted himself into the bowl.

Female 2 after being fed. Her nose is pretty much solid black now.

The male is already carrying his tail over his back as of today.

The Furpocalypse

One of the joys of owning a Nihon Ken is the biannual coat blow, known affectionately as THE FURPOCALYPSE. This is a joyous period of time for owners who keep their dogs indoors, as if you ever had any spare time to begin with, it is now filled with cleaning dog fur for a few weeks. It is even more unfortunate when you have multiple dogs and they decide to stagger the shed in some form of sadistic relay race.

While many photos can be found online of this exciting event, this is the amount of fur I've been picking off my dining room floor for over a month now. And by the way, this is in the afternoon after I'd already cleaned up in the morning. Ahhhhh the joy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

17 Days Old

I took this video at 13 days old, but the pictures are from today. The pups are healthy and getting more and more active. They'll be getting into trouble soon I imagine.

Happy little feet wriggling as they nurse. The pups' eyes opened at 15 days.

Female 2. Her nose is getting darker. She's a lot of fun.

The boy. He's still very nice and chill. Black nose now. Whereas his paws used to have a clear white sock, the color is blending in from the top of his leg now.

Female 1. Also fairly chill, and still larger.

Looks like female 1 and the male may have homes. Female 2 is still available.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Working Line Hokkaido Litter

I received an email a few days ago about a litter of working line Hokkaido pups. This line is from the only Hokkaido Ken Hozonkai kennel, Tokachi Morita Sou, that actually has a line of working dogs (as opposed to a single dog or pair that hunt). The sire and dam are out of this kennel, but are owned by another gentleman who hunts with them. They are proven bear dogs.

The sire.

The dam.

The pups.

They were born on the 1st of July, and there are still 2 females available. The females at Tokachi Morita Sou are getting older, so there are not many litters being produced there, and not many pups become available (besides the fact that the kennel is the most famous working Hokkaido kennel in the country).

This line has had great success working boar as well. I had the opportunity to see a female from this kennel working in the pen a few months back, and she did quite well.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

13 Days Old

The pups are healthy and growing by the day. They're also a lot more mobile, getting out of their crate and wandering around the dining room. Mom's taking it all in stride.

Summer is in full swing now, with daytime highs of 39 degrees celcius in some parts of Japan. Luckily for us the highs I've recorded so far at the kennel have been 33-34. A friend of mine lost an entire litter of Shiba pups, which was a real pity because they were very nice. Temperatures spiked during the day while he was at work. My method of cooling is to freeze water in pet bottles, pups love them.

Female 2 with the still spotted nose. She's a squirmy little girl, and feisty. 

Female 1. She's larger than female 2 for sure. Both females have been getting noticeably darker around their chest areas.

The boy. He's relaxes when held, and often falls asleep in my lap. I can't wait for their eyes to open, should be any day now.

It looks like I've got a home lined up for the male, but the two girls are still available.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Katana Go: Part 4

I've decided that this guy will definitely not be staying here. There will be a couple more dogs arriving over the next few weeks, so I'll be full up if I keep him.

He'll be 4 months old in a few weeks. He came here when he was under 2 months old, and without a home. 

He was very mouthy, showed some separation anxiety, and was very snarky about just about everything. He's gotten much better while here, he doesn't attack everything with his teeth, he's learned that the crate is a good place to sleep, and he's okay with being left at home (sometimes he will still howl a bit). He's learned to be less tenacious when playing with other dogs, but he's still fairly rude. If you want a dog that is a social butterfly and gets along with all dogs, Kachi is not the dog for you. The fact that he's gotten better as he's gotten older shows me that he has the capability to learn, he just needs a lot of direction.

He loves people, has a lot of energy, and loves to play. He's quite a smart, outgoing, little guy.

I think he'd do best in a home where there is usually someone home, or where there are other dogs that he can be with. He will not fit well with dogs who are not tolerant of rude play and behavior.

While I wish I could get back at least some of what I paid for him, I'd be happy just to place him with someone who has the time and energy for him and will give him a good home. Feel free to email me with any questions at

Just wanted to add, if anyone's looking for a working Hokkaido, I think this guy has what it takes.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Gaggle of Hokkaido Puppies

Earlier this year I was fortunate (unfortunate?!) enough to have a batch of Hokkaido pups assault my house. Due to the fact that most of the breed population is up north in Hokkaido, and the fact that they're not that well known overseas, I haven't seen more than a few examples of the breed, and have not had any puppies come through my kennel.

I get questioned about the temperament of the Japanese breeds, their similarities and differences, quite often. While I have yet to own any adult Hokkaido, I'm getting an idea of what the puppies are like, since I've had 5 now, from different kennels and litters, come through over the past few months.

I've found them to be very vocal, and yes, they do yodel and grumble a lot. When they get excited, they let you know about it, when they're stressed, you know about it. For a hunting breed bred to bay bear, and mind you still tested on live bear at shows, a low vocal threshold is to be expected I guess. They are high energy, and very agile. I'd say they're similar to Shikoku in energy, with Kai agility, some Kishu confidence, and Shiba snark. A couple of the pups that have come through have shown some separation anxiety, ie they start bawling the moment you step out of the room. They're a handful for sure, but for an active person with plenty of time, I imagine they'd be a lot of fun.

