We are members of "Nihon Ken Hozonkai" (NIPPO), an association for the preservation of the Japanese dog.
Every november, NIPPO organizes the so-called NIPPO Grand National, a big show where between 700 and 1200 Shibas are judged.
In 1928 a group of friends under the leadership of Dr. Hiroyoshi Saito got together when they saw the necessity of protecting domestic Japanese dog breeds. Afther thorough research in various parts of Japan to trace and catalogue domestic breeds, Nihon Ken Hozonkai, better known as NIPPO, was established in 1932.
In the 1930's the authorities in Japan were inclined to give recognition to a fund matters, which they considered to be of natural cultural importance. These were given the status of 'Natural monument'. This was also applied to the Akita, Shiba, Shikoku, Kishu, Hokkaido and Kai. The first to obtain this status was the Akita in 1931, followed by the Shiba in 1936. The following year NIPPO was awarded official recognition by the authorities.
Shortly after its establishment NIPPO formulated and set out the Basic Standards for the domestic Japanese dog, a document that was almost poetic and prosaic in its descriptions of the Japanese dog. The medium sized dog was used here as a model. These descriptions however were so brief and concise that it was quickly realized that elaboration was necessary, especially for the judges. A supplement to the Basic Standards was formulated, the so called Judging Resolutions, consisting of in depth information and many detailed instructions. Without these judging the Japanese dog is extremely difficult.
In short, the NIPPO Standard is subdivided into two sections: the Basic Standards and the Judging Resolutions, differentiating six breeds. These are the Akita (large), the Shikoku, Kishu, Hokkaido and Kai (medium sized) and the Shiba (small).
In "The Total Shiba", a book by Gretchen Haskett and Susan Houser, everything to do with NIPPO is gone into great detail. This book is an absolute must for the true Shiba fancier.
Of great interest are the remarks by Mr. Hajime Watanabe on the Basic Standard and his concise explanation of the terms 'Kan-I', 'Ryosei' and 'Soboku'.
To quote: "The dog has a spirited boldness (Kan-I) with a good nature (ryosei) and a feeling of artlessness (Soboku). It is alert and able to move quickly with nimble, elastic steps."
NIPPO organizes exhibitions at various levels. These days the Shiba, the Shikoku and the Kishu fall under the auspices of NIPPO. Yearly there are 42 local shows and 8 regional shows. Once a year there is the so called 'NIPPO Grand National', a two-day event at which hundreds of Shibas are judged. The quality of the dogs here is of such high level compared to what we are used to in Europe, that a dog with for example one missing dental element of a dog which is a fraction outside the standard specified size will not be shown, no matter how beautiful the dog might be. No dogs with dental flaws will ever achieve high awards.
NIPPO has its own genealogical register. It is difficult to understand why these days NIPPO-registered dogs will still not be recognized by FCI-countries. To import a dog with a NIPPO pedigree the dog will first have to be re-registered to the genealogical register of the J.K.C. - Japanese Kennel Club, affiliated to the F.C.I.
Source: "The Total Shiba" by Gretchen Haskett and Susan Houser.
First edition 1997 by Alpine Publications ISBN: 0-0931866-98-7