Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016 Show Season Part 3

Sorry, bit of a delay between posts. Tends to happen when it's the end of the year and the house is full of pups. I'm sitting here in lounge at Arlanda airport in Stockholm and have a few minutes so here goes.

After a harsh showing at the Kanto regional, there was still a week before the grand national. A bum knee and heaps of things to do cannot stop the process. After busting the knee I had to find a way to exercise Masa without it. I had a friend of mine take him walking through the mountains a few times while I, shotgun in hand, would lurk around the bottom of the ridges in case the boar came down or there were other problems. However, there's only so many times you can get your friend to hike the same mountain per week, so plan B. I trained Masa to follow or lead the car on command.

It goes like this... I'd drive up into the mountains with him, GPS him up, and let him out. Then I'd start driving. I'd call him forward in front of the car and let him full on fly. He got the idea really quickly and loved tearing along at full speed. That's what you need to build some good muscle, full on sprints. If he picked up boar scent, he'd perk up and be off into the mountain for a good run while I pulled over and watched on the GPS. He'd come back after a bit, and we were off again. It takes me around 2 hours to walk and care for all my dogs in the morn, and 2 hours again at night, so this would happen either in the afternoon before the night walk, or more often in the dark after the 2 hour dogathon.

The flip side of all this exercise is that it definitely increases a dog's appetite, and Masa's condition finally started picking up. By the time the weekend of the Grand National closed in, he was finally starting to bulk, and around 30 percent in coat. He's in much better condition now haha. Anyway, there were times through the process where I was quite frustrated. Masa's got his flaws, so the only thing I felt I could do to compete with the other males at a national level was to have him in near perfect condition. There were a couple males that I knew would be in the same class, and one in particular that I was sure we would not be beating. As it was, we did not beat this male, but Masa came in right behind him.

The NIPPO Grand National is split into two days. One day for the 'kogata' (small type or Shiba) and the other for the rest of the breeds. The best in show competition is on the second day after all the best of breeds have been decided. This year the shiba had Sunday, so the rest of the breeds had Saturday, which turned out to be a downpour. I left the house early Friday morning to help with picking up judges and setting up the show ground. By evening a contingent of Shikoku breeders from Shikoku had arrived, and we all set up camp together to spend the night with our dogs (a tradition). Long story short, Mark arrived, I made up a wicked boar stew, we bbq'd some fantastic ezo-shika venison, and got wickedly smashed drinking beer and some crazy sake brought up from Shikoku. The conversation continued long into the night, and after a few hours of sleep, we woke to the sounds of people arriving from all over the country pulling into the show ground.

It was cold, windy, and pouring rain. Mark proceeded to expel the contents of his stomach into the bushes behind the car. I wasn't too hot myself, but in a bit better condition. We walked the dogs, cleaned up, and started prepping. Standing in the doorway of our tent, I told Mark that you never really know what could happen at a show in rain like this. My dogs are used to being out in all weather, rain or shine, so think nothing of a little storm. Obviously some dogs/people will be bothered by the rain, and biggest point of all, the dampness would help Masa's coat look fuller.

I had one more job to do before going into the ring. To open the national, every year one entrant gets up in front of everyone to make a pledge to respect the judge's decisions and to exhibit fair play. This year I was given the honor, but I had a great time somewhat nervously belting out the pledge in front of the main tent and our current chairman Mr.Kamei.

As with the previous week, I decided to have Mark handle Masa. A part of me wanted to handle him myself after all the work I'd put in, but there was no way he'd be able to handle Cho. So off we went for the morning's first round of judging. We were in the wakainu 1 and wakainu 2 rings which were right next to each other. Cho did quite well in the morning, and Masa did okay. The morning's judging is where the judge checks each dog 1 by 1 and looks at structure/movement etc. The rain was by parts pouring and drizzling.

