Kai Ken Society of America

Back in 2011, Kai breeders reached out to AKC to establish a relationship for the breed to be placed in AKC's Foundation Stock Service (FSS), which is where breed recognition begins. The impetus for this was directly related to the wave of importation of Kai Ken Aigokai (Kai Ken Preservation Society) registered Kai dogs from Japan by Yamabushi Kennel and their partners. Brad and Peggy and Marsha appealed to AKC to accept a translated KKA pedigree into FSS directly, and explained to them the history of the breed, and that KKA is the registry for nearly all Kai in Japan. These founders requested the club be named Kai Ken Preservation Society of America, but AKC has policies about club names and did not like the word "preservation" and thus approved "Kai Ken Society of America" to be the name.

To that point, Kai in the US had full recognition in UKC, which does not accept the KKA registration. The founders also felt that UKC, as a for-profit organization and whose standard deviated on significant points from that of the KKA in the country of origin, was not ideal and that aligning Kai with AKC would allow for the establishment of a standard as close as possible to the KKA standard in the US for the breed. AKC-FSS's acceptance of KKA pedigrees, UKC pedigrees and FCI pedigrees allows for the greatest diversity of Kai to be registered in AKC-FSS and available for breeding registered litters in the USA. The importance of this broadness to a rare breed cannot be overstated and the vision of those founders is to be appreciated. (Some rare breeds do not enjoy this direct acceptance and have to launder their registrations through multiple steps and sometimes through other associations- such a Puerto Rico's- to get their dogs registered.)

The Kai Society is working to fulfill the AKC's requirements to move the breed from the FSS group into Miscellaneous. This allows the establishment of a standard and club to represent the breed at the broadest level, while stopping short of closing the stud book and moving into the classes of professional handlers (FSS and Misc do not allow professional handlers) that full recognition triggers. That step we will leave for members far in the future to decide when (and if ever!) to take, but we all agree is not in the interest of the breed at this time (and has very heavy requirements anyway).

As a volunteer group, the club worked in fits and starts after that to chip away at AKC's list of tasks and milestones toward greater levels of activity and formality. Information on club development wasn't easy to get clarity on in those days, but through calls to Christine at FSS, and mentorship from other FSS breed club mentors who were slightly ahead of us in the process, we slowly learned what needed to be done, mistakes to avoid, and how to write the required documents with the future in mind. After many drafts, in 2017 the constitution and bylaws were signed and we learned more about getting more organized, bit by bit. We discussed what we wanted to try and what we weren't ready for. We elected a formal official Board this year, 2019, and have begun to roll and work together as a larger and truly coast-to-coast group, voting and collaborating, delegating, and enlarging the circle of the club's community.

We've been convening in workgroups to draft things like the Club's health testing recommendations, OFA CHIC requirements, temperament testing approvals, our newsletter launches June 1st but articles for the next one will be right around the corner, increasing content on our http://www.kaisociety.org and https://www.facebook.com/kaikensociety/, and the standard is on its 8th draft. (Standard writing, review and revision has been an adventure in itself, which I can discuss another time.) Several Members have participated in events and educational representations.

With more owners and enthusiasts on board the work can be spread out in smaller pieces :) ideas can come forward, we can make more Kai content, help each other out by mentoring or gathering or sharing information about health, activities and behavior together. The structure is in place and most of the formal work of setup is done- all who love Kai are invited to come join the KKSA and pitch in: write an article about Kai, tell about an event you tried, ask if anyone would like to go to something with you, create various educational flyers for meet the breed type situations- there's lots to be done and owners all over are welcome and wanted! You can join just to be a part of it and learn and absorb, or you can join and dig in as much or as little as you have to offer at the time. Even just getting people counted and dogs registered (not sure how to register AKC? We can help shepherd you though the forms and process- just ask!) helps show AKC the number of Kai and owners out there doing stuff together, so they see who we are as a legit, heritage breed and community. And the Kai Community is a good Community! <3

Membership is free and the pdf form is on <a href="this page">http://kaisociety.org/resources/
All members get a free club logo embroidered patch, and future club group buys for things like gear and group DNA testing are in the works. Maybe you have great ideas of things the club can do, too! Members get to vote in the annual KKSA elections, join our 4 volunteer Committees to work on things together. Mostly, we love our dogs and being with them, sharing about them, caring for them and learning about health, training, behavior, events and activities for them inspires everything we do as a club for the breed.


  • Cool! Can I join? There's pretty much zero kai ken presence in Canada.
  • Hop aboard, Heidi! :) the member form is in the link above. There's lots of things to do together!
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