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Nihon Ken Hozonkai Standard for the six native Japanese breeds

This translation was made by Susan Houser and Shigekazu Kuribayashi in 1987 for the Shiba Ken Club. It was updated in 1993 for the Shiba Journal by Mitsuko Williams to include corrections and changes made for the 1992 Nippo revision.

This standard is the complete Nihon Ken Hozonkai Standard for the six native Japanese breeds.

The standard includes four sections:

  1. The Japanese Dog Standard – an outline for all the Japanese dogs.
  2. Resolutions Concerning Judging – containing a diagram of the names of every part of the Japanese dog.
  3. Judging Resolutions Concerning the Japanese Dog Standard – presents variety-specific color, teeth limitations, etc. for the use of judges in the ring.
  4. Judge's Regulations – presents the training procedure and guidelines for the behavior of judges.

Section one, The Japanese Dog Standard (the basic standard) was used by the Japanese Kennel Club (JKC) to write their Shiba standard and JKC provided their standard to FCI for international use. This has led to most of the controversy about the breed that exists in the west today. The complete standard, titled Resolutions Concerning The Japanese Dog Standard and Judges, is written in the traditional Japanese style, from the general to the specific (just as in Japan, the last name appears before the first name and the city before the street). The basic standard lists the coat colors found in all of the native breeds, from the Akita, through the middle sized dogs, down to the Shiba. This is where we find the undesirable colors of white and black sesame listed.

Section three, the Judging Resolutions, which follow the diagram, give specific details as to what colors are correct, how many missing teeth are acceptable, and details of type, for each breed that do not appear in the basic standard. Here we find that the only acceptable colors for the Shiba are red, red sesame and black and tan. We also can see just how critical dentition is to Japanese breeders.

Nippo considers the Nihon Ken (the Japanese Dog) to be one breed with several varieties. When you study the translation of this standard, keep in mind that the Shiba is referred to as the small sized dog, the Akita as the large sized dog, and the medium sized dog refers to the Kishu, Shikoku. Kai, etc. Comments noted as [Trans note:] that appear in brackets have been added by the translators as clarification for readers not familiar with the Nihon Ken breeds or the Japanese style of writing.

The Japanese Dog Standard (Judging Standard) 
(partially revised August, 1977)

Medium Size Dog

  1. Essence And Its Expression 
    The dog has a spirited boldness with a good nature and a feeling of artlessness. It is alert and able to move quickly with nimble, elastic steps.
  2. General Physical Characteristics 
    Males and females are obviously distinct with proportioned bodies. The frame is compact with well-developed muscles. Males have a height to length ratio of 10 to 11, females slightly longer. The height for males is 52 cm, for females 49 cm. A range of 3 cm taller or shorter is allowed.
  3. Ears 
    Ears are the shape of a small triangle, leaning forward slightly and standing up firmly.
  4. Eyes 
    Eyes are somewhat triangular and slant upward toward the outside corner of the eye. The color of the iris is very dark brown.
  5. Muzzle 
    The bridge of the nose is straight, the sides of the mouth firm, the nose hard, and the lips do not have any slackness. Teeth are strong and occlude correctly.
  6. Head 
    The forehead is wide, the cheeks well-developed, the neck sturdy.
  7. Forelegs 
    The shoulder blade has moderate angulation and is well-developed. Forearms are straight with paws well-knuckled up.
  8. Hind legs 
    Hind legs are strong with a wide natural stance. The hock joint is strong and the paws well-knuckled up.
  9. Chest 
    The chest is deep, with ribs moderately sprung. The forechest is well-developed.
  10. Back and loin 
    The topline is straight, the loin strong. [Trans note: well-tucked up]
  11. Tail 
    The tail is thick and powerful. It can be either sickle or curled. In length (when straightened out) it reaches almost to the hock joint.
  12. Coat 
    Outer coat is stiff and straight, undercoat is soft and thick. Tail hair is slightly longer and stands open. Coat color is sesame, red, black, brindle, or white. The quality and color of the hair should express the characteristics typical of the Japanese dogs.

Demerit Marks

  1. Developmental defects and nutritional deficiency.
  2. Disharmony between the color of the body and the nose.
  3. Spots in the coat color.

Disqualifications

  1. Lacking the quality of a Japanese dog.
  2. Overshot or undershot.
  3. Short tail caused by genetic defect.

Notice: Any deviations should be expunged as much as possible.

Large Size Dog (The following items differ from the standard of the medium size dog.)

  1. Essence And Its Expression 
    The dog has a spirited boldness with a good nature and a feeling of artlessness, and conducts itself in a dignified way as well.
  2. General Physical Characteristics 
    Males and females are obviously distinct with proportioned bodies. The frame is compact with well-developed muscles. Males have a height to length ration of 10 to 11, females slightly longer. The height for males is 67 cm, for females 61 cm. A range of 3 cm taller or shorter is allowed.
  3. Tail 
    The tail must be curled, thick and strong. In length (when straightened out) it reaches almost to the hock joint.

Disqualification

  1. Uncurled tail [Trans note: sickle tail is not allowed in the Akita]

Small Size Dog (The following items differ from the standard of the medium size dog.)

  1. General Physical Characteristics 
    Males and females are obviously distinct with proportioned bodies. The frame is compact with well-developed muscles. Males have a height to length ratio of 10 to 11, females slightly longer. The height for males is 39.5 cm, for females 36.5 cm. A range of 1.5 cm taller or shorter is allowed.

Demerit Mark

  1. Short tail caused by genetic defect.

Supplementary Provisions

  1. Tail Types
    sickle tail
    curly tail (full curl, right curl, left curl, double curl)
  2. Fur Color Types [Trans note: these colors cover all Nihon Ken breeds, see the Judging Resolutions for acceptable Shiba colors]
    sesame (sesame, white sesame, red sesame, black sesame) [Trans note: The sesame or goma color has black-tipped guard hairs sprinkled throughout the coat. White sesame is a white dog with a light black overlay, red sesame is a red dog with a light black overlay, and black sesame is a dog with a heavy black overlay on a red or red-gray undercoat.]
    red (red, pale red, crimson red)
    black
    brindle (brindle, red brindle, black brindle)
    white
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