Monday, September 18, 2017

Amazing Recoveries

Nearly lost one of my Shikoku girls this month. Mumu was bred on her heat (last attempt before retiring her), didn't look pregnant one month on, and that was when everything started. She started losing appetite a bit. Usually she's a pretty voracious eater. When I started to worry was one day when she didn't want to walk up hill. At first I thought maybe her hips were starting to bother her (she's got pretty poor hips), but after she left all her food a few days later I took her in to the vet.

A sonogram showed the womb slightly enlarged, but normal considering she could have been pregnant. We got some light meds to treat possible pyometra which was my main concern. Her heat before this she had been bred as well, and got quite large, but turned out to either have absorbed the pups or not to have been pregnant at all. Anyway, she started eating grass and vomiting daily, and continued to not eat. After a few days I took her in again, and we drew some blood. The results showed her kidney function was poor, but again not too much clarity on how her womb was doing. We ramped up meds, and my vet finally got me to agree to learn how to put an IV in. That's one of those things I've always just taken my dogs in for, but every so often it's a necessary and quick fix for issues, and if I'm already able to sew up my dogs every now and again, putting an IV in is another good skill to have.

With a new slew of drugs and a box full of IV, I moved Mumu into the house so she could enjoy the airconditioning. There was really no change. She slept all day, wouldn't eat, vomited a lot, and just started wasting away. All in all she stopped eating for around 3 weeks, got rail thin, and I made my peace with the fact that she was not going to make it. I'd carry her outside to urinate, and we'd walk around on the lawn for a while.

Well she was really starting to weaken, and it was hard to watch her in such obvious pain for so long. I remember thinking I'd maybe take her in to the vet the next day to have them put her to sleep. Well next morning I let her out in the back yard while I got everyone's breakfast ready, and all of a sudden she started eating some of the leftover kibble. After so many weeks of trying to make so many tasty thing for her to eat even a few bites of, and now she's just gone for the dry kibble! Anyway, it was fast after that. She's back to normal now, aside from loss of weight and muscle definition, she's back to being the same old beautiful dog.

My vets were shocked when I told them yesterday that she came around. We were all sure it was just a matter of time. But hey, I guess Mumu wasn't ready to kick it just yet. I'll be waiting till she's put on a bit more weight, and then I'll be spaying her and looking for a retirement home.

Monday, August 28, 2017


This little guy was born over at Sai no Kuni Inoue Sou in Saitama. The Inoue's are good friends of mine, and I really like the sire (Asahi) of these pups. Their mother, Kurumi, is the daughter of Peromi. Peromi is the most famous Kai in Japan, as she was raised on a national TV show along with 5 other pups representing all the Japanese breeds.

I'll say it again, I love Kai pups. For anyone thinking of getting a Nihon Ken as a companion, seriously consider a Kai. The ease of ownership has them tops in my book.

This little guy is just staying here for 2 weeks, but I picked him up Saturday, had him in the house meeting Baron in the evening. Of course he's still a pup, but the Kai's dog social nature was already on show. Lot's of really good communication going on, and understanding boundaries. I took him outside, he did his business. I put a couple absorbent sheets down in a corner of the kitchen (the same ones that I put in his crate when we drove home from his breeder), and later on he walked over and peed on them.

From there, he's been great. No accidents. Business is done outside, with some pee on the sheets. I haven't had to crate him at all, he just plays with his toys and Baron. He's quickly learning what is not to be chewed, and that when we go on walks we'll come back. Kai do often suffer from separation anxiety, but I think that's part of the package with a dog that chooses you as their person. The initial few days are important with a Kai pup, and slow comfortable socialization is key. They're very smart little thinkers, and their flight response to things can be very high. Don't scare them, always be their protector and be in control of situations, and they'll learn to trust you. Once they do, it's all gold from there.

Well, at least till adolescence. That's another journey.

For anyone that's wondering, I shot this video on my recently acquired Sony Nex. It's a digital mirrorless camera, and I can't recommend it enough. It's tiny. TINY. Goodbye DSLR, this tiny little camera shooting amazing still and video, with fun little adaptors which allow you to use old lenses (I have several now including a 50mm 1.8 Minolta which is amazing) has you beat. I picked up this cam to snap some good quality dog and surf videos, and I could not be happier with it.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

NIPPO Show Dates Autumn 2017

Here are the dates for all the NIPPO branch shows for the coming autumn season. They will culminate in the grand national which will be held in Wakayama this year. I've already blogged the location here

September 10th: Tochigi, Ishikawa
September 17th: Hokkaido, Ibaragi, Yamanashi, Niigata, Shiga, Miyazaki
September 24th: Miyagi, Saitama, Shizuoka, Fukui, Nara, Tottori, Ehime
October 1st: Aomori, Chiba, Aichi, Hyogo, Shimane, Kochi, Oita
October 8th: Yamagata, Santama, Nagano, Osaka, Okayama
October 15th: Iwate, Kanagawa, Mie, Tsuyama, Kagawa, Nagasaki
October 22nd: Akita, Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hokuriku Regional (Toyama)
October 29th: Kumamoto, Tohoku Regional (Fukushima),Chugoku Regional (Yamaguchi), Shikoku Regional (Tokushima)
November 3rd: Kinki Regional (Wakayama)
November 5th: Kanto Regional (Gunma), Chubu Regional (Gifu), Kyushu Regional (Kagoshima)

I should be at most of the Kanto branch shows. Now that I've typed this I'm realizing it's time to start the process of getting everyone show ready. It's still damn hot out here, over 30 degrees celsius.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Picky Eater Shikoku

I hear it a lot, 'My Shikoku is a picky eater and I can't get any weight on him/her!' I've experienced this and other digestive issues in the Japanese breeds, so I'm going to share how I deal with it. So far the results have been 100 percent management success.

So what are you feeding your dog? I guess we've got the kibble feeders, cooked food feeders, and the raw food feeders. I find that most of the time, picky eaters will eat more readily eat cooked or raw food. At least at first. But, a lot of dogs will get bored of eating the same thing every day for every meal.

Since I have a lot of dogs, and a lot of dogs that I kennel for varying lengths of time, I feed my dogs a grain free salmon/sweet potato kibble. Mixed with this I will throw in varying meat topping, and they get cooked boar bones on occasion as well. When I boil the meat scraps and bones for the dogs after butchering a boar, I keep the soup. This soup is gold for dogs that temporarily lose their appetite, or to mix with rice when dogs are not feeling well.

My dogs are fed twice a day, individually, a set amount which varies by season. Dogs don't need to eat quite as much in the summer. Whatever they don't eat in 15 minutes is put away. The kibble is mixed with a bit of topping, and some warm water. Not all the dogs need topping or water, some will eat straight up dry kibble from the bag, but the majority will not do that unless they are starving. So, I could keep trying to force different types of dry dry dry food down them till they are skin and bones, or I can create a system that helps them maintain proper weight. This is especially important for working/show dogs if you're trying to keep them in optimum condition.

If a dog starts leaving food a few meals in a row, I will reduce the amount by a third. If their stool is looking a bit soft, I'll reduce by half. If they have diarrhea they skip a meal. This happens more often during the summer months. Dogs lose their appetite, get a bit more lethargic, and are more prone to digestive upsets.

One important thing to remember when dealing with dogs with appetite loss or upset stomachs is to not go switching their food suddenly. This is generally a bad idea unless you like dealing with poo explosion. Any change in diet or food should be in small amounts and gradual.

I believe there is a train of thought that kibble and cooked food digest at different rates so should not be fed together, but I have not found that to be the case. I read a good study on it somewhere that showed that when fed together they were digested at the same rate. Anyway, I mix. Blocks of meat, rice, pumpkin, these are all things that make it into the mix. Just be careful with keeping the meat you feed low fat. Anything too fatty or oily will often give a dog diarrhea.

And just to throw this in, get your dog's stool checked by your vet every once in a while. Parasites and bacteria can cause loss of appetite and poor stools. Dogs that have a habit of eating random things may also have a blockage in their digestive system (where's mom's other red sock?). Maybe your dogs eating issues have a more serious cause? If you get a new dog or pup, the first thing to do is to get their stool checked. Always. Some parasitic issues can cause permanent damage to the digestive tract.

Where do your dogs eat? Shikoku tend to be pretty reactive to their environment, everything is interesting. So, if you want your dog to relax and eat, set a routine. Mine is that after going for our twice daily walk, everyone goes into their kennels/crates, then it's time to eat. Once they're done eating, the rest of the day begins.

So to sum up my system...
1. Feed them quality food that they will eat (just don't suddenly add new things to their diet)
2. Feed them in a quiet, safe place
3. Always keep an eye (and your vet's eye) on your dog's stool
4. Add toppings - meat, fish, rice, pumpkin (just no fatty stuff, and make sure you check before adding any other exotic stuff) and warm water
5. Skipping meals every now and again is good for dogs. It can help their digestive systems catch a break, and help them regain their appetite.

