Do you feel comfortable with dogs?
My family has a female traditional Japanese dog, named Fuku. She is a Shikoku dog. The name ‘Shikoku’ comes from the name of the island we live in. They spread from the island. It is said that Shikoku is one of the most primitive breeds and still has ancient features. They have shiny dark brown almond-shaped eyes and triangle ears, and smooth double coats that are mainly brown or dark grey with some black hair called sesame. Some people say Shikokus look like wolves. And the characters are special: they are obedient but very independent and intelligent at the same time. They don’t show simple attractiveness like western dogs. They have their own wills under their calm. Some people call Shikoku “Samurai dogs”. My dog Fuku is also a Samurai girl in red-sesami fur and more friendly to other people than general Shikokus.
Unfortunately, the number of Shikoku (http://www.nihonken.co/p/shikoku.html) is decreasing for several reasons. One of them is the change of houses in Japan. Especially in the urban area, the small dogs fit for the tiny flats. And hunters in Japan are less than before. Shikoku is originally wild boar and deer hunting dogs that lived with hunters, so they need longer walking every day. Nowadays, only about 200 puppies are born per year. It is a big crisis to keep the breed healthy.
In my opinion, the breed of animals and plants should hand down to the next generation. Conservation of species is very important because one breed or one vegetable is extinct, we cannot rebirth it as same as before. I love this Shikoku breed so I wanted Fuku to have puppies. So I studied and wrote a lot of papers to get a certification for breeding last year. These days, breeding dogs and cats in Japan is under strict laws to prevent ‘puppy mills’.
Yes, we are ready, I’m trying to get my dog pregnant this year. We already had chosen her husband and the couple met before. It might be a small step, but I’d like to do my best. When my dog gave birth to puppies, I’d like to show you all! Shikoku lovers call puppies “potatoes” with love. Please watch this video if you like puppies. (they are a little bigger than potatoes though.)
Actually, there are some Shikoku owners and breeders in the world now. I’m interacting with them on Instagram(https://www.instagram.com/yoshitomia/). It is fun! In the future, I would like to go around the world to see Shikoku dogs in many countries. They would help breeding of Shikoku in Japan in the future.
By the way, Japanese dogs including Shikoku are declared “National Living Natural Monument”. Akita dog is the most popular. A famous Russian figure skater and a gold medalist Alina Zagitova has an Akita dog named Masaru. Or do you know the movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”? Richard Gere acted as the main character. It was the remake of a Japanese movie based on a real story about an Akita dog with its owner.
On the other hand, there are still some abandoned dogs including traditional dogs in Japan. It is very sad for me. I sometimes donate to some private animal rescue groups. If I were a millionaire, I would build a big dog shelter and hire some dog trainers as staff members to train them and find new owners! I’ve heard there is animal police in the UK (https://www.rspca.org.uk/). It is amazing! I hope Japan also needs such a big organization. In my country, there are many small rescue groups but they are based on individuals’ good wills and aren’t organized enough. Anyway, I need to find good owners for my coming Shikoku puppies.
If there is a traditional breed of animals or plants in your place, please pay attention to keep them. It might be a wild animal or an old kind of fruit. They maintain to keep our world diverse. Now Fuku is taking a sunbathing in the yard and dreaming I guess.