At this time, many of us need to stay home, some of us work from home office, the others took vacation. Travel restrictions and social distancing also tie us up more to spending time with our families - many people thus started to think about getting a puppy now, when they have more time to make all arrangements for its arrival, getting it used to the new home and family. We encountered increased demand after puppies, in case of Shiba advertisements on the biggest biggest online commercial portal, the number of viewings counts in thousands. As for the Akita, it is slightly lower but still reaching over 1000 views per puppy offer. It is not little and there is also one more risk factor - low availability of puppies from the registered kennels. Puppies are not always available when it suits us - they are born after thorough planning and their coming to this world is not always easy. In Slovakia, there is basically no tradition of waitlisting for puppies. Although in other countries it is normal for the buyers to sign up to a breeder's waiting list and wait until the puppy is born, it is slowly getting better also here in our country. Therefore we encourage all the people who are interested in a puppy, please consider your options and do not hurry the purchase. A dog needs care and time not only in its first months of life. The Japanese breeds are a little more demanding in terms of training and require more time spent together with their family. It is required to consider the situation in a long run and maybe check and talk beforehand with he breeders who have been passionately breeding dogs for years. A dog is a decision for more than corona-time, it will accompany our lives for 10 or 15 years - so, join us in choosing the right puppy for you!
This section is dedicated to 3 tightly connected topics that might interesting for all potential new owners of a (not only) Japanese dog. It is about how to proceed to get the right puppy for us, you will read about how much it can cost and also what are the aspects and consequences of our decisions in the process of puppy purchase.
A dog - man's best friend… family guardian...kids’ companion… work assistant… property protector…
Photo/owner: D. Nagyová, female E - Minako Go Shiro Shita
These are just a few phrases that we have usually linked with dogs and we have in the back of our head when we are thinking if we shall get a furry little happiness. Every future owner has different motives and reasons why they want a dog. Those are often primarily driven by the function a dog will have at their homes.
This text is a first part dedicated to what factors usually determine (or should determine) our process of dog selection and purchase itself (here we provide basic answers to questions “WHAT?” (= what dog do I want) and “HOW?” (= how to get my dream dog). In this section you will also find some answers to another interesting questions: “HOW MUCH SHALL IT COST ME?” (= how much money we shall count will be given away for a dog from our family budget) and broader context of our decision making process described in WHY RESPONSIBLY = RIGHT?
Everyone of us has their own ambitions, motivations and idea of what living together with our 4-legged buddy shall look like. Puppies do not only come to experienced homes with responsible and educated owners, who know what are the right and wrong expectations from a particular dog. It is more common they come to homes without dogs, to first-time dog owners who have their own expectations - these however might not be always based on real life experience. Understandably, most of the time the expectations are not quite real and future owners do not always have the right information they would need in order to confront these expectations with the probable reality.
At the beginning it is important to name our own expectations i.e. why we do want a dog. What do we expect from it? Below we mention the most frequent ones - what a dog will bring to me or should bring to me. All of them have one thing in common, and that is they are rational and long-term. Honest feedback to these questions/ expectations will get us on the right track to pick the best breed for us.
The right choice of a dog is a fundamental factor (although not the only one of course!) thanks to which having a dog will most probably meet our expectations:
Do we want an active companion that will spend time together with kids in our yard?
Do we need alert and powerful guardian that will protect our property or the herd from intruders?
Are we looking for a dog that will do its duties during hunting?
Are we searching for a calm companion that will accompany elderly people on their long daily walks?
Do we want a buddy to spend time doing sports on a regular basis (mushing, canicross, dog dancing, agility, etc.)
Or do we need a service dog to help us in a daily routine which can be really hard without them?
We could go on like this, however, you most probably got the point already :).
Puppies from belgian kennel Takai (breed: Kai), photo/owner: Lindsay Vangrootenbruel
Our realistic expectations i.e. subjective expectations confronted with objective and right information should be the foundation for our future decision making about which dog will be the best fit for us.
