Nanako worked hard this year, not only as a fax retriever, but also as a demo dog. She did several important Gentle Leader demos with me and we drove to Kobe together this summer for Gentle Leader Seminars and Classes too.

She has become nine this November, but I'm so happy that she is still healthy, VERY active and always playful. However, her pigment has turned lighter as aging and this is the only reality that tells me that Nanako is no longer a young dog.


Another big news this year is that I have finally made my own Poodle site on internet. The contents of my site are; brief profile of Poodles, about Poodle variety (also written about the problems in sizes like tea-cups or Royal Standard Poodle), about Standard Poodles, 1999 PCA report, information about breeding, genetic problems in Poodles and a short profile of my dogs and me,. We have many Japanese Poodle sites on Internet but most of them are just like Ôlook my sweet babies' type home pages. I admit that those pages are cute and fun, but at the same time, I feel I'm rather fed up with them now. I made mine as informative as possible, for in Japan, it is still hard for us to find good information of Poodles, especially of Standards.

Currently my site is written only in Japanese and I want to make the English version soon, but I'm just too busy to find enough time to do. I'd like to thank for my friends and especially VIP club, who gave me permissions to reprint (rewrite) some materials and information in to Japanese and upload them on my site. Without their input, I couldn't make my site as informative as I wanted to.

Japanese Breed Dog Show

Well, this is a Poodle letter, but I'd like to write a little bit about the Japanese breed dog show.

In October, I went to see one of the shows held by Nippo (Japanese Dog Preservation Society). I wanted to see good Shibas and Akitas, but there were no Akita entries. Dogs I saw on that day were Shibas, Shikoku and Kishu Dogs. I hear most of the Akita fanciers go to Akiho (Akita Dog Preservation Society) instead of Nippo. So, I'm planning to go to JKC Akita Specialty late this month to see the good breed example of our Akitas. (It is too late for this letter, so if I'd have another chance, I'd like to report it somewhere.)
(Note: I went to the Akita Specialty show held by JKC at the end of this year. If you'd like to see our beautiful Akita, please click here.)

Though I couldn't see Japanese Akitas (not American type) I enjoyed Nippo show. One of the things I enjoyed most on that day was finding some differences of the way they show and judge the dogs. Since JKC dog shows are so much Americanized, I have been familiar with the way of showing and judging the dogs in an American style. To my eyes, the way they do in their show at Nippo looked very different and I even felt it was something like a culture shock to me. First, at Nippo show, judges don't tough the dog. I wondered how they could judge dogs without touching them. I asked it to my friend and he said if the judge really knows and understands breed standard and dogs, he had no need to touch them.
Hmm... is that really so? I still doubt it a bit.... Judges just watch the standing dog from different angles and take a note on each of them. The way the handlers show the dogs is different too. Movement doesn't seem to be so much important in Nippo show. I guess most of the dogs there were owner handled and I don't think their dogs were not trained properly for the show gait. Many of the dogs I saw couldn't gait nicely and they just pulled the handler and lunged hard. The appearance, expression and attitude in the ring seem to be more important than moving.

Another thing I noticed was that some dogs might not be well socialized at all. In the ring, sub-judge (assistant? steward? I don't know) sees the bite and checks testicles of male dogs. To my surprise, so many of them didn't let him see the bite and didn't allow him to approach or touch the body at all. Some of them tried to escape, some struggled and some really bared teeth and growled. Then I guessed why the judge didn't touch the dog - judges may never be able to touch them or it might be too dangerous for them to do...
Anyway, all the dogs are judged individually during the morning and in the afternoon, they are gathered in one ring and judged as a group. Then the placement at each class is made.

In the group ring, I saw some of the dogs there (especially males) really had an aggressive problem. I heard some growls and saw several wrinkles on muzzle when they were gathered in one ring. (Hey, that's dangerous, was the first thought came across my mind. I'd put a Gentle Leader on them if they'd come to my training class...)

I understand well that many of the Japanese dogs are tend to be independent. I often hear that they should be aloof, brave, independent, and over friendly attitude is not much acceptable. I also know that Japanese dog fanciers want something very strong spirit in their dogs. I like it too and I know Japanese dogs like Akita, Shiba, Kishu or Shikoku are originally made to be hunting dogs, thus those characteristics are very important. I also understand well that they are NOT Poodles and we never can ask them to act or behave like Poodles or other friendly natured retrievers. However, aloof and independent don't mean unsocialized. Brave and strong spirit or will don't equal to aggression. From my dog instructor's point of view, what I saw at the ring on that day was the temperament problem or aggressive problem.

Please don't get me wrong. I don't mean to criticize the Nippo way of showing or judging. I don't mean that all the Japanese breeds have a temperament or aggressive problem either. I enjoyed the show very much and it was very interesting for me to know the differences.
However, aggressive or unsocialized dogs are what I don't like much to see at shows.

If I'd have another chance, I'd love to goto to Nippo shows again and learn more about my country's original breeds.

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