Thursday, February 26, 2009

Step 1: Find Ninja Dogs

The first step to getting the Japanese Ninja Dog recognized as a breed with AKC will be to gain a listing as a rare breed in the Foundations Stock Service Program. The name of the program is derived from the fact that owners have a rare breed they are working to establish and the dogs that are registered therein form the foundations stock from which an AKC fully recognized breed may result. We have to get 150 individual Japanese Ninja Dogs registered before the breed can participate in AKC events.

While this wouldn't be a problem in Japan — the Japanese Ninja Dog is still a popular breed there — it will present quite a struggle in the United States. This is due primarily to the prevalence of spay/neuter programs in this country, which limit breed reproduction.

Even with 150 registered dogs, it will not be an easy move into full recognition by the AKC. Among the dogs still on the Foundations Stock Service Program list, if you can believe it, are Jack Russell Terriers and Bluetick Coonhounds. Blueticks are the state dog of Tennessee and the mascot of the University of Tennessee and yet that, apparently, isn't enough for AKC!

But still, first things first. We have to find 150 Japanese Ninja Dogs. Internets here we come!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ninja Dogs in gaming

As with anime, Ninja Dogs figure prominently in the video gaming word as well. Often these two cultures share the same members, so it makes sense that the presence of the Ninja Dog would be felt in both.

Ninja Dog, in a way, can be found in the XBox game, "Ninja Gaiden Black". More specifically, it is "Ninja Dog Mode", which is a higher level of difficulty in the game, though not the highest. There is, however, no actual Ninja Dog.

The truth is, that these Ninja Dogs, while amusing, have very little in common with actual Ninja Dogs. Japanese Ninja Dog is a breed of dog. We have very specific breed standards and traits. These do not include running around in white or black sheets with our faces covered, swinging swords. They do include cuddling in bed with our human companions and defending them from vacuum cleaners when necessary.

We Pause for a Warning

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ninja Dog Festival

The Japanese region of Iga prides itself on being the birthplace of the ninja and to celebrate holds a Ninja Festival on the first Sunday in April. Iga is also believed to be the birthplace of the ninja dog and an accompanying Ninja Dog Festival is also held.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ninja Dogs in fiction

Due to its prevalence in Japanese culture, the Ninja Dog has found it's way into popular fiction, most notably as the character of Akamaru in the popular anime series "Naruto."

Though Akamaru, as a cartoon, does not meet the breed standards of an actual Japanese Ninja Dog (to begin with, he's all white), the character's origin is certainly steep in the lore of its real life counterpart.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Everyone likes an underdog story — so much the better if it actually involves a dog. Well, I'm a dog. I'll just say that first and get it out there so there isn't a big scandal later. I like to chase sticks and carry a once-stuffed, black squirrel (carcass) around in my mouth and when no one's looking I sneak into the kitty litter box looking for an after-dinner mint. It's all true. I'm sorry if my commas are in the wrong place and my noun-verb agreement is off. But I was educated on the streets.

I live in New York now, but I was born on the tough streets of Memphis. If you don't think Memphis is tough, then you haven't been there. In 2006 — the year I left — there were 149 homicides in the city alone. Almost 12,000 burglary reports, 33,600 larceny reports, close to 6,000 assaults and 409 reported rapes. And there are thousands of stray animals. They don't keep numbers for us.

Unlike New York, where in three years I've never seen a stray dog, back home you couldn't go a day without seeing at least one, maybe 12 strays. You'd see us digging through the trash, dodging cars — sometimes successfully, more often not — and you'd see us begging for a home. I got lucky. My mom and I sheltered behind a dumpster at an apartment complex one night and the next day there were humans trying to coax us out and giving us food and water. I'd never before met people who cared. To tell the truth, I don't actually remember ever meeting people before. I think I may have been born in the wild. I was however, terrified of human feet, so maybe not. Maybe thankfully, I just can't remember what happened to me as a pup.

I won't bore you with the details, but after a few days my mom was ready to move in with the humans. I was more hesitant and actually had to be cornered and picked up and carried in. That was the best thing to ever happen to me. Now I live with a loving human girl. I have my own bed and a full belly. I have toys and friends, a Sensei Cat, and most of all, I have love.