Individual dog breeds are result of focused breeding work of professionally skilled people with required knowledge of cynology, genetics, health, breeding itself, knowledge about physiology, anatomy, motility and other disciplines. These people pursued particular goals and needs resp. particular ways how to use the dog.
Akita will most probably not be the best herding dog, while Shiba will not be a solid property guarding dog. Surely, there are exceptions as always, but in general, dog breeds are doing their best in activities and ways they had been originally bred for. You can find more details about purpose and history of original japanese breeds in section dedicated to particular dog breeds.
If we search for a pal and his love is the only thing we expect from him, without caring about particular breed and genetically predefined abilities, talents or origin, the best what we can do is to search in dog shelters. There must be a dog soul that will be easily able to help us fulfil this requirement.
To be fair, we will also add just some examples of typically inappropriate reasons, that might lead a potential owner to buying a dog. Again, they have something in common and that usually is emotional and most of the time also short-term character:
repetitive broadcasting of movies in a TV - e.g. classic tale of Hachiko regularly increases short term interest of people especially in particular breeds (small or big samurais).
Giving a gift to someone that we want to be close with - presents that are not properly thought through every often end up changing the owners (and this is unfortunately a sad fact also when it comes to dogs, not only material stuff)
Just making ourselves feel a bit better for the day..… oh..it was just another crappy day but look! What a beautiful fluffy little pup! …
If we feel that similar emotional reasons backed up by seeing a movie, potential gift for kids or our partner, or just we simply like a japanese little fluffy teddy bear, it is always the best not to hurry and give it a second.. and a third thought.
We are convinced about our reasons and sufficient long-term interest in extending our family with a new member. Great!:) What’s next? How do we get to our life time friend?
Well, except realistic expectations it is necessary to have as much correct and truthful information as possible.
Puppy from kennel Fuen No Oka (Poland), photo/owner/breeder: Zuzanna Chade, breed: Akita
Today the easiest and most natural way how to get a quick information is to use google, enter few key words and try to get it there. Most of us, first time dog owners put in the words like “Akita inu puppy for sale” and there we go, we are right on the page of commercial buy & sell portal with lots of puppy offers. Just to create the idea, there is about 20 active shiba offers in average constantly in a long term, and 20-30 offers for Akita.
Although this is a most common way for most of us, as we do it also for other material stuff, with dogs it is most definitely not a good way and ideally we should completely avoid it. We will explain why in the next part (RESPONSIBLE PURCHASE) where we provide more detailed information about broader context of our buying decisions. When we are looking for a bud that will spend the rest of its dog life with us, we recommend to follow the below offered procedure. Based on our decision whether we want a particular breed or not, we have the following choices.
If we want a loving “couch” dog companion and we do not have a clear preference of a particular breed, we are the best possible candidate for saving a dog that is waiting for adoption of a loving man in one of the shelters :).
It is possible to search on the internet which dog shelters are close to you, and sometimes they even have pictures of their dogs on website so you can quickly browse through them to get an idea if you would be interested. In shelters we can find doggies of different ages, different sizes, coat types. There is a big chance that we find the one that will be thankful for his new forever home. Another big advantage is that these dogs are quickly available and after getting the adoption paperwork done, you can drive home with your new friend. Sometimes, although it is quite rare, also dogs with the pedigree can be found in the shelters.
If on the other hand we have a clear idea about special breed, then we certainly recommend to follow the next set of steps that will lead us to our dream dog:
Get as much information about that particular breed from first hand - contact owners and breeders
The best way to get proper and sufficient information about the breed is always speak to the people that have direct personal experiences with it. Be it either breeders or owners. Of course, there are other ways to do it, here are some that we find working well:
Dog shows - owners and breeders often travel to compete on shows that are regularly occurring in different cities in Slovakia. Mostly they are able to find some time and don't have any issues spending few words even with complete strangers that are honestly interested in the breed and share their views and experiences.
Social media - more comfortable way is to approach breeders and owners through social network. Many of them are members of particular groups and communities dedicated for those breeds. It is OK to contact them via chat or private message with decent request for information regarding anything related to the breed (temperament, physical aspects, feeding requirements, coat care, movement requirements, health situation, etc) From our own experience we indeed recommend this type of communication, owners and breeders mostly happily answer these important questions and during a talk come up themselves with things that even did not occur to us.
In case of interest in original japanese breeds, we Nippon Positive will gladly provide information or direct contacts to owners or breeders. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us via our CONTACTS..
Puppy from kennel Damu Kara (Czech republic), breed: Kishu, photo/owner: Nikola Navrátilová
Get a list of reputable breeders/ breeding kennel in Slovakia
A breeding kennel is a unique protected mark / name under which a breed is officially registered and identifiable under FCI organization. Based on your selected breed and your location, the closest breeder might live just few kilometers away, or hundreds of kilometers far. In some cases there are even no breeders in Slovakia and we will need to travel abroad into near countries. We need to be ready for this, it is not anything unusual :).
We can get the list easily by finding out which kennel club in Slovakia officially covers the breed (in Slovakia the breed can be covered only by 1 club, whereas e.g. in Czech republic even more clubs can cover the same dog breed). We can google “chovateľský klub pre plemeno XY na Slovensku" and will easily get the information, then we contact a breed advisor (poradca chovu) responsible for the particular breed that should be able and willing to provide the most accurate information about active breeders including contacts and potentially also information about planned litters (note: if a club is covering more breeds, more people can be advisors to separate breeds, however there is always only 1 advisor per breed in a club). List of all slovak kennel clubs is available also on website www.unkk.sk. This is a Union of cynological clubs that covers all kennel clubs for all breeds in Slovakia.
In Slovakia, breeding of original japanese breeds is covered within Slovak club of northern and japanese breeds (Slovenský klub severských a japonských plemien = SKSJP) - www.huskyslovakia.sk. Another alternative option is to try to find out about reputable breeders on social media (groups, friends, etc.) The advantage of such groups is that you can easily and comfortably get in touch with multiple people at the same time and get the information usually quite quickly. And of course, we can use this option not only with Slovak breeders and owners, but also foreign ones.
Disadvantage of searching via internet is, that there is hardly any regulation of communication and information, so it might not always be simple to find out which breeder is responsible/ reputable and who is just playing one. Therefore we always recommend to contact more kennels/ breeders which will get us more information and better overview about their conditions. And of course, it will bring us broader options later.
If we have already a list and contacts for kennels/ breeders, it is necessary to pick “the one” breeder that will bring us our dream puppy.
Selection of the right breeder is the most complex and most important part of the whole process!
Our contact with “our” breeder very likely will not to be cut off after purchasing a puppy from them. Responsible breeders not only raise their puppies, they also provide life long service for their litters. And this is an invaluable thing! Life brings also situations which owners are often not ready for and that is when such practical experiences and advice come seriously handy and bring great value! Responsible breeder will be helpful also in the later stages, when we need any advice or information and we can rely on them.
In one of the previous paragraphs we use the phrase “it will bring us once a dream dog”. Responsible kennels plan their litters , so it can surely happen they do not have puppies available at the moment when we start looking for one. Raising healthy puppies is a big thing for each reputable breeder, that is why they plan in advance. Giving birth to a litter occurs after around 63 days of care of a pregnant female, and even before there is a selection of suitable parents (stud male and female) while many times these are not coming out of the same kennel. Very often a female is travelling to a quality stud dog tens or hundreds of kilometers. When planning and selecting a litter, a reputable breeder studies pedigrees, bloodlines of the ancestors, health situation, temperament, outer appearance and compatibility. They are looking for the best match in order to bring a healthy, psychically stable litters with the right physical appearance as close to ideal as possible. Except particular attention, this all requires time, knowledge and last but not least, money.
At the same time, respectable breeder always follows rules of ethics and breeding order that is defined by the official kennel club and caters for the welfare of their dogs. That means that they do not have the females have litters more often that is defined in the kennel club rules. In our conditions it means the following: “A female can have 3 litters in 2 calendar years (calendar year is 1.1.-31.12.) while after 2 litters in a row a breeder must not allow for another litter for 1 period.” While “females are excluded from the breeding on a day of their 8th birthday.” (extract from kennel order of SKSJP)
Based on the above we must understand that our puppy is not a quick material that is easily available on stock and at our disposal right when we want it.