Lastly, dog's that are burning calories (ie getting enough exercise!) will have more of an appetite, and of course will be happier. Get out for walks/runs/play with your dogs as much as possible!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sesame in the Shiba

Sesame is an officially recognized color in the breed, but it's not without it's controversy. Some say it wasn't originally in the breed (at least not the type of sesame we have today), and some say the current coloration was created by adding Shikoku to the mix. Who knows these things.

All that is certain is that there is sesame in the breed, but generally just in one line that originally comes from Shikoku.

It's a very difficult color to select for in the Shiba, so there's plenty of people that have purchased a sesame Shiba pup only to have it turn out like this.

We were sure that one was going to be a sesame...
So why am I blogging this? Rare color always seems to equal a large amount of requests. So here's the answer. The odds of you getting a sesame pup is low. It will take time. And then, it's a crapshoot whether it will end up being a proper sesame (with even coloration over it's entire body).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Available Shiba Puppies

A friend has some Shiba puppies available for sale.
DOB June 16th, white male, white female, and 2 red females.
Anyone interested is welcome to contact me at so we can discuss details.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


This should be interesting. My 3 Shikoku females and 1 Kishu female all came into heat this week. 3 of the girls started on the same day. I refuse to have 4 litters born at the same time!

In other news, my brother just moved in with me the other day. Getting some help around here (and another surfing buddy) will be fun! He had his girls down here with him over the weekend, so bbq and beach was on. The girls got to surf and had heaps of fun. At least it looked that way to me.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Daruma Stove

I use a type of 'Daruma Stove' in the cabin. And by type, I mean the cheapest one available. The daruma stove was developed and used widely in Japan from the early 1900's and was originally designed to burn coal, though you can burn just about anything in them. They've been used for heating everything from houses to trains.

When I started renovating the cabin I was cash strapped and needed heating for the second winter. I moved in at the end of winter, so just gutted through the first one. With cracks to let everything from snakes to the cold directly into the house, it was an icebox. Anyway, come November it was time for quick thinking, and instead of spending a huge amount of money buying a traditional cast iron fireplace, I picked up a cheap daruma stove at the hardware shop for around 50 bucks. It has worked beautifully.

I originally just used brick on the wall around it, and laid sand out in a tray under it as fireproofing, but errant puppies were wont to make their way into the sand to do their business (yes, Trey, they must be cats). Tired of having to sort that out, I've just rebuilt the area, and did the end of season chimney clean.

The stove's I use are made of extremely thin metal, so do burn out after a few seasons of use. So far I had the top of one rust out a bit after 2 seasons, but I think that was because I always had a kettle of water sitting on top of it. The first one is now serving as a flowerpot outside, and number 2 is still in use (and I've been here for 4 years 4 months now).
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Can You Call This Breeder For Me?

So as you would imagine, I get this request a lot. Someone overseas sees a picture of a dog they like online, grabs the name of the breeder, and then asks if I can track them down. A variation of this is people that want to hire me to go to a dog show with them and hit up the breeders there for dogs to import.

I understand what's going on. If you could talk to them yourself, you would (many try... hello google translate). Why do I generally say no to requests like this? I wanted it down in writing, so here goes.

I do help people import/export dogs. I even set up a dedicated website and business for it because it morphed into something that the tax office required me to register I'm a translator, it's one of the many things I do so it would seem I'd be happy to accept more work, right?

Well dogs to me are something else. They are not a money making venture. I've always felt it's important to keep it this way because I don't like what I've seen happen when selling dogs is the way a person makes a living. Dogs are living creatures, no two are the same, and it's not like selling TVs where you have them all sitting on a shelf. There's a much more personal exchange going on between a breeder and potential owner, and each exchange is a custom fit, trying to match up the right dog with the right people. I started sending Nihon Ken overseas to help with their preservation and promotion, and to help people that I felt really appreciated the breeds to find the best possible pup for them. If anything I'm doing doesn't quite add up to this initial goal, I'm not really keen to get involved. When dogs are how you make a living, I feel that it's very easy for money to invade your decision making process. When you're thinking about the bottom line, even if it's only a slight consideration, it can affect the studs you use, the breedings you choose to do, the dogs you keep, the shows you go to, the people you hang out with. The list is endless really.

