[SPLIT THREAD] Shikoku Health & Breeding
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12075
    This discussion was created from comments split from: Shogun Needs a Home! (1.5yr old Shikoku Male).
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  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3800
    What is the reason for being rehomed?
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  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4280
    @cmpteki - I will echo Beth, why is he being rehomed?
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3539
    @cmpteki - I will echo Beth, why is he being rehomed?


    Right. I think it might help people to make a decision if they know more about him....
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • GrayJJGrayJJ
    Posts: 104
    I inquired: Shogun has mild hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, he won't be good with males so I cant take him.
  • cdenneycdenney
    Posts: 920
    That sucks they learned that now and he has already been bred :/, at least it is mild. He sounds cool but I can't take a dog atm.
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  • should I be worried? he's the father of sky and Jack @twobirds

    shogun is gorgeous wish I met him when I went to Akashima's
    Post edited by ryananthony at 2013-07-22 23:02:59
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1968
    You can rarely tell regarding the condition of the imports whether their hips are bad luck of the draw or prevalent within the bloodlines.

    Previous threads regarding breeding:
    http://nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/103151#Comment_103151

    http://nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/124805#Comment_124805

    Once the litter is produced, it's at the breeder's discretion to pull the dog from the program or continue.

    With regards to the offspring, if you are on a pet contract and plan to spay/neuter your dog before a year, prelim x-rays between 6 months - 1 year would go a long way in indicating the hip formation of your dog as they mature into adulthood. If you don't plan on spay/neuter, I would still advise pet owners to get their puppies hips x-rayed before 1-year old.

    It's unfortunate that the importation of Shikoku carries this risk because breeders in North America are committed to the preservation of the breed, but one hopes not at the expense of the health of the future offspring being unloaded to future owners.

    Jesse
    Jesse Pelayo

  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 2683
    so - reading those threads, Jesse put up- If the only thing wrong with Shogun is mild HD, (and he is an import so I am assuming he is less-related to the NA dogs, and bringing some attributes that made him worth importing) - isn't it feasible to just breed him to better-hip-rated females? Is 'mild' HD enough to cull him from a breeding program, or is there more? I dont know the shikoku breeding situation veyr well...
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  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    @WrylyBrindle I assume it has to do with the population at large and improving the breed as a whole over multiple generations. When it comes to breeding, you want to choose an animal that is average or better in whatever aspects you deem important. (Health clearances should definitely be important.) If the average population has mild or worse dysplasia, then a dog who is mild himself may be okay to consider. However, if the average population scores "fair" then a mild dog should be culled from breeding so that the dog's genetic contribution will not bring down the average. (By that same token, if the average population scores "good" then even a "fair" dog should be culled.) Additionally, when you have a very small population, each dog's contribution to future generations has a greater impact on the average.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-23 16:08:42
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    Honestly, I don't understand what's going on with the Shikoku breeding programs very well.

    I can understand continuing to breed a dog that is clear but has produced dysplasia in his pups. Avoid a repeat breeding and see if the next litter has clears. I got that.

    I can understand breeding a dog with dysplasia to a dog with a much better rating. It sounds like a test breeding to me. But until the pups produced have shown that the dysplasia has been reduced, I don't understand doing another breeding even if with a different mate.

    I can kinda understand breeding a dog before his hips are known. Someone has determined that he's going to be used regardless of the results. Kinda like the test breeding. But then that someone has changed their minds that now it is important before evaluating the pups?


    Basically, why the hurry in deciding what to do with the dog before it's known how the pups are turning out?
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1968
    I'm not going to even begin to speculate Katja's decision. She's been doing this a long time and she knows her Shikoku lines well. I put forth those posts as a point of discussion and perspective for F1 puppy owners (1st generation puppies of imported dogs).

    Jesse
    Jesse Pelayo

  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    To echo @ayk: With how few Shikoku there are, was this male bred with coat being the primary factor? The more I research Shikoku as a potential little brother for Ren, the more health issues that are becoming apparent (ex. rear dew claws, hips, neuro issues, etc), with the sires and dams still being paired up. Not to mention a few lacks of generation gaps (minor inbreeding) in particular litters.

    As a species-wide questions, not a Shogun-specific question, what is the general "weight" given to the different breeding traits? It seems Shikoku are at critically small numbers, so, if anything, health and joints should be the primary factors, with coat (aka "show" factor) being lower on the list of importance.

    Also, is it not a major point in "ethical breeding" to get the hips and joints checked prior to breeding?

    To further reinforce, these questions come from doing personal research on the breed as part of being a responsible potential customer of the kennels that breed these dogs, not to instigate.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
  • hotarujishinhotarujishin
    Posts: 146
    Because the dog has mildly dysplastic hips, they can be bred as someone stated above, to an excellent female. I don't know if the progeny is affected. But it's definitely breeder's option in a rare breed where we need as much diversity as we can get.
    Britain Hill
    Fenikkusu and Kalitan
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    @cezieg IMO health is important and should always come first, however, if you're not going to breed for quality (what you call "show factor") and improvement of breed traits, then the whole point of purebred dog breeding has been lost. Might as well just breed healthy working mutts. (Nothing wrong with that!)
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12075
    I have nothing to contribute to the discussion other than this one though: It's a real shame that the owners of puppies out of Shogun, like @ryananthony, have to find out about this issue on a public forum and not directly from their breeder.
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    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2013-07-25 16:50:18
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    Hopefully the breeder already informed them.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    @cezieg IMO health is important and should always come first, however, if you're not going to breed for quality (what you call "show factor") and improvement of breed traits, then the whole point of purebred dog breeding has been lost. Might as well just breed healthy working mutts. (Nothing wrong with that!)


    It's a misnomer to be breeding for "quality" when the health is not considered of primary importance. That's how American breeding programs became what they are, with show line GSD and GS having terrible hips and joints, but because its a breed wide issue the emphasis is on the coat and appearance.

    I haven't done enough reading on genetics, as you have, to be able to full weigh in on the ease of selection for coat aka quality vs health. However, it's my opinion that its more ethical to begin with a healthy dog first and foremost, and then pursue refinement of the coat and "quality. Instead of starting with a fantastic coat/quality, but with messed up physiques and joints.

    There may be a system set up that prioritizes coats, just as there is an established system in agriculture (my field of study), but it's not hard to know that it's not the best method for the modern day. Especially with so few dogs.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
    Post edited by cezieg at 2013-07-25 18:27:36
  • Hinata23Hinata23
    Posts: 1432
    @poeticdragon From his reaction, it doesn't look like she did.

    It sucks too because she charges an arm, a leg, your left nut (if you have one), and a chunk of your soul for a pup. For that price the Shikoku pup should have impeccable health and must crap out gold!
    Post edited by Hinata23 at 2013-07-25 18:30:11
  • twobirdstwobirds
    Posts: 36
    Yea. So like @ryananthony , I'm an owner of one of the pups and I'm pretty concerned because I am a natural worrier.

    I know very little about hip dysplasia in dogs. I was wondering if anyone can put into context the likelihood that my little Jack will experience problems. He is a pet and I'm not planning on breeding. All I care about is that he is able to have a long and active life. Apparently Kimi, his dam, is just fine. If anyone could reference threads or useful articles on the subject, I would be very appreciative.

    Thanks.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3800
    @twobirds, is Jack been neutered or do you plan to neuter him? What you can do is when it comes time to neuter him is to also get his hips x-ray and OFA prelim. That way you can get a look at how his joints look and if you need to be concerned. I would hold off until he is at least a year old so the x-rays are more accurate.

    eta, the reason why I bring up neuter is because the cost of x-ray is a lot cheaper since he'd be out anyways. If he is already neutered or don't plan to, then you can just get the x-rays done on their own though it will be a bit more pricey.
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    Post edited by Calia at 2013-07-25 19:10:50
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    @poeticdragon I was going to just edit my last post, but there's too many posts after it now and I was on my phone earlier at a restaurant. Don't take this as "I'm correct due to tactics of overwhelming response!" :)

    I am 100% for the improvement and continuation of breed specific traits to maintain what a Nihon Ken is, and to not just have a pretty looking mutt.

    However, it's a fallacy to set exactness of coat at the highest tier of breed "quality".

    If, to use your situation as an example due to running a breeding program, you would want to maintain 100% breed traits then it would be legitimate to breed your dogs to be stand-off'ish, confrontational, and more defensive than they are. That's a major trait of the traditional temperament of the NK breeds, mostly due to their historic treatment as tools or livestock (who in today's ethics would be considered neglected), rather than family members.

    It's only recently that dogs in Japan are beginning to be considered parts of the family, rather than outdoor animals. The breeding of "family friendly" NK is a Western trait selection in the breed, and a violation of their traditional "quality". Therefore, it's even more reason to be breeding for a healthy foundation, and selecting coat/"quality" from there. Your pups who happen to have a white spot on their necks are no less Akita Inus than your pups with Standard-perfect coats.

    As in the JA, Shikoku who are bred for health and have some coat deviation would make the breeders no less money, and in a few generations of reselecting for coat then it wouldn't be much of a title loss... as if it's hard to gain titles in dog showing nowadays anyways. It's become a matter of perseverance and point accumulation, rather than single judgements that have any heft to them.

    @twobirds since he's not a small breed dog, I'd recommend radiographs at 2 years since he'll be fully bone/growth mature by then. That's the figure used in the handful of veterinary practices I've worked at. I also got Tsune, my previous Shiba, neutered at a low cost neuter/spay practice that had a new, state of the art neuter-mobile with full general anesthesia. Overall it was $75, $60 for the neuter, $15 for donation + meds. Then you could just stash the full cost neuter money for the x-rays.

    @Hinata23 For real! That's why I'm looking at importing Hokka/Shikoku instead of purchasing one in the US.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
    Post edited by cezieg at 2013-07-25 20:12:10
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 233
    I didn't see them mentioned here but thought the other 2 owners of Shogun's pups should know if they don't already. @Koyuki and @Mikochan.

    And the co-owner was @Edgewood.
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    *merged*
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
    Post edited by cezieg at 2013-07-25 20:08:37
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    I think there's been too much speculation that the decision to breed was based on coat. Sure, he has a thick one, but that trait isn't lacking in the other breeding Shikokus.

    I really don't believe the people involved would be swayed by that one trait.

    More likely, I would believe that they hoped he would be an outcross that would help get away from the other health issues already in the U.S. Reproductive issues, in particular.
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    @ayk The topic got derailed a bit into a "too specific" part of breeing by the mini-convo between @poeticdragon and I :P

    To put emphasis back on the main concern, the main critique and questioning was over breeding him before the 1.5 - 2 year x-rays and without joint certifying. Thereby passing on the joint issues without even knowing they existed in the first place, which doesn't qualify as "Better Breeding Practices".
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    @cezieg I don't disagree with you, but I feel the point I was trying to make was lost. I shall restate it more simply: Health and conformation should not come at the sacrifice of the other. One should not breed a dog with "messed up physique" as you put it, nor should one breed a dog that deviates from the breed standard. When I refer to quality I mean the basic traits that define the breed, not all the stuff that makes a dog win titles and accolades. Moreover, every breeding decision should be made to improve upon the last generation in some respect, without losing what you have already gained. On that note, one cannot simply "reselect for coat in a few generations" if you've already bred it out of the (available) population. Once its gone, its gone forever. So you do what you can to keep desirable traits in the gene pool.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-25 22:27:47
  • @twobirds, @ryananthony - hip dysplasia, as I understand it, can range from very mild to fairly severe. Mild HD is not a problem in a companion, though you should be aware of and address it via supplements (and mild restriction of activity). Most dogs that are mildly dysplastic lead lives fairly unencumbered by the condition.

    Only some vets are qualified to do the normal health certifications. I would check with your current vet and let them know the situation. Some vets, though they will send you to another vet for the evaluation, can give you small pointers on what to look out for and things to do (we had this recently since a half sibling out of the same sire developed glaucoma; my breeder does a gonioscopy but I'm still paranoid).

    Best thing to do is to speak with both your vet and breeder. See if you can get a record of the hip evaluation from your breeder. A good vet will let you know what they think the risk factor may be and how you should proceed in terms of evaluation/prevention.

  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) can lead to arthritis at a young age. CHD is polygenic, meaning it is caused by multiple genes interacting with each other, and its inheritance is not a simple punnett square. CHD is affected/caused by environment moreso than most heritable disorders.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    @cezieg I don't disagree with you, but I feel the point I was trying to make was lost. I shall restate it more simply: Health and conformation should not come at the sacrifice of the other. One should not breed a dog with "messed up physique" as you put it, nor should one breed a dog that deviates from the breed standard. When I refer to quality I mean the basic traits that define the breed, not all the stuff that makes a dog win titles and accolades. Moreover, every breeding decision should be made to improve upon the last generation in some respect, without losing what you have already gained. On that note, one cannot simply "reselect for coat in a few generations" if you've already bred it out of the (available) population. Once its gone, its gone forever. So you do what you can to keep desirable traits in the gene pool.


    Fair enough. Not going to lie, I was playing Okami and did not have my full attention given to your response :P I missed that particular point.

    Breeding it out of the population like that, however, is a bit of an exaggeration. Two generations or so to reinforce joint health, or eliminating rear dew claws, doesn't sound like a Standard Doomsday. Especially when that healthy base would, by necessity, be bred to an unrelated partner. A wholesale "There's no rules! Forget the Standard completely!" would be just as irresponsible, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    Anyhow, it just seems Shogun was bred for less than honorable purposes, perhaps to recoup import cost, and it was, unfortunately, never clarified. The more I research US Shikoku breeding ops the more unscrupulous at worst, or irresponsible at best, it seems. Not to alarm any new Shikoku owners, because each dog is a blessing and regardless of any issues will certainly bring joy to the owner's life. I just had higher expectations after reading the mission of the NASC + the purchasing fees equivalent to the dog's weight in gold, in relation to the health states of quite a few of these pups.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    It is not an exaggeration but it is based on an assumption.

    Lets say there are only two traits which define a dog -- good/bad coat and good/bad hips. Obviously a dog with bad coat and bad hips is right out of the question and is culled immediately. Likewise, if dogs exist which have both good coat and good hips, then they are the obvious breeding choice above all others. So lets look at the other two possibilities instead.

    My assumption for this little theoretical situation was that we were considering dogs with good coat with bad hips versus bad coat with good hips. If you cull the dogs with good coat and bad hips, then good coat is gone forever. It is not an exaggeration, it is not after a large number of generations. You have limited your breeding population to only dogs with bad coat and good hips, and the ONLY way to get that good coat back into the population is to breed to one of those bad-hipped dogs you previously culled.

    If you breed your good coat with bad hips dog to a bad coat with good hips dog you run the risk of getting bad coat with bad hips -- but you also have a chance to get good coat with good hips, something which previously did not exist in this theoretical population.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-25 23:46:49
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    What if the dog with the bad coat and bad hips was actually only carrying one gene for the bad coat and the other the gene for the good coat? :-SS

    And the dog with the good coat/bad hip and the dog with the bad coat/good hip were full siblings? @-)
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    Yup, its super complex.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    I was being deliberately facetious, but really, it can get *hard* to be a breeder of a breed like the Shikoku.

    And sometimes the only solution to finding/encouraging better breeding is to do it yourself...
  • cdenneycdenney
    Posts: 920
    I think it is an over statement to call the shikoku breeders in North America irresponsible at best as one kennel or even a few doesn't reflect all (taking into account there might be five that I know of?). I disagree with the idea of breeding dogs pre health checks and since I don't know all of the reasoning behind this I find it hard to draw a conclusion on what is best for a tiny accessible breeding population.

    That being said from reading the comments I think alot of us are raising an eyebrow at this and hopefully speculative owners of any pup will read this and remember to ask for health checks for the parents (hell grandparents too if there is access to it).

    As interesting as this conversation is (and im freaking fascinated) i think we have to recognize that we may have entirely derailed the point of this thread of helping Shogun find his forever home. Could we continue in a new thread? Just my thoughts.

    @myabee09 did you hear back yet?
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  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    Yup, its super complex.


    Your explanation is absolutely correct. I was referring specifically to the development of Shikoku in the US though, which I probly didn't full explain. My bad.
    With how many abnormalities there are, it makes more sense, at least in my mind, to breed for health as the priority, and then bring the coat back up a few notches in priority once they're not full of physical oddities (extra toes, rear dews, etc) and issues (neuro, joints). It's not as if the US dogs are the only ones around. There's a good number available for import, and the Japanese are certainly breeding to appearance standards as well as attitude. So it would seem a good match to breed out the health issues with less coat emphasis to get things fixed structurally, then bring in coat-exact imports to get that coat back up to Standard.

    Then again, that may just be me tired of seeing physically screwed up young dogs that look pretty at 4 months to a year, yet are destined to be arthritic five years, walking into my vet office on a daily basis :-q (not speaking of this Shikoku btw, these are mainly Goldens, GSDs, and other popular show breeds)

    @cdenney Irresponsible is breeding without doing physique checks, so it's not an overstatement, and a weak criticism on the scale of criticism terms. Irresponsibility can be something as insignificant as not doing walks often enough :P

    You're right though, this can definitely be it's own topic.

    It did need pointing out though, since there was not a single mention or pointing out of that rather important fact for 4 days, on top of the lack of answers.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
    Post edited by cezieg at 2013-07-26 00:41:06
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3800
    So it would seem a good match to breed out the health issues with less coat emphasis to get things fixed structurally, then bring in coat-exact imports to get that coat back up to Standard.


    Problem with this is that you run the risk of adding back in those health issues you worked so hard to breed out. Even if the imported stock tested healthy, without several generations of testing you still run the risk of bringing those health problems back into the breed.

    Part of the issue with Shikoku in this state of the game is that if you breed too scrupulously you run a greater risk of bottle necking and causing hidden health issues to pop up. There are many things that concern me with what I've been seeing in the breeding of Shikoku in the US (and even in other countries), but in the end not being a breeder myself does severely restrict what I can do.
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    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2013-07-26 13:14:45
  • EdgewoodEdgewood
    Posts: 1175
    I am a co-owner of Shogun, although I was not the breeder of the one litter that he had (bred by my co-owners -- their decision, I said it was up to them). However, I will address that speculation that he was bred for "his coat color", which is totally false. He was imported from a famous kennel in Japan, bred by Yano-san, who has bred more shikoku champions than most breeders in Japan.

    Yano-san's breeding program is very well respected. We were very happy to import Shogun as a 3 month old puppy as Yano-san puppies are hard to come by. Due to personal circumstances, we were able to purchase Shogun as a puppy. Obviously, as a puppy, you do not have a good idea of how they will mature. But he was purchased because of the stellar nature of his parents and the fact that he had good structure, from what we could tell as a puppy. We did NOT purchase him for his coat color and would have been happy with other coat colors as well. We purchased him because we felt his bloodlines would compliment the dogs that we had in North America.

    Needless to say, each of the co-owners spent a lot of money importing him to North America. We are also devastated to have this diagnosis, but felt for the health of shikoku, that it would be best to place him in a home for a happy life and not use him for breeding. Most certainly, we would have preferred that he had a good hip rating as we could have used his genetics in NA.

    Some of you may wish to read Shigeru's @TheWalrus post on his blog about breeders in Japan. Health testing as we do it in US/Canada/Europe is not done in Japan. So there is always a risk when you import.

    http://nihonken.blogspot.com/2013/06/good-breeders-vs-bad-breeders.html

    As breeders, we are trying our best to work with the Japanese and preserve this breed who has really low numbers, and try to maintain genetic diversity. In contrast to Japan, we are doing formal health testing on the dogs. As we do this, we are discovering health issues in shikoku, which is really not too dissimilar to a lot of dog breeds. As such, even if we have a lot of money/time invested into a dog, we are trying to be responsible and cull those from the breeding population if there are health issues, while still trying to maintain genetic diversity.

    @cezieg You seem to have a very bad taste in your mouth to North American breeders (not US, because 2 of the breeders are in Canada) . You are welcome to import a Hokka/Shikoku from Japan, but most likely there will not be health checks done on the parents/offspring in Japan. The breeders in North America, and some in Europe, are actually doing the health checks on shikoku and learning the issues that they have.
    Post edited by Edgewood at 2013-07-27 12:27:43
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5493
    It's kind of a null point to say that there are no health checks in Japan, but breeders are doing them here, when Shogun was bred before his health tests checked out.

    Considering what I paid for Fate, between his actual cost + shipping, I could've imported from Japan, and apparently it's the same, when a fatal health issue happened, I didn't get anything for it anyway. [ oh right, sorry, I got an offer for another puppy, because I really want to go through the heartbreak of having a dog barely able to walk, with constant seizures, that won't make it to 3 years old again, that's fun. ]

    At least had I imported, I could've chalked it up to "Oh, well that's the risk when you import."

    & FTR, I would gladly trade the shittiest hips or elbows for whatever the hell Fate has.

    My .02 cents. ~
    - Osy ~
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  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    At least had I imported, I could've chalked it up to "Oh, well that's the risk when you import."

    I kind of chalk up the whole thread to "Oh, well, that's the risk when you don't insist on seeing the parents' health clearances and knowingly purchase a puppy sired by an underage male." My .02 :P
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
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    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-26 13:08:29
  • @poeticdragon - I think the problems experienced by @sangmort's Fate are of a much more serious nature than what is being discussed in this thread. My presumption is that Osy did all the normal checks that due diligence calls for (especially since she is the author of one of if not the oldest "what to look for in an ethical breeder" articles). What @sangmort has had to go through with Fate is not something I would wish on any owner, nor should it be addressed so lightly, imo.

    As for the topic of the puppies from the kimi/shogun litter, an owner not doing all the checks that they should on a breeder doesn't clear the breeder of their part in this, nor should the owners have had to find out from a forum or third party.
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    @violet_in_seville I think you misunderstood me. I wasn't making light of Fate's condition, but still addressing the original topic. The owners of Shogun's puppies knew the risks of buying a pup with underaged parent(s) without health clearances. The situation hasn't changed in any way since Shogun's later diagnosis; in fact, we don't even know how any of the pups' hips are.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • twobirdstwobirds
    Posts: 36
    @poeticdragon -- I definitely didn't know. I inquired about the health of the parents and was told they were both in excellent condition. I should have asked explicitly about hips, but honestly I'm not an expert (first time buying from a breeder) and I just didn't. That's on me, but it was not deliberate. I felt like I did a lot of research on my breeder and took the time to get to know her and her kennel, but I missed the hip thing. There was no discussion of risks or mention of it in our contract. Next time I will not assume (because we all know what that does) that just because a breeder has a great reputation and has produced tons of great pups for folks that every litter is up to the same health standards.

    The suggestion that now I'm going to get what I deserve when my puppy, who I love and adore and is such a wonderful little creature, has to potentially deal with debilitating joint problems leaves a gross taste in my mouth. ick.

    @Edgewood thanks for putting everything into perspective. @Calia yes, I will neuter him and definitely do xrays then and start him on supplements now

    Thanks to those who have offered up suggestions and advice.
  • mdokicmdokic
    Posts: 745
    Take what you have learned and what people have said with a grain of salt @twobirds. People tend to get very heated and have strong opinions when it comes to these kinds of topics and things get said that im not sure they meant. You didn't deserve this by any means (that would leave a bad taste in my mouth too btw), and there is nothing wrong with how you made your decision to buy from the breeder...I can guarantee you did more research than SOO many other dog buyers do! Unless you're a breeder looking for dogs to breed, i think it's not fair to say things along the lines of "you didnt think of every possible scenario and problem, so you deserve what comes." That's not fair at all. So start him on supplements, and i know he's going to have the best life because he's being taken care of by someone who cares about him and his health :) good you found this out now too while he's so young, rather than when he gets much older!!! BTW, I want more pictures of him!! :D
    Michelle, with Kai girls Kona and Kimber
    DSC_6037_NEW_banner
  • Myabee09Myabee09
    Posts: 404
    @cdenney - yes I heard back. I got a no because I already had too many dogs in their opinion, we live too far away, and the cat posed a problem for them. :(
    Lauren
    Post edited by Myabee09 at 2013-07-26 16:07:36
  • EdgewoodEdgewood
    Posts: 1175
    @violet_in_seville I think you misunderstood me. I wasn't making light of Fate's condition, but still addressing the original topic. The owners of Shogun's puppies knew the risks of buying a pup with underaged parent(s) without health clearances. The situation hasn't changed in any way since Shogun's later diagnosis; in fact, we don't even know how any of the pups' hips are.

    And this should be highlighted. There are breedings where 2 dogs have very good hips, yet produce HD, and there are breedings where one may have mild HD and the other good hips, and all offspring could be fine. And plus, the shikoku has such a limited gene pool -- that is really an issue with the breed.

    Even though I co-own Shogun, I was not planning on breeding with him yet (and now will never breed with him). But it isn't as clear cut as it may seem, as shikoku are so limited (300 registrations/year in Japan), and almost should be treated as an endangered dog breed. Plus, there is some feeling that jumping up and down (ie, straight up and down) in a kennel situation during the formative years can affect the hips -- and shikoku can be dogs who bounce up and down when they see their people (think standing on hind legs hopping straight up). Again, possibly an environmental influence outside of any genetic influence.
    Post edited by Edgewood at 2013-07-26 15:46:33
  • @twobirds - you may also want to inquire about the fate of any previous litters from the dam. Hopefully, if this was a "test" litter to see what sort of puppies Shogun might produce, the dam should have excellent ratings and her previous litters be free of issues.

    I know of a show dog that was retired because he didn't pass the hip check that was run before a planned breeding. He went to a companion home and has not exhibited any issues or discomfort. Mild hip dysplasia shouldn't impede your pup's quality of life as long as you keep an eye out for it and ensure that it doesn't get worse, which I'm confident you will. There's also a distinct possibility that it won't show up in your pup. There are a whole host of factors that contribute to HD, and genetics is just one of (though an important) variable.
  • Oops. Cross-posted on possibility of hd with @edgewood.

    Though I do have a question born of ignorance. It seems to me unlikely that hd can be developed entirely from activities with no genetic contribution. I can see going from a fair to mildly dysplastic with the wrong activities, but not going from a good or excellent to dysplastic.
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    @twobirds I am sorry you were not made aware of the risks. Buyers should ask to see the health clearances but many don't know that. Many don't know that there is a difference between a dog deemed healthy by a general vet and actual health clearances from CERF/OFA. It falls upon the breeder to inform the buyers of what they should be looking for and asking about if the buyers fail to ask all the right questions. It is disappointing that that didn't happen.

    For what its worth, I bred one litter without health clearances. (Sort of -- Bijo was offered to me to purchase after she had been bred to the male, and I agreed to buy and import a pregnant dog.) I informed all of the puppy buyers that neither parent had been health tested and was understanding of anyone who wished to wait until a different litter. I basically look at those four puppies from that litter as four imports, with the same amount of risk as importing a puppy but much lower price. Once all the pups were gone to their homes and Bijo's body was back to normal, we did her health clearances. I lucked out in that both hips and eyes are fine. But it wasn't entirely luck; I only took the risk on Bijo because of her age (if she had major health issues they'd be apparent already), because she previously had very healthy productive litters, and because I had the guarantee of a breeder in Japan I trust that he'd make it right if there was a problem. The sire was later sold to Argentina and still has not been tested, however.

    As it turns out, two of those puppies had Entropion -- neither parent have it and so CERF testing would not have screened it out. I found out well after the fact that the sire's brother had surgery to correct Entropion. The squint of the sire's eyes is quite exaggerated, as well as the wrinkle of his brow and eyelids... so I believe he was a major contributing factor. For Bijo's next litter I chose a dog with rounder eyes and nice tight skin, and so far none of these pups show the early signs the other two did.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-26 17:00:01
  • EdgewoodEdgewood
    Posts: 1175
    @twobirds - you may also want to inquire about the fate of any previous litters from the dam. Hopefully, if this was a "test" litter to see what sort of puppies Shogun might produce, the dam should have excellent ratings and her previous litters be free of issues.


    I have a female that is 3 years old out of the dam of this litter by Shougun -- the dam's name is Kimi (AKASHIMA'S KOCHI-KEN CHIGUSA) and she has good health clearances and has had other litters of healthy puppies.
    http://www.offa.org/display.html?appnum=1352044#animal

    My female is 3 years old and also has good OFFA results.
    http://www.offa.org/display.html?appnum=1510177#animal

  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    Did any of the co-owners/breeders keep a Shogun puppy to see how the hips will turn out, or were all the pups 'petted out'?
    Post edited by ayk at 2013-07-26 17:27:00
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    @twobirds - Just to complicate things even more, here's a study where neutering before 1 yr of age increases the chances of hip dysplasia in breeds prone to it:

    http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10498
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 233
    @ayk, according to the puppy thread, all 4 pups were sold. Though one may not have been shipped yet? I wonder if any of this has affected @koyuki's decision.
    Post edited by zandrame at 2013-07-26 17:52:22
  • I don't particularly agree with the breeding before 1.5 year with X-rays personally. But i knew beforehand that he was from good lines because i remember some excitement before him being imported. So far my girl is 10 months with no health issues.... she has some tiny rear dewclaws but i dont consider them a health defect just a cosmetic one. Her mother had them and they were removed, her mother won best of breed at the NK Ohio show and her daddy is the infamous Kaiju. So im very happy with my puppy, her breeder is Corina from California and we keep in touch and she ask for updates all the time. Also she is CAR SICKNESS FREE :D and @sangmort im sorry about your baby my kitty has seizure sand it sucks I am fortunate that they are not constant. But i do have to have furniture protectors now just in case she has a seizure and pees :( her meds help
  • @zandrame - I really hope that @koyuki was informed (and sent a copy of the x-rays and evaluation ) because previous posts indicate that it was @koyuki's intention to keep her girl intact and that there were some sort of possible breeding plans for the future.
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    Edgewood said:


    @cezieg You seem to have a very bad taste in your mouth to North American breeders (not US, because 2 of the breeders are in Canada) . You are welcome to import a Hokka/Shikoku from Japan, but most likely there will not be health checks done on the parents/offspring in Japan. The breeders in North America, and some in Europe, are actually doing the health checks on shikoku and learning the issues that they have.



    I do, and it's unfortunate. I didn't wake up one day to be struck by the thought of "You know what, today I'm going to have a poor opinion NA breeders... starting right now!". My opinion is such because of the poor business practices/ethics of a particular kennel (gleaned through various owners, not you @Edgewood), the myriad physical ailments/mutations aka extra toes, and breeding methods.

    If this were Shibas then it wouldn't be that big of a deal, since they're not practically endangered (as you said). So this breed a special case. This case only backs that opinion up since, as @sangmort said, the lack of Japanese health checks makes little difference when the ones with the mantle of responsibility, NA breeders, breed the dog anyways without doing the checks.

    In the real world, titles don't mean very much. I've had Grand Champion dogs come into the vet at age 6 who are riddled with arthritis and other health issues that only show past their ideal show age. A good portion of show breeders will breed for the show ring, and unless it's a NIPPO show ring then they're going to be judged upon the US judge's standards. US standards generally reward feature exaggeration, rather than a balance. That's my issue. The breeding for profit, prestige, or titles as a higher tier of importance than health. After all of the puppies, of titled show parents, that I've examined who've had terrible health... I'm going to critique it if a poor practice, without explanation, is helping Shikoku get to the health standard of GRs and GSDs. Two great breeds which are practically a 100% chance of premature joint and hip issues.

    For the record, you've actually been the most recommended breeder for good practices :)

    @twobirds Don't get scared off. This is honestly more an issue of "end game" breeding, where the direction of the breed is taken as a whole, and ethical breeding practices as well. I understand your concerned, and legitimately too! However, it's FAR from a "ohhh noooo this litter is dooooomed!" thread :)

    In my opinion, you should actually hold off on neutering until age 2+. It's only US vets, afaik, who push the neuter by the third month. This is largely due to how much easier it is to get clients to pay for surgeries on their first visits when the dogs are young and the vaccine series can be bundled with the surgery for a discount. It's much harder to get an owner to pay for a $150-300, or more, surgery when they've had the dog for two or three years and there's nothing wrong with him. This is verbatim from corporate veterinarians and their bosses.

    Many studies are coming out that show neutering males is much more health once they've fully grown. Males and females have very different structure, and it's the male hormones that dictate a good portion of his development. Without them he'll develop more feminine legs and hips, which can definitely cause issues. A good number of male urinary issues are caused by "micropenis" as well, the symptom of which is pretty self explanatory lol. Issues involve not being able to retract "themselves" back into the sheathe due to the sheathe being too small, not being the proper length so infection will happen at the tip from constant moisture, etc etc. I had a two year old un-neutered male Shiba and, as long as you're not too dead set on the dog park, it's not a big deal to handle unaltered males.

    HOWEVER, use your judgement. If you don't trust yourself or your dog to maintain that constant leash discipline, or plan on having other people take care of the dog on a regular basis (who wouldn't be as responsible as you), then neutering beforehand is definitely your prerogative. This is the same thing I tell *responsible* clients, so that they can make informed decisions. With wishy washy clients I don't even tell them about this issue tbh... most people simply aren't responsible enough for an intact dog down here in South FL lol.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 937
    Wow, that got way longer than expected. Sorry for the wall of text guys :P
    Ren, Kai Ken (f)
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 233
    I'm fairly new to this forum, so I might have a slightly skewed perspective. From what I know Shikokus are very rare, practically endangered, hard to obtain (waiting lists for years). And very expensive.

    It is also basically a lottery health-wise to import a dog from Japan because they don't do health checks. This is akin to backyard breeding. (side question - has any of the prominent importers offered to pay for testing the Japanese stock before accepting a dog?)

    There are a total of 4 North American kennels, Akashima being one of them.

    Health issues are extremely common given the limited stock. (I must say, I fell in love with @Sangmort's Fate as a casual lurker, and it breaks my heart to see what they are going through now.)

    To me it is inexcusable to risk further damaging the breed by using untested animals. To say it is up to the buyer to cover all the bases is asking a lot, especially when an otherwise decent breeder decides to cut corners when their spot comes up on the waitlist.

    What especially irks me about Shogun's case is the short period of time between when he was bred and then tested. They couldn't wait until Kimi's next heat to be safe?

    To preserve the breed, only the qualified best should be bred. No shortcuts. Is that too much to ask?
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    For me, I just want to understand the reasoning and thought process behind the breeders. I might shy away from the risks taken, but I want to understand.

    ie. Did they rush because Kimi was getting old and it might be a now or never pairing?

    I'm glad @Edgewood explained a bit that the Shogan co-ownership was "turn-based" rather than a "consensus majority", and that health is still among her top priorities.
    Post edited by ayk at 2013-07-26 21:34:32
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    @zandrame In the culture it's very insulting to ask the Japanese for the health testing, even offering to pay for it. It would pretty much destroy any hope you had of importing that dog or ever working ith that breeder again. Though a really good friend of the breeder, who could phase it as delicately as possible, it might work. (I was ready to insist upon it for my next import, but it became moot when Bijo was bred and I had to make a decision Right Now.)
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • @poeticdragon So, I can understand why asking for health testing might be considered insulting from someone looking to import--it's saying you suspect the dog isn't actually a good one---but do you have any insight to offer about why they haven't embraced it wholesale on an embracing technology (which it has been my impression that the Japanese are very willing to do) or a sometimes these things aren't obvious/structure can't tell you that sort of level? It's a part of the culture that I don't understand and so I am curious about whatever insight can be offered.

    As for my own two cents on the Shikoku, I know this might be unpopular but given that the population seems to be so small and there's a worry about losing diversity if you cut dogs with health problems, it seems to me that the breed needs to be outcrossed to preserve it and really get it back on track. I know that doing that could make it even harder to get back to standard than using dogs with poor conformation and good health, but frankly it seems like the breed is in pretty sorry shape given the numbers overall and I just can't abide the idea of breeding dogs with health problems. If that's looking like a problem, to me you preserve diversity with an outcross rather than risking bringing puppies into the world that are unhealthy. I place trying to have the healthiest puppies possible over keeping the Shikoku pure Shikoku.
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    The technology thing is interesting. They may invent the latest tech, but businesses are still run with paper and fax machines for the most part -- from what I saw anyway. I saw typewriters and ancient (late 90s) computers in the offices when I went to the AKIHO headquarters. It takes months and months for any kind of response from AKIHO to a question generally because its all done by snail mail overseas.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 233
    I think the technology thing might be more of a generational rather than cultural thing. As it is here too - dog breeders are typically older and not the most tech savvy. I've been to Japan twice in the last decade (granted, not for dogs!) and tech was everywhere. (Waitresses with touchpads, self-opening taxi doors, hot/cold vending machines, heated toilet seats, and the awesome Shinkansen!)

    I wonder what the younger breeders' opinions are on health and testing. What does @TheWalrus think about this topic?

    Why is it unacceptable to ask about health though? Are breeder relationships that fragile? Wouldn't it be more embarrassing for a prideful breeder to produce a faulty product and have it represent his line? If all it takes is a friend on the inside, that sounds like a good start!

    I was looking at some other threads here, in particular http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/7059/a-thought-on-the-shikoku039s-decline-in-japan-, and @EdK's ideas from a preservation standpoint were interesting. The link about outcrossing Basset hounds and Dalmatians was good. http://retrieverman.net/2011/01/15/the-outcross-that-saved-the-basset-hound/
    Post edited by zandrame at 2013-07-27 00:50:42
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3539
    I don't know much about Shikoku except what I've read on this forum. I was quite interested in the various discussions though, especially about breeding a dog with bad hips to one with excellent hips, etc. I don't know enough about that to have an opinion.

    However, I do have some thoughts on breeders who breed before health tests are in, or who don't inform people of potential health risks, because been there, done that. While yes, I absolutely believe buyers should check into the health tests done, that doesn't for one minute excuse the breeders who don't do health tests, or who breed before the tests are done, or who are simply not entirely forthcoming about their breeding program.

    I bought an Akita after much, much agonizing. I did everything right, except for one thing: I looked up OFA records and only saw a preliminary hip test on the sire, because he had only just turned two. His preliminary hip test was excellent, so I figured he was ok, and honestly, I don't think there are hip problems in my dog. However, when, I asked the breeder about it, she dismissed my concerns and said it wasn't that big of a deal, she was breeding him at two, etc.

    Turns out, he had already been bred, well before his hip test came in. She never did the second test as far as I know. And when I discovered he had micropthalmia, she didn't believe me even with a letter from the opthamalagist, and said "it wasn't a problem." She also repeated the breeding I believe, and then sold this dog as a stud to someone in Ireland who is likely to use him in their breeding program though he carries micro. When Oskar had other health problems, including serious issues in his spine, she simply stopped talking to me entirely.

    What did I do wrong? Not actually demanding a later OFA test, I guess, but the way I was treated by that breeder, and the fact that she did things that I find unethical for a breeder was really a problem. It was not my fault that I got an unhealthy dog. And so, while I'm not a breeder, and perhaps am not looking at this from the perspective of someone who breeds a rare breed, to me, taking big risks (breeding without health tests) is really a problem. It's passing on a potential problem and a hell of lot of heartbreak to someone else, and I, frankly, find that unethical.

    I don't know the specifics about this dog, or this situation. But to me, there were some bad choices made that were compounded by the lack of communication. In my case, I would have been a lot more forgiving of my breeder if she had simply talked to me, had said she was sorry for Oskar's bad health, and had maybe explained her choices, or talked about the health of the parents. But instead she totally ignored me. The thing is, taking risks with breeding dogs might be ok if a breeder is very clear about what they are doing and tells potential buyers, but taking risks and not telling anyone, and then letting the buyer find out when their dog has serious health issues? (And I'm not speaking of this situation particularly, I'm speaking in general). Well, really, is that any better than what the mills do? I don't see how.

    And for people to have to find about a health problem on this forum rather than from their breeder? Totally unacceptable.

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1968
    ---but do you have any insight to offer about why they haven't embraced it wholesale on an embracing technology (which it has been my impression that the Japanese are very willing to do) or a sometimes these things aren't obvious/structure can't tell you that sort of level? It's a part of the culture that I don't understand and so I am curious about whatever insight can be offered.

    As for my own two cents on the Shikoku, I know this might be unpopular but given that the population seems to be so small and there's a worry about losing diversity if you cut dogs with health problems, it seems to me that the breed needs to be outcrossed to preserve it and really get it back on track. I know that doing that could make it even harder to get back to standard than using dogs with poor conformation and good health, but frankly it seems like the breed is in pretty sorry shape given the numbers overall and I just can't abide the idea of breeding dogs with health problems. If that's looking like a problem, to me you preserve diversity with an outcross rather than risking bringing puppies into the world that are unhealthy. I place trying to have the healthiest puppies possible over keeping the Shikoku pure Shikoku.


    These breeders are a bunch of old Japanese men that stick to old methods of determining the quality of their dogs. The registry is still done by hand, and even Shigs' own blogpost admits that many of these breeders would not qualify by our standards for what constitutes a good breeder/kennel.

    One can assume that some of these Shikoku breeders are looking for preservation of the breed through preservation of their own lines (i.e. line-breeding). This is why our imports run the risk of having the issues we have. Over here, we are trying to breed for preservation of the breed through health via diversity.

    I won't make any bones about it, I co-own Kurenai and I brought it up to the forum a year ago that it was very possible she has mild HD (turned into reality). Despite that, everything about her was quintessential Shikoku. This is where the impasse began with regards to considering her to be bred. At that time, many of the forum members here felt that the genepool in the U.S. was too thin to cull her from a breeding program and encouraged her to be bred to a male with good hips (Kaiju). I spoke to Corina and she made sure the future owners of the puppies were informed regarding the conditions of the breeding. As soon as I found out she had Fair/Mild HD, I put her on Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID). Mainly she takes a ground up velvet elk antler tablet once daily. I've kept her weight down, her movement is great, and like @lizzysilvertongue said, she was able to convince a NIPPO judge to let her win this year ;-).

    I'm not saying this to justify or rationalize any actions other than my own personal experiences about the health of the breed. What I said above is the reality any Shikoku owner/breeder faces. North American breeders are at ground zero of re-diversifying the breed in the U.S. We, as a community of owners and breeders, have an uphill battle. It will be years/decades until we can turn the corner on our preservation efforts. I encourage future owners to read the posts I've linked. Contemplate on the context and what this NK community represents for the Shikoku breed.

    Jesse



    Jesse Pelayo

    Post edited by CrimsonO2 at 2013-07-27 01:16:34
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    I wrote much earlier in this thread about culling dogs that are below average for the breed. In the case of imported dogs, the fact is we just don't know what "average" is overseas because of the lack of health testing. It may be that the "good ol' boy" attitude of selecting quality dogs to work actually selects towards healthier specimens. It may be that ignoring modern veterinary science has made the selection somewhat random; neither selecting for or against health. It may be that picking exagerted show specimens actually selects away from health, some conditions being directly related to those desirable features. We. Just. Don't. Know.

    We have a small sampling of these populations here in North America, but there is nothing to say they statistically represent the whole. After all, breeders in North America do not have access to select their imported stock from the entire population. They are limited to the Japanese breeders they have connections with, generally who use computers and the Internet or from word of mouth and a friend actually located in the country. The most well connected breeder in US probably has significantly fewer options than a "good ol' boy" in Japan.

    There too is the selection process of those who import, and perhaps even more so than breeding dogs here in NA, shape the future of the breed. Each individual importer's goals and ideals, structure of breeding program, and preconceived notions about certain lines determines the dogs that get brought over. The dogs brought from Japan therefor are definitely NOT a random cross-section of the breed. There is a selection process in play that skews our gene pool away from the country of origin. This will always be the case and is true even within larger breeds; a Laborador Retriever from Utah looks much different than one from Maryland. So the only averages we can know about are those in our own dogs, through open communication between the North American breeders.

    There aren't many breeding Shikoku, and two in this thread have been bred that are mildly dysplastic. Is mild dysplasia above, equal, or below average in the North American Shikoku population? That is the question to consider. It is not simply a cut and dry answer that one should never breed a dysplastic dog. Consider if the average for the breed was to be moderately or severely dysplastic, as was the case with GSDs at one point in time. In such a situation, a mildly dysplastic dog looks like a good prospect. The status of the available breeding population must be known in order to make a good breeding decision.

    There is as well another situation when one might consider breeding a dog with a very undesirable trait. That is when the average is so very high that odds are good that the offspring will not be affected, and if they are, it's easy to breed out with other crosses in the next generation. This scenario is best reserved for individuals who have something else significant to contribute to the breed. It doesn't need to be one trait -- in fact, it should not be just one -- but an overall very good specimen of the breed but for this one undesirable thing.

    The larger the population, the easier it is to find a specimen that lacks the undesirable trait. In such a case, when there are better specimens readily available, the selection process needs be significantly stricter. A large population is less prone to shifts in its gene pool by irresponsible breeding compared to a smaller population, but the breeder has little moral or ethical excuse to produce poorly bred dogs when he has so many more options to choose from. So I do believe the rules are different for Laborador and Pit Bull breeders compared to our own tiny populations. Even the American Akita population is huge by comparison to the rest (except maybe the Shiba).

    Above all else, though, remember that breeders are people with expenses and lives, just like everyone else. Nobody is doing this as a full time job or supporting themselves by breeding Nihon Ken. Most are losing money at this hobby. Some animals should not be bred, but there is a whole spectrum of possibilities between a cull and a grand champion. Not everyone -- or anyone -- can afford the absolute best of the best or be expected to start over from scratch each time a prospect turns out "just okay." Sometimes they have to play with the hand they were dealt or not play at all. If enough people quit playing, then we're left with nothing.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-07-27 02:14:02
  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1470
    Living in Japan, this conversation is years away. Japan is on an entirely different page when it comes to the ethical and scientific side of breeding dogs. What I can do is repeat what I've always told everyone regarding the current situation of the Nihon Ken in Japan (the breeding animals).

    1. No health tests are done.
    2. There are many Shiba kennels that are run as businesses, and some Akita, but almost no for profit kennels breeding the medium sized breeds.
    3. Dogs are generally not socialized, not trained, and are kept kenneled outdoors. Many are not walked at all.
    4. Some kennels take a lot of time to prepare food for their dogs, but the majority are fed the cheapest kibble available.
    5. The breeds are dying out with the older generation, as they are very few young people interested in getting involved. The ones that do, are still not aware of genetic issues etc, and are not trying to change the way things are, because general awareness regarding these issues is extremely low within the country as a whole.

    To clarify each point...
    1. There is a lack of awareness regarding genetic issues. When they do come up (like HD, LP etc) many kennels don't recognize it as a genetic issue, aren't aware of the issues, or worse yet, just ignore it. There is also a lot of incorrect anecdotal information that is passed on by word of mouth. Many animal hospitals (even one of the ones that I use) have never taken x-rays of joints etc, or done thyroid/eye/patella testing. Many of the adult Shiba going overseas to Europe now are getting tested before going, as the kennels buying them are requiring it. This works because there is a lot more money involved, I'm talking 3-5 times the amount it costs to import a medium size NK.
    2. When you are not making money off breeding dogs (it's actually something most kennels just spend money on as a hobby), and you're not even selling dogs for profit, you are not going to be very inclined to get all your dogs tested, when there is no awareness regarding genetic issues among kennels, or the general populace. It's just seen as something that picky foreigners who meddle too much with, and are overly sensitive about perfection in their dogs, are interested in, when what they should be interested in is preserving the breeds' 'honshitsu'. Someone asking a kennel for a dog is at a disadvantage as you are very politely asking for the privilege of being entrusted with one of their dogs. If you are offensive in any way, or are just asking too much of them, they couldn't be bothered to place a dog with you. This is why many kennels couldn't be bothered to send dogs overseas.
    3. You are not going to notice too many issues in the movement of your dogs if they are never walked. Of course many kennels walk all their dogs, or at least let them out into a run to defecate, but there are many that only exercise the ones that are being shown. I know a tiny handful of dogs that are kept indoors. The dogs are kept to breed and show, and that's pretty much it. There are very few working kennels left.
    4. When a kennel in Japan says with pride that they feed their dogs good kibble, they're usually talking about Iams or Purina. That's the level of awareness regarding kibble in Japan.

    This is what you're wading into when you decide to import a dog from Japan, or start breeding the Nihon Ken. Importing costs are high to begin with, it takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to find an available dog of good quality, and from a kennel that maintains their dogs at a decent level. Costs of buying Nihon Ken overseas are high because of the import costs, and the fact that many pups end up being culled from programs due to health/temperament issues. I've sent Brad a lot of dogs, and for all our due diligence trying to pick the best dogs possible, we've had our share of disappointments.

    Regarding Shogun, he was a quality pick pup, from the most famous Shikoku kennel in Japan. He was only available because Yano-san is fighting cancer. He has been very helpful in trying to keep quality dogs going overseas so that the breed does not become too inbred, and type is not lost. It is a sad situation for Yano-san, since he was very happy with this pup, for the kennels who imported him, and for myself, since I sent him overseas.

    This is definitely not an isolated case, as health issues within the Nihon Ken generally only become apparent once they are overseas. While some kennels will be honest with me about issues they have seen, this is only because of the relationship that I have with them. In most cases it's not something they will publicize.
  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1470
    And with that being said, if no one else, I'll be testing stock in my program, and as many other dogs in Japan as I can in the future. I'm also going to try to get as much pedigree data as possible, online. It's an undertaking that will take a lot of time and finances, but hopefully we can preserve these breeds, and pass them on to future generations in even better shape than the last generation passed them onto us in.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 233
    @TheWalrus, thank you so much for your perspective! I wonder if there is any possibility for more young Japanese enthusiasts to take up the reins from the older generation and bring technology and health testing to the forefront. We need more like you! It's a big burden for you alone.

    You mentioned that dogs exported to Europe are tested (and more expensive because of it). Interesting that the Europeans are more willing to make that kind of deal. Also interesting that with enough money, the kennels will do what is necessary to please the "picky foreigners" even if they find it offensive! Has that requirement made any difference in the quality of European Shikokus vs North America?

    Edited for auto-correct!
    Post edited by zandrame at 2013-07-27 05:37:05
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3800
    @zandrame,
    You mentioned that dogs exported to Europe are tested (and more expensive because of it). Interesting that the Europeans are more willing to make that kind of deal. Also interesting that with enough money, the kennels will do what is necessary to please the "picky foreigners" even if they find it offensive! Has that requirement made any difference in the quality of European Shikokus vs North America?


    I don't think he meant that this would apply to the medium sized breeds, but more towards the very popular shiba and possibly akita.

    From what I've heard, in Europe the shiba is in a pretty sorry state compared to the US. Many are of poor show quality with bad form and missing teeth, and I think they do have their share of health issues. They are trying what they can to improve their breeding stock, while not also adding in more problems. Heck, some of the US breeders are even being asked and offered lots of money to send over some pups.
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  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1470
    What @calia said.

    Probably due to their popularity Shiba and Akita kennels overseas seem to be more professional, with kennel set ups, and they have no qualms about importing adult dogs from Japan that have been kenneled their entire lives. Most all of the parties that have contacted me up to this point regarding Shikoku are looking to keep their dogs in a pet environment, and so choose puppies over unsocialized adults.
    Because of the demand for the Shiba and Akita, and lack of knowledge about them and the situation in Japan at the time they first started becoming popular, a lot of low quality dogs were (and are) unloaded overseas. It became a very monetized environment, which is why the market for Shiba/Akita going overseas is so much higher than for the medium sized breeds.
    In backlash to the decline in quality and the prevalent health issues, importers, especially from northern Europe, are starting to ask for testing on hips/elbows, before importing Shiba/Akita.

    Edited to add that...
    @zandrame it's not so much a numbers issue, as it is the fact that these kennels are often buying from for-profit kennels. Even if they're not buying from a professional kennel, the kennels here know that they can make money selling Shiba/Akita overseas, so the dogs that become available are often from people looking to make a bit of profit. This means they are willing to go out of their way to make that sale happen (and the big numbers help), whereas with the medium size breeds, kennels still take pride in not breeding for profit, and anyone looking to make a buck off of them is looked down on a little bit. Amateurism is part of NIPPO's mission statement.
    Post edited by TheWalrus at 2013-07-27 07:11:58
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 233
    Ah, sorry @Calia, @TheWalrus, I was narrowly thinking of just Shikokus at the moment. But it sounds almost like the same reasons the European importers began requesting testing on Shibas/Akitas will happen here for Shikokus. Except in this case the situation is a little more dire, and the breed could be lost if breeders don't work together across borders.

    Also, I'm kinda surprised there's no demand for the midsize NKs. But that's beyond this topic.
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    This is a pretty important distinction, I think:

    Probably due to their popularity Shiba and Akita kennels overseas seem to be more professional, with kennel set ups, and they have no qualms about importing adult dogs from Japan that have been kenneled their entire lives.



    When it comes to structure and fertility/testicles, puppies are always going to be a gamble when importing. It's a gamble even with domestic dogs...

    If a person wants or expects more certainty, they need to import an adult that has proven itself as fertile.

    Don't know about costs of a puppy vs. a proven adult for a medium-sized NK, but it can be quite astronomical in other breeds. About 5-10x the cost of a puppy for a quality adult. That is what could happen if the medium-sized NK adopts a business model.

    The only "discount" I've seen in my breed might be a senior stud dog with a rumored health issue (untestable allergies, fertile but not tieing, heartworm damaged, etc.), or if you happen to catch a kennel reducing their numbers or retiring.

    It's better when dealing with Japanese friends/contacts who are going to share the rumors and advocate for you among other breeders. Pushing and insulting them isn't going to make friends...

    Post edited by ayk at 2013-07-28 01:05:43
  • One of the real problems, I think, with the medium size breeds is that no one outside Japan knows about them. I think there would be great demand for them if people did and I think that would really help their numbers but I can't say that I really want the sort of recognition that I think would help their numbers. Frankly, I think that if these breeds, especially the Shikoku, which has a look people seem to be really attracted to, it would ruin the breeds. The Kai Ken excepted, I think the breeds as they exist are really unsuitable for most homes (more so than the Shiba and Akita, which are more popular) but if people starting hearing about them, seeing pictures of them in magazines, they wouldn't be doing their research and I think that real popularity, the sort that could really up their production in Japan, would have a lot of puppies going to very unsuitable homes.

    Way I see it, the rarer medium size breeds are in a bit of catch 22 with numbers and demand.
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    As unpalatable as it is to some folks, I think the medium sized NK like the Shikoku needs to be exposed to "dog people" rather than the "public". Meaning, letting dog show people see them and consider them.
  • @thewalrus - thank you for shedding some more light on this. You've posted about the situation in Japan quite a bit in other threads, but since we have new members it's valuable to hear it again I think. I've silently followed @brada1878's importing saga and it's clear just how difficult the process is. I admire those who put in the time and effort to try to preserve and improve the breeds.

    @poeticdragon - I think that you have an excellent point about the difficulties in making breeding decisions in a limited genetic pool. There are a ton of variables. For those reading who might be newer to the forum, here is an interesting older discussion of breeding.

    http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/5852/0#Form_Comment

    Here are some older discussions about the issues facing shikoku.

    http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/7059/a-thought-on-the-shikoku039s-decline-in-japan-#Item_71

    http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/6932/shikoku-how-long-till-the-inevitable#Item_48

    Health

    http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/7195/known-medical-problems-with-shikoku#Item_30


    FWIW - I'm well aware of the difficulties of breed preservation of limited populations. However, when the original breeder of the litter has demonstrated bad faith in failing to inform the new puppy owners like @twobirds and @ryananthony, it makes it that much more difficult to presume good faith when looking at their decision to breed before health tests. This is a reflection strictly on the breeder of the litter, and not the breeder nor co-owner of the sire, who have either directly or by proxy, been much more forthcoming.


  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3182
    Not much I can add, Shigeru has really nailed all the issues that I see with importing Shibas in particular, including the issues with exporting US dogs to Europe.

    As unpalatable as it is to some folks, I think the medium sized NK like the Shikoku needs to be exposed to "dog people" rather than the "public". Meaning, letting dog show people see them and consider them.


    I 100% agree.



    From what I've heard, in Europe the shiba is in a pretty sorry state compared to the US. Many are of poor show quality with bad form and missing teeth, and I think they do have their share of health issues. They are trying what they can to improve their breeding stock, while not also adding in more problems. Heck, some of the US breeders are even being asked and offered lots of money to send over some pups.


    Yes, this is very true, and yes, they ask. Breeding Shibas in places like Russia for instance, is a big business. My biggest reason for not wanting to export anything to Europe, is that the dogs would be overbred and kenneled in the elements, and I would have no control over it. The breed people in the UK and Scandinavia are exceptions for the most part, IMO, and the breeders there have very good reputations for treating their Shibas well, and screening out health issues. Some of the kennel clubs in those countries even require passing specific health tests before being allowed to breed. There are breeders in parts of Eastern Europe who openly flaunt breeding dogs with missing teeth, LP, who are inbred son to mother, and they have been suspended from their countries kennel clubs as a result.

    Probably due to their popularity Shiba and Akita kennels overseas seem to be more professional, with kennel set ups, and they have no qualms about importing adult dogs from Japan that have been kenneled their entire lives. Most all of the parties that have contacted me up to this point regarding Shikoku are looking to keep their dogs in a pet environment, and so choose puppies over unsocialized adults.

    Because of the demand for the Shiba and Akita, and lack of knowledge about them and the situation in Japan at the time they first started becoming popular, a lot of low quality dogs were (and are) unloaded overseas. It became a very monetized environment, which is why the market for Shiba/Akita going overseas is so much higher than for the medium sized breeds.

    In backlash to the decline in quality and the prevalent health issues, importers, especially from northern Europe, are starting to ask for testing on hips/elbows, before importing Shiba/Akita.


    This is very true. A compromise I have seen is the importing of older puppies, and leasing adult dogs from the famous Japanese kennels for a certain time frame. With the older puppies it's less of a gamble for health issues, and with leasing the cost is reduced, but most won't offer that. The hard part is knowing they will at some point have to go back to living in a little kennel without the comforts of a home environment or stimulation from a pack of playmates. There are some very nice Japanese kennels that are immaculate from what I know, so I wouldn't have any ethical concerns buying from them. They are the exceptions from what I have come to understand. Maybe someday I can see for myself...



    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12075
    @ayk - Don't forget, there are "dog people" outside of "dog show people". I would consider the people of this forum to be "dog people" and not simply pet owners - they are invested in the community and care for the breeds - and they may not be "dog show people".

    ----

    I've been biting my tongue on this topic because it's too dynamic of a discussion to really be able to conclude, and without the Shikoku breeders being part of it, it's a fruitless effort ( excluding @Edgewood ).

    The reality in this breed (the Shikoku Ken) is that the breeders hold everything tight to their chest, a few of them may work together on some scale (co-owning a few dogs) but that's as far as it goes - at least as far as I can tell.

    When it really comes down to building a Shikoku community, educating others (outside of trying to sell puppies), or preserving the breed, little to nothing is done. This can bee seen clear-as-day when you look at the Shikoku Club and the resentment and unwillingness to collaborate of some of the Shikoku breeders, importers, and owners.

    The community lacks the type of collaboration, plan, and focus that it needs to save the breed.

    ----

    I think we need to add a little perspective on the Shikoku's population size in North America to this discussion before we all jump on the everyone-must-OFA and hyper-select-for-nitpicky-health-issues bandwagon.

    The majority of the Shikoku in North America are related.

    Shogun is related to the majority of the Shikoku in the North American breeding pool. Looking at the database, all but 3 of the Shikoku listed as breeders in North America are related (Katja's Kuma and the two girls from Iwahori-san are not related).

    Shogun: http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63298

    All these dogs are related to him in just a 3 generation pedigree...
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63330
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63323
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63227
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63351
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63239
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63378
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63323
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63315 (even Kaiju)

    Even Kimi, the dam of the Shogun litter, is realted to Shogun in a 3 gen pedigree: http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=63263

    So, pretty much the majority of the Shikoku on this forum are related to Shogun. That's a VERY small population. If we're gonna freak out and worry about Shogun's MILD HD, then EVERY Shikoku owner on here should be doing the same (whether they are Shogun offspring or not).

    In dog breeding, as we select for specific traits within a population, and select away from other traits, we end up eliminating breeding options from the population - this shrinks the population and forces breeders to breed more closely (inbreed).

    When you inbreed you are increasing the chances of traits possessed by the sire and dam being passed to the puppies (this is called Tandem Repeat).

    Hyper-selecting for ANYTHING (including health) in a very small population (like the Shikoku) creates what is called the "Bottleneck Effect" (population undergoes a drastic reduction in size as a result of chance events. A cause of genetic drift.).

    When this happens on a breed-wide scale, as it has in Shikoku and Kai, this is called "artificial drift" - the artificial selection for specific traits in a closed population pushes the population to "drift" in a certain direction.

    So... the irony of culling Shogun from the breeding population over a MILD HD is that, by culling him to reduce risk of passing on HD, the breeding population shrinks and inbreeding increases (CORs rise), and the risk of future generations being born unhealthy is increased.

    In other words - by removing Shogun from the population due to his mild HD, the breeders are increasing the chances of future generations GETTING HD.

    Tools like OFA and PennHIP are nice to have and, in theory, should work to eliminate some health issues (tho there is no documented proof of that), but they aren't the answer for every situation (anyone that knows me well knows I hate the OFA, but I'm putting my feelings aside here).

    In a LARGE population rich with diversity the effects of using a tool like OFA or PennHIP for removing unhealthy specimens from the breeding pool should result in the reduction of that health issues - it still results in drift, but the population is large enough to where the drift has a positive effect.

