Critique My Dog
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    I'm hoping to turn this into a learning thread on Nihon-ken conformation. Judging faults and strengths is something I'm curious about.

    Feel free to add your dog to this thread, but please only post pictures of your dogs or pictures of dogs that you have been given permission to post.

    This is meant to be educational and the whole point is critique so be warned faults will be pointed out. Mentions of faults should not be considered attack on your dog. While this is of course going to be subjective, try to remain as objective as possible.

    Posting a side and a frontal shot is preferred (guessing here, someone with more experience please correct me if there are better photo angles).

    First up, here's Ajax.

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  • MihoMiho
    Posts: 6
    Thank you for posting this. I am very interested in learning about Nihon-ken conformation as well. I wish that I could give you some feedback, but I am in no way qualified. He is a handsome dog, though.
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1830
    I really like the way he stands himself. I'm no expert, but he looks really "professional" - and he seems very moderate/balanced as far as Shikoku go. Not too shallow in the rear, not too exaggerated, either.

    His eye LOOKS like the illustrated standard, as far as my eye can tell. And his color seems really rich, without being oversaturated. I think he looks like a nice, quality Shikoku.

    But I'm not a Shikoku eye... so as far as really in-depth breed stuff, I dunno...

    Not a great example of the breed, and I know what I think his merits and flaws are, but I have been dying for someone to pick Cuchulainn apart... how's my Kishu Ken?

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    Here's his FB album for more images: https://www.facebook.com/pg/akiyamakishu/photos/?tab=album&album_id=869764089796899
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • LexterGraceLexterGrace
    Posts: 62
    @Ajax I know very little on Shikoku Ken structure, but from a general standpoint I think he’s got a lovely head that’s very true to type. His neck looks strong, is well arched, and a nice length. His front looks a little bit far forward, but from what I’ve seen , that does seem typical for the breed. I like his topline, and I think he’s very proportional in his height to length, and his body length to loin length. Looks like he’s got a nice chest, elbows meet the brisket, well sprung ribs, and a nice tuck. I think he could use a touch more rear angulation to balance him out, but overall he’s a lovely, typey looking dog imo. I love his rich coloring.

    @Crispy Likewise, I’m really no expert on Kishu Ken. From a general structure standpoint, however, he looks like he’s got a nice neck that fits well onto his shoulders. I think it could be stronger looking, but I know he’s a lanky adolescent dog right now lol. Shoulders like they are set a little high, but he’s got a pretty nice upper arm compared to a lot of NK I’ve seen. Not sure how his front compares to the Kishu standard though. His back looks a bit roachy and from the second picture you posted it almost looks like he’s got a herring gut. I don’t know if that’s just a funny pic though. Is his tailset a little low? I’m not sure exactly how the Kishu tail is supposed to look. I think he’s not a really nice turn of stifle, length of second thigh, and a rear pastern that’s proportional to his height. Toes look well arched and strong. I do think he could use more overall substance for a male, but it could be his age.

    (Please do tell me if I completely failed either of these evals haha)

    Here’s my Hokkaido bitch, Yuki, if anyone's interested in evaluating her. She’s between 12-16 months in these pictures:

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    Here's her page on my website for more pictures (scroll to the bottom and there's a gallery): http://apricityhokkaido.weebly.com/yuki.html
    Apricity Kennel Hokkaido Ken
    ~ Located in Northern Virginia, USA ~
    www.apricityhokkaido.weebly.com
    www.facebook.com/apricityhokkaido
    apricityhokkaido@gmail.com
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1830
    Hmmm, maybe it would be useful to post the illustrated NIPPO standard when I am not mobile.

    Personally, I think Cú is a little overangulated for the standard, but balanced. He also has about 0 Kishu head type, lol. His shining traits are probably his coat, his feet, and his overall structure/balance, imo. His ears are decent, I think. An improvement on some of our other dogs with similar ancestry in the US, anyway. He is only about 16-17 months in his photos and about normal mass for a young dog, I think. He does have a slight roach at the moment, made worse by some of his posture. It isn't visible when he extends properly or stands straight. I'm not sure if his tail is set low, but it is an appripriate shape, and I rather like this sickle vs the curl, which can get too tight too easily. Judging at shows found that judges really liked his character and movement. They didn't have much to say about anything else.


    @LexterGrace - I am assuming it is her age, but she does look very lean and long legged compared to other Hokkaido I have seen, and something about her looks thinner in general. I cannot tell if she is overextended in her back and that is why she looks like she is sloping toward her rear, or if that is normal for her. I think it would be useful to know the standard you are using. I am not familiar with DOKENHO, but she definitely has different type than the dogs I have seen (imports or the offspring of imports.) I am sure her head will fill out in the next year with maturity. I like her tail-- it reminds me a bit of Meitou's, though his is looser. I know in NIPPO, a looser curl or sickle is desired, and the tail should not lay flat on the back. Is it the same for Hokkaido? I am looking forward to seeing her mature (like with Cú...) What did judges say about her?

    I guess the tail was one thing I didn't catch on Ajax @Ajax - it Is sort of flat on his back. Did it get any comments when you were showing him? Did he, I general?
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • LexterGraceLexterGrace
    Posts: 62
    @crispy I completely agree with your evaluation of Yuki. I too am [im]patiently waiting for her to mature a bit more. Ever since I got her at 6 months, she's been extremely picky with food. Trying to get her to eat anything is a pain, so she is a bit leaner than I'd like her to be. That was the judge's only comment at the NIPPO Classic this year (she's too skinny and needs more muscle). I think she's a little bit overangulated in the rear, but her straighter front exaggerates it. This also creates the sloped topline you see. She's got a pretty nice shoulder layback, but her upper arm length is quite short. I also think her chest is too shallow, as her brisket is above her elbow. Her head has a really nice side profile and it's very much to type, but when viewed by the front I think it's a bit too narrow and her eyes throw her expression off a bit (they look more shiba-like to me). UKC & AKC judges really seem to like her expression though, along with her movement. I do like her tail a lot. The Hokkaido tail supposed to be high set, thick, and carried over the back in a vigorous curl or sickle shape. Some standards say the tip should "nearly reach the hocks" when the tail is let down; others say it should reach the knee.

    I mostly reference the DOKENHO standard since that seems to be the most detailed one for the breed. However, I'll frequently pull stuff from the NIPPO, FCI, & UKC standards as well. She's European bred and only registered with AKC & UKC. Personally, I'm not a fan of the UKC standard though :P
    Apricity Kennel Hokkaido Ken
    ~ Located in Northern Virginia, USA ~
    www.apricityhokkaido.weebly.com
    www.facebook.com/apricityhokkaido
    apricityhokkaido@gmail.com
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1830
    The UKC standards seem really generic for the medium Japanese dogs.

    I think the chest thing is normal? All of my dogs have elbows below their chest...
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
    Post edited by Crispy at 2017-06-27 20:25:19
  • SixSix
    Posts: 88
    I can't really help with the critique part since I don't have enough of a grasp on the standards to really compare... but I'd love for someone to have a go at Kirin and this is great for learning what to look for too.

    Hokkaido, female, between 9 & 10 months in photos, and apologies she's soaking wet in two of them but they're the most recent I have. She's running fat at the moment (for me anyway, she's very food orientated and it's been a learning curve to get her amounts correct) and isn't mature yet, but it's still interesting to know opinions!

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    (this one is older - taken early may between 8 and 9 months old, but it shows her expression better than those photos above).

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    Owned by 3 Northern Inuits, 1 GSDx and 1 Hokkaido.
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    @Ajax

    I used this NIPPO diagram and overlaid it on top of Ajax since he's standing so nicely.

    http://nihonken.blogspot.com/2011/12/nk-forehindquarters.html

    ajax1


    I think his angles are close, but from this one photo, he doesn't give a lively impression as he's not standing on top of his forequarters and his rear legs are set up a little too under him. He's not 'claiming his space' in Western parlance. He is a youngish dog?

    His tail is curled too tight. They said the curl should be such that an egg can pass through the center of the curl.

  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    @Six

    The wet coat is actually a benefit in seeing underneath the coat. Unfortunately, she's carrying quite a bit of weight and it's hard to get past that first impression.

    ie. If a person thinks of the breed's historical role as a hunter, could they visualize Kirin as capable of doing the task?
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    @Crispy I really like his intense red and how his mask has mostly faded. I don't know enough on Kishu head shape to comment on that. Overall I think he looks nicely balanced. I would like to see a little more muscle on him, but he'll gain that with age and conditioning. I had to look up what herring gut and wasp waist were. Herring gut is when the chest ends too early. Wasp waist is a waist that tucks up too drastically. I'm not sure how to apply them to the Nihon-ken standard. I believe the standard just specifies that the waist is well-tucked and the chest is at least 45% percent of the dog's height. In comparison to Cuchulainn, I question if Ajax is well tucked. I didn't get any comments on his tail, Ajax's most glaring flaw at the show was that he is a giant cry baby. I think we only got away with it because he was in the Waka class and older dogs would be held to a higher standard.

    @LexterGrace I think Ajax's rear angulation is close to the standard, but personally I like a little more angulation. On that note, while I think it is more than the standard, I really like Yuki's rear angulation. Her color is also very nice. Her white is pure and she even has a black nose. Overall she looks well balanced, though more lithe than most Hokkaido's that I've seen.

    @Six Unfortunately you are correct, she is overweight and that makes here body hard to judge. I do think she has a really nice expression in the last photo.

    @ayk In those photos he was almost 14 months old. He was tired in that photo. That was taken at the comparative judging in the afternoon after we had been walking around the show grounds since the morning. I didn't bring a crate and it was part of my plan to compensate for my inexperienced handling by tiring him out in order to get him to stand still. It pretty much worked. He might not have been standing completely perfect, but he was standing better than I could have hoped. He actually has a fairly lose tail curl, you can see that better in the second photo, his flaw is that he holds it too far forward making it lay too flat to his back.
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1830
    @Six - I'd love to see some eval shots when she's lost some weight. I think Ann is right, it wouldn't be fair to judge her right now, since our inclination as humans is to make snap-judgments. I do like the density of her coat, though, and her ears are nicely furred, like Yuki's. I love seeing her photos on FB! Her expression does seem a little "soft", but I may just be used to seeing Kishu (and maybe, Shikoku) faces.

    @Ajax - Thanks for the terminology! Cuchulainn has a really dramatic tuck, but I think that may partly be his age. Kishu also seem to have a higher tuck or deeper chest than Shikoku? Not sure. TK's tuck isn't nearly as dramatic, tho they are about the same height and Cuchulainn is getting to be about the same weight. I'm also really fond of his color. I never, in a million years, thought I'd ever have a red Kishu... and it might be novelty and favoritism, but I'd love to keep his color in my lines, if not improve upon it...

    I also overlaid the NIPPO illustration Ann linked to on Shigeru's blog to one of Cuchulainn's most recent photos... Now I just need to do one for Toutarou... and the girls, but I'll wait on the girls for when Fionna's coat comes back and Nami's done with her litter.

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    Seems as though he may be a little overangulated in the rear, if we consider that his rear legs are tucked under him a little. Not horribly.

    I think his head is really his biggest issue, so I hope breeding him to a more typy female will help return his pups to something closer to standard, there. It seems to have worked with the Fionna x Toutarou litter...
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
    Post edited by Crispy at 2017-07-02 17:06:28
  • SixSix
    Posts: 88
    Thank you all for being honest :)) it's definitely the kick up the butt I need to get her in shape, she's on a strict diet at the moment and I will post some more pics when she's looking less like a tubby lump lol!

    Can someone explain to the total novice over here where the angulation lines would fall on the 'perfect' example? Should the lines fall in the middle? Or to the front, or the back...
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    Owned by 3 Northern Inuits, 1 GSDx and 1 Hokkaido.
    Post edited by Six at 2017-07-03 11:26:53
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    I'm going to guess the middle, so for example Cu's front end looks good, but his back end looks over angulated.
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1830
    I think the ideal should fall in the middle, as well, @Six

    I also think @Ajax is being kind, lol. His back end, especially at 5 and 6 ( @aky pointed out) will be over-angulated, if he was standing correctly. I think the front angulation is off, too. He's overangulated or too long in the upper arm, there. The point between 1 and 2 is lower in the ideal than it is on him.

    I did the same thing for Bubba (aka Akiyama no Roushya Daikokuten go), who is under-angulated by comparison, IMO. But Bubba looks sort of unbalanced right now because his front is very straight (a common issue, I think) while his back is nearly ideal.

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    and another shot of him...

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    One thing to note is while I could simply overlay the image entirely, with its proportions intact, on Cuchulainn, I had to crop it and take just the front and rear and line them up with Bubba...
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
    Post edited by Crispy at 2017-07-03 15:35:20

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