So for starters, this is the reason I'm not sending oodles of other breeds all over the world. I've had requests for poodles, Japanese spitz, chihuahuas, corgis etc.
Once I start getting into that, this is just a business, I am just a broker. It doesn't have anything to do with preserving the Nihon Ken.

I also generally don't cold call breeders for people. Why not? Because no matter how the conversation or relationship goes with that breeder, to them I am a broker. I'm sure it's important all over the world, but especially here in Japan in the world of dogs, personal relationships and introductions are extremely important. If you've bred dogs, you know how difficult it is to produce quality dogs, and are only going to give them up to the right people. If I just call a breeder out of the blue, they don't know me from Jack Sprat. I usually only work with breeders that I've met personally through some event, or are introduced to by a mutual friend. It's not just being able to get a better quality dog, there is a lot more information that you'd give a person that you're friendly with as opposed to a broker that you only have a business relationship with. Why would you tell someone that is just a dollar sign about how their might be a health issue in your line, or that you didn't like the temperament of a dog you bred in this or that pedigree. I want to have the best, deepest, and most positive relationship I can with everyone I work with. Doesn't mean I always do, but that's what I'm aiming for.

This all translates into why I don't walk around dogs shows translating for people trying to buy dogs. Because then to everyone that doesn't know me at the show, I will again forever be just a broker. I am a dollar sign outsider as opposed to being an insider.

The Nihon Ken clubs here in Japan are all about amateurism in a sort of Olympic manner. Yes, there are people who make a living breeding Akita and Shiba, but for the most part we're a bunch of amateur dog fanciers having fun preserving/working/showing our dogs. The clubs are non-profits, and try to keep that amateur vibe going. I like it that way as I am not a fan of shows that feel like a big garage sale.

If you want me to translate for you and a breeder in Japan, I'm happy to do it if you've already spoken to them, or tried to speak to them. You've already gotten the ball rolling, and maybe just need some help with the language barrier and export procedures. You're also taking responsibility for importing a dog from this breeder (health/temperament/ethics etc etc). If you just ask me to look for a pup, because there's a limited number of kennels I work with, it usually takes some time.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Shikoku Book Part 7

The following chapters go into how to raise puppies and care for adult dogs.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Trapping Boar

I'm not big on trapping... It's effective, but I don't like the potential hours of stress on wild animals till you arrive to shoot them, and really I just don't have the time to be checking tons of traps every day. But, I do get asked by the local community and the city to control boar in areas where unleashing the hounds is not possible. The neighborhood I live in, well the boar are everywhere now, so I've got a few traps out. The other night boar were all over my nightly walking course, digging up fresh bamboo shoots. It was pretty hairy trying to walk all the dogs without running into them, and believe me there's some pretty big boar in there. I just shot a 92kg male this morning. Anyway, the other night I heard some noise near one of my box traps that's been empty for nearly a year. Well it was no longer empty. 72kg male boar. Went over and shot him at dawn (5am).

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Second Gen

Took Karen out solo today. She hunts well enough with Baron, but for me and my style of close quarters hunting, staying focused and in constant (non-verbal) communication between dog and hunter, it's time for her to step up a notch. It's a bit of a pain for me because Baron hunts so well that hunting with the younger dogs is a lot more work with less boars taken. But Baron's not going to be around forever, so I have to put in the work with the other dogs.

Karen's a very easy dog to own. Is just like Baron in that she doesn't bark at home, sleeps 23 hours a day, and is an easy keeper. She gets along with other dogs, and is shy toward strangers. I don't mind that one bit because I'm not trying to raise a Labrador. She's a working dog, and it's actually preferable that she avoids people, other dogs, and houses etc. As long as she's not aggressive toward any of those, it's all good. She's got a good nose, hunts very well with Baron, is still a bit too loose when on boar (gives them too much space, especially after a charge) and she gets the 'zoomies' sometimes especially when first getting out of the car. The energy and excitement get her running, and this really sucks with hunting dogs off leash because it pulls the other dogs into a race and amps up everyone's energy. Then I have to get her and everyone else back and paying attention to me and the hunt which wastes a good amount of time.

Anyway, all that to say the answer is to hunt her solo for a while. It'll create a closer bond and more communication with me, and she'll get more focused on hunting boar as opposed to playing. Plus she'll have to work harder to stop the boar by herself. Today was a good first day where she really started 'talking' to me in the mountains more. We didn't get on any boar, but that will come.

