The best thing to do, if you really want a Shikoku Ken, is to visit the breeders kennel. There are many reasons to do so.
Lots of people buy a dog for its appearance, but forget all about the typical characters. A good example is the husky breed. Often people buy a husky, because they love the looks and blue eyes. But they don’t realize how hard it is to keep this breed. A husky needs a lot of attention, exercise and preferably not left alone in the house, because he/she will destroy your furniture or even your drywall. I experienced both breeds (Husky and Shikoku ken) and I can honestly say that the Shikoku breed has been a whole lot easier to me.
A kennel visit has many advantages for both parties. It’s the best way to get a real first impression of the breed. I think, buying a Shikoku because you have seen it on photos is just not good enough (although a good start). You really have to experience the breed. Also you will get to meet the breeder, and the breeder gets to meet you. Contact through email can sometimes give false impressions.
Another good thing is, you get to see the conditions in which the dogs spend their lives. The way they are kept, the way they respond and interact to you, etc.
When I get a kennel visit, I always try to show my dogs in different situations. For example:
• I show them indoors; they are quite enthusiastic with the new visitors but will be calm a little while later;
• We go on a hike to show how active they can be outside, and what is a good length of an average hike with them;
• I let the dogs play in the yard to show how rough this breed can play.
Anyone can tell you about their experience with the breed, but most important will be your own experience. I just try to show as many of the characteristics of my shikoku as possible. Because I believe a future owner has to see if it matches their expectations, wishes and life style. This way we can prevent our beloved Shikokus to end up in a shelter or move from owner to owner, like many huskies.
Recently we got a kennel visit from Belgium. Here is an impression of our hike that day…