Kennel conditions in Japan
  • I visited four Japanese Akita breeders' kennels in Japan and have photos from two other breeders. I will do my best to paint a picture of my experiences, while keeping it neutral. If you recognize a kennel... keep the name to yourself. My intent is not to bash or praise anyone in specific, but highlight the differences I have observed. If you have also visited kennels in Japan, feel free to share - leaving the breeder's name out of it, although do please mention what breed(s) of dog they have.

    1. "Kennel Across the Bridge"
    There are half a dozen dogs. Each dog has its own cage roughly 4' x 4'. The cages are reminiscent of rabbit hutches raised off the ground. Some are solid wood, the rest have metal prison bars. Each cage has a corrugated steel roof at a slight slant. They are clean and do not smell. The cages are on the open driveway in front of the breeder's family business (an industrial machine shop of some sort). Statues and trophies from dog shows, many covered in dust, fill the shelves in the office. The building is located in a remote, open area about 10 minutes drive from the train station. An empty field and a large, unused cattle barn are across the street. The dogs are exercised by the breeder and family members in the field. Houses are on either side of the building, but not very close. One of the wooden cages contains a mother with 3-day-old puppies. There is no snow here, but snow can be seen up the road; a heat lamp is in the cage with them. The mother still has blood on her rear end from the birth. One of the puppies is dead upon inspection. The dogs are of average quality. The breeder is good friends with "Kennel with Lady Bugs." The breeder is very active within the local AKIHO branch and website. The breeder has sent a few puppies to Europe but none to the US. The price for a puppy is on the low end of the scale. The breeder does not do health checks. Visitors are not allowed to approach the dogs due to them being "dangerous."

    2. "Kennel with Lady Bugs"
    This kennel has been seen only in photographs. There are constantly dogs coming and going from the premesis. Akitas and Shibas are bred there. There are chain link runs approximately 5' x 10'. The ground is asphalt. Tarps protect parts of the runs from harsh weather. The runs open up into at least one communal area the dogs can exercise and play in (also asphalt). The communal area is no more than 30' on a side. The dogs are socialized together as young puppies. Multiple dogs share the same run. There are also raised cages with metal prison bars used for single dogs. The breeder enjoys taking photos of the dogs being silly and wearing costumes. The breeder runs a pet store and groomers which is most likely where the dogs are housed. It is located in the city with a public street the dog runs butt up against and buildings crowded nearby. The dogs are of average quality. Some come from "Kennel Across the Bridge." The breeder is very active online and travels great distances to attend shows for both AKIHO and JKC. The breeder is an associate of "Kennel Under the Mountain." The breeder has sent a few puppies to Europe but none to the US. The price for a puppy is unknown. The breeder is known to place long coats in family homes. It is unknown if the breeder does health checks, but has spoken out against other kennels producing dysplastic dogs.

    3. "Kennel in the City"
    There are numerous dogs. Akitas and Shibas are bred there. There are three types of cages and runs used. The largest are roughly 8' x 8' wire mesh with concrete floors. These runs contain raised wooden or metal bar cages for the dogs to sleep in at night. There are similar cages housing other dogs that do not have runs. The runs appear to be used for breeding and expecting mothers. Other adults are housed in the raised cages. Teenagers and weaned puppies are kept in wire crates stacked two or three high. The older puppies cannot stretch out in the crates. The cages and runs are on the back side of a house with a pet shop store front. It is a short walk from the train station and surrounded by highways and other commercial properties. The odor is strong upon approach and stronger still inside the house. All of the cages and animals are clean; the urine has permeated the concrete. A mother with her four week old puppies is in the house, away from the unusually long winter. She is unperturbed by guests. The dogs outside are happy and friendly, eager to meet new people. An assistant holds a male and female together mid tie. Every inch of the walls and shelves bears a ribbon, photograph, pedigree, award, painting, or thank-you gift. The breeder's favorite dogs photos are under glass on the coffee table. The breeder is not very active online but does have a website. The dogs are of high quality and sought by many people all over the world. The breeder has exported to Korea, Europe, and the US in high quantities. The dogs from this kennel are of a unique and recognizable strain. The breeder is no longer as active in AKIHO as had been in the past. The price for a puppy is average. The breeder does not do health checks.

    4. "Kennel Under the Mountain"
    There are numerous dogs. The dogs are kept in wire crates too small to stretch out in. The crates are stacked two high in a courtyard. They are clean and odor free. There is an eve over the crates to protect them from weather. The building is used for the kennel and nothing more. It is located in a sleepy suburb with one-way streets not far from the heart of a small town. Houses crowd around the building. Loud barking can be heard upon approach. A muddy vacant lot is across the street to park in. There are no sidewalks or fields nor any place to exercise dogs. The inside of the building is bright and clean with tasteful decorations. Ribbons, Akita magazines and artwork hold places of honor without looking cluttered. The dogs in the crates are either apathetic about visitors or in a wild-eyed frenzy. Puppies gnaw on the wires constantly or pace and cry. The breeder cycles, breeds, and resells a large number of dogs from other kennels. There is no consistency in the puppies produced. The quality of dogs runs the whole gamut, with tendencies towards below average. They are saught by people all over the world. The breeder has exported to Korea, Europe, and the US in high quantities. The breeder is very active in AKIHO and JKC, with more emphasis placed on JKC style Akitas. The breeder is an associate of "Kennel with Lady Bugs." The price for a puppy varies wildly. The breeder does not do health checks.

    5. "Kennel with a View"
    This kennel has only been seen in photographs. There are roughly a dozen dogs. Dogs are kept in raised cages with metal prison bars roughly 4' x 4'. The cages are outside against the side of a garage. Snow lays thick on the roofs of the cages. Most cages have one dog but a couple have two. The garage is attached to a house in a garden-like suburb. Houses crowd up against the narrow lot. A small yard is out back with a green, walkable ground over (not grass) partially covered in snow. Two poles with a wire stretched between them bisect the yard. Dogs are clipped to the wire for exercise. A rut has formed under the wire by pacing dogs. Rusty equipment and bicycles are half-burried in the snow. The dogs are of low quality. The price for a puppy is unknown. Puppies are sold at a pet store in another location. The breeder does not export puppies. The breeder does not participate in shows. Some of the dogs come from the other kennels on this list. Those dogs' accomplishments are displayed proudly on the breeder's website. The breeder does not do health checks. Many of the dogs appear to have congenital eye issues.

    6. "Kennel in the Country"
    There are numerous dogs. Each adult dog has a raised cage with metal bars roughly 4' x 4'. These cages are within two large open structures with tile roofs and metal bars. Each structure is the size of a car port. More than a dozen puppies from different litters run loose together inside the nearby structure. There is an odor that comes from chicken coups on the property. The puppy "pen" has a dirt floor that is a little muddy from play and snow melt. The cages are otherwise clean and odor free. The property is an old home out in the countryside surrounded by rice fields. There is a long driveway and the well laid back property has lots of room to exercise dogs. Inside the house are mementos and awards from favorite dogs, kept clean and on display. The dogs watch visitors with calm interest. They are approachable but not hyper, except for the puppies. The dogs are of high quality and sought by many people all over the world. The breeder has exported to Korea, Europe, and the US in high quantities. The breeder is extremely active in AKIHO and life revolves around Akitas. The breeder travels all over the country to show dogs. The price for a puppy is at the very high end of the scale. The breeder does not do health checks.

    In every case except for "Kennel with Lady Bugs" I got the strong impression that dogs do not belong in the house. They are prized, cherished, valuable, well cared for and even loved in a quiet Japanese way - but not house pets. The best comparison I can come up with is a champion race horse. Horses are beautiful, amazing, intelligent and loyal creatures - but you wouldn't live with one in your house. A horse belongs in a stable. I told a breeder that our Akita sleep in the bedroom with us (in crates!) and he looked as appalled as if I said I invited a horse to sleep on our bed.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2012-08-03 06:18:27
  • Yeah, I have met people who are quite surprised you would keep a dog in the house let alone on your bed!! I have seen kennels that were extremely cramped and others that seemed more open and better managed.
    I just think that a dog spending most of it's time in a small cage is not going to make a very good "pet". A lot of the time I feel that over here people treat their dogs more like livestock than pets. This is especially true for the Nihon ken
  • NekopanNekopan
    Posts: 869
    Playing devil's advocate here. I know there is a huge cultural difference.

