I’m trying really hard to understand why some of the Nihon Ken are more popular in the US over others, and the paths they took to get there.
There are more Shikoku and Kai in the US than Hokkaido, but the Hokkaido outnumbers them in Japan. I understand the more universal appeal of Shiba Inu in the world (smaller size, beauty, intelligence, etc). I understand why people like Shikoku at first glance. They are the MOST striking dog I have ever seen, hands down, coupled with high intelligence and drive and they make great pets for an active home. Kai are very unique in looks among the NK, they have a managable size, and they are great with other dogs as a rule. Hokkaido aren’t that much different.
As a more common, more available dog in Japan, why is it that Hokkaido are SOOO rare (5-10) in the US? Why didn’t they ever take off here and what does this imply for future breeding attempts? It must simply be lack of information and lack of first hand accounts in English of what it’s really like to live and work with them. There are no mentors in the breed in North America, and that is essential to get started on the right foot.
I think there really needs to be a concentrated effort to gain a greater understanding of the breed before any major efforts geared towards importing and breeding can take place…or a lot of money, space, time and pure gutsy nerve. It would be like driving at night without head lights, mistakes being made left and right where they could have been prevented otherwise with the right mentoring. For me and the small number of “investor” friends in breed efforts for the US, this inevitably means a trip to Japan, hopefully by next year.