We hunted the afternoon, and then in the evening after we got home, boar were already all over the neighborhood. Their coming in to eat the fresh bamboo, and of course the hillside behind my house is covered in bamboo. The dogs don't like the boar there, and it's tough to get out to walk the dogs because we're basically surrounded. These boar have 'uribou' (piglets) with them, which makes it even gnarlier as the herd are more aggressive in moving toward perceived threats. As it is I just managed to finish walking the dogs, had some fun watching the boar with my high beam flashlights for a while, and then realized it seemed one finally walked into one of my box traps. Sure enough, a big 70kg-ish boar is in one of the traps. Hope it holds alright till morning when I head down to shoot it.

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Why Don't We Outcross?

A discussion that comes up a lot nowadays when discussing the preservation of 'purebreeds' is the idea of outcrossing, or an open studbook. This is especially true when dealing with rare breeds that have very small gene pools (and genetic issues for instance). So, I thought I'd explain why that is very unlikely to happen here in Japan.

NIPPO, the preservation society, was founded to preserve the breeds and remove the influence of western breeds from the gene pool. The Nihon Ken was interbreeding with the newly imported breeds, so NIPPO is very big on removing any all traits associated with non-Japanese breeds (like tongue spotting which they think was a sign of interbreeding with Chows). So I don't see outcrossing being allowed here in Japan any time soon. It would basically be against the mission statement of NIPPO.

Also the breeds are officially designated as national treasures. The term is actually 'tennen kinenbutsu' which would translate to 'natural monument'. It's a designation given to wildlife and fauna that is native and particularly valuable to Japanese culture. This is something along the lines of say a national bird like the bald eagle in the US. You can imagine the uproar if it was decided to start breeding them with a Chinese eagle to increase genetic diversity. Trump might have something to say about that.

All jokes aside, there is an issue we have here in Chiba prefecture where the native macaques are interbreeding with a non-native introduced species, the rhesus monkey. There's been a lot of discussion about this because they've now reached a wildlife park where the monkeys are 'tennen kinenbutsu'. They've immediately put a cull in effect because basically hybrid offspring are no longer a native species, and so lose their official designation as a national treasure. I believe this same thinking would probably be used in any discussion regarding opening the studbooks for the Japanese breeds. NIPPO works closely with the Japanese government, always has, because of this official designation that the breeds have. The awards given at the grand national for best of breed are from the education minister, and the best in show is from the prime minister.

I realized that from an outside perspective it may seem that there's just a bunch of conservative old dudes shutting down new ideas, and to a certain extent there is that happening, the Japanese breeds have a lot more going on because of their official status.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

One Step Forward, One Step Backward

Breeding dogs is not easy. I take that back. Breeding good dogs is not easy. Every breeder has their own goals and ethical standards, guidelines for their plan. I don't think it's possible to truly appreciate a well bred dog until you've tried breeding yourself. 

Anyway, getting to the reason for my zen paragraph, I present to you my latest Shikoku hip slides. The first is Rin, one of my hunting line Shikoku. She's around 18 months old now. She's a nice red female, very nice structure and movement, quite bold, and extremely high energy. The problems I have with her and her sister (who I placed nearby to cut down on dog numbers) are these: size, and temperament. Shikoku females should be 49cm, with a tolerance of +/- 3cm. Ran is around 44.5cm, and Rin around 43. They were tiny from the day I picked them up from the truck depot. The other issue, and a bit of a kicker, is temperament. Their very high strung, which bleeds into them being very reactive. They're fine with my dogs, they've grown up with them, but anything else that moves is generally met with a whirlwind of Shikoku attitude. That's putting it nicely. Basically their switch just goes on, and they sprint toward and engage all threats. I can't hunt safely with that, so they don't get any off leash time. I had originally hoped to hunt them as a pair, and then breed them in the future. I've kept Rin, the smaller female, because she has the better temperament and conformation. I will most likely breed her once and keep a female, aiming to pick one with some size. Rin's hips look pretty good.

The next hips are Mumu's. Mumu has a fantastic temperament, amazing harsh coat (best I've seen in the breed so far), some pretty nice type, great bones. Her drawbacks are a narrow front, and I noticed a wonky back end. We were really hoping to get some pups out of her, but I was quite disappointed in these hips.

I'll see a lot of breeders 'have a bad day' or get really depressed about losing a good dog, or about unfortunate things that happen to their 'program'. Really though, this is nature, this is the way it goes. Your welcome to get down, but me, I'd prefer to accept and move forward. Way too much going on to have a bad day about a little curveball. Have a nice day everyone!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Seattle, Amsterdam, Marrakech

I have a lot of thanks in my heart for the Japanese breeds, and for everyone I've met through them. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't stumbled into this world, but all I do know is that I wouldn't be where I am now.

