Thursday, December 23, 2010

And I'm Back

So my break was rather short lived... a month and a touch?

Time heals all things, and apparently in my old age I'm healing faster. It's been a crazy year, probably the toughest (not sure if I should say worst) I've experienced yet, but the good news is that there is only another week left. What more could go wrong right? KNOCK ON WOOD!!!

Christmas is around the corner and I even broke out our sad little tree. I've got a boar leg brining, a duck marinading (and a back up chicken in case I fail), apple crumble, mash potatoes, and some other tasties in the works. For a guy who was doing his best to ignore Christmas, I've been thoroughly infected with Christmas cheer.

I'd like to say everything's been good while I've been blog silent, but in the interim period I lost Momo to a traffic accident while we were hunting. She's been sorely missed and for a while there I thought I was going to lose it. Baron and Haru are fine, but without Momo we've had a rough hunting season so far.

Bygones. Life flows on and I must make the most of it.

Hit the mountains hard yesterday with a friend and my youngest brother. My friend brought his litter of Kishu pups, littermates to a female that went to Gen in the states. They got to play around a bit, and since we pulled in a boar yesterday, they got their first whiff of boar skin. I think these girls will make great hunters. There are still 4 females available in the litter.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taking A Break

I've got a lot on my plate right now, a lot of personal issues to resolve. Unfortunately it means I will be taking a break from blogging (not that I'm that regular anyway).

Thanks to all of you for following my blog. I'll be back badder then ever once I've recharged a bit.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Puppy Pictures From Today

So today was a puppy filled day. I had some vet trips to make with several pups going overseas. Afterwards I got them all out for a good romp. Unfortunately this led to them finding mud. If there is mud, puppies will find it.

Here are two girls going to Canada





Here's a few of Kaiju, going to the States



And some group shots




With this many Shikoku pictures and posts I'm going to have to rename my blog!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Short Video

Just a short vid snapped on my mobile of Kai Ken pup Cody (going to Denmark), and Shikoku Ken pup Kaiju (going to the States).

Watching these two play together is a riot, and it sounds like one too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

KKA Tenrankai 2010 Fall

So Sunday was the KKA Tenrankai (exhibition). There's one every Spring and Fall. It was a beautiful day though it did end up getting a little warm for the dogs. I took all of mine with me as it's a long trip out and I wasn't sure what time I'd get home. As it goes, it was a good thing I did. We ended up in a 50km traffic jam on the way home.

There's not really much to say about the day. I guess I've been to quite a few Tenrankai's now, and this one rolled on as they all do. There seemed to be a few less dogs/onlookers than usual, probably due to the fact that they had to postpone it a week because of the typhoon that rolled through on the 31st.

I was happy to be there though. Did manage to see a male that I really liked, and getting to hang out with friends is always a pleasure. At lunch I was invited to several BBQ's hosted by friends, one of whom whipped up a terrific stew filled with boar that I had given him a couple weeks ago.

Without further ado, here are some pictures.

Hana, a friend's female and dam to a pup (Kumi) that went overseas earlier this year. She was entered in the overall champion category, but unfortunately did not win.


2 young males, siblings out of a litter born at a friend's kennel


The male on the right in the last picture. I prefer him to his brother.



Mao, a friend's male, and sire to a pup that went overseas earlier this year.


A couple of big game hunting Kai owned by a friend.


Someone was falling asleep in the ring.


Eishin, a friend's male and former overall champion. He is also the sire of two pups that went to the States last week (Ayu/Tora).


Eishin in the ring.


Kokushin, a famous stud male. He's 11 years old.



This pup is the sister of Kibou, a pup that went to the States earlier this year.


A shot of her brindle.


Smile for the camera.


A very light colored Kai. Not the greatest coloration, but wanted to show an unusual dog.


The ring.



I haven't seen a male that I really liked in a while. This guy took 3rd in the young male category. I think he was amazing.



The male in first place. Yawn... too easy he seems to be saying.


Mount Fuji was clearly visible.



Long tongue.




A good friend showing his male, Boss. He took 4th in the adult male category.


Overall champion this year.


Friday, November 5, 2010

The Kai Ken

I wrote a post on this a while back, but since I still get many questions regarding the breed, I'm editing and reposting this information.

The Kai Ken, also known as the Tora Inu (Tiger Dog), is one of the six, native, Japanese spitz type dogs. The breed's brindle coat distinguishes it from the other medium sized Nihon Ken. In size, the Kai is larger than the Shiba, but marginally smaller than the Shikoku, Kishu and Hokkaido, giving it a unique place among the Japanese breeds.

The ancestors of the Kai are thought to have been dogs brought over thousands of years ago by the Jomon, and later the Yayoi people. Due to Japan's geographic and political isolation, there was not much inter breeding with dogs from the continent. Of the Japanese breeds Kai, Hokkaido, and Ryukyu carry more of the genetic make up of the original dogs brought over by the Jomon, while the other breeds seem to carry more of the genes from the later dogs brought by the Yayoi. This can be almost completely contributed to geographics.

The Kai originated in the mountainous region of Kai (modern day Yamanashi) which gave the breed its name. Historical records tell of the famed brindle hunting dogs of the region, and their hunting prowess was believed to be second to none. While traditionally used to hunt Kamoshika, a type of mountain antelope similar to a chamois, their versatility and athleticism allowed them to be used to hunt many types of game, ranging from pheasant to bear. Today they are primarily used to hunt pheasant, wild boar, and deer.

As Japan opened up to the outside world, traders brought dogs with them. In many cases these dogs were systematically bred with the native dogs, as in the case of the Akita and the Tosa. The interbreeding was so widespread that in the early 1900s a movement began to save the remaining 'pure' native dogs. The mood in the country at the time was leaning toward ultra-nationalism, and the government actively encouraged the preservation of all things Japanese. Teams scoured the country to find the 'best' 'pure' dogs. Thus began the classification of the Japanese Dog (and the breed standards).

Kai numbers increased under national and prefectural government protection, with the prefectural government awarding tax breaks to owners of these national treasures. In the period during and following World War 2 most Japanese dogs faced harsh conditions and extremely depleted numbers due to food shortages, and in some cases laws banning the ownership of dogs. Many dogs were killed, their coats used to provide clothing for the military, and some were eaten. Thanks to its status and ardent supporters however, the Kai was left primarily intact, with many of the dogs being kept at local government offices and police departments. The fact that post war over half of the registered dogs in Yamanashi prefecture were Kai Ken shows just how effective these measures were.

The Kai is often cited as being the most 'pure' of the Japanese breeds (this is entirely anecdotal). This is mostly due to Yamanashi being extremely back country and mountainous, making it difficult for outsiders to enter the area. The Kai Ken Aigokai (Kai Ken Protection Society or Kai Ken Preservation Society) was established in 1931, and the first Tenrankai (exhibition) was held in April the following year. In November of the same year the first Nihon Ken Hozonkai (Japanese Dog Preservation Society) Tenrankai was held in Ginza, Tokyo. Of 81 dogs shown, 17 were Kai. The breed was given Natural Monument status in 1933. The rift between the Kai Ken Aigokai and Nihon Ken Hozonkai began when Nippo (Nihon Ken Hozonkai) classified all the Japanese breeds into 3 sizes, small, medium and large. The Kai was grouped in the medium category along with the Shikoku, Kishu, and Hokkaido.

The disagreement between the KKA and Nippo was mainly over size. The Kai did not conform to the measurements of the medium standard as set by Nippo. Slightly larger than the 'small' Shiba, they do not conform to the 'small' or 'medium' standard, ending up somewhere in between. The KKA standard calls for a height of 40-50 centimeters, with the Nippo 'medium' standard set at 51cm for males (give or take 3cm), and 49cm for females (give or take 3cm). The KKA was set on preserving the Kai as it was, without breeding to manipulate size to conform to the Nippo 'medium' standard. There was also a disagreement regarding the black tongue markings that almost all Kai have. According to the Nippo standard black markings on a dog's tongue is a flaw, and in the ring counts for a point deduction. A few years ago Nippo finally changed this rule, and the Kai is no longer docked points for tongue markings (though the amount allowed is still vague).

Due to these disagreements (and possibly other politics) KKA members stopped showing their dogs at Nippo events, and does not allow their Kai to register with other canine registration organizations. Any KKA Kai registered with another organization loses its KKA registration. Due to this, there are very few Kai registered with Nippo, and it is very difficult for them to do well in Nippo events due to size constraints (and until recently, tongue markings). There is a small group of Kai registered with Nippo, but the smaller gene pool and their larger than average size leave something to be desired. I have heard on occasion of Kai that do not do well showing at the Aigokai events due to size or other issues, switching to Nippo registration to compete in their events (less competition).

One stickler born of all this is that the Japan Kennel Club (JKC) which is the FCI recognized national canine registry, only allows registration of Nippo Kai, and not KKA Kai. So, anyone looking to export and register their Kai with an overseas canine registry can have problems getting KKA papers recognized. It is easier to export a Nippo Kai and get JKC papers, but due to the aforementioned reasons is not necessarily in the breed's best interest.

It is possible to register a KKA Kai with Nippo, but the dog will only receive a limited pedigree. Resulting litters from a limited registration breeding will also receive a limited pedigree. Third generation pups will receive a full Nippo pedigree which can then be switched to JKC registration.

There are roughly 600-800 Kai registered with the KKA every year, 100-150 with Nippo, and 100-200 with the JKC.

The FCI Kai standard describes the breed as: “A medium-sized dog, well balanced, sturdily built, muscles well developed. The dog has the characteristics of a dog living in mountainous districts of Japan. Limbs strong and hocks remarkably developed.” The are three recognized breed colors, all brindle: aka-tora (red), chu-tora (medium), and kuro-tora (black), with aka-tora being the rarest of the three variations. There is a recessive gene in the breed which occasionally produces non-standard white (or cream) colored Kai. Most Kai have dark spots on their tongues.Like all the Nihon Ken, the Kai has a double coat made up of protective coarse outer guard hairs, and a fine thick undercoat that is shed seasonally.

The JKC, Nippo, and KKA offer differing standards for the breed, with the Kai Ken Aigokai having the largest variation in size and type. The KKA standard recognizes Kai between 40-50cm.

The Kai as a breed is intelligent, athletic, and alert, with a strong desire to hunt. Like most Nihon Ken the Kai is an independent thinker. Many are very attached to their owners, and they can make excellent companions for the individual prepared to give them the attention and exercize they require. They can be territorial, and make reasonable watch dogs, but are not by nature guard dogs or protection dogs. They have shown the ability to be quick learners, with some active in Japan as search and rescue dogs. They are a rare breed even in their native country with an estimated population of around 12,000-14,000, and yearly registrations of between 800 and 1,200, (all registries combined). The main breed registry is run by the Kai Ken Aigokai.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The past week

Thanks for all the interest in and mails about the Shikoku pups. All have been accounted for. I will try to post as more litters become available.

I've had a fun busy week filled with Kai pups. A friend from the States came over and picked up 4 of them, and now the house is very quiet. It's sad, but I think the neighbors will be pleased. I've been getting a lot of flack recently, and it's been wearing me down a bit.

For everyone waiting for pictures and video from the KKA (Kai Ken Aigokai) Tenrankai, it was postponed till the 7th due to an unseasonal typhoon. So hopefully I'll make it up there this Sunday, and be able to post about it. The postponement was rather lame as the gentleman from the States came over specifically to attend the Tenrankai. We did manage to get some visits in to some kennels, and walked the mountains together as well.

I really didn't get around to taking many pictures, and the only ones I did take were pretty unimpressive, but a post without pictures is too much black and white for me, so here goes.

At Tenro Kensha having 'yakiniku' for lunch. Thanks Okabe-san!



Tatsu, a male hunting Kishu.



A crap shot of Haru, but you get to see her brindle.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

NIPPO Chiba Regional (Fall 2010)

Today was the NIPPO Chiba branch tenrankai (show). I got up at 5 and got all the dogs walked and fed. It was an overcast day, but luckily the rain held off till everything was done at around 2 in the afternoon.

The event was held in a new location, and luckily for me it's around 30 minutes away from my house. I got there early to help set up. I've been attending a lot of NIPPO shows for several years now, and aside for showing a friend's pup once, I'm just there taking pictures and meeting up with friends. Today however my good friend and mentor was busy with the judging (he's a NIPPO judge in training), so was unable to show his own dogs.

My two Kishu are far off the standard, so I don't show them, and Haru is KKA (Kai Ken Aigokai), so I can't show her either. The other day I got a call from my friend asking if I wanted a little practice handling, in preparation for when I actually have a dog to show. I was more than happy to agree to show one of his dogs. She's a very nice red Shikoku female, but at 6 years old she's never really shown well. She doesn't like the ring, and has always dropped her tail (in NIPPO that's very frowned upon).

Well I got her out on leash for the first time yesterday, and then today was the big day. Of course, Saki's tail was dragging. Well wonder of wonders and after hours of coaxing, walking, and treats (and maybe a little begging), I managed to get her through the morning 'kotai shinsa' (physical exam) without her tail dropping. Everyone was surprised, and while we thought that she wouldn't make it to the actual judging in the afternoon, she did.

Amazingly enough she did even better in the afternoon, and I was able to get her into at least a semblance of a stand. We ended up taking 3rd place. I was giddy, and everyone came round to congratulate us, at which point Saki's tail dropped, haha. So, I guess I just burned through my beginner's luck.

It was a great day though as my mentor's aka young male Shikoku took 1st in his class (as usual), and then went up against the adult male who took first for the 'Honbusho'. He's been going after this at all the regional's this fall, and kept coming up short. Today was his lucky day however, and he ended up winning. Since my friend was helping with the judging, another friend had to show him, and he did an excellent job.

It was a great day all around, and I even had Haru tag along for fun. She got to meet and play with some of the other Kai there.

Anyway, here are some pictures.

Male Kishu

This is Gakuto, a male Kai, littermate to Gin, a male I've taken pictures of before.

Kai Male

Sleeping Shiba

Sleeping Shiba Faces

Shikoku Male

A very rare yushoku Kishu Female

Female Kishu

Male Kishu

Kishu Pups

A very nicely balanced Kishu male

Kishu Male 1

Shikoku Male

I've got a lot more pictures up on my flickr account, and will post them later.