GARDENA — Two of North America’s biggest Japanese Akita breed clubs will hold their annual conformation shows at Arthur Lee Johnson Memorial Park, 1200 W. 170th St. (between Normandie and Vermont) in Gardena.
The fourth annual UKC Japanese Akita Club of America’s Nihonken Invitational will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10.
The 45th annual Akita Inu Hozonkai North American Branch Show will be held on Sunday, Feb. 11.
Judging for both shows is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and may last until 2 or 3 p.m. depending on the number of dogs entered.
The Japanese Akita Club of America was founded in 1997 by breeders and owners who shared a great affection for the breed and a respect for the wishes of Japan as the country of origin to split the breed from the American Akita. JACA is the only Akita organization from the U.S. that is recognized by the World Union of Akita Clubs.
Members are also involved in assisting breed-specific rescues through JACA Cares as well as supporting research to tackle health issues in the breed with their U.K.-based counterpart, the Japanese Akita Inu Club.
The Nihon Ken Invitational is a unique show that brings together the six native Japanese breeds, considered natural treasures in Japan, in a show under the auspices of the United Kennel Club, which operates as a purebred registry in the US and Canada. The six Japanese breeds that may be shown at the Invitational are the Hokkaido Inu, Kai Ken, Kishu Ken, Shiba Inu, Shikoku Ken and Akita Inu.
As a goodwill gesture to related breeds with similar ancestry and histories, UKC-registered American Akitas and Korean Jindos are also invited to be shown. The judges are Carol Hamilton and Jerry Brown.
The Akita Inu Hozonkai (Akita Dog Preservation Society) was founded in 1927 and is the oldest and most prestigious Akita-inu organization in the world. The North American Branch was established in Los Angeles in 1970 as the very first foreign AKIHO branch after several years of holding unofficial shows in conjunction with Nisei Week in Little Tokyo.
The North American branch is considered by AKIHO headquarters in Odate as the model foreign branch for an organization that has branches throughout Japan as well as in Europe, China, Taiwan, and Mongolia.
The majority of AKIHO NA’s founding board members were Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants in Southern California. As the breed has grown more popular over the years, the club roster has spread across the U.S. and Canada. The judge for this year’s AKIHO NA show is Ryoji Suzuki of Sapporo, Hokkaido.
Admission and parking is free, but organizers ask spectators to leave their own dogs at home and to give busy handlers and their dogs ample space. No Flexi-leads will be allowed on show grounds on the days of the show.
For more information, feel free to contact either club on their respective Facebook pages: