OZ Nippon Positive has a goal to get japanese original dogs from responsible breeders’ hands to responsible and prepared owners. Only if these 2 conditions are met, there is a good chance that a dog and its new family will have a happy life together. We have published a few articles about how to prepare well for our new four-legged japanese buddy and to determine whether this is actually a suitable choice for us.
We would hereby like to point out also to a darker side of the story which is linked to how very easy it is to buy quick and wrong.
In our geography, it happens that also incorrectly raised specimens get to the new owners’ hands. Raising the original japanese dogs tends to be a bit more complex. If not done properly, new owners might face an unpleasant situation. They fight with different problems such as illnesses, behavior issues (anxiety, fearfulness, aggression). Those might not be obvious right after bringing a pup to a new home, issues appear usually a bit later. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any statistics about how many specimens come from responsible breeders and how many come from irresponsible dog producers that ride on a wave of fame and fashion just to make money. When considering numbers of litters in slovak breeding kennels and a continuous average number of advertisements of puppies without pedigree being offered via commercial portal, that just simply clearly states, that number of sold dogs born outside of reputable breeders simply is higher. Unfortunately…
We face an increase in numbers of japanese crossbred dogs with behavioral issues atypical temperament and also health issues. But where does the problem even begin?
A Shiba that received her name after her beautiful eyes will tell a story that reveals how it all works. Today she is living her happy life in Czech republic, in a perfect family, with another Shiba buddy and all the wrong and bad she had gone through is overweight by huge loyalty, love and care of her new family.
At the end of the story, you might say that such end is not even possible for a dog coming out of such bad conditions - but it is indeed truth. Rozárka is a symbol of typical cliche, that we hear and believe so often. It is a result of our approach and decision - if I don’t want a show dog, it is normal to not go and buy a dog from a reputable breeder, rather we don’t care to go to buy a puppy from anybody who sells it for the cheapest price. We tend to believe that a properly raised puppy and its parents having a decent care may work just fine even when a puppy is sold for 20o EUR, even without any useless and annoying questions asked by the seller. And we also believe that higher prices for puppies coming from responsible breeders are “just money on top for a trade mark”, that we happily save since we don’t need to invest (= waste) it into our new couch bud. Rozárka was lucky, she could not get impregnated and thus could not produce money. She comes from a slovak backyard breeder. Her sisters were not so lucky, they thus continue serving their master and have litters their every single period. If a dog cannot produce a puppy, it is economically inefficient for the producer to keep it. It just takes place in a kennel. We had received a hint about this female and found a solution for her - a new future basically. It took a long time, she did not even have a vaccination papers. Did you know that such dog producers save up on vaccinations, too? How could a four year old female have a new vaccination card with a first anti-rabies shot..? But let’s move on.
We were two girls going to get her. When we were taking her, she was not struggling, she was very frightened but she did not do any harm. Dogs from puppy mills often don’t do anything, because that is what they are used to do all the time - do nothing, just wait and be quiet. This slowly gets a dog - even Shiba - to a breaking point. Happy playful cub of fur becomes a shadow, sitting in a corner all day long or strolling from side to side in its kennel of size 2x2m as a tiger in a ZOO cage.
Here is how it looks in a puppy mill in Slovakia - dogs, if lucky, have their kennels and although they are not let out at all and live their whole miserable life in it, their owner is completely safe. Noone can come and close his mill or even give them a fine. Even when an inspection comes, they claim that they let the dogs out regularly - nobody can prove other way. Inspectors see there is “something like food” in their bowls, some water, and if the kennel is of a size defined in a certain Law about veterinary care, they can turn around and go away, everything is according to law and thus OK.
Those sad eyes behind the bars that know nothing just how the world looks from behind, those will tell much more how they really are. And our legislation does not care (yet).
Rozárka had her first sniff of the small tree before we got in a car. I saw how the smell tackled her. How great a simple tree can smell. She immediately did her thing. Amount of the poop would usually be similar to excrements of 5 dogs together. Hard to think of what these dogs were fed with, but it was certainly not a normally digestible food. Though cleanliness so typical for this breed she did not deny. Once put in a transport box she was shaking a lot. Her claws were so long they were deforming her paws. She was very skinny, with subtle body, outstanding ribs and big head. Eyes sad, a bit frightened and resigned, but beautiful at the same time. We expected she would have been screaming the whole trip, that she would have pooped or peed herself again. None of that happened, she just was not able to lay down and relax during the entire trip (80 minutes).
We tried to comfort her with soft warm voice and giving a tasty piece of kibble into the box. We expected she would have devoured it instantly, she must have been so hungry. Rozárka only looked at the kibble the entire trip, more than 1 hour. She maybe didn't even know what that is and she was afraid to take it. Today we know that those dogs were not fed even by the worst dog dry food, just some weird grit or scraps looking like pieces of stones. Dogs not knowing that the small round brown thing is actually kibble and it can be eaten…
When I was taking her out from the box, I was afraid she would bite me. Although she was shaking, she did not make any sort of attack. That time she had no idea she was about to start her better life on that day. She was taken to the shelter for quarantine and further check ups. She had pyometra and we waited until she was spayed. Afterwards she got into experienced hands of a temporary care-taker and when she got better, they started to search for her new adopting family.
Rozárka then and Rozárka today, those are 2 completely different dogs that do not look alike at all. Shibas are fantastic from the point of view, that when they experience such turnaround and “change the family” in such a different way, almost over night they can turn from a scared dog not reminding of a typical breed representative into something completely different. While we would expect months or years of necessary corrections, they change just like that.