    I think your stable analogy is inaccurate. I can't think of any circumstances in which a horse would live their entire life in a stable, without access to a pasture or being taken out to ride, and still be considered a humane way to keep a horse.

    Think about Mennonite puppy farms. They consider their animals livestock. Would you really recommend someone buy from a puppy farm just because "that's their way of life"?
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Just throwing things out there, in the US, people utilize kennel runs, x-pens, and crates.

    Say that kennel runs are 10'x10', x-pens are 4'x4', and crates are 2'x3'.

    At what point are these means of confinement inhumane?

    I've seen municiple shelters that have small runs, the echoing noise was loud enough to give me a headache, and the stench for my inefficient nose was enough to gag me. Imagine how it must be with these dogs who stay there with their superior senses? These dogs don't get regular exercise. Isn't their set-up also inhumane by that same definition?

    What gives shelters a free pass but breeders are villianized?








    Post edited by ayk at 2012-08-03 11:23:23
  • @Nekopan I know that four of the six kennels I described, the dogs do not spend their entire lives in the cages. I did try to point out how and where each breeder exercised the dogs if I knew it. Five of the kennels show their dogs, which also means leaving their runs, some amount of leash training, the ability to move fluidly in the show ring, etc.

    My worst experience was the dead puppy. The breeder didn't care. The mom had blood caked in her fur, too... Then he asked to go to lunch within the next breath. It was a really hard day for me.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3444
    :(
    Hokusei Kashinoki Hokkaido and Shiba Inu
    masakadoshiba@hotmail.com
    www.masakadoshiba@wordpress.com
    www.hokkaidousa.wordpress.com
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 1050
    @ayk The "free pass" is that due to uncontrollable high volume this has become the situation. A breeder has the ability to improve conditions while shelters are constantly overwhelmed, even the largest of shelter facilities get swamped.

    Also shelter purpose is to provide temporary shelter for as many animals as possible.
    A commercial breeder's purpose is to make money. Therefore, ethically they have a responsibility to reinvest part of their profits to improve their business, and part of improving a business is improving equipment and facilities. If they leave their dogs in permanent cramped conditions while having the means to do otherwise, that is then unethical and cruel.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f, intact) 02-01-2012
    Kirin, Alaskan Noble Companion Dog (f, intact) 05-04-2015
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    The shelters in my area has had a 80% adoption rate but this is their set-up. It's not a money issue either as they've rennovated their kennels from open-air to indoor, climate control.

    "Uncontrolled high volume" is not the issue.
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Part of the disagreement, I guess, is that you are envisioning Mennomite puppy farms while I am envisioning hobby breeders whose set-up could also be construed as inhumane by certain elements.

    PETA has already been saying owners using crates is cruel.

    HSUS has long said "beware of breeders who have kennel dogs."

    How much of their outlook have affected the public perception? Not much for the first, but for the later, it's sunk in quite a bit. I think there are people on this forum that have said outright that they won't get dogs from a breeder who uses kennels.


  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 1050
    I'm not familiar with Mennomite puppy farms, I'm envisioning a home setting where the dogs are kept outdoors in exactly the way described. I'm not against medium scale breeding, since it can be argued that's what Brad does. But I guarantee you that his facilities are held to a much higher standard than the shelters that poeticdragon found fault with.
    The shelter in Miami-Dade is massive, from what I saw messes were cleaned up quickly, yet it still had a animal/fecal smell which cannot be helped with thousands of animals in one area. It's not financially sound to seal up every single garbage bag upon single use so it doesn't smell. Also you can't exactly get 2,000+ dogs to not bark. Horse stalls always reek but they're clean (ideally).
    It's an issue of physical hygiene vs noise control, you can't have sound dampening floors and walls that are hygienic and able to be sterilized daily. In a perfect world we would have concrete that absorbs sound, unfortunately we don't. Also keep in mind that the breeders listed with sub-optimal conditions are using small cages/kennels that can be easily modified, with little cost, to allow the dogs to have range of motion to at least stretch.

    I'm pretty sure all of us use crates and kennel runs for our own dogs. So I doubt there's any issue with breeders using them. The main issue would be unclean conditions (which sounds like all are well cleaned), proper kennels that allow freedom of movement/stretching (which one doesn't have and is my main concern, enclosures like that are considered cruel when applied to humans), and proper care of the animals, which the only one I'd be highly concerned of is the one that doesn't maintain good care of even their pregnant female.

    Honestly, a lot of PETA's stances on pets is beyond ridiculous, they kill something like 90% of the animals they take in because they don't think ANY animal should be a pet. Their stance on the environment and improving commercial animal situations are easily agreeable to however.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f, intact) 02-01-2012
    Kirin, Alaskan Noble Companion Dog (f, intact) 05-04-2015
    Post edited by cezieg at 2012-08-03 17:22:46
  • @cezeig, @ayk, @Nekopan - I think an action or condition is human or inhumane based on its own merits, not the means and motivations of the people involved. An inhumane action doesn't become humane simply because you don't have the means to do it in a humane way. Lack of funds or a bad situation doesn't make something any less cruel. It may be justification, but doesn't change the nature of the act. The definition of (in)humane should be free of circumstance and motive. You cannot say that it is humane for one person to do something but inhumane for someone else to do the exact same thing; that is hypocrisy.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 1050
    @poeticdragon This is true, I was mainly talking about the smell/sounds, since I personally have not seen a shelter with enclosures being too small for the animals to stretch out or have room to run from end to end. As in the amount of animals taken in causes the large amounts of poo/urine and high volumes due to barking.

    That being said, if a facility is getting an influx of animals and cannot give them all appropriate space for a short time before the influx is adopted out then I would much rather it be overcrowded for a short time instead of all the "extra" animals being put down en masse. Obviously a permanent situation would have to be rectified.
    vs
    Breeder who is constantly keeping animals, that they are creating, in cramped and unclean spaces by choice.

    It's nice to break it down to try to black and white it, but that's everything in life is complex. Would you not be ok a "humane" shelter with occasional spikes in dog intakes creating temporary "inhumane" cramped spaces while being ok with a breeder that creates a constant cramped "inhumane" environment on purpose?
    Ren, Kai Ken (f, intact) 02-01-2012
    Kirin, Alaskan Noble Companion Dog (f, intact) 05-04-2015
  • @cezieg I stick by my statement that the act itself, not the situation, which should be the determination for what is humane or not.

    In your example, I would consider duration to be a key part of the comparison, so make sure you compare apples to apples. A shelter or breeder may have temporarily "inhumane" cramped spaces due to an influx of dogs and I would feel the same about both situations. Likewise, a shelter or breeder may create a constant "inhumane" environment on purpose - and the fact that one is a shelter and the other is not would not change my opinion of the conditions the animals are kept in. I would not give the shelter a "free pass."

    (If you are wondering why a breeder could have an influx of dogs, it is because a responsible breeder should be willing to take back any dog he/she has ever bred for any reason. Trust the whimsy of fate that you'll get five adults returned all within a matter of weeks...)
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2012-08-03 18:42:57
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 1050
    @poeticdragon Going by your description it seemed like the older puppies of "Kennel In The City" it sounds like it's the norm for the older puppies to be deliberately kept in the small enclosures? Unless I am getting the wrong impression. I am comparing a standard city funded shelter vs the standard for that particular breeder for this particular debate, so it is an "apples to apples" comparison. I'm not trying to come up with every scenario possible. If it was a situation where that breeder suddenly received a bunch of puppies back then that's understandable that some temporary solution would have to be found even if not ideal.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f, intact) 02-01-2012
    Kirin, Alaskan Noble Companion Dog (f, intact) 05-04-2015
  • jellyfishjellyfish
    Posts: 1081
    as a side note, it is a normal practice in rural areas to leave your dog (and cats) outside and have them still be a valued member of the family. I can relate, though, I disagree, but I can understand. I grew up with this mentality, and I didn't love my outdoor pets any less than I love Toki now. They were an integral part of my life and I was very close to them. Now, having said that, I would never have an outdoor pet ever again.

