Tuesday, February 18, 2020

NIPPO Grand National Location... hold yer horses

So there's been an announcement from NIPPO that the venue will need to be changed due to damage from last years typhoons. The new venue will still be in Nagano prefecture, but will be announced sometime in February.

NIPPO apologizes to anyone who has made plans based on the venue location. As I said, the national will still be hosted by the NIPPO Nagano branch, in Nagano prefecture. The show date will still be the 15th of November, 2020.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


So last year I received an invite from the Norwegian Nihon Ken Club to be a guest speaker at their annual members meeting. I accepted, and arrived mid-January prepared for freezing temperatures and massive amounts of snow. Fortunately, it's been a mild winter, and this poor Japanese soul from balmy Chiba did not have to freeze. It did drop down to minus 5 one night, but all in all it was very very acceptable weather. 

It was great to be able to see friends I hadn't seen in a while (some online friends that I'd never met in person too), and to get that first time visit to Norway. The end of the year is always a very busy time for me (and the hunting season is in swing) but I managed to work like a maniac to put together a cohesive powerpoint (I think!). The presentation was primarily about hunting with the Nihon Ken, the history of the breeds, things like that. Since I went through all the trouble of collating the years of material I've collected, I'll start sharing it on the blog as time allows.

One big take away from this trip was realizing just how little information about the Japanese breeds and the breed standards is available outside of Japan. From the Japanese viewpoint, we wonder why the breeds change so quickly (in 1 or 2 generations) once they are overseas, and I think there's a lot of negativity attached to that. But what do we expect if there's no information or data, and no teachers? I'm motivated to get back to sharing more of that type of information here on the blog.

All in all I really enjoyed Norway. The country's beautiful, the people were friendly and intelligent, and I really enjoyed the feel and vibe of everything. It's one of those places where I thought, 'I could live here with my dogs.' A large part of that was learning through this trip about the hunting dog culture in Northern Europe, and their spitz type hunting breeds. More than anywhere else in the world, I believe the northern Europeans are actually using the Japanese breeds for their original purpose, hunting. The Nihon Ken population is primarily Shiba (I hear there are 2000 Shiba in Norway now), but they are doing all sorts of dog sports with them, and of course hunting and blood tracking etc. It was very impressive, and I will be sharing in the near future some of the videos and pictures I was given by many of the owners. Impressive stuff which makes me very hopeful for the future of the Nihon Ken!

Friday, January 31, 2020

NIPPO Grand National 2020

So the location of the NIPPO 2020 Grand National has been officially announced, and as originally rumored it will be held in Nagano prefecture. The show will be a one day show, just like last year, and will be held on the 15th of November.

Here's the address:
3813-27 Kamiyamada
Chikuma, Nagano 389-0822

And in relation to Tokyo, this is where it is.

Book your flights, book your hotels! Enter some dogs! See you there!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Nihon Ken Pedigree Database is ONLINE

Sooooo, the full version with capability for all 6 of the Nihon Ken is online! Thanks to the gentlemen at pedigreedatabaseonline.com for helping us with all the backdoor fixes.


As you can imagine, this is going to take an immense amount of work to get all the data for all 6 of the breeds online. I'm considering opening up permissions to some select people to help enter all the data. Some of you have already expressed interest in helping with this, but please contact me again so we can discuss the details. I am trying to keep the data on the site as uniform and correct as possible, hence my trepidation at opening it up to all entries and editing.

I will be setting up a Facebook group to coordinate all the data entry, and to get feedback on fields we would like to add/remove, health issues to track for each breed etc.

The database is on its way! Of course there are some bugs that need to be ironed out...

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

NIPPO Grand National 2019

So this autumn show season ended up being a bit of a bust. I did show my dogs in September at the Chiba branch show, one of the first scheduled shows of the season. It was hot, and there was a typhoon coming (little did we know how bad it would be) that night. I really don't even remember what placements the dogs got, but we did ok I think. Anyway, that night typhoon 15 (Faxai) smashed us a good one. In the aftermath of that, it was hard to make time to go to shows, or to get the dogs show ready. I had 4 entered in the Tokyo branch show for October, which then got postponed because of another massive typhoon. I can hear the weather gods cackling with glee.

So, I ended up not being able to enter Yoshi in the national, which I whined about earlier on the blog. Bunta was blowing coat and not in show shape, so he was out for the rest of the year, and that left me with Vega and Mei (both in semi respectable condition.

Then 2 weeks before the grand national, after dogs were entered and all travel plans were made, dogs starting to look pretty good (hey we might pull this off), BAM. Kennel cough. A dog I was asked to rehome came to my house, and 3 days later started coughing. So in the end, I ended up going to Okayama sans dogs, with a carload of fun friends instead.

At the national, I ran around talking to everyone, and trying to take pictures of friends' dogs. It was exciting to have one of my favorite Shikoku males take best of breed. Jukaishuu, owned by my friend Kato-san, has always been in the same class as myself and Masamine. He's beaten us at every regional, and at the national all but one year when Masa took second, and Jukaishuu third. It was a long day for Jukaishuu and his owner/handler, but a well deserved win after their adult male 3rd place finish at the national last year. I let out a proper whoop when he beat the female for BOB.

I just read over this post, and I know I can do better as far as writing, grammar, and story telling, but truth be told I'm tired as all heck. December has been busy as all hell, and it's not over yet. Hunting season is open, but in the first month we've been out once. ONCE. Anyway, below are some snaps of the dogs.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

In Cabin? Checked In? Cargo?

So you're flying with your dog (or thinking about flying with your dog), and trying to figure out what all this lingo means. Where do dogs go if they're flying 'in-cabin' or 'checked-in'? What are my options?

Starting with the easy stuff, a dog can be booked on a flight accompanied (on the same flight as you) or unaccompanied (not on the same flight), and there are three classifications:
1. In cabin
2. Checked in
3. Cargo

In cabin means the pup is with you in the passenger area. The airlines that allow this (not all do) have size restrictions since the dog has to be small enough to fit in a crate (usually a soft bag type) under the seat in front of you. For most airlines, the weight restriction that the dog has to be under 8kg (and of course fit in a bag small enough to be under the seat in front of you. It goes without saying that most airlines will also only allow 1 dog per passenger in cabin. You will end up paying a very minimal fee for an in cabin dog, usually somewhere under 150USD in my experience.

If a dog is too big to fit in-cabin, then it will need to be checked in. This means it goes in the baggage hold with your check-in baggage. The area is pressure and temperature controlled. This is the way most dogs will end up flying. Your dog will need to be in a hard crate that fits airline specs. There are various limits on the size of the crate, total weight of dog and crate, breeds allowed etc, but since this varies by airline I won't get into that here. Fees for a checked dog vary by airline and sometimes by crate size, but usually end up around 200-400USD for an international flight.

Cargo. When you are unable to fly with your dog, sometimes this is an option. However it is becoming more and more difficult to ship dogs as cargo internationally. From Japan, cargo prices are ridiculous since regulations require you to go through a shipping agency and you can't deal directly with the airline. You can expect to pay at least the cost of a human's ticket for a small-medium size crate on international flights, and as the crate gets larger, the prices rise. For a large size breed you will easily be paying upward of 3000USD for an international flight from Japan. Moral of the story, don't ship dogs cargo from Japan.

One thing to keep in mind is that all US airlines other than American Airlines now only accept dogs as cargo. Delta does allow in-cabin dogs, but remember about the size restrictions. If you are a military family PCS'ing, US airlines usually have a special allowance so you will not have to ship your dog as cargo.

Here's a link to help you with IATA approved dog crate measurements and lingo
Some airlines require a water bottle/food dish, some will not allow you to put one on the crate. Check with your airline, and always book space for your dog when you book your flight. Do it in advance, you'll thank me. There is limited space for dogs on flights, and many routes use planes that are not pet friendly. If you're planning to fly with your dog, do your due diligence well in advance.

Friday, December 6, 2019

NIPPO Kanto Branch Shows for Spring 2020

These are the tentative show dates for the Kanto region NIPPO branch shows:

February 23rd TOCHIGI
March 1st SANTAMA
March 8th CHIBA
March 15th GUNMA
March 29th IBARAGI
April 5th KANAGAWA
April 12th TOKYO