Where I am now is sitting in front of my computer in my cabin in the hills of Tateyama, Japan, surrounded by lush green mountains, listening to the Uguisu, and I have ridiculous internet.

Thank you Japan.

I always wanted to travel, thought about it, talked about it, never made a move to actually go anywhere (other than business or family related trips). Jetting around the world with the dogs has been quite an experience. In April I hopped over to Seattle to transport a dog for a military family that had to jet back to deal with a health crisis. It's generally cheaper to fly with a dog than to ship as cargo from Japan, since the quoted cargo price was 450,000JPY. Seattle was a chill laid back little city, and I mean LITTLE. For some reason I had an image of Seattle as some big metropolitan area, but all I found was coffee. Good coffee. I think the whole city runs on coffee. I did get to meet up with internet dog friends which was great. What do you call people that you know through a love of dogs, that you've known online for years but have never met?

I took no pictures in Seattle, but found a few on FB.

 Fun ride along, no arrests.
Chilling with the Shiba pack, getting barked at by the Ovcharka (Grym) in the back yard... all good.

Anyway, jetted back to Japan for a week, then took a Hokkaido pup to Amsterdam. I do enjoy the city, usually try to fly though it if I'm going anywhere in Europe. I stay for a day or two, chill, have a zip through the museums etc.

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I've gotten worse at taking travel photos. I take none. Maybe if I buy myself a film camera I'll take more shots? Enter the Nikonos V. Picked up a few of these from a diving shop going under (no pun intended).

While it's unlikely that the addition of this legendary camera will encourage me to take more photographs (or raise my skills in that regard), it can't hurt. After a few days in Amsterdam it was off to Morocco for a week, chilling with my significant other and some friends, enjoying the food, markets, being inspired by the atmosphere, and getting into some proper surf. Imsouane Bay. That's some serious magic right there. And of course all I took was this video of it at high tide when nothing was happening haha.

I did snap some interesting video of the stray dogs in the village. This is the first time I've experienced large amounts of dogs living off leash as strays. It was very interesting to see their behaviors, and all the little stories going on in their interactions. I wonder what the Nihon Ken would be like if they were in an environment like that, and then I realize that this would be the most natural thing for them, since free ranging in mountain villages is where they came from.

Well after a week in magicland, I hoofed it back to Japan where I'm finally getting caught up on sleep and work. It's good to be home, getting back into projects and play. I'll upload video of some of the dogs I saw in Morocco later.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Importing a Dog From Japan to the United States

Since Japan is a rabies free country (since 1957), entry to the US is pretty straightforward and simple. Microchipping and vaccinations are not mandatory, however I'd still recommend microchips and up to date multi vaccinations when travelling internationally with any dog. For entry from Japan, the dog must have resided in Japan for 6months or since birth (otherwise rabies vaccination 30 days prior to import is necessary).

Here are the CDC regulations

You may be required to sign a confinement agreement if your dog is not up to date on its rabies vaccinations. This agreement states that you will keep your dog confined in your home until 30 days elapse after a rabies vaccination.

Japanese export regulations require that a pup is at least 8 weeks old before being exported. I don't imagine anyone would be wanting to exported a pup younger than that anyway, but that's the regulation for you. One thing to pay attention to if you are trying to fly a pup back with you to the US is that some airlines have age specific and other regulations. ANA (All Nippon Airways) for example requires that all dogs are at least 4 months old. United and Delta only accept dogs as cargo, which means you need to book through a shipping agent like NIPPON EXPRESS and pay much more than you would if the dog was accepted as excess baggage (when shipping a dog as cargo you will end up paying for more than the price of a person's airlines ticket, in some cases double!). And of course, some airlines do not accept dogs period. So, check with your airline when booking your flight!

For airlines accepting dogs as check in baggage (in the climate controlled hold with other baggage), fees vary. In my experience you will usually be charged somewhere between 150-400 USD. Look into this in advance as well, since some airlines charge per kg which can end up being an exciting surprise. I delivered one pup to Narita airport a few years back only for its owner to discover that the check in fee for their dog would be over 1000USD.

As far as export procedures go, you will need to apply for an inspection at least 1 week prior to your flight. The inspection will take place at the airport you are flying out of. Here's the official Animal Quarantine website regarding departure from Japan for dogs/cats

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Repost: Importing a Dog From Japan to Australia

I'm reposting this because I still receive a lot of inquiries from Australia about what goes into importing dogs from Japan. I'll probably just start writing guides here and there for all the countries I've shipped to, but for now, here's an updated one for Australia.

I guess there is rising interest in the Japanese breeds down in Australia. I assume this because I've been receiving a steady stream of mail from would be owners. Unfortunately, Australian import regulations make it very pricey to import. Just how many limbs should you prepare to sever? Since I seem to be answering this question a lot now, I'm just going to blog it. While I'm writing this post with regard to importing Nihon Ken from Japan, it will also be helpful for those looking to move their pet from Japan to Australia, or people looking to import other breeds from Japan.

The main reasons it is very costly to import is due to the need for an import permit (485 AUD), mandatory 10 day quarantine (@1500 AUD total), and the requirement that all dogs arrive as manifest cargo (this means dogs cannot arrive as check in baggage which usually only costs around 300-400 AUD).

Airline regulations in Japan do not allow you to book a cargo flight for your dog directly with the airline. You have to go through a shipping agent like NIPPON EXPRESS . This does drive up the costs obviously. It costs at least 200,000JPY for 1 medium size (200 size) dog crate from Narita to Melbourne. All dogs arriving in Australia must arrive in Melbourne since this is the only quarantine facility in the country.

Japan is a group 2 rabies free country so while there is still a 10 day quarantine upon arrival in Australia, rabies vaccinations and blood testing are unnecessary. It takes quite a bit of time to clear all the hurdles to import a dog though, so best to start early (you'll need a minimum of 42 days). You can find a step by step guide here.

The first step you'll need to take is to implant an ISO compatible microchip, and then apply for an import permit. Once you've received your permit you will want to make start making flight reservations for the dog with your shipping agent and make a reservation for the 10 day quarantine in Australia.

So, at this point you are already running up a bill of around 400,000JPY. This obviously does not include the price of the pup or all the veterinary work that needs to be done before it is eligible for import.

I won't list all the veterinary work you have to clear before import since the timeline and procedures are very exact. Follow the step by step guide! Make sure you pay close attention, or hire someone to take care of the process for you.

To give you an idea of total costs to import a Shiba pup for instance, you'll probably be looking at somewhere around 600,000JPY (more if you're asking for a show/breeding pup obviously). The amount will be more or less depending on the price of the pup obviously, and how much of the process you or the breeder are able to handle (since otherwise you'll have to pay someone else to handle vet trips/kenneling/transport within Japan/export inspections etc).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Shikoku Book Part 6: The Standard

The following chapter is a breakdown of the standard.
First we're naming all the body parts.
Here the author is using these two pictures to show the correct proportions for the breed.
He then uses pictures 3 and 4 to discuss sexual dimorphism which is vital part of the standard for the Japanese breeds. Males should look like males, larger heads, thicker stronger builds, and one should at a glance be able to assume the sex of a dog. Females should look feminine.
The four illustrations are labeling and quantifying proportion, and the text explains things like the need for a straight/level bridgeline on the top of the muzzle.
The illustrations on the page below show correct and incorrect stops. This is an issue that many people who are not well versed in the breed tend to miss, especially since a dog with less stop can look more wolflike, which is a trait that draws a lot of people to the Shikoku in the first place. However, Shikoku should have a defined stop. In the three illustrations, the bottom one is described as a correct, natural looking, stop.
And then here moving into correct angles and shapes for eyes and ears.
Notice the bottom line of the eye points toward the bottom outside corner of the ear. That's the angle you're looking for in Shikoku, no more, no less. Of course this is dependent on the ears being in the correct position. You can also see the shape of the ears, more rounded on the outside, and straighter on the inside. The illustration is slightly exaggerated, but you get the idea. Something seen quite often is gyaku-mimi (opposite ears) where the outside line is straight, and the inside is curved. Naturally this is incorrect. You also want the ears angled forward at the proper angle, not too 'heavy' (pointing too far forward), and not straight up either. The angle they point forward at should line up with the muzzle. Eye color is also discussed, they're not black, just a very dark brown. Light eyes are penalized.
The page below discusses the proper scissor bite, and the middle illustration shows the proper shape for the torso (with the far left being correct). Teeth are discussed, something very important in the Japanese breeds. Missing teeth are penalized heavily (they should have 42!)
This next page explains the topline (should be straight!) and angulation in the front and back legs. As I've mentioned before regarding angulation in the back legs, vertically the front line from the hock to the foot should line up with the back line of the thigh when the dog is stacked. In the front, the dog should have a chest, which means there is a line from the neck down to the chest, and the legs should not drop straight down from that line. The legs should drop down from behind the chest.
Continuing with the correct angles in the limbs... on the far left is the view from behind the dog, with obviously the top example being correct. No cow hocked or bow legged dogs thank you. Illustration 18 shows correct rear angulation with again the top example being correct. The middle one is too straight, the bottom too angulated which gives the dog's rear a weak appearance. Illustration 16 shows correct angles in the wrist. I see a lot of Shiba with little to no angulation in the wrist, similar to the middle example. This is incorrect. Illustration 15 is another of my pet peeves, again something I see in Shiba a lot is the middle example of an incorrect front. Too wide. In this Shikoku the bottom example of narrow to no chest is a problem I see often. The reason the lack of angulation in the wrist and wide fronts is something I want to clearly point out is because dogs with these traits can look deceptively appealing. When a dog has no wrist angulation and is up on its tip toes, to the untrained eye it can look like it's stacked very nicely. An overly wide and open front can also look like a very strong front if you don't know what you're supposed to be looking for.
Lastly, and here's another one that people often get wrong, correct tails in the Shikoku (and generally in the Japanese breeds, though tail type is a bit different for Akita, and then there are sickle type tails etc). A correct tail should stand up away from the back, and then curl around in a nice arch, with the curl continuing to the tip of the tail as in the top picture. There should be space in the middle of this curve, between the tail and the back, so that you can actually see through to the other side. We often say there should be enough space to put an egg through it. Incorrect tails that I see alot are tails that drape (the end of the tail does not curl but drops vertically toward the ground), and of course the biggest issue is usually tails that are too tight or are flat on the back.
This concludes explanation and discussion of the standard. Why are all these little things important you may ask? Well most of them have their roots in hunting utility. I'll discuss this at some later stage when I have the time, but the longer I've owned and hunted with the Japanese breeds, the more I understand the standard.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

2017 NIPPO Grand National Location

The 2017 Nihonken Hozonkai (NIPPO) Zenkokuten (national exhibition), often referred to as the Grand National, will take place on November 18th and 19th in Wakayama city. On Saturday the 18th, the medium and large breeds will be shown, and on Sunday the 19th, the Shiba. Here is the address and a link to google maps.

1517 Kemi, Wakayama-shi, Wakayama-ken
Wakayama Marina City, Number 3 Parking Lot

If you have any questions regarding the show please contact NIPPO directly by phone, fax, or email.
TEL:+81-3-3291-6035 FAX:+81-3-3291-1985 email:

See you all there!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

NIPPO Grand National 2016 - Placements

The show was six months ago, but just in case you missed out seeing pictures of the winners from the last NIPPO national show, here they are.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Kookbox

What am I so busy with that I can't keep up with blogging? To be honest I always feel a slight tinge of guilt about not blogging regularly. I'm equal parts busy with the dogs, hunting, traveling, working on the cabin, and helping out with numerous other projects for friends. While this is a bit of joy and not another excuse for not blogging, I've had a lady friend for a while now, and we're either hanging out or surfing a lot. This is one of my many projects that I jumped into with no regard for my schedule. Just found this quirky 4WD base vehicle (a Nissan Rasheen) from 1998 and thought it would be a fun one to tweak a bit. Lady friend needed a vehicle to jump in and out of her place in Tokyo, and without asking if this was okay, I just bought it and started the project. Here's how the original goes.

Did a full maintenance overhaul; belts, liquids, tires, wheels. In a past life I worked in a body shop that specialized in Merc's and Volvo's, so body work is not too daunting though it's been over 15 years since I painted a car. I kept it simple this time round and removed/painted the roof rails, front/rear bumper, and grill. There was some putty work involved on the bumpers (and a bit of cheating here and there) but overall I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

Found a grill that I tweaked a bit to work on this baby, and switch to some retro round headlights as opposed to the ugly stock goggles.

And so she's up and running. I've christened her the kookbox due to her toolbox-like build. At 75,000km and fully maintenanced she should be good to go for a good while. Just threw the longboard on the rack and hit the beach yesterday. All worked out quite well.

I'm sorry if I haven't answered your emails. I'm busy doing things like this, and traveling. Seattle, Amsterdam, and Morocco have been visited in the past 3 weeks. Getting pretty world class at dealing with jetlag.