    So, I can kind of relate to the "not in the house" thing that these Japanese breeders have. Though, I might attest to some of the living conditions, but I it would vary from kennel to kennel. I"m not against kennels or crates, a dogs quality of life can still be good even if they are a "kennel dog".
  • While I'm not going to say that just because one's dog is outside, that doesn't mean they're not a loved family pet, I will say that having grown up rurally myself, this was not my experience. Most outside dogs I knew were basically ignored by their family. They were more like loud lawn ornaments than pets.
  • jellyfishjellyfish
    Posts: 1081
    eh, yea, got to agree, this is true. I guess, not with a lot of the people I was close with, though. But i have seen this happen and it is sad. I should have mentioned that while there is a lot who care for their outdoor dogs, there are just as many who don't.

    I wonder what the situation for Japanese pet owners, not breeders, is over in Japan.
  • I do not agree that people have necessarily been influenced by HSUS or PETA if they have issues with kenneling. It is certainly not true in my case. I understand that some breeders have enough dogs that they do kennel, but my preference, if I can, is to purchase a puppy from someone who does not kennel all the time. That said, I would not automatically discount a breeder for this--in fact, many Akita breeders I have liked do use kennels, and I'm ok with that. The difference is that breeders I respect use kennels simply as a management tool. The dogs get out. The dogs go places, the dog stay in the house too. They are not in the kennels 24/7. I don't want a dog that has been raised in a kennel 24/7 because that dog will not likely be well socialized, and will not be a happy and healthy dog. There are some breeders who do this, and I would not buy from them.

    Kenneling is different than some of the issues brought up with some of these breeders in Japan, however. Some of the descriptions to me sound like the conditions in puppy mills. (Cezeig, the "mennonite puppy farms"--more often Amish--are mills. They are beyond awful. Just google puppy mills to see.) For me, there would never be a justification for treating animals that way, nor would there be a justification for buying a dog from such circumstances IF someone knew about it ahead of time. (Plenty of people, like me, did not know, or didn't understand what we were seeing. One mistake I understand, but I certainly don't understand knowing and still supporting these kind of practices.)

    I would not buy from a place in the US that treated dogs like this (the puppy mill-esque examples) nor would I from another country. And obviously, there are plenty of people (not breeders perhaps) who treat their dogs differently in Japan. Of course, my experience with pet owners was in a very urban area (Osaka) but those dogs were kept inside, even large dogs. Of course many people lived in apts and had no choice. I did see a few Shibas chained up in garages, but I think in Japan, as in the US, there is a wide variety of approaches to caring for dogs.

    And I'm not sure it is all as black and white as it could be: kennels and crates are tools, which can be used humanely, or inhumanely. Leaving a dog in a properly sized crate for a few hours, or in a kennel during the day (or at night) is not inhumane. Making a dog live out it's life in either situation is, in my mind, inhumane.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Tethering a dog is now considered inhumane when it wasn't before. Tethers are dog management tools, too.
    Post edited by ayk at 2012-08-03 22:27:18
  • What I find interesting is that of the kennels I visited in person, the best kennel ("Kennel in the Country") and the worst kennel ("Kennel Under the Mountain") were both full time jobs for the breeders. All of the others had another business or occupation and the dogs were just supplemental income or a hobby. The two who devote their entire livelihood to their dogs couldn't be more different.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2012-08-03 22:16:36
  • NekopanNekopan
    Posts: 869
    Again I just want to say I'm taking an extreme stance for the sake of discussion. I know it's not a black & white issue.

    I think it's important to see where you're buying from and be comfortable with their practices. I have a friend who breeds Boston Terriers and English Bulldogs. They have probably 15 dogs, who live in crates big enough to stand up and turn around. They have a couple outdoor runs that the dogs get rotated through, and a select couple dogs get to roam the house occasionally. These dogs get very little human interaction, and I am not comfortable with that. I would much rather support a breeder that has fewer dogs and takes the time to interact with each one. Am I totally against kennelling? Of course not. I would just rather not see a dog live its entire life in a kennel.

