Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Nihon Ken Database

On October 8th I decided I was going to finally tackle the issue of a database for all the Nihon Ken that incorporates calculation of COI and AVK, plus tracks health issues. CJ Hammond over in the US helped immensely in setting up the GoFundMe so that I wouldn't have to foot the bill all on my own. I'm a bit late in announcing that we reached our funding goal very quickly (I think it took around a week), so we deactivated the campaign. 2100USD was raised, and after fees I think I received just over 2000USD.
Special thanks to Tain Marie, Mirka Mertanen, Veera Petäjä, Riina Haapakallio, Chrystal Cleary, Alexis Amerosa, Daniel Kopcinski, Robin Grannell, Luisa Boni, Kelsey Christenson, Greg Trimble, Kati Kraemer, Jeannie Tran, Amy Doohan, Aiki Kato, Dmitry Ponomarenko, Alan Yamauchi, Nicholas Nguyen, Rachel Noy, Joyce Szydlowski, Lauren Sohaney, Amanda Knechtel, Tommy Duong, Terri Fitzgerald, Hope Y, Kathy Gima, Samantha Walker, Glenn Phillips, Katherine Greene, Alina Serbyn, Brad Anderson, Deven Gujrathi, Suteishii Kennels, and all the other anonymous donors. All Nihon Ken breeders and owners are going to reap the rewards of your giving.

This is a fairly busy time of year for me, so things haven't moved as crisply as I would like, but we now have a database online that covers the Shikoku, Kai, and Kishu. Of course there are no entries for the Kai, and only a few for the Kishu at the moment, but I'll be working on that. Check out the site! You can toggle between breeds using the bar on the top left of the site (the default is 'ALL BREEDS')

Next year I will be adding functionality for the other three Nihon Ken, the Akita, Shiba, and Hokkaido. Thank you all for your support, I couldn't have done this without you. You all are amazing. Also, a big shout out to the guys behind the scenes at Pedigree Database Online for all their help with the backend of the website. There are still some kinks to iron out, which I will get to as I start to add more data.

One thing that has changed from my original site is that dog names and kennel names are now entered in the same field in a continuous line eg. Masamine Go 雅峰号 Futomi Sou 太海荘 
So English name, Japanese name, English kennel name, Japanese kennel name.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Available Shikoku Female Puppies

There are three Shikoku females currently available. Anyone interested feel free to drop me a line at
The two red sesame females were sired by Vega. They were born on the 7th of October.

This black and tan female is from a different litter. She was born on the 4th of October. She's out of Mikasa Sou.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Available Shiba Female

If anyone's looking for a black and tan Shiba female, there is one currently available. Mail me at for details.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

NIPPO Grand National 2019 Entry Numbers

All told there are 684 dogs entered in the national this year, plus 2 'sankouken' (reference dogs). Last year we had 620 entries (plus reference dogs), so that was a nice surprise. Biggest change in numbers goes to the Shikoku, seeing as last year there were only 66 entries. Go, go, Shikoku!

Shiba: 497 (260 male, 237 female)
Kishu: 78 (36 male, 42 female)
Shikoku: 103 (64 male, 39 female)
Kai: 5 (1 male, 4 female)
Hokkaido: 1 (male)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis

So we have a possible culprit for the mystery Shikoku limp. Up until now panosteitis has been the suspect, and in at least 1 case a diagnosis was made based on x-rays. However, some things about the Shikoku mystery leg pain do not add up to pano. Panosteitis is supposedly self resolving in that dogs grow out of it at around 18 months. However, the symptoms in Shikoku are often lifelong.

I have been working to try and track the issue in the breed, since it seems to almost certainly be hereditary, and my veterinarians have been supportive in trying to help diagnose the issue. And (drumroll please) we have a new prime suspect: Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis aka IMPA.

Immune-mediated (aka autoimmune) conditions occur when the immune system is overactive and attacks the body in various ways. Hyperactive may be a more appropriate term because one part of the immune system is revved up and working in overdrive.  Immune-mediated disorders have an underlying genetic predisposition, like they do in humans; this genotype association in affected dogs has recently been located on the DLA-79 allele (Dog Leukocyte Antigen) of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) system. Other factors predisposing to overactive immune system responses include environmental factors like vaccines, drugs, food, chemicals or drugs as well as stress situations that act as “triggers” of this immune response.
Polyarthritis is an inflammation of multiple joints.
In the case of IMPA, white blood cells (aka neutrophils) invade the joints of the body. They are not supposed to be there. They are supposed to be fighting bacteria and pathogens in the surrounding tissues. This causes swelling of the joints, pain, and difficulty walking or standing. Other symptoms may crop up, too, such as weight loss, anorexia, fever, fatigue and can affect the lymph nodes draining the inflamed areas.

The fact that it is an immune system related issue comes as no shock to me. We know the Japanese breeds are very inbred off a very small number of breed founders. Since there are a number of other immune related issues seen in the Japanese breeds such as VKH in the Akita, severe allergy/skin issues in the Kishu etc, a diagnosis of IMPA in the Shikoku makes a lot of sense. It has also already been found in the Akita. The one promising line in the above text I pasted is this genotype association in affected dogs has recently been located on the DLA-79 allele (Dog Leukocyte Antigen) of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) system

Is it possible that we could find out if the marker for this issue in the Shikoku can be found and tested for? C'mon my genetic geek friends, show me your skills :)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Available Kai Puppy

I've got a 4 month old male Kai pup that's looking for a home. Any interested parties, drop me a line at
He's passed his basic physical at the vet, has both testicles dropped already, and is microchipped/rabies vaccinated. DOB June 17th, 2019
He's good with other dogs, a little bit aloof sometimes, loves food/treats.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Typhoons, Typhoons

That's probably how I'll remember this year. Not as the year we had a new emperor ascend the chrysanthemum throne, or that Japan took 4 wins in the rugby world cup and made it to the semi-finals. No, I'll remember Typhoon 15 and Typhoon 19 (we number them here in Japan).

If I blogged as much as I used to, you would know all about the carnage from Typhoon 15 hitting us smack in the face down here in Tateyama City, the ensuing week (double that for some people) of power outages, water outages, gasoline rationing (when you could find a gas station that was open), all the staples of a proper disaster. But hey, we got on with it and do what people do. We helped each other, got past the nasty bits, and now we're rebuilding. Well we were, and then Typhoon 19 (Hagibis) came through and socked Japan a good one. Luckily for us in Tateyama, it didn't come ashore in our neck of the woods (which was the initial projection). That would have been catastrophic. As it was, there were over 70 people killed all over Japan, with damage spread through multiple prefectures. This time we only lost power for 3 days.

All in all, it's kind of ruined any plans for September/October, and now the NIPPO Grand National (and the hunting season!) approaches, and my dogs and I are in no state of mind or physical shape to really compete. But, I will still go, and since I am going to Okayama I have entered 2 of my dogs. We'll see if I actually take them. I wanted to show Yoshi, but thanks to the typhoons we were unable to attend regional shows that we had sent in entries for, so didn't get a 'yuryo' (excellent) result which means he is ineligible for the national. Sorry, Yoshi. He's actually the most show ready of my dogs, so that was a bit of a bummer.

But hey, we'll keep plodding on. There's always next year. Well there are two more typhoons out there in the Pacific right now. If we're lucky they'll just go away. But you know, this year has been weird.