Shikoku Ken Preservation: Do your part to help!

It’s nice to see a community of enthusiasts come together to support a breed they love. If you’ve wanted to help the Shikoku Ken breed, but didn’t know how to make a difference, here’s your chance!


For years now members of The Nihon Ken Forum have discussed how they wanted to help preserve the Nihon ken breeds. We’ve had many discussions [link] about how the Shikoku Ken was on a path to potential disaster. Members of the community have voiced their concern and support for the breed…

We’ll here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Help the breed by donating to the above cause.

How will this help the breed?
Simple, breeders of Shikoku Ken in Japan are hesitant to breed their dogs because they find it very hard to place Shikoku Ken puppies in Japan. Instead of moving forward with breeding their Shikoku Ken, they pass on the opportunity for fear of being stuck with a litter of puppies that they cannot find homes for.

Add to that the fact that most of the Shikoku Ken breeders are older, and don’t have the energy or time they once had to dedicate to the breed. The result is a drastic decrease in Shikoku Ken being born and registered (with NIPPO) in Japan.

With such a decrease in the number of Shikoku Ken being produced, the population in Japan is shrinking. And while the few active breeders continue to show their Shikoku Ken in NIPPO events, the breed becomes more refined. With that refinement comes a higher degree of selection, and that leads to an even smaller (closer) population. Where 10 years ago it may have been possible to find two relatively unrelated Shikoku, now it is becoming increasingly difficult to find that.

This shrink in population, the decrease of new Shikoku Ken being produced, and the continued refinement of the breed will inevitably lead to the destruction of the Shikoku Ken.

By donating to the cause above, you help bring new Shikoku Ken blood into North America and you help persuade the Shikoku Ken breeders in Japan to produce more dogs (because they will see that they can place pups overseas). This increase in breeding will enlarge the population and hopefully change the course of the breed to a more positive one.

So, again, here’s your chance to help the breed. It doesn’t take much, far less than trying to import a Shikoku Ken on your own (trust me, I know)! It doesn’t matter if you can’t afford much, every little bit helps.

 Please feel free to cross-post this! 🙂

16 Replies to “Shikoku Ken Preservation: Do your part to help!”

  1. I’ve been thinking that I want to get a male Shikoku in about 10 years. I’d better go donate to help make sure they are around when I’m ready to get one!

  2. Please before you bring dogs to the USA, first you have to registrate this breed in the states and canadians…….
    In Japan is no problem to place the dogs, only buisnes people have the problem to place them. Be carefull good Shikokus are not easy to find, and you can not buy them.

    1. John –

      The breed is recognized by NIPPO and the UKC in the USA. It is also recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in Canada. Perhaps you should do some more research before you make public statements like this.

      Also, in Japan, the Shikoku is not a very popular breed, and breeders do find it hard to place them in homes (and with kennels). I was told this by several breeders when I was in Japan not many months ago.

      As for finding good Shikoku in Japan, I disagree. I myself have imported two VERY nice Shikoku Ken.

      I am also a registered member of NIPPO, the only registered member of the Kai Ken Aigokai living outside of Japan, a contributing member of PADS, and have owned Shikoku in the United States for almost 6 years now.

  3. brad
    I do not no so mutch of shikoku but i’m for 17 years member of the Nippo!!
    And if you breed a litter your dogs don’t be regitrated bij FCI country’s what Japan also is…. so official no registration at the AKC and CKC….

    1. John,

      You can register a NIPPO dog with he JKC, which is an FCI registry. Which you can get an export pedigree from, and that can be used to register the dog with any FCI recognized registry that recognizes the breed.

      In the USA the Shikoku Ken is not part of the AKC-FSS (foundation service), so the Shikoku Ken cannot be registered with the AKC. However the breed is recognized by the UKC (link) and is actively shown in UKC events across the US and Canada.

      In Canada the breed is part of the Canadian FSS, and so can be registered with the CKC as foundation stock.

      For the AKC-FSS to accept the Shikoku Ken we need to have a certain number of Shikoku Ken in the US. Importing these dogs is the first step in building the numbers to allow the breed to be AKC-FSS.

      Also, in your email to the NASC, you wrote:

      I think you can not help this breed, only people in Japan can help this breed they did it 3000 years. Dont mess with this breed, tray too race up your own breeds.

      I’d like to point our a few things…

      – First, the Shikoku Ken breed has not existed for 3000 years. The breed has only existed since 1928. Before that, all of the Nihon Ken were the same landrace. Actually, 3000 years ago in Japan the only native Nihon dogs were those of the Ainu people (the Ainu Ken, now know as the Hokkaido Inu). It was not until the Yayoi and Kofun periods (300 B.C. – A.D. 650) that the Kai Ken, Shikoku Ken, Kishu Ken, Shiba Inu, and Akita Inu started to emerge as a specific “type” of the Nihon Ken landrace. This was due to hybridization of the dogs brought into Japan during the Jomon period from the south and the native dogs of Japan (the Ainu Ken), and the Ezo Wolf.

      – Second, one only needs to look at the registration numbers (with NIPPO) of the Shikoku Ken, which are around 300 per year right now, down from 1000 per year in the 1990s, to see that the breed does in fact need help and that NIPPO is failing to increase the breed’s numbers in Japan.

      – Third, there was a 7th Nihon Ken breed at one time, the Koshi-no-Inu. That breed has since almost gone complete extinct. So, one could argue that the Japanese failed to preserve that breed, and thus could fail to preserve the Shikoku Ken too.

      – Fourth, I agree, it is the people of Japan who should help the Shikoku Ken. However I think you may be missing the point of how we are looking to help the Shikoku Ken. By importing Shikoku Ken from Japan we help the Japanese Shikoku Ken breeders find homes for their dogs. By doing this, we help to convince them to breed more often (as we make it easier for them to find homes for their dogs). We seek to help the breed by convincing the breeders in Japan to breed their Shikoku Ken more often.

      I hope this helps to clear up some of the misconceptions of this effort.


  4. brad

    You help the JAPANESE BREEDERS TO MAKE BREEDERSFACTORY’S this is not good for the breed, They lose theire head they don’t care about breeding for quality because they can sell all the time their dogs to you.
    I breed for more than 25 years Japanse Akita’s and for this period we have this problem, all the shit dog’s are coming out of Japan!!! Do you now how many problems we have in Europe about this…. I’m visiting for many years Japan and to get real good yusefull dogs is not possible THE DON’T SELL.
    And this is for the Shikoku the same, They don’t sell good dog if you are lucky they offer you a Dog….. Frends of my have that luck 15 years ago and breed very wel out of this dog’s. But the Quality of 15 years ago is for the last 5 years not anymore to find! And that breeder in Japan also have not that quality anymore i’ve visit him saw his dog’s. He breed many dog’s he’s not a linebreeder so in no time he has lost many good things in his dog’s!! Do not tray to help Japanese breeders to sell thier pup’s they can not sell.
    In no time you have many healthy problem’s in this wonderfull breed, don’t forget Japanese people are buisnes people money is money and thats life…….
    Do not tray to learn me the lesson because my experians in dog’s is very big, and now i’m in the posission that Japanese breeders will have dog’s from my kennel….
    I will offer them in the hope to get something back what is yusefull…. but I will see!!!

    Sorry Brad i can understand your mind, but the Japanese people are very lovely i like the culture but it stay’s differend at all parts……
    And this makes for me an end about this discusion…… be carefull for the Shikoku and iff you will do something good with the Shikoku contact the world society of shikoku ken! They have very good contact with the Nippo JKC and FCI… work together…


    1. It is interesting to note you blame the Japanese for exporting poor-quality dogs or blame foreign enthusiasts for supporting “puppy-mills”. When the Shikoku are so genetically-bottlenecked with 233 dogs in year 2011, there are no poor-quality dogs to choose from: they are all candidates.

      Perhaps if you were arguing for a genetically diverse breed like Golden Retrievers, preferably one from a pet-line or a field-line, you would have a case since there are many dogs to choose from. However with such a low effective population size, producing large quantity of them will not make a difference in the quality of the dogs. Let suppose they carefully breed and only breed sound dogs, eventually there will be so few dogs, all their offspring will be crap because of inbreeding depression and fixed polygenetic traits and disorders which cannot be bred out without opening the studbooks.

  5. I am currently stationed in Japan and would like to get one of these wonderful dogs before I move back to the US. Any idea how to locate a breeder in Japan? Thanks!! These dogs are beautiful.

  6. Hi,

    we start our own work to help with the Shikoku in Spain. We start breeding, after more than 10 years with Shiba Inu, and we want to replicate the work do with Shiba, to expand the race in our country.
    You can visit our website at,

    Ask us about puppies available!

    Best regards

  7. I love what you are doing.
    We have been searching for a shikoku or a hokkaido with no luck. We have had Akitas for the last 23 years. We love them. It is so hard to find the others we are starting our quest for another Akita.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *