Kai Ken in the United States

     The first Kai to reach the US were sent here in the 1960’s to a zoo in Utah. They did not produce any pups and when they died that was it.

     It was not until the 1990’s that the Kai were imported to stay, by Minimeadow Kennel, and the dogs were likely from a variety of Japan Kennel Club breeders.When she got out of the breed late in the decade, the dogs of her program were acquired by Classy Kennel, Mijikai Kennel and an Amish breeder called Walnut Valley Kennel which was not in the breed for long. These two programs worked hard to recover the best in these lines and produced many terrific dogs and champions in UKC, while having their own distinct breeding priorities within the standard. More Kai were imported for diversity beginning around 2010. This time from Kai Ken Aigokai kennels in Japan, by Yamabushi Kennel.

Kai Ken in Japan

Written by Shigeru Kato, http://nihonken.blogspot.com/p/kai.html

     It is believed the first domesticated dogs arrived in Japan with the Jomon and Yayoi peoples. Over thousands of years the dogs remained essentially the same due to the country’s geography and isolationist policies. However as Japan opened up to the outside world, the native dogs crossbred with Western dogs leaving fewer and fewer of the original Nihon Ken (Japanese Dog). As the Showa period began efforts were made to classify and preserve the remaining Nihon Ken. Research teams scoured the country searching for and cataloguing the remaining pockets of native dogs. Thanks to the Yamanashi region’s mountainous terrain and limited accessibility there were considerable numbers of quality specimens to be found.
     In 1931 Dasuke Adachi, a prosecutor in Kofu city, saw one of these brindle coated dogs and it made a strong impression on him. After some research he discovered that these dogs could be found in Ashiyasu village. He began efforts with other prominent citizens to locate and preserve this rare type of Nihon Ken. After much difficulty he was able to locate and return to Kofu city with 2 of the best available specimens. Hence began the preservation of the Kai as a breed. In November of the same year the Kai Ken Aigokai was formed with Mr. Adachi as its chairman. At the first Nihon Ken Hozonkai (Japanese Dog Preservation Society or NIPPO) show, the Kai drew much attention from the attendees, which helped lead to the classfication of the Kai as a Living Natural Monument by the government of Japan in 1933.