    But that's not the the case for the Shikoku Ken. The population is small, and ANY form of selection within the breed can cause a bottleneck, and the resulting drift can have some major negative effects and/or lead to the extinction of the breed.

    Fortunately for the Kai Ken, we have a (very slowly) growing population in Japan that we can import from. We have a much more diverse population we can use to increase the diversity of our smaller population here in North America - this has been Yamabushi's focus from day one.

    The Shikoku, on the other hand, has the opposite issues. The population here in North America has no diverse, growing, population to import from - the population in Japan is SHRINKING.

    Hyper-selecting for ANYTHING (including HD) in the North American Shikoku population is a bad idea. Simply put: this everyone-must-OFA mindset will be the nail in the coffin for the Shikoku breed.

    Then we point out dewclaws and extra toes in the breed as an issue... REALLY? Shrink this tiny population even more for an extra toe? That's silly talk.

    ----

    My only issue with Shogun is that he is being culled at all.

    This to me shows how little direction the Shikoku breeding community has. Why cull a dog who has already produced puppies before you know if the trait you're culling for has been passed onto his pups? Especially when the trait is MILD - and based on results from a panel-based opinion like the OFA.

    There have been other recent imports who have produced HD in their offspring, but those imports have not been culled. Yet, here we are culling Shogun w/o even knowing what issues he produces?

    Furthermore, to reinforce my opinion on how the Shikoku breeding community has no clear plan or direction, Kuma, another import (who is not closely related to Shogun and all the other dogs listed above) has produced known health issues in offspring, that are MUCH more severe than mild HD, but we don't cull him. (???)

    I repeat: Kuma, produced 2 pups, one of which is Osy's ( @Sangmort ), who have a severe neurological issues - yet Kuma is not culled from the breeding pool? But Shogun is for mild HD?

    Plus, I'd be willing to bet the pups with those neurological issues have a dam that is related to Shogun and is still being used.

    Also, I know that at least one of Kuma's offspring is part of the current Shikoku breeding population - seems a lot more risky to me than keeping Shogun in the breeding population.

    I'm not saying any of these dogs should be culled from the population, as that would go against my points above on population diversity, I'm just pointing out the lack of logic and direction that exists in the shikoku breeding community - and with a dead club and very little cooperation... Well, it's very sad for the breed.

    ----
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    ------------------ YamabushiKennel.org | BradAnderson.org ------------------
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2013-07-27 15:17:51
  • I really want to import a good male in the next year or two, but I don't even really know where to start. I know Shigeru @TheWalrus helps. And I figured I would ask him and my breeder Corina @ShikokuSpirit and maybe Brad @brada1878 when I got a little closer. How would someone go about importing a dog that has different bloodlines from all of the NA breeders? I would really like to do that. I'm a little hesitant to import an adult because I would have no idea how his temperament would be and I would be bringing him in to be part of the family. I would want him to be more than a "breeder." Nor am I sure on how much more it would cost to import. Anyone had a good experience importing an adult male dog or know the approximate costs? At least at a shelter you can meet them first lol. I was leaning more towards importing a puppy but I could consider an adult that has actual made puppies. I'm also not opposed to co-owning with another breeder. I plan to breed Arashi in a year or so if she checks out okay.... I was actually considering Shogun or Shuran for her first litter until recently. I honestly was wanting to see how Shogun's puppies turned out and how Arashi's hips looked before considering. With Shuran I have been a little worried because he has been turned down by two different girls and I don't know if dogs can sense something we do not. I was also planning to do what Brad does and breed her to a different boy every time except maybe her last litter and repeat my favorite breeding. So that's where I am, I am not really going to consider myself a breeder just a much more extended branch of Corina's program. Kind of an in between breeder and co-owner. If anyone has any information I might like or questions feel free to pm or find me on fb :)
  • mdokicmdokic
    Posts: 745
    @brada1878...thanks for the insight. that was all really interesting (though kind of sad) information. you just put things MAJORLY into perspective. I hope things change for the better for Shikoku <3<div class="UserSignature">Michelle, with Kai girls Kona and Kimber
    DSC_6037_NEW_banner
  • EdgewoodEdgewood
    Posts: 1175
    How would someone go about importing a dog that has different bloodlines from all of the NA breeders? I would really like to do that. :)

    This is probably easier said than done, as many of the the shikoku (as it seems to me) in Japan are line bred to preserve "type". I know I just imported a female from Japan this spring, and Shigeru @TheWalrus helped me, as did Yano-san. They evaluated the pedigree of the female and went to look at her. Compared to most shikoku in NA, she is an outcross. But at 10 months old, I have to wait and see how she turns out. I just imported her half brother (by the same sire) with another person and we will co-own him. He also has an outcross pedigree.

    And any which way, it is almost damned if you damned if you don't. As you can see on this thread, there are those vilifying the use of Shogun and others who say he should have been kept in the population because it is so small. It is a sad situation and I know I try to do the best that I can, but certainly it will not please everyone.

    And finally, I own, and want to breed, shikoku, because I love their temperament and personality. Looks are a bonus too, but I just love their character.
  • https://sphotos-a-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/999979_562062560515666_163564710_n.jpg

    Thanks Kris, I wasn't sure if there was anything more I could do on my end than just have Shigeru do the leg work. I feel like that would be lazy on my part. :-<
  • EdgewoodEdgewood
    Posts: 1175
    https://sphotos-a-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/999979_562062560515666_163564710_n.jpg

    Thanks Kris, I wasn't sure if there was anything more I could do on my end than just have Shigeru do the leg work. I feel like that would be lazy on my part. :-<


    It is hard unless you read Japanese. The pedigree from NIPPO was in Japanese and Shigeru and Yano-san helped determine how related it was further back as well as close up. They could go and look at the pedigrees on file in the NIPPO office. And even then, Shigeru did a "translation" of the names from Japanese to English, but some of the Kanji can be translated different ways, so the names on some dogs were slighltly different when I received the translated JKC pedigree (along with the Kanji NIPPO pedigree). Shigeru warned me that might happen. So again, not so easy to do, at least for me, with no Japanese language skills.

    Post edited by Edgewood at 2013-07-27 17:26:11
  • Here's a question I have for people, how much does diversity of the population really matter if it's a diversity of unhealthiness rather than health? While I agree that hyperselecting for only one good health test could have some major unintended consequences, I would much rather see a very low amount of genetic diversity that is healthy rather than the reverse. In my opinion, diversity is a means, not an end. Diversity is good because it means that we don't end up with a small population that has a hidden defect which gets continually doubled up on---so diversity is good because it should be helping the health of the population overall. If it's not, though, then I can't say I see much value in it.

    And, again, with such a small population, if diversity is really the goal or something we need (and I do think it is because there are so many problems with the population we have---and serious ones rather than just cosmetic ones like extra toes), then it does really seem that outcrossing is the way to go. We won't ever get more diversity out of the population we have then there is currently if we stick to just that population.

    And as for everyone doing OFA, I do think that's a good idea even if you're working in a population where breeding mild dysplasia can be acceptable. At least the you know what you've got and so will puppy buyers. More information is always good, in my opinion, because then you can make informed choices. If it's necessary to breed dysplasia then its necessary but that doesn't mean you hide from the information. After all, isn't the way you breed dogs with bad hips breeding them to dogs with good hips? How will we actually know what we're working with if we don't go out and gather the information?
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12075
    @NotoriousScrat - A healthy population is a diverse population. You cannot have a healthy population w/o diversity...

    High genetic diversity is also essential for a species to evolve. Species that have less genetic variation are at a greater risk. With very little gene variation within the species, healthy reproduction becomes increasingly difficult, and offspring are more likely to deal with problems such as inbreeding.[8] The vulnerability of a population to certain types of diseases can also increase with reduction in genetic diversity.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_diversity#Survival_and_adaptation

    As seen in the Cheetah, which has a small number, as a population's diversity shrinks sperm count decreases and reproductive issues emerge - this has already been seen in the Shikoku breed.

    Due to this, it's nearly impossible to achieve what you are suggesting.

    The purification of the population, removing the unhealthy dogs, shrinks the population pool and increases the chances of reproductive issues emerging, those animals with reproductive issues are then seen as "unhealthy", and culled, which shrinks the population even more. This will happen exponentially until the breed has become extinct.

    Yes, the OFA can be used to give a breeder more information, but there are much better tools out there for gaining data. Also, OFA is useful for one health issues - there are millions of health issues. In dogdom the OFA has been the primary focus for whether a breeders does "health checks" or not, which pushes the community's eye away from more important health issues like hearts, seizures, bloat, and... diversity (and extinction)!

    Remember, hips can be fixed, a neurologic issue, or a bad heart, cannot (usually).
    image
    ------------------ YamabushiKennel.org | BradAnderson.org ------------------
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2013-07-27 18:53:09
  • KoyukiKoyuki
    Posts: 90
    My partner and I were importing one of the puppies from Shoguns litter. We were informed of the HD by the breeder, and the three of us made a decision that we would not import this puppy into AUS. We were given the choice, and we feel that we made the right decision for us.
  • TrzcinaTrzcina
    Posts: 295
    Plus there are dogs that test badly on OFA whose hips really aren't that bad (and probably vice versa). One specific case in point: my (now deceased) Finnish Lapphund had OFA Good hips (so did both of her tested siblings). Her sire had hips graded "C" in Finland (he was imported as an adult for outcross when the breed was very rare in the US and the population was getting closely related), but tested OFA Excellent. Her dam initially OFA'd as mildly dysplastic... but her owner submitted the x-rays again (I guess, I don't exactly know how it worked), and the second time around she was rated OFA Good. It's not a foolproof system by any means.

    I guess it's up to the owners/breeders as custodians of the breed to decide what is and is not worth breeding from. But I don't see how constricting a tiny population helps much, when it seems like most of the Shikoku I've heard about have some wonky traits? I suppose most dogs in general do, but especially in a breed with such a small population. I would think it would be ideal (in a small population) to breed cautiously from such dogs (with full disclosure to puppy buyers) and keep all possible pups intact at least until maturity in order to select the best options to breed from further? I really don't know, though...

    One of the reasons I'm pretty sure my first NK will be a Kai and not a Shikoku is because Shikoku health scares me a bit. If the concern was mild dysplasia... well, that's a risk you take with a lot of medium to large breeds. It's a risk I would be reasonably willing to deal with. But neurological issues like Fate's? That's absolutely heartbreaking, far beyond a case of mild dysplasia that's probably unlikely to even cause lameness in a pet lifestyle.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3182
    Maybe @ayk can explain about SNPs and population fitness?

    Once the genes are gone, they are gone for good, so that is why in very threatened populations like Shikoku, every member is valuable, and their genes are worth preserving even if they carry non lethal physical defects like HD, IMO.
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  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12075
    I was trying to find this link before when I made my other posts, but couldn't. A good read and very relevant to this topic and the Shikoku breed.

    "Random Genetic Drift -- The Breeder's Hidden Enemy"
    http://dogdimension.org/DiversitySite/randomgeneticdrift.shtml

    Third paragraph...
    "[...] This limitation can be quite dramatic in breeds, such as the German Shepherd Dog, in which a limited number of very popular stud dogs account for a large proportion of the litters born to a large population of brood bitches. As a rule of thumb, the effective breeding population cannot exceed four times the number of sires in use. In the case of the GSD, a breed which surely must number in the hundreds of thousands of individual animals worldwide, the effective breeding population has been calculated to be something like six hundred, due to the persist overuse of popular stud dogs generation after generation."

    Based the above, and looking at the the Shikoku data base, including Shogun, (and I realize Peggy's dogs are not in the DB yet) there is a total of 6 studs in North America. That brings the North American Shikoku Ken breeding population down to a very very scary 24 Shikoku.
    image
    ------------------ YamabushiKennel.org | BradAnderson.org ------------------
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2013-07-27 19:29:08
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12075
    At the risk of being annoying, here' s another one to read...

    "IN THE CROSS FIRE
    In some breeds, no COO [country of origin] stock exists, or that which does exist shares the same problems as the AKC stock. In such cases, crosses to other breeds may be the only way to introduce new genes. Early in the creation of breeds, such crosses were commonplace. For example, although the Shih Tzu is an ancient breed, at the beginning of this century the breed is thought to have become extinct in China. Modern Shih Tzu descend from seven dogs and seven bitches, one of which was not a Shih Tzu, but a Pekingese. This cross occurred in 1952, long before AKC recognition of the breed. While the early registration bodies sometimes sanctioned crosses to other breeds, after a breed was established, they allowed crosses only in the rarest of circumstances."

    http://dogdimension.org/DiversitySite/thorp-vargas05.shtml

    image
    ------------------ YamabushiKennel.org | BradAnderson.org ------------------
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12075
    And one more...

    "The late geneticist, Dr. John Armstrong of the University of Ottawa, Canada so elegantly wrote,8 In my view, one could probably subdivide inbreeding into three categories: background, historic and recent. The background level is dependent upon the number of founders. In a breed/population that started from six or eight founders, sometimes closely related, you cannot find individuals that are not related even if you breed as carefully as possible. Recent (or “close”) inbreeding is, to me, the breeding of sons to mothers, full siblings, and the like. When it isn’t done simply for the convenience of the breeder, the usual justification is that it is the only way to preserve type, or that it is an effective way of discovering problems in your line. Yes, genetic defects can be uncovered in this way, but in practice I don’t think many are or they are not recognized as such. Historic inbreeding results from uneven sampling from the population. This is most obvious with the males. The same few “popular” (well-promoted) individuals are used repeatedly, and many of the others are not used at all. The collection of genes from the latter may be lost to the population, particularly if it is small. Everyone becomes related to these popular sires and inbreeding becomes inevitable. What appears to happen is that slightly detrimental genes that individually might not make much of an impact start to accumulate in the population until breeders begin to notice that their litter sizes are smaller than they remember the old-timers reporting, they have difficulty getting a bitch pregnant and that various health problems seem to be turning up more often than in the past. Some may attribute these problems to diet, environmental toxins and the like, but the bulk of it is genetic [author’s emphasis]. This is what inbreeding depression is all about."
    http://dogdimension.org/DiversitySite/thorp-vargas04.shtml
    image
    ------------------ YamabushiKennel.org | BradAnderson.org ------------------
  • Hinata23Hinata23
    Posts: 1432
    Sorry if this has already been awesome, but why give him to a person who is willing to keep him intact incase someone wants to use him. His condition does not seem to be that bad that he can't be bred.
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    I waited until I got home to read the wall of texts. :-)

    @brada1878 - I thought about editing that part about finding 'dog people' from dog shows to dog events and even media like breed specific FB and this forum. But I think it's more likely you'll find more people ready to breed in the dog show world with existing set-ups, no hang-ups about intact dogs, and a willingness to plop down some major money on foundation stock ... once they get past the "no health tests" barrier.

    The other venues are great for finding people willing to contribute by taking individual dogs as pets or intact pets. Small scale rather than large scale.

    That's just my loose thinking on this though. Nothing definate.


    @lindsayt - SNPs can be used as markers. They don't measure every portion of the DNA, but diversity of SNPs can be extrapolated as diversity of the genome.

    I wouldn't get too vested in this though as the value depends greatly on what SNPs are chosen. It's a tool for researchers who are trying locate and determine disease genes, but not so much for an individual breeder trying to find meaningful diverse mates. (Diversity in a region of a DNA that's only filler and not used for coding proteins doesn't do much.)
    Post edited by ayk at 2013-07-27 22:26:45
  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1470
    How would someone go about importing a dog that has different bloodlines from all of the NA breeders? I would really like to do that. I'm a little hesitant to import an adult because I would have no idea how his temperament would be and I would be bringing him in to be part of the family. I would want him to be more than a "breeder."


    @lizzysilvertongue to be honest this is what I get all the time in emails, so I'll use it as an example:) Everyone asks for a dog that is unrelated to everything that has gone to the US or Europe. This is a breed that has 200-300 pups born a year, with the majority being produced by only a few kennels. 2 years ago one of my friends registered 20 pups, so he basically produced 10% of that years total puppies. There are 2 prevalent lines in the breed now, coming out of two kennels, Izumo Yano So and Ayumi So. Other than that there are a few smaller lines that are inbred, and to be honest they're so far south that I haven't seen more than a couple of these dogs. Also, I've been told dogs were a different line, only to actually crawl up the pedigree, and discover that they have the same ancestors as very famous dogs from the current prevalent lines. The kennels just did not know, but it ends up being a huge waste of my time and resources since I have to travel all around the country just to get to these dogs.
    Then next portion of the comment then sums up what I was alluding to in my comment. Kennels in Europe, because a lot of them have outdoor kennels, have the facilities to accept an adult dog. Thus you know what you are getting as far as quality, you can get a proven breeder, and if you really put some effort into it, you can get the dog tested before it is sent to you. You do not have to worry about an adult dog not fitting in to an entirely new environment than it has ever experienced, being around other dogs, pets, and people, and being indoors.
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2331
    If there are six Shikoku studs in use in NA that's already better than the JA... Scary.
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  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    @Edgewood said:

    It is hard unless you read Japanese. The pedigree from NIPPO was in Japanese and Shigeru and Yano-san helped determine how related it was further back as well as close up. They could go and look at the pedigrees on file in the NIPPO office. And even then, Shigeru did a "translation" of the names from Japanese to English, but some of the Kanji can be translated different ways, so the names on some dogs were slighltly different when I received the translated JKC pedigree (along with the Kanji NIPPO pedigree). Shigeru warned me that might happen. So again, not so easy to do, at least for me, with no Japanese language skills.


    Why even bother with Kanji in the pedigree research? Can't you just use the registration numbers?
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3539
    @NotoriousScrat - A healthy population is a diverse population. You cannot have a healthy population w/o diversity...


    Yes, the OFA can be used to give a breeder more information, but there are much better tools out there for gaining data. Also, OFA is useful for one health issues - there are millions of health issues. In dogdom the OFA has been the primary focus for whether a breeders does "health checks" or not, which pushes the community's eye away from more important health issues like hearts, seizures, bloat, and... diversity (and extinction)!

    Remember, hips can be fixed, a neurologic issue, or a bad heart, cannot (usually).


    Yes, but you can't test for seizures, for many neurological issues, etc. So people test for what they can test for. Most of the time, vets don't even know WHY a dog has seizures. I agree it OFA may only be of use for one possible health issue,but you know, I'd rather have to at least know that is likely that my dog will have decent hips/elbows/eyes, because I know very well I still have to worry about everything else that can go wrong. OFA testing is no guarantee, but it's better than nothing, and I hope that the breeder who is looking at hips/elbows/eyes is also going to be concerned about other issues. And on the flip side, if someone can't be bothered to do those tests, why should I trust them to tell me the truth if I ask about seizures or heart issues, or whatever else?

    I understand you're not saying do away with tests--as I understand it, you're pointing out that these tests are limited in use and may promote a kind of tunnel vision. But I'm saying as a person who buys a dog, I have to have some way of trying to get a healthy dog, and that is simply one part of it.

    I understand that part of this discussion is that the Shikoku is in very bad shape as a breed, and that things might need to be done to promote genetic diversity. However, I'm still looking at from the point of view of someone who buys a dog and then might be faced, not only with a huge financial outlay to keep that dog alive and healthy, but also the sheer heartache of having to deal with an unhealthy dog. So part of my issue here is that regardless of what the breeder does to with his/her breeding program, s/he should be absolutely upfront about that, so the buyer can make an educated choice about whether to get that dog or not. It seems to me this has not always been the case here.
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  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 112
    I just wanted to swing in here and thank you all for the great read, its all very interesting. :)
    image

    Tain, Nare the GSD/Husky, and Tavi the Kaigirl!
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1807
    And any which way, it is almost damned if you damned if you don't. As you can see on this thread, there are those vilifying the use of Shogun and others who say he should have been kept in the population because it is so small. It is a sad situation and I know I try to do the best that I can, but certainly it will not please everyone.



    You have my empathy. And I don't know if any other breeder would have actually stepped up and said "Don't neuter him! I'll purchase him and take the risks."

    Way back up, @poeticdragon mentioned that there is no breed health survey and people just don't know what the status of the hips are in Japan. Maybe Shogan is above the average. No one knows.

    I would then suggest collecting him and storing his genetic material before neutering. Buy time to assess the health of the breed (or his pups) and then later make the decision.


    With regards to inflicting misery on puppy buyers, maybe the pups from a test breeding should be kept by the breeder until the pups can be assessed. If the pup is affected, then the pup can be euthanized. If clear, the pup can be placed into a home. It makes for a crowded kennel in the short term though.
  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1470
    @ayk I deleted a line at the end of my last comment where I was laying out my hope that someone in North America with the means and determination to take the lead for the breed would show up. Someone with a plan, and the set up to create breeding programs and map out a solid plan forward for the breed over there.

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