Everyone who has a Shiba or another Japanese breed knows that changing already stable stereotypes in these dogs’ behavior is very difficult. Bad socialization is very hard to catch up and working out fearfulness or anxiety is also a heroic accomplishment. Over time, more dogs have however proved that there are exceptions. Rozárka would have spent her first 2 days and 2 nights at her new home sniffing around all the things she had never known before - she never smelled a carpet, a wooden floor, a sofa, a book, shoes, a chair, clothes… Never before had she heard the sound of running water during washing up, a TV, radio, opening the windows, coffee machine… It went very fast for her to get from the level “I don’t know anything and therefore I’m scared of everything” to the level “I feel quite confident in this new world” and go outside, let her new owner walk her on a leash or let her to feed her from her hand. We were so surprised how she turned around and we thought that was really a miracle.
The question is whether we would be able to recognize puppies of mother like Rozárka. Nobody would buy them if they would have known how she had lived and what she had gone through. Why don’t we actually see a clear connection between suffering of such females and their puppies being sold cheaply on the commercial portals. Why we find it OK to pay only few EUR for a puppy while assuming we don’t really need a show champion and thus we don’t need “the papers”. We don’t know why we have it inside of us that we should only pay for the pedigree if we want a show dog or further breed the dogs. In fact, the opposite is the truth and we believe that people will begin changing their minds and will see what was perhaps not so clear before. Puppies coming from responsible breeders end up usually as pet dogs (we assume around 80%) - they were born into this world responsibly and also they were prepared properly for their next life with their new owners. “Papers” and decent breeder is there to ensure a guarantee that the dog received the best, as well as its parents. Believe us or not, it is not possible for just a few EUR. Proper care comes costly. When you see cheap puppies, think of Rozárka. Nobody would want a mother of their puppy to look and live like Rozárka did. Her “sisters in arms” are still out there, not only in that mill, but also in different places across Slovakia. Japanese dogs are becoming very popular these days - we saw what bad conditions, lack of human interaction, lack of walks, being locked in a kennel all the time, zero socialization and insufficient nourishment can do with these dogs. She is neither the first, nor the last saved dog. The saddest part is that it was her health issues that got her away from hell - disability to get pregnant and give birth to puppies. We believe that “the papers” shall one day become a symbol of our own personal responsibility that we feel for the life of dogs, that gave birth to our puppy. Responsibility that we will not be indifferent where and how they live and also we will be smart enough not to fall for clever lies and fairy tales from the backyard breeders. Since they have been practicing for years while earning quite some cash, they got pretty good at it. A pedigree represents respect for the breed and demonstrates our part of responsibility for keeping its precious features that we admire and love - in the end, those are the same features that once made us fall in love with the breed. People who breed the dogs irresponsibly will not be persecuted. We assume that it will take a long time until the law improves sufficiently. The one and only way how not to write another Rozárka story is by not buying another cheap puppy without pedigree. And if we want a particular breed, then we approach a reputable, serious and experienced breeder.
There are tens or maybe even hundreds of moms and dads like Rozárka (with the difference that they can produce puppies) in Slovakia. How should we save them? How can we get them away? Demand for puppies is still high. We take one away, it gets replaced by another - younger, fresh, stronger. That is a dead end situation and we feel quite helpless. In the past, there was not much information about backyard breeders. Today, we have the situation mapped pretty well. Today we know how these dogs live and see some of the cruel testimonies also in other dog breeds. Despite that, the boom of puppies without pedigrees - small and big Hachikos - does not slow down. How easily we get startled about tyranny of innocent animals and call for justice for such culprits. On the other side, our dog might be coming just out of the similar dog and we don’t even know about it. Were we tricked? Did we not think it through properly? Did we only want a sofa buddy? Not wanting to attend dog shows? Didn’t we need the paper for love? Please, help us spread the word, so that a pedigree is not anymore considered as something noble and snobbish. This is what backyard breeders tend to tell the potential buyers. An official and responsible breeder/ kennel that provides puppies with pedigrees provides also a protection for us, buyers, future puppy owners. They let us come and check conditions their dogs live in, they ensure reasonable dog welfare since they respect and follow the kennel club rules.
If somebody does not want to register the official kennel, it usually means they have something to hide and does not want anyone to sneak peek into their kitchen. Registration of the life-time official kennel name costs 40 EUR, so if someone claims they don’t want to waste their time with paperwork, they are not simply telling the truth. This amount of money is smaller than a regular weekly shopping in a grocery store. Don’t these dogs and their well being deserve it? We think we know why they don’t want it. It is simple. They do not want to undergo proper control of the kennel club, they don’t want to respect the rules for dog protection and they don’t want to undergo health tests or genetics checks. A reputable breeder must be able to publicly demonstrate and prove these information and future owners should want to see and know that. For sake of their own protection.
And first of all - it is a protection of those who cannot talk, that are invisible to the public and cannot be heard. Mothers and fathers of the puppies. Thanks to them we have our dog partner, our family member at home. Those are the ones that deserve our endless gratitude and we owe them a good life for the lives they have given. Feeding all those puppies well costs the mother a lot of energy and strength. She needs a protection and respective care. If we do not start caring more about how the sires and dams of our puppies live, suffering of dogs such as Rozárka will never come to an end. After having experienced some stories, I don’t believe in a quick turnaround, my optimism or commitment will just not do.
However, I believe in continual education and that more and more people will join us in responsible decision making. And if they decide for a particular breed, then they will go to a responsible and experienced breeder.
Rozárka wiht her new friend Čiko in her new family.