    I see it akin to buying local, hobby farm meat vs factory farmed meat. It just ethically feels better to do the former.
  • @poeticdragon , Thanks SOO much for your reviews! It must have taken you a few days, your own time and money to visit these kennels and then write about them. It is much appreciated and I will be taking your thoughts into consideration.

    About the pets indoors thing - it's probably cultural.
    Growing up, it shocked the heck out of me to see people wear their outdoor shoes inside the house.
    But just because the dogs are outdoors doesn't mean they're less loved or less well treated, it's definately a cultural thing.
    Post edited by MapleTwinkie at 2012-08-07 13:58:37
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 32
    One thing you have to remember is that Japanese houses are built differently than American houses. They are much smaller and do not have the room to have big dogs running around. The older homes in the country may be wood framed with wood hallways, paper (shoji) doors, and tatami floors in the rooms, which most medium to large sized dogs would tear up just by walking on them. I'm not saying caging the animals outdoors is right, but rather there is a difference of lifestyle and houses which make keeping the dogs indoors almost impossible unless the entire house is rebuilt.
  • I don't have problems with dogs kept outside, but I do have problems with dogs stacked in cages and having to live like that. Or dogs in cages that are too small. Or dogs simply have to live out their lives in cages without any interaction. I don't think it is humane, and I don't think that dogs that come out of those kinds of circumstances are going to be healthy and well balanced animals.

    And I don't think that it is about cultural differences, either. To me, the things listed above are simply not right, regardless. I would not want a dog that was raised in those conditions.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • @shibamistress, you're absolutely right. I wasn't trying to justify some of the squalid living conditions that were described above. I was just trying to explain why dogs in Japan are mostly kept outside and not inside.

    I think that it is important for dog owners and breeders to be made aware of the conditions of the dogs that we import from overseas. We do not want to encourage or enable kennels with inhumane breeding practices to continue. That is why we owe it to breeders like @poeticdragon for checking the kennels out firsthand and reporting back.
    Post edited by MapleTwinkie at 2012-08-15 15:24:58
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2915
    Bump! I've been fielding questions about importing puppies lately, and wanted to bring this topic to light again. Some of the people who joined the forums in the last 2.5 years may not have read it. Does anyone have anything new to add, or reviews of other kennels they have visited in Japan?

    On my two subsequent trips I did not visit any breeders, though there was one in Hakodate I wished to see. I think the conditions of his kennel might be refreshingly different. Maybe another time...
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • RikachanRikachan
    Posts: 89
    My comments are not meant to contradict anything in this conversation, nor excuse or argue any point for or against the differences between Japanese and non-Japanese perspectives on how to keep a dog/pet/companion.

    In my own experience here (in Japan), it is very difficult to rent a house or an apartment if you want to keep your companion indoors with you (So much so that my wife and I think our best solution is to build our own place). Many breeders may have procured a location for breeding or keeping their dogs because of this difficulty. Because real estate is often quite expensive, the standards for Japanese kennels may seem quite Spartan in comparison to other countries.

    My lovely Rika (a Kai) lives indoors with me in an old house out in the country. Yes, the local people find it odd that she is perfectly okay being inside.

    I've been blessed. Even though she spent her first two years in a kennel slightly similar to some of the conditions described (smallish enclosure with bars and slanted roof to protect from the weather), she adapted quite well to this lifestyle.

    I do know, speaking from my limited experience, than even though she may have lived in those conditions, she was loved, cherished, and her kennel-mates are as well. There was and is a deep respect for her breed, the continuity of the ideals of the Kai (within KKA standards) and that the dogs are treated well, and not bred indiscriminately.

    So yes, in short, it seems most dogs in Japan are kept outdoors, or separate from daily family life, but not always of course. Even those that are kept outdoors in kennels are loved and the breeds and their bloodline integrity are cherished.

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