The funny thing is, no one in the South asks what "kind" of dog you are. They accept you as you are. They don't care if you're pure bred or a half-breed or a whole gumbo of breeds mixed together. What they care about is personality and if you are the kind of dog that bites or the kind of dog that demands belly rubs at all kinds of crazy hours.

But in New York every human I meet wants to know, "What breed is he?" Everyone here is breed obsessed. My human used to just say, "Oh he's a mutt." People didn't shun me for it, but I could see they were disappointed. Well, I've had enough.

Humans, I am NOT a mutt. Nor am I a beagle or a corgi or a shiba. I am Japanese Ninja Dog and I refuse to keep quiet any more. Just because Americans are ignorant of the breed, doesn't mean we should be kept on the sidelines of all the great dog shows. I watched those dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club show last week. And let me tell you something, I could kick all their butts! (I'd sniff them first, of course — I'm from the South and I wasn't raised to be rude. But in the end that silver bowl would be MINE!)

But I'm not allowed to compete because my breed isn't AKC recognized. Well I'm not taking it any more. I refused to be marginalized by a human society who refuses to accept what is different. I have a dream too. And my dream is to walk around that fake green floor at Madison Square Garden, tail held high and hear that announcer say, "The Japanese Ninja Dog is the oldest of the Japanese native breeds and was originally developed for hunting in the dense undergrowth surrounding Japan's ravines. Alert and agile with keen senses, he is also an excellent watchdog and companion. This is Japanese Ninja Dog, Number 9."

My dream is that we be given the chance to compete. That little Ninja Dogs everywhere knew they could grow up and one day be able to ring the opening bell on the stock market, light up the Empire State Building and hear the words Best In Show after their name.

And I'm using all of you to get that dream.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ninja Dog in the Snow

Thanks to their thick coats, Ninja Dogs have adapted well to winters in the New England and Midwestern parts of the United States. Like the Akita Inu, however, they do not fare as well during summers in the Deep South (we're talking to you Tennessee), despite the fact people keep insist on taking them there.

A Brief HIstory of the Ninja Dog

Descended from the primitive dogs of the ancient people of Japan, the Ninja Dog was bred to hunt small wild game. When discovered by the Western world, the breed was mistakenly believed to be a mongrel mix of several other native breeds, but it is, in fact, one of the oldest breeds in Asia.

Like its close cousin the Shiba Inu, the Ninja Dog almost became extinct during World War II due to bombing raids and distemper. In the years following the war, the breed resurfaced in the countryside a heartier, stockier type. While revered in his native Japan for his quick wits, stealthy hunting prowess and fierce loyalty, the Ninja Dog was virtually unknown in United States until the 1970s.

The first documented Ninja Dog in the United States was 1968, but the breed did not arrive in any noticeable fashion until 1975. Though the breed is more commonplace in the U.S. than most realize, Ninja Dogs have almost no name recognition and are often mistaken for terriers. The name itself has been co-opted by various dog-owning weaboos and otaku-culture fanatics who are known to make silly videos of their "ninja" dogs and post them online. This has done little to further the recognition of the Japanese Ninja Dog as a registered class of dog. To this day the breed remains shut out of the AKC Stud Book and has no official classification.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fast Facts about the Japanese Ninja Dog

  • Not currently AKC recognized. [Their loss.]
  • Small game hunter, particularly squirrels and groundhogs. Occasionally ponders birds. Then watches them fly off after making absolutely no effort to catch them.
  • Ranging in size from 14 ½ to 17 ½ inches tall at the shoulder and 23 to 35 pounds — sometimes 45 when left to their own devices and an open bag of 60 lbs dog food.
  • Possesses a double coat that is white and red sesame or burnt orange, which is known in some circles as just brown, or just orange, or "Go Longhorns." But the ninja dog does not cheer for cattle.
  • As its name implies, the ninja dog is a Japanese native breed. Close cousin to the Shiba Inu, it derives its name from Iga in the Mie Prefecture where it originated. The region is known as the birthplace of the ninja.
  • Contrary to popular believe Japanese Ninja Dogs do not snore. They make that noise on purpose as a warning. [See tag line to this blog for further information.]