Me showing Sawa No Benika in the Wakainu2 class at the NIPPO Grand National in 2016 in Chiba

First off I would like to thank Yumi Hagiwara & Shigeru Kato for helping me gather and expand my information about NIPPO and the shows the organization holds.

Nihonken Hozonkai also known as NIPPO is an organization dedicated to the preservation of the native Japanese dogs – the Akita, Shiba, Shikoku, Kishu, Kai, and Hokkaido. NIPPO organizes shows – the largest one being the Grand National. Hundreds of breeder/owners and their dogs flock there for their chance to be recognized for their quality. The dogs competing in the Grand National must have received at least one yuuryou (excellent) rating from a regional NIPPO show. Only the winners from the Seiken (adult) class are eligible to compete for Saikosho (BOB) . In order for the Saikosho winner to be eligible to compete for the Souridaijinsho – Prime Minister award (BIS) there must be enough dogs/placements handed out in order for the dog to compete. Usually the only breeds with enough entries for this honor are the Shiba, Kishu, and Shikoku.

The Grand National is held on either the second or third weekend of November. On one day Shibas are judged and the other day the other breeds are judged. The second day after the breed judging all the Saikosho winners (Shiba, Kishu, Shikoku) from the Seiken  class compete for the Souridaijinsho.

Placing in your class at the Grand National is a huge deal – but you’ll know a dog’s true quality if it can place in the Seiken ring. Sometimes there’s so many dogs competing in the Seiken class (more than 50 entries) that the classes are divided up in A & B groups. Both winners of the group will compete for Saikosho with the other dog(s) of the opposite sex. Only 10 percent of the dogs in a given class will receive placements.

The classes for NIPPO are:
Wakainu 1 (young dog 1)

Wakainu 2 (young dog 2)

Soken (young dog)

Seiken (adult)

These classes are divided by sex and only the adult classes (Seiken) are eligible for Saikosho (BOB). Male classes show first followed by female classes & dogs can start their show career at 6 months.

The way you handle a dog at NIPPO shows is totally different than how we handle dogs in AKC – there’s not baiting, or touching the dog. The dog must stand in front of the handler to show off its kan-i (spirited boldness) with the leash at a 45 degree angle – if the angle is any sharper it causes wrinkles, ruining the dog’s expression. Good expression is extremely important for NIPPO judges – its one of the main things they look for. Coat quality, body structure, and a good character with a simple, general appearance are also key elements to a Japanese dog. Judges judge the dogs from the front, side, and then rear end. What judges look for when judging the dog from the front is the dog’s expression, ear pitch, and for a strong front assembly. When the judge moves to the side of the dog they get a better idea of the structure can see the coat quality and color better. When judging from behind the judge is making sure the dog has the correct urajiro on the tail or down the hock if red. If the dog is black & tan they check to make sure the dog has black on its hocks in addition the correct urajiro on the tail.

Judges don’t have a preference in color – black & tans are placing more frequently now because the quality of black & tans have improved. A judge will put up a black & tan or sesame but they must be correctly marked & colored.

Also a dog being shown with missing teeth, over or under size, or even having black spots on their tongue will not get high marks or receive placements at a NIPPO show.

For more information in regards to NIPPO here are some links (also listed on my Additional Info & Links page.)

Nihonken Hozonkai

NIPPO Style Shows

NIPPO Classic

NIPPO Standard in English by Éadaoin Ishii

NIPPO Judging Resolutions (2018) in English by Éadaoin Ishii

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Shibas in the ring – I took these photos at the Grand National in 2015, 2016 & 2019. The red bitch with the black leash and collar was the 2016 Souridaijinsho.

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Shikoku in the ring – I took these photos when I attended the Grand National in 2015, 2016, & 2019.

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Kishu in the ring – I took these photos when I attended the Grand National in 2015, 2016, AND 2019. Kishu are mostly white but I’ve seen a red (2016) and two sesame (2019) competing at the Grand National.

The lone Akita in 2015 at Hiroshima – I didn’t get a photo of the 2 (I think) that competed in Chiba (2016)

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Kai Ken – there’s not many competing but it was really cool seeing them in person, Chiba (2016)

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I think this is a Hokkaido female? Saw her in Hiroshima 2015 & Chiba 2016