After a break for lunch, we headed back into the rings for the comparative judging. This is when the fun begins. All the dogs in class going head to head against each other, all of us wanting to be called up into the first group. Cho was doing so-so, and we got called up to the first group. That's when all hell broke loose and he would not stand anymore. The other males were to close and he kept lunging and pulling at them. We lost our chance to place, and ended up 5th I think. Just before the first group was called, someone whispered in my ear that Mark and Masa had just taken 2nd in class. Anyway, I was later berated by a few judges saying that the ring judge wanted to move Cho into second but since he wouldn't stand there was no way he could.

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した写真 -

Anyway, final boarding call for London, so will have to continue this post at a later date.

Friday, December 2, 2016

2016 Show Season Part 2

It's a bit tough to get a dog in show shape with a messed up knee. To be honest we were not nearly in peak form by the time the national was rolling around, but all you can do is your best. The week before the national Mark and I dropped in on the NIPPO Kanto All Regional with Masa and Cho.

I opted to have Mark handle Masa since I practice with him every day on our walks, and he's pretty fool proof by now if you figure out how to move him. Cho on the other hand was pretty out of it since he hates cars and gets very carsick. In the end I think we both ended up last in class haha. But it was a good and necessary practice, albeit an ugly one. This was Cho's second show, and Masa's as well (his last show was in the spring). Neither dog was in peak form, but Masa's coat was finally starting to come in.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cold Days

The other day it was unseasonably cold. We had snow in Tokyo in November for the first time in 50 some years. As it does in Boso, it rained. And it was cold. Only thing to be done was fire up the furnace and toast the toes.

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -


I don't quite have time to write another post just yet, so I'll just link this up from my Instagram.
This little girl is just about perfect.

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -

Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016 Show Season Part 1

I guess the season started with the arrival of this leash. One day I was told a special package would be arriving from a NIPPO judge in Shikoku, and upon opening it, this leash was sitting there. That night I got a call about it, and was told it was a good luck charm for the upcoming show season which would culminate in the NIPPO Grand National hosted by us, the members of the NIPPO Chiba branch.

This leash has been used by 3 Grand National Shikoku best of breed during their winning show. Now, it's sitting here in my cabin. Don't know that I'll ever have the courage to actually use it...

Anyway, first show of the season was the Chiba regional. I showed my mentor's young male Chouhou Go. 

He's a very dry dog, with lots of potential, throwing strongly toward the Choushun type. It was his first show, and first time out of the house, so as you can imagine it was a bit iffy at times, but we took 2nd place in class.

Scheduling and other issues kept me from showing any more dogs the rest of the fall. My only show dog is Masa (Masamine Go), and he was ridiculously late blowing his coat, and didn't eat the whole summer. The females had gone through their heat cycles in the late spring, and everytime one would go in heat, he'd stop eating. Just as I got him to start eating again in the fall, the next round of heats started . It was a struggle to get any weight on him, and to try to get his coat to come in. 

I switched up his food a lot, added different toppings when he'd bore of his food, added hot water... encourage his coat to come in by washing him down with cold water every night and leaving him to air dry.

After the summer heat wave came to an end I started taking him out a few times a week off leash in the mountains, where suddenly he started chasing boar. Just when he seemed to be putting on a little mass, and his coat started to come in a bit, I injured my MCL and meniscus while surfing.

It just snowed today in Tokyo, which is ridiculously early, and it's freezing out there. But hey, time to walk the dogs now so I'll write some more tomorrow or the day after...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

And the Train Rolls On

It's been a crazy month with injuries, work, preparation for hosting the NIPPO Grand National, and then of course surviving the show itself. I've come out of it alive, thankful for so many friends, and with another piece of hardware for the shelf. I'll write about it all later this week when I catch up with life. That last picture is of Masamine in the ring with my good friend Mark handling. 2nd place in the Wakainu 2 male class. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

NIPPO Grand National DVD

NIPPO decided at the last board meeting to discontinue the Grand National DVD. It's a shame since I feel it's an important record, however we just don't have the budget for it anymore with falling membership and registrations.