On the other hand we might take it from the experience of many happy owners that without doubts, that the entire process of searching for “our” breeder, waiting for a litter, picking our puppy, watching its behaviour in the pack with its mother and siblings within its first weeks, until bringing it home, is much more intense and stronger bond is created, too.
During selection of the breeder, we recommend the following steps that will help us to the right choice:
Let’s make an effort and get the references about particular breeders - let’s find out how the owners of litters from the breeder are satisfied with the dogs and their services. If a breeder is active on a social network (and majority is), it is usually not a problem, to find out the names of the owners. It should also be possible to get information from the breed advisor. What is the health condition of litters, temperament, show results?
Let’s ask breeders anything that pops up in our mind. Have in mind that we are talking to a breeder of a particular breed because we already made a conclusion and decision that we want a typical representative of that breed (by appearance and temperament). Responsible breeder will be honest and will not try to sell a puppy to anyone for any price on the sport. Trustful and responsible breeder will also ask a lot of questions about yourself because they care for their puppies and want them to live in good hands.
Let’s ask for the pictures, videos of both parents of the litter, or dogs from that connection themselves to be able to make our own idea. Let’s go see the dog show and observe the behavior of dogs and their owners - that will say a lot.
Let’s be interested about conditions in which parents live. How many litters has the female had? A good breeder provides enough room (although it does not always necessarily need to be a huge house with a big garden), but first of all, they take a good care and a lot of time and attention to puppies upbringing. This is usually not a problem to observe also from social media.
If we already have a closer selection of breeders, let’s make an appointment with them and pay a visit to them in person if possible. Of course it is better to see on our own eyes than hear from the others. Furthermore, personal contact will help us make an impression about the breeder. We want to be sure that our puppy will go from good hands and properly ready for a new life away from its mother and pack.
Let’s ask for any other dogs coming out of the kennel (not necessarily from the same mother and father). How do they do? Do they have any issues?
Let’s try to find out what relationship has a person to their puppies. Honest and loveful relationship can be identified also by breeder paying attention towards us as a future owner of their puppy:
They want to know in what conditions a puppy will live and if it will have a good care for its entire life
Usually we do not need to drag the information out of them just by asking but they also actively and happily talk about important stuff such as feeding, coat care, hygiene, requirements for proper socialization, etc. and answer any questions.
Do they know how their previous litters do today? Do they care? Are they asking for pictures and videos?
Let’s ask how they care for puppies during their upbringing, what and how often they are fed and what and how we should feed it.
Let’s pay attention to if a breeder will be available for us in case of any problem (e.g. health issue). It is standard that responsible breeder will sign a regular buying contract in which they define conditions for contract withdrawal. It is common that reputable breeder states that in case of the owner wants to give up a dog, they must always contact the breeder first.
Puppy from kennel Rumbrum Solem (Slovakia), breed: Shiba, photo/owner: Anna Shustrová
If we successfully came to a point that we picked our breeder, there is one more important choice - we need to select a particular puppy from the litter :o).
In case when we we are still waiting for “our” connection or birth of “our” litter, then great! We still have time for thinking. If the puppies are already born, there is less time. Being in touch and communication with the breeder is crucial in this stage, too. Irrespective of our preference about sex, color or temperament, a breeder can advise and recommend the most suitable puppy. They already know their litters and can tell how individual fur balls be developing. They can usually predict which puppies will be potentially more successful in shows and which will make a great family pet.
Although this reading was perhaps really nourishing, we believe, that the information shall help to get around this topic also to laic person and eventually bring them to the right decisions with the happy ending meaning happy owners and happy dogs :).
Puppies from kennel Fuen No Oka (Poland), breeder/photo Zuzanna Chade, breed Akita
Puppy from kennel Fuen No Oka (Poland), breeder/photo Zuzanna Chade, breed Akita
Puppies from kennel Damu Kara (Czech rep.), owner/breeder: Nikola Navrátilová, breed Kishu