Welcome to the Hokkaido Association of North America webpage (also known as HANA, or The HANA Project).
We are a very small group of fanciers and owners in North America who are dedicated to the preservation of the Hokkaido Ken, also known as the Ainu dog. The Hokkaido is one of the 6 national treasure breeds of Japan, and is a very ancient breed of primitive hunting dog, developed by the Ainu people of Japan. The Hokkaido was historically used for hunting bear, boar and other game. The breed is severely threatened in North America and Europe, with very small numbers, and not all that common even inside Japan.
The breed is very similar to the Shiba Inu, with a few build and temperament differences. They are only slightly larger than Shibas, the males more so, and tend to be more stout. They really do look like a sturdy version of a Shiba. They are more eager to please than Shibas, but do have some of the same dog to dog reactivity that is frankly quite common in all of the Japanese breeds. However, they are quite affectionate and demonstrative towards people, wanting little more than to spend time with their humans. They are moderate to high energy, and do not do well in apartments or confined away from people. They require moderate to heavy socialization to other animals and new situations throughout their lives, not unlike Shibas. The dogs in the states have shown good confidence in new settings with fast rebound, although some struggle with anxiety and fearfulness. The primary breed preservation society in Japan is the Hokkaido Ken Hozonkai and HANA is exists because of the generosity of the HKH and Shigeru Kato.
HANA exists firstly to preserve the Hokkaido breed. To achieve this, we must establish a healthy breeding pool of Hokkaido Ken in the United States from hunting and from show lines. We hope to form cooperative homes with friends near and far, collaborate as a group for the importing of new blood, and coordinate planned breedings each year of specific pairings of dogs to produce as many viable offspring as we can. This preservation effort falls under it's own umbrella, known by members as The HANA Project.
We believe cooperative breedings will best promote the project goals of increasing numbers, while supplying the 1st generation of US born Hokkaido, without financially taxing one person or kennel. HANA Project Dogs will remain intact for breed preservation with HANA members, and will have been purchased or produced with Project funds. Therefore, our emphasis as a group will be increasing the number of dogs for the group for preservation under specific terms, and not on selling pet puppies.
HANA plans to periodically import males and females using funds collected by donations and hosted events. These will be our founding Hana Project dogs, and "owned" by the group, later to be made available down the road for breeding. All breedings will thus be mutually agreed upon and decided upon by HANA Project members. Profits will be divided among members directly involved and will be used to fund health testing, future importing, and fundraisers.
We hope to offer annual and bi-annual events in the Pacific Northwest for owners and fanciers focusing on breed education, in addition to fun matches, lure coursing, scent work, blood tracking, Barn Hunt, puppy show matches, Specialties, and hunting instinct tests. The group is also in the process of researching and applying for non-profit status.
Brindle Hokkaido, unknown photographer
Black and Tan Hokkaido puppies
Photos courtesy of Shigeru Kato
More information on the import/export process for this breed can be located at Japan Dog Export via Shigeru Kato.
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