I believe there is still DVD stock of 27 years worth of nationals, but you'd need to contact NIPPO HQ to be sure. It's 4000JPY/dvd for the Japanese version, and 5000JPY/dvd with English subtitles.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Taking Pictures of Puppies

It's never an easy thing to get a good picture of an animal. Especially one as unpredictable as a puppy. To be honest I get a tinge of annoyance when someone asks for another picture of a pup/dog or 'more recent pictures'. Come to think of it, after I've sent the pup to them, and ask for a picture of how it's maturing, I usually get an out of focus picture of the pup lying on it's back on the sofa with a Christmas ornament lodged between its teeth.

Anyway, I was asked for a picture of one of my Shikoku pups, and after 20 minutes of nothing good, I gave up and took some video. I did get a few nice ones of the Kishu girls that are going to Hakuzan in the US.

If I ever ask you for a picture of a pup I sent you, it's probably because the breeder wants to see how it turned out for future breeding reference. A good head shot, and a shot where structure is visible would be nice!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Messed Up the Knee

Yup. Out surfing massively tiny surf the other day, slipped, and twisted the knee. Ridiculous really. It hurt for 30 seconds, after which I imagined I could keep surfing, which I did for another hour or two. The badness only kicked in after a 2 hour drive. One step out the car and I knew I was in trouble.

The timing is sucky since it's preparation time for the NIPPO Grand National and the hunting season, but it is what it is. I'm actually not really bothered since I realized nature's decided I should slow down a bit, and I'm going to do all the slow things for a while. Feels good to flow with the go of things instead of fighting to have them my way.

Anyway, the brace keeps my leg functional, functional enough to get some work done on my kitchen! The bones are okay, MCL not looking good, maybe some meniscal damage. MRI scheduled in a bit. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Kishu Pups

So there are two little Yushoku Kishu sisters here at my place for awhile. They're on their way to some friends over in the US. The parents of these pups have some good hunt in them (I've seen it firsthand).

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -

If I have some time I'll snap some pics and take some more video. I had to pick them up a bit earlier than I would have liked (around 50 days old), but luckily Chacha just finished with her litter (and a runt from another litter that I added), and now she's taking care of these two little buggers. Females with mothering instincts and easy temperaments are nice to have around.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Chouhou Go

This is Chouhou Go, out of Kotofusa x Rai (Orin). He was bred over at Nidai Iwahori Sou, the only pup in the litter.

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した写真 -

He's got a different type to him than the other dogs we have around, and Orin is a different pedigree from our dogs so it's good to see him turning out. It's a tricky thing to pick a dog as a pup and believe in that choice, sticking through the gangly phases of puppy hood with confidence in the dog's potential (and your eye!).

This guy is owned by Mr.Iwahori, his breeder, and the pic is from the Chiba branch show where I handled him to second place. He's entered in the national as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


I love making furniture out of Keyaki (Japanese Elm). The grain, the colors, the solid weight of a slab that can obliterate your toes...

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した写真 -

The wood for this table was rescued out of a dump almost 15 years ago. Many hands had a go at turning it into a table, and for the better part of a decade the pieces sat in storage. As luck would have it I saw the wood in the back of a truck on the way to a thankless new home, and wrangled it free. Here it sat for a year, and then last Sunday a friend and I went to town on this beast.

It now resides in a friend's minshuku (Japanese style inn) in Onjuku, a wedding gift that will probably outlast the both of them haha.

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した写真 -

I'm not the most skilled woodworker out there, and never the hardest working, but if I get inspired and start rolling, best just step back and give me space (or a hand. advice is welcome to).

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した写真 -

Saturday, October 15, 2016

17 to 15

The Masamine x Chacha pups are 52 days old now, but I took this pic several days ago. Their ears are on the large side it would seem, and they're just starting to make an attempt to stand. Size aside, Shikoku ears are supposed to take a while to stand, with oldtimers commenting that it's odd how fast pups' ears seem to stand nowadays.

I'm down to 15 dogs now.  8 are mine, 7 are pups. It's a management program taking care of this many dogs and managing trips into Tokyo, surfing, hunting, working, but this round is going pretty well. While there's usually a fair bit of stress involved, I'm enjoying these cooler autumn days chilling with the pups. They're all very well behaved, toilet training going well, fairly quiet, fairly non argumentative with each other, and everyone's pretty healthy. Knock. On. Wood!