They seem to argue a fair bit, and can be pretty Shikoku rude. I think they retain a lot of hunting instinct from what I've seen of these pups, so while I'm interested to see how that goes, I don't have room in my kennel for another breed at the moment. A boar hunting friend of mine just added a B/T Hokkaido to hunt with his Kai, and I've had the pleasure of seeing that female work, so hopefully I'll be able to keep tabs on the breed through her.

Health issues I've seen so far are heart murmurs, which unfortunately are more common that they should be, and cryptorchidism. As usual the kennels here do not check testicles till just before the males are shown, so this does mean that there is almost no awareness of this genetic issue.

It's been a while since the pups were here, but I've only just gotten around to editing some of the video I took. So here it is, A Gaggle of Hokkaido Puppies starring 'Maru', 'Meitou', 'Hime', and 'Sho'. After watching this video you'll have to agree with me that while Hokkaido pups are many things, chief among them is cute.

While you're reading this, I do still have one high octane fueled Hokkaido puppy available, Katana (aka Kachi).

Saturday, July 6, 2013

4 Days Old

Female 1. She's larger and falls asleep when I hold her. Black nose, white feet, tail color is solid.

Female 2. She's got a spotted nose (I imagine it will be solid black soon), white feet, white tipped tail, and has a bit of attitude (makes the most noise). She's a tiny bit smaller than her sister.

Male 1. He's the biggest of the pups, a tiny bit of spotting on his nose, white socks on front feet, and white tipped tail. He's very chill.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Kanryu Go

Here's a short video on the 4 month old male that I posted about

He arrived at my place a few days ago, and has settled in nicely. He's got lots of red with plenty of hue, with sesame coming through that should give him a nice sesame coat when he matures. Bite is good, testicles are descended, and has no major flaws. He's lanky, and has slightly larger ears, which is something I've seen in this line.
His temperament is solid. He is not snarky at all, he loves people and dogs, and even tolerates annoying little Hokkaido pups. He's not very vocal, doesn't whine very much, and generally is just really easy to have around. He's not shy either, and for not having much socialization he's amazing.
I have a couple of interested parties at the moment, but if they don't work out, I'll let you all know!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kishu x Shikoku

Last night a litter of 3 pups was born in my dining room, a cross between my hunting line Kishu, Baron, and my show line Shikoku, Hime. The pups were born on the 1st of July, 2013. There are 2 red sesame females, and one black sesame male.

Both parents are extremely relaxed at home, to the point of being boring. They laze around, only getting up to eat, or greet visitors. Baron is outgoing, loves puppies and people, does not bark in the house at all. Hime is reserved with strangers, but is very polite with and loves people she knows. She will bark when people come to the house until told it is okay to stop. She is a low energy Shikoku, an anomaly. Both of these dogs adore me and my friends, and we feel the same about them. Baron is a proven big game hunter, and I had been slowly starting Hime out in the mountains to see how she would do.

If these pups pick up even half of the excellent temperament of their parents, they will be a joy to own. Both parents are healthy, though Hime did have a bout of HGE that you can read about here. I was actually quite surprised that Hime conceived, given that she experienced her medical emergency in the days immediately following mating.

This mating was not an accident, but rather an experimental breeding. Hime was sent to me as a 3 year old (now just over 4 years ol.d), and is a beautifully balanced bitch with almost no flaws, but we have been unsuccessful at getting her to conceive. There have been extenuating circumstances the last two heats that she was bred which may have affected conception, but I was planning on attempting one more breeding with her this last heat, and then spaying her if it did not take. Due to my kennel being under construction, she was at a friend's kennel, and when I picked her up I discovered that she was already in heat. Since I had no idea of telling when her heat had started, I made the decision to attempt a breeding with the one male I have here with me, Baron.

The reasons for this were threefold. Her past matings had been timed 'perfectly' and had not taken, and I've heard some information regarding low sperm motility in Shikoku males. By allowing a natural course of breeding between the dogs, and by breeding her with my hunting line Kishu (from a litter of 11 pups, and a breed that does not seem to have the same fertility issues sometimes seen in the Shikoku) I had a chance to experiment with the idea that we might have better success rates at breeding Shikoku if they were left to mate naturally and more frequently (letting nature take its course as opposed to trying to guess the perfect day), and I could discover if Hime really was infertile (maybe it's low fertility in Shikoku males and females?). Baron has not been bred before, but I had him tested for motility, and the results came back as excellent. The last reason was monetary. Paying out stud fees numerous times for a female that does not produce pups is no fun, and the consensus among the kennels here was that Hime was infertile. As a bonus, I get to firsthand see what breeding a white dogs into the Shikoku produces, something that interests me as it has been taboo for a long time now in NIPPO after what happened to the Kishu.

This was definitely an imperfect experiment, but the best I could pull of at very short notice, as by the second day back with me, Hime began making overtures toward Baron. They had their first tie that day, on the 29th of June. The puppies were born on the dot, 63 days later, July 1st.

I will be posting about the pups as they mature, and will be looking for homes for them here in Japan, and overseas, as companions or working dogs. These pups are not for sale, they'll be placed in selected homes, and I will only ask that expenses are covered. I will ask for information regarding them and for pictures from time to time as this is an experimental breeding, and I don't imagine a cross like this happening again anytime soon.

Monday, July 1, 2013

They Are Here!

I'm not sure whether to be alarmed, or happy, but I now have concrete proof that the boar have expanded southward, and are now in my neighborhood!

I set up my game cam 5 minutes up the road from my house, trying to get shots of raccoon dogs and badger, the cam was there for over 3 weeks, and this is the only animal shot I got.