Importing US -> Canada & JA prices
  • Hey guys. I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with importing a dog to Canada. Is the process handled by Air Canada? Is it better to buy a roundtrip ticket for yourself and fly back with the pup vs having it shipped on its own? I also can't seem to find information about the costs associated with it. The flight would be Texas (preferable because it is closer) or southern California to Toronto because that is where the JACA breeders are located.

    How much should I expect to pay for a JA (only looking for pet/companion), I imagine somewhere around 2,000 USD? The currency exchange will also add to the costs for me >:D<

    Alternatively I am open to importing from Japan, I have Japanese step family that could help me with the language barrier. I have so far just assumed that it would be more expensive for the dog and much more expensive for the travel. I feel like Japan to Toronto is also a veeryy long way for a puppy. For example using the following cities as a reference, Tokyo is 5x farther than LA which is 2x farther than Dallas.

  • I have heard - but cannot confirm - that air travel with a pup in Canada is an extra $600 fee on top of what we pay in the US. It was suggested that it is much better to have the pup shipped to a US city near the Canadian border and drive into the US to pick it up.

    $1,500 to $2,500 USD is very typical. Prices outside this range are not necessarily a sign of something being "wrong", but you should definitely inquire about the reasons. Sometimes a litter is very expensive, ie. high stud fee, bitch needed a C-section, etc. Very low prices should also cause a raised eyebrow, as this can be a hallmark of a BYB with little invested in the dogs trying to make a quick sale.

    Price for a pup from Japan - not including shipping - starts at around $4,000 USD with microchip, vet check, crate, transport to airport, etc. Shipping by weight will be around $1,500 depending on age, sex, airline, etc. It is generally less expensive if you can get cheap airfare in advance and add the dog as "excess baggage" for a flat fee. You also don't have to deal with US customs that way. (Not sure about Canadian customs.)
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2015-09-23 03:28:30
  • Thanks @PoetikDragon, you are a wealth of information on here haha. To be honest I for sure would have defaulted to you if it wasn't for the distance. I wish more breeders (not just JA breeders) were as active online, I think they could do a lot of good in terms of educating people and getting information out there. Anyway, so far I have emailed Hyozan and am waiting for a response. Is it just me or are their dogs a little bigger? At least their two males (Tora & Toki) seem a bit more substantial, but maybe they are just extra fluffy lol. I don't really have a preference either way as long as they are within a healthy range. I would have also emailed Minami (the other Texas breeder), but it seems they only have a single female who was recently bred.

    Wow having the puppy shipped to a US city is a great idea! I believe Buffalo has the nearest US airport and that is a comfy 2 hours away. Probably also cuts down on a connecting flight for the poor guy. Also gives me the chance to give him some exercise before starting the car ride back, if only to let him stretch his legs depending on how okay with it he is.

    Okay, sorry Japan. Too rich for my blood. Anyway I also recall you telling me about the breeding practices in Japan and it would definitely be too much trouble for me.
    Post edited by OtakuBenny at 2015-09-23 06:51:21
  • There is a third breeder in Texas, Carol Speier. For some reason I always forget her kennel name, but she is a member of this forum and posts occasionally.

    The most active breeders online are all west coast. And I know they've shipped pups to New York and Virginia before (I have personally sent one as far as Syracuse).
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
  • That would be QueSera, I completely forgot about them because they don't have a website. They have a Facebook page but it is empty haha.

    Just from a short google search it seems searching for shipping options within the states brings up a lot of more results. I think I will ask around for some quotes and see what the price differences are between TX and CA.
  • Price should be the same, at least within the same airline. It is by weight of the puppy crate, not distance traveled.

    I think around $600 is normal but don't quote me -- I don't take money for shipping, I have the owner arrange it so they know I'm not inflating the cost, and I don't get left holding the bill if the buyer's check bounces. The latter happened to another breeder I know.

    That said, USDA regulations enacted in 2013 make shipping difficult for some breeders, myself included. Anyone who wishes to remain in compliance and owns 5 intact females across all species (dogs, cats, hamsters, etc) has to do ALL sales "face to face" in order to be classified as a pet shop inspected by the public. Also anyone who sells even one animal that was not born on their property (an import, a rescue, a puppy born at a vet, a co-bred litter, etc). If the breeder loses the classification as a pet shop inspected by the public, they must comply with and be inspected by the USDA. That may sound like a good thing but it's not. USDA regulations don't allow animals in the residence or on porous materials (blankets, carpet) - they must be kept in strictly regulated cages and runs, typicall on concrete, and raised like commercial livestock.

    A "face to face" sale means the seller, the buyer, and the animal being sold are all physically present in the same location. It doesn't have to be when ownership of the dog and money changes hands, i.e. the buyer could visit when the puppies are six weeks old but not have the pup shipped until ten weeks and that's okay. Previous visits, meeting the parents, buying other animals from the breeder in the past DO NOT count - the exact animal being sold must be present.

    However, the USDA will allow a proxy to act as the buyer. The person who takes possession of the animal, so long as they're not related to the seller or her kennel and not a paid courier / animal transporter, is the buyer as far as USDA is concerned. If the "buyer" then gives the animal away to someone else, USDA doesn't care and it can be shipped.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
  • If a pup is young and small enough it can travel in the cabin of the plane with a ticketed passenger instead of cargo. This is preferable to cargo, since puppies go through a fear imprint period around 8-11 weeks old and a flight can be traumatic. Alaska Airlines has the cheapest pet baggage fee of $100. If you can get good round trip airfare or use miles, it's possible that flying to pick up a puppy is cheaper than shipping - or at least it should be comparable. Especially when you consider crate cost ($120 for a varikennel crate to ship a JA puppy vs $40-$60 for a soft crate in cabin). I have known some flight crews to be really accommodating and allow the owner to take the puppy into the bathroom and let it out on a puddle pad to go potty -- really good for a longboard flight and tiny puppy bladders. And of course, picking up the pup satisfies the "face to face" requirement and gives the owner opportunity to meet the breeder, parents of their pup, etc.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
  • Okay, that is what I mentioned in my OP. Seems like it might be the best option for me, I'll be looking into it further. That also gives me the opportunity of a mini California/Texas vacation LOL. Keeping with the within US idea, it seems tickets to both from Buffalo are fairly cheap.
    Post edited by OtakuBenny at 2015-09-23 19:24:47
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3379
    I imported a puppy from the US, which isn't r he same, but it would have been cheaper to get the pup sent to the US and drive down. For me, I live in Lethbridge and it's about equal distance from here to the Calgary airport as to the Great Falls airport, which were my options. Also, the exchange rate was better then. It may not actually be cheaper seeing as how our dollar tanked.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester, Stephanie, and Batgirl(cats)
  • @Heidi I mean I will have to pay USD for the pup either way. At this point the exchange rate is looking like it will add more to the costs than the actual travel lol. Hopefully the CAD will strengthen by next year.
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3379
    Yeah I guess I was thinking I'd you're looking at air Canada vs other places, but I'm not actually sure how it works from Japan, lol.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester, Stephanie, and Batgirl(cats)
  • When I shipped Kizuna a few years ago the owners paid $330 to send her from LAX to Calgary via Air Canada. I'm sure the rules changed since then but I found the process to be very easy and the staff at the freight office was super nice.

    I know Hyozan is getting ready to breed and I think Minami is due or just had a litter. I'm taking a complete break for at least another year. Kobun is looking to breed at one point they are in St. Louis.

    I saw in your mentioned that some breeders only have one female. All of our breeders are really kinda small scale operations. PoeticDragon who's kennel is on the larger size is still considered a small kennel. We do a lot of co-oping and working with each other. For example I have two females which one is retired. I don't see myself having more than that.
  • @*JackBurton* I just meant that I didn't send Minami an email because they had recently bred their only dog (at least that's what I can tell from their website) - so I imagine they won't have anything planned for the foreseeable future.

    Maybe one of you could nudge Hyozan over to their email haha XD

    Could you tell me a little more about Kobun? Are they not JACA members? St. Louis is certainly the closest of the bunch by a fair bit. Is this their website?
    Post edited by OtakuBenny at 2015-09-25 02:30:24
  • T_DogT_Dog
    Posts: 331
    Mine was sent from Romania to the O'hare airport. In Chicago. We had to wait till he was 4 months old.
  • JunJun
    Posts: 31
    @*JackBurton* You have really good memory lol

    @OtakuBenny If you are going to fly the puppy through cargo, make sure the crate size is small enough to go through the airplane's cargo gate. Air Canada must had a small airplane for the LAX / Calgary route because I remember the guy at LAX airport told us that Kizuna's crate barely made through the gate. I always assumed they had huge gates for cargo, never thought it could be a problem.
  • BearMomBearMom
    Posts: 162
    @OtakuBenny, yes that is Kobun's website. They used to be long time JACA members...for whatever reasons no longer now. In terms of distance, they would be the closest to you besides the TX breeders.

    Regardless which kennel you get your JA pup from, if you can afford it (time and money), I would highly recommend flying in to pick up your pup. That way you get to meet your breeder in person and see your pup's siblings. That's what we did, felt much better having the pup fly in cabin with us.

    I would stick with US breeders if I were you. Nothing absolutely wrong with importing from Japan or Europe, but if anything goes wrong good luck getting help or support from an overseas breeder. In the end, too risky.
  • @Jun

    It's funny what I can remember and what I cannot. Cost of shipping Kizuna to you -got it. Remembering other things not so much.
  • Thanks for the additional information guys, although now I am really curious as to why Kobun left JACA.

    Hyozan never did reply to me, and it seems their website has been down since my OP, so I guess they may be going through some technical issues.
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    I don't know how much is shareable, but I've known Ben in Japanese Akitas for what must be a decade. He's still on my referral list.
  • Sorry @ayk, I'm new lol. Is Ben the owner of Kobun?
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Yes. Give him a call and screen/check him out on your own if you wish (and should for all breeders), but I wouldn't cross him off just yet.
  • Thanks. For sure I will be emailing him with my questions.
  • timkimtimkim
    Posts: 377
    I had couple came from Canada to pick up puppy from me. Since I do not ship puppy and wanted to meet them in person. I enjoyed week vacation here and I held pup/did paperworks like health certificate and gave them ride to airport with pup. it was fun experience. I can ask her what was her cost or may be set up call with you.
  • If you could go and pick up the pup it'd be best. I had our Nanaki shipped to CT from the west coast and I wouldn't do it again. I felt so bad that he had to sit in that crate for so long, and it was nerve wracking for both me and breeder. I sent her pics when he landed to let her know he was safe. I'd rather spend the extra money and go get the pup next time. It's more bonding time for you too.

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