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NIPPO Santama Show 2016 Fall

The NIPPO Santama branch was held in Hachioji on Sunday. Apparently it rained cats and dogs till around 11am. Lucky I showed up at 12! I'd had a long week and needed to catch up on sleep. After handing two pups over to their new families, I caught the tail end of the show. Was quite pleased to see the number and quality of Shikoku that are in Kanto now. I think we're doing pretty good, and next month's grand national should be a lot of fun.

I've seen this male since he was a pup, and he's fast becoming my current favorite Shikoku male. While I obviously have yet to take a decent picture of him, he's amazing in person.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Synchronized Sleeping

I know these are just waiting to be meme'd. My friend's Akita pups were just too tired to say no.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How Do You Change a Dog's NIPPO Ownership?

You have the previous owner fill out one of these. The previous owner fills in their personal information and membership number, and either stamps it with their personal 'seal' or signature.

Then you as the new owner fill out the rest of the card, and send it in to NIPPO along with 2000JPY and the original pedigree. And there you go. A few weeks later you'll receive the new pedigree in the mail. Just note here that you must be a NIPPO member to have a dog's NIPPO ownership transferred to you.


There were some great points made in the comments by @Éadaoin about NIPPO ownership and registration, so I'm editing it into this post.

Probably worth pointing out too that
a) You have to be the registered owner of a bitch to register her puppies in your kennel name with NIPPO
b) You have to be the registered owner of a stud dog to sign for his matings in NIPPO
c) A JKC export pedigree is not proof of ownership in NIPPO so you MUST get the stamped transfer card from the previous owner when you import a dog from Japan, otherwise no NIPPO puppies for your stud or brood, and
d) Don't rely on an import agent or translator to know (or to care about) these things at the point of sale. Be sure to ask for it. It may be very difficult to get back in contact with the previous owner once the dog has been exported, if you realise later on you need this done. I've seen people make this mistake again and again.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -

Wake up at dawn to wailing puppies. Check. Well I did get some more sleep after taking them to the toilet. Got some work in on the computer, walked all the dogs, played with puppies again, took Masa out into the mountains to chase boar for an hour, got soaked in the rain. Of course he is now making it a habit to roll in stink just before getting into the car. Literally while I'm packing gear in the car he saunters over and finds something nasty and rolls. But we're still buddies, and he's still here in the house watching Netflix with me. Time to go out into the pouring rain (typhoon coming again) and walk all the dogs again.

Komarou Line Kai

It's been a while since anything Kai related went up on the blog, and since I was scraping around in my Kai files and doing a touch of research I thought I'd throw these up on the blog.

Mr.Yanagisawa was a extremely influential in the Kai as a breed from its very early days. While he lived in Nakano, Tokyo, he wrote many articles about the breed and worked hard to push for its preservation as a hunting breed. While he passed away a while ago, his family still runs the shop (at least they did last time I looked which was a few years ago). Mr.Yanagisawa had a famous male named Komarou who ended up being an amazing hunting dog. The dogs of his line were named after this dog, so are referred to as 'Komarou Kei' (Komarou Line). 

Here's a few pics of three of the famous males, Komarou, Ichirou, and Gengorou.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

Raising Shikoku Puppies

So here I am, several litters of Shikoku later, and while I haven't bred any non Nihon Ken breeds so I have nothing to compare it to, raising Shikoku litters is a delicate thing. For me a lot of it has to do with getting the right amount of food into them, and keeping an extremely close eye on their digestive system. That and keeping bacteria and parasites out of them.

I tried to take some puppy photos, but only got some of male number 1. Anyway, so far this litter is doing swimmingly. I've managed to keep Chacha well fed through her pregnancy, and she hasn't really lost any weight yet while still feeding the pups. The pups are eating well, and stools were a bit soft at first, but looking good now.

To anyone breeding or thinking about breeding Shikoku, pay attention to their stool! I cannot stress this enough. If it starts getting soft or runny you need to figure out what it is quickly. More often than not I've seen digestive stuff go downhill pretty fast, and the pup loses all that nutrition it really needs in this period that they're growing extremely fast.

This litter is 35 days old now, and pretty much already toilet trained. They wake me up at dawn to get out into the yard, and as long as I let them out three times a day, the kennel is clean. Pretty damn amazing when you compare that to Shura who is 10 months old and still having accidents. The next big stepping stones for these pups will be getting them out a bit and meeting more people etc. They're already fine with all my dogs.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Talking About Fitness

I had a comment after my last post about fitness:

Are there any photo examples of a really fit physique? Would you consider dogs with more muscle definition as more "fit"?

I've seen some dogs that seem too thick in build, but I wonder if it's more so their coat, or, overall diet/exercise/genetics?

For starters, one thing I wanted to put in my last post but forgot about was to say that in 'Western' terms, the Nihon Ken is supposed to be a 'dry' dog. I think that's the term for it. Well, the Nihon Ken other than the Akita, since the large breeds should have more bulk and presence.
To get back to the questions though, yes, muscle definition. I'll start off with a picture of Baron toward the beginning of the hunting season. He's still carrying a fair bit of mass, but the build is there. You can see a good abdominal tuck, his ribs in the front, and good muscle mass in the shoulders (can't really see his chest at this angle). Another thing is take a look at the back legs at those tendons. On a dog that is not really being exercised, you may have the same proportions and weight, but there's a heaviness and overall softness to the dog. I'm not saying all my dogs are fit, they definitely aren't, but this picture of Baron was a decent example so I'm putting it up.

The next dog is Ibuhime Go, best of breed at the NIPPO Grand National some years ago. I love this dog. Everything about her screams strength, and that's my interpretation of the Nihon Ken standard. Strength from the tip of nose to the tip of the tail. I'm talking everything here, good strong pigmentation, a strong standing coat (Ibuhime's is a little short here I think), good strong angles that give the dog strength. I could go on and on, but think about it, strength, but balanced. Nothing showy or over the top, just a quiet strong strength.

The next dog is Orin (Tsubomi Go). She's bicycle exercised every day, and it shows.

Yoshishizuha Go. He's not in his best form here, but I only have a few minutes before heading out to Tokyo, and this selection of pictures are just the ones I came to first. He is a Kotofusa son. I'd like a bit more in the shoulder here, but you can see the dryness and the tight body that a Shikoku should have. Of course some dogs are thinner than others, some heavier boned, some with shorter coats, some thicker. In this again, the thing to look and select for is strength, but in balance. You don't want to keep pushing toward dogs with more and more bone, or less for that matter. You do the best to get the dog you have in the best possible condition.

This is the Kishu I used in my last post. I don't remember when I took this picture, but the dog was fit, so in the post it went.

Coat, diet, exercise, genetics, all these things do play a role in how a dog 'looks'. What I'm saying here is that we should be aware of what is correct, what we should be looking for, so that we know what we're breeding for. I've had dogs from some lines that eat anything and everything, dogs that fatten very quickly, and I've had to be very careful to control their meals and exercise. Then there are dogs that are very picky eaters, and it's a struggle to keep weight on them. They're just like people in that regard. 

There's some variance in the breeds too of course, with the Kishu generally being a bit heavier than the Shikoku, and then in lines in the breeds too. The Hata line of Shikoku was generally a heavier dog with a thicker coat than the Hongawa, so there's allowances for variance. There's also sexual dimorphism. Dogs should be larger and more built than bitches. The important thing though is that a fit dog is a fit dog. It doesn't matter its breed or build, I can appreciate a fit dog and the process that went into building that physique. And that is the condition dogs in the ring should be in.

On that note, I've got to head out to pick up 6 puppies. I'll be babysitting 5 Shikoku and 1 Hokkaido for a while. This is going to get messy. My 3 Shikoku pups are at around 2.5kg now, just over a month old. Puppy fucking city. Goodbye to sleep, hello clean up duty.

Monday, September 26, 2016


One beef I always have when I see Nihon Ken in shows overseas, is their fitness. I see very few dogs that are fit. Even the ones that look like they're the right weight or shape, you can see the heaviness when they move. And of course there's always the overweight dogs with super plush coats.

The NIPPO standard describes the small and medium Nihon Ken as being alert (sharp senses), agile (capable of sudden quick movement), and light of foot (almost spring like movement). This is not to say all the dogs shown in Japan are in perfect shape (because I know someone will call me out on this), they're not. But we know what shape they should be in, and will appreciate a dog that's show ready. If your in the ring and your dog is not in shape, the judge will tell you so.

So how do you get your dogs in shape? Take your dog for walks! Umm no. Just think about how far a wild canid moves everyday. Think about how far you walk before you tire, are bored, or just run out of time. Unless you're Forrest Gump running coast to coast, your dog will probably not get ripped.

Most of the exercise here in Japan is done via bicycle or scooter. The key here is to mix it up with a steady trot speed, and some sprint like runs. Now whether this is great for the dog to always be running on asphalt is another matter. Me, I take my dogs to the mountains. There they're doing at least three times the distance I do, and they're going up and down slopes, jumping over obstacles (while I'm picking the easiest most direct routes), and they're sprinting after things. Throw that in a few times a week, up the calories a bit, and you'll see the difference.
Of course this doesn't work if you've got a velcro dog that just trots around you the entire time.

Anyway, it takes work, and time. Masa's been out of shape the entire summer. The girls were in heat one after the other so he had very little appetite, and we weren't getting out into the mountains at all in the 120 percent humidity. Show season's started, and we're a little behind, but the aim here is to time his peak condition with the NIPPO Grand National in November. I hope his coat hurries up, because he just finished his second blow. This is why I've been out in the mountains with Masa (like when we got that boar the other day).

Took him out this afternoon again, and about 15 minutes in, he found and took off after some boar. He's actually looking for them now, and went after them too. If he keeps this up he may just make it as a hunting and show dog. I followed, but he lost them when they crossed a stream and headed into some bamboo. It was about to get dark, so I called him back. If he starts barking at boar instead of just staring at them, I'll be thrilled. If he gets to where he's working to stop them for me, I'll be over the moon.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Socializing Puppies

There was a discussion over on the Nihon Ken Forum about socializing puppies, and since it's something I'm doing just about constantly I thought I'd talk about it here.

I don't have a program that all my pups go through (and all the pups I kennel here till they go overseas). The reality is that every dog is different. Surprise! Well not really. Anyway, genetics are a huge part of each dog's character. Some dogs are just born easy and bomb proof. I've seen dogs that were physically abused, and treated roughly all the time, but you'd never now it. I've also seen pups that have never had a finger laid on them, been handled gently their entire lives, that are extremely fearful of people and hands etc. I think I was probably one of them in the past, but there's always those people who have an opinion, "Oh, that pup was probably abused." Umm no.

So, what do I do with pups? It's more about not doing the wrong things in my opinion. You don't need a trip into town every day, it's more about having one good experience. Good experiences are key because then the pup makes a positive association with going shopping or wherever it is you've taken him. So, I'm careful not to flood pups. Do not try to force them through a situation. If I planned to go to the hardware store with a pup but it's already uncomfortable in the parking lot, I'll just move us to a far quiet corner of the parking lot to walk around a little. If the pup doesn't get comfortable, it can wait in the car, and maybe next time we'll try again. Dogs have a stimulation threshold, and with fear you can push them till they shut down, which with the Japanese breeds is an absolute red zone you do not want to enter.

All I do is go through a normal day, and everyone once in a while pick a pup or two to do things with me. They just have to be there, experience it, and they are never forced to do things there or interact with anything or any people they don't want to. For the average dog, that's enough, and by the second time they go somewhere, they know the drill.

I know a lot of dog owners stress about getting all that socialization in during that 'window', but my opinion on that is to pay attention to what your pup is comfortable with, and always take it slow, and make things positive. As you and your pup experience things together, your bond of trust grows as the pup figures out that you're in control and have their back. This is more important to me than getting my pup to experience 'everything'. Everything is not possible. But if you build that trust, your dog will look to you when it gets into a stressful situation.

One of my Shikoku females was terrified of cars. So, I always walked her with other dogs that were not scared of cars. Anytime we were on a walk I'd have to pay attention and catch the cars coming before she heard them. I taught her 'come', and as soon as I'd see a car coming I'd call her away from the road, and pick her up. After a while she was getting the hang of what was going on, so when I'd call her and she'd hear the car, she knew I meant safety, so would come sit or stand behind me. After a while of that, now she's absolutely fine with cars driving by. Tail stays up, all is good. This took a few months, but I wasn't stressed, and now she isn't either.

Anyway, that's a light dusting on the subject. I've got two Shiba pups at the house now that have been here for 2 months while waiting to fly to Singapore. They've actually been really easy to have around, and I hope their new owners enjoy them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


These little potatoes were born on the 25th of August. They're out of Masamine and Chacha.
This wasn't my first choice for pairing, but unfortunately I ran out of other options due to time and dogs' preferences. I'm not a fan of inbreeding or tight line breeding (Masa is out of Chacha's sister Meme), so while not thrilled, at least I know both dogs well, and the dogs behind them. Masa's got pretty good hips, so hopefully that can offset Chacha's mediocre hips. There's three pups, 2 males and 1 female, and the pups look quite nice. They're growing nicely and have now graduated beyond potato stage.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Hens

So here are the Nagoya Cochin hens. It took a little time, but they're completely tame now and free ranging. Of course as soon as I get up in the morning they come running at me to see if I'm carrying munchies for them. Little buggers peck my toes when I don't give them anything.

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -

Friday, September 16, 2016

What You Ask For

...and what you think you'll get.

It's almost automatic that I'll cringe with slight frustration when people ask me for a dog. Well when they have an idea that something exists, or is easily found, when it definitely is not.

"I'd like a dog from x breed that is unrelated to all the other dogs that have been imported from Japan."

"I'd like a dog that is x color (an almost non-existent color in the breed) for hunting."

And on and on the list goes. I understand that everyone wants a perfect dog. And by perfect I mean perfection according to an image they have in their mind. As I write this post I'm getting the inkling that I should just let go of the emotion, and chill a bit. People will want what they want, and if they're asking for something ridiculous, it's only because they don't know any better.

Personally I've experienced so much disappointment that I understand I will most likely NOT get what I want out of most of the dogs I get. I've got 9 dogs at the moment, and Baron is my only consistent hunter (though he's completely off the Kishu standard in type). I have his daughter who shows a lot of promise, but she had a digestive issue for a long time as a pup, and is far smaller than the standard. I won't be breeding her for both those issues (though her temperament is great and she's an easy keeper). I have two hunting line Shikoku that I waited several years for who are both far smaller than the standard, and while quite friendly are off the hook high energy, loud, and super bitchy toward other dogs. I most likely won't be breeding or hunting either of them unless something really surprising happens. I have 2 Shikoku females for breeding, one who is a fantastic show dog, but has failed to conceive 2 heats in a row now. The other female is flawed for show, good temperament too, but mediocre hips. And neither of these girls hunt well. I have a Shikoku male that looks promising for show, but it a little on the small side, and very unpromising as far as hunting goes. The other two dogs are a Tosa female (fantastic but small), and a Tosa mix who is fun to have around but basically just gives me vet bills.

To add to this there's a whole slew of dogs that I let go due to them not being what I was looking for. So when someone comes along who's hoping to import one or two dogs and have a breeding pair, or a perfect hunting dog, I laugh a little.

All that being said, the journey is enjoyable, and getting all the experience is worth it. I just hope everyone else feels the same way!

I've been taking Masa out in the mountains a bit recently as a work out before the show season starts. He's pretty sticky so having him off leash is not a problem (in the mountains anyway). I took him out the other night which was a mistake, since we got surrounded by boar twice which was pretty hairy. The boar are taking over the neighborhood, so I took Baron and Masa out together this week to thin the heard. I got the dogs out of the truck, off they ran, and 1 minute later they're on boar. Masa just runs around excited. Anyway, Baron was off and too far to catch up. I popped Masa back in the truck, and Baron and I hunted for another couple hours, running into several more boar, but no solid stops. Baron's a bit off his game still since we haven't been hunting through the summer. Anyway, I took Masa out today at 5:15 for a quick run, packed the gun and gear just in case, and while not expecting anything (and 5 minutes before sunset) Masa perked up and started checking out the ridge to the left. I encouraged him by following him up twice, but nothing. I called him back to the path since we needed to get back to the truck. Apparently the boar was on the left, and had come down to cross the path in front of us, so as we come to a bend, I hear Masa scrambling ahead of me, and I peer around to see an 80kg boar huffing and puffing at him. I popped off a head shot, Masa charged, boar rolled over to the right, started back up and tried to come after me so popped 2 more head shots. Boar went down around 5 meters in front of me, and that was that. Masa wouldn't go near it, but followed as I dragged it out of the mountain.

It was a pleasant surprise, and while I won't be clapping at Masa for an amazing hunt, he did his part. Of course he ended it perfectly by walking up the trail, finding the boar's fresh scat, and rolling every inch of his body in it. And of course this is the day that I didn't bring a crate for him, and had to have stinking bastard sitting next to me in the cab of the truck. My revenge was sweet. Masa hates showers.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


I really haven't been feeling like blogging this year. There's a lot going on, but I just haven't felt the need to write about it.

I started blogging to try to get correct information about the Japanese breeds online, and to chronicle my life events. Blogs have been great way to be able to go back in time and relive the milestones, or just to figure out what day such and such happened.

I've definitely seen the Nihon Ken steadily gaining popularity overseas over the years, and for a while I did feel I was making a difference with the blogging. Recently though, I've felt a bit lost in all of it. Where are the breeds going? What am I trying to do now? I haven't felt that burn to rant or share, and to be honest I still don't. I've thought about shutting down the blog, but there's a lot of stuff I haven't gotten online. Regardless of how I feel about the future, I'm going to start flooding the blog again.

So to celebrate this occasion, I give you puppies.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


While I wasn't blogging, I turned 37. It was a pretty chill affair, spent the day in the surf with a good friend. This was over a month ago, and I've trimmed the beard as I do every now and again.
Just going to play catch up on the blog for a while since I'll be travelling again 48 hours from now.

RIP Frank

So I lost Frank a while back to a self inflicted accident. He used to sit up on the picket fence in front of the kennel all day, and one day he slipped up and got his head caught between two slats and when I came home he was already gone. He was loud, but damn if he wasn't the friendliest rooster I've ever met.

I think I've had enough roosters for now, so I picked up some hens. They're Nagoya Cochin, a breed good for eating and eggs, and it's fun to have another Japanese breed here (even if they're not dogs!). Going to have to think up some names for them.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Working Dogs

Ran into this on Tumblr, and it very clearly sums up how I feel about dogs.

Seen on

NIPPO Registration From the JKC

So I just learned something new today after talking to NIPPO HQ.

If a dog is Japan Kennel Club registered, and the parents and grandparents (all the dogs in the pedigree basically) are all NIPPO registered dogs, the dog can be NIPPO registered (full registration).

So if a dog born overseas was exported to Japan, and then registered with the JKC, it could then have its registration transferred to NIPPO, as long as it clears the above criteria.

This is what I was told anyway, but I'd have to give it a go once and see if they actually accept the application before I accept it as fact.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Available Black and Tan Shikoku Female

This black and tan Shikoku female is available at the moment. Her dam is sister to Riri (my pup that passed away a while back), and is a nice black sesame with a very calm temperament. She's Nidai Iwahori Sou (Teruhide x Sekihoume), and the sire is out of another kennel nearby with their own line of dogs, but it does have a bit of Kotofusa in there.

I haven't seen the pup yet, but have heard she's available for sale, so am trying to help out.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

More Kai Pups

I'll write up a post later, but there's a litter of 5 boys and a girl available now.

Shigeru Katoさん(@katothewalrus)が投稿した動画 -