Small Preservation Kennel in Southwest Minnesota

Working to support and preserve the Shiba Inu and Shikoku Ken through collaboration with other preservation breeders.

We are proudly a member of Nihonken Hozonkai (NIPPO) and the National Shiba Club of America (NSCA).

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

About Us

We are located in Southwestern Minnesota near the South Dakota border. Tobitatsu (飛び立つ) means to 'fly away' in Japanese. I feel like in a sense, I am taking off to begin my journey now in the preservation of not only Shiba Inu but, the Shikoku Ken as well. It also pays homage to my other love in the animal world, which is parrots.Tobitatsu Sou is a passion project. I've been involved in Nihon Ken (Japanese Dogs) for over 15 years. I got my first Shiba Inu in 2007. Showing dogs in conformation has been a dream of mine since I was a child. I attended many local dog shows in my teenage years and had a fascination with seeing all of the dogs in the ring. I recently began showing my dogs in the summer of 2021 and I have been gaining so much experience and having fun along the way!My program is currently very small. We have plans to collaborate with other Midwest Shiba breeders in the next ~5 years.My mentors include Marilyn Pikal of Kayobi Shiba (Minnesota) as well as Pam and Leah Crowley of Kokuryuu Shiba (Wisconsin). Marilyn was so kind and allowed me to co-own two Shiba she has produced for show purposes. Leah and Pam have also allowed me to co-own a beautiful show prospect with them, as well as inviting me to a big show and helping to teach me how to improve at showing. All of my mentors have been a huge help in my journey and I am so appreciative of their time and efforts.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

About the Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu (She-bah Ee-new) is a highly prey-driven small game hunting breed. They were designated as a National Monument in 1936 and are treasured in their country of origin.
They are one of six spitz breeds that originate from Japan. Shibas are the smallest. The medium breeds are Kai, Kishu, Shikoku and Hokkaido. The largest is Akita. All six breeds together are collectively called the 'Nihon Ken' -- which just essentially means Japanese Dogs.
The Shiba is a small dog. Generally weighing around 16-25 pounds. They're body is compact while having a short and dense double coat. Shiba shed all year round and typically blow their entire undercoat 1-2 times a year, depending on the individual dog. If shedding is not something you can deal with, I highly suggest steering clear of owning a Shiba Inu.


Shiba Inu are a fairly healthy breed overall. Reputable breeders will screen their dogs to do they best they can to ensure your puppy will not suffer from these issues. Always ask for health certificates! The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has a public database to look through that will show what testing your breeder has done to ensure healthy breeding parents.The breed suffers from glaucoma at an alarmingly high rate. It isn't uncommon for Shibas to develop eye issues later in life and go blind or have so much eye pressure that the eye has to be removed. Slipping/loose knees (luxating patella) are common among mill and backyard bred Shibas and later stages of LP 3-4 require major knee surgery costing thousands of dollars.The most deadly condition found in Shiba is called Gangliosidosis. It is a hereditary condition that affects the nervous system/brain and has no cure. It has a 100% fatality rate before the age of 2. This condition is completely preventable with genetic testing. Both parents must carry the gene for it to pass on to offspring. It is very uncommon but, tends to pop up in breedings between parent dogs not tested.


There will always be some variation to individuals in the breed but, Shiba should be confident and bold."The Japanese have three words to describe the Shiba temperament. The first is "kan-i" which is bravery and boldness combined with composure and mental strength. The opposite side of "kan-i" is "ryosei" which means good nature with a gentle disposition. One cannot exist without the other. The charming side of the Shiba is "Soboku" which is artlessness with a refined and open spirit. They combine to make a personality that Shiba owners can only describe as "irresistible."Information quoted from the National Shiba Club of America information document. A link to this website can be found on my 'Resources' page.Shiba are alert by nature. They're very prey-driven and work on instinct. They're considered a primitive breed. The breed is not typically cuddly and will want to stay a distance away from strangers. Some Shiba lines do have a more cuddly personality that can be passed down to offspring -- our male Renton is one such Shiba.People will say that Shiba can be off-leash but, be aware of their prey-driven tendencies. I personally do not recommend having your Shiba Inu off leash at any time. My Shiba personally do not have great recall and it takes a lot of work to get to the point where you can trust your dog. Since all of the dogs in our program have a strong prey drive, I would highly recommend avoiding off-leash activities.

About the Shikoku

The Shikoku (She-koh-kew) is a medium Nihon Ken breed ranging from 30 to 50 pounds in weight. They’re taller than a standard sized Shiba, with males being much larger on average. Females can be as petite as a large male Shiba but, also larger.The breed historically has been used as a baying type of hound in Japan, though in recent times the Shikoku has seen a significant split in type from hunting and show lines. Hunting line Shikoku are incredibly rare and are only maintained by the few hunters that still use them, which isn’t many — especially as hunters grow old. There is also not a huge interest in the Shikoku or the other medium Nihon Ken in their country of origin, which makes many of these lines die out once a breeder passes on.


As the Shikoku made its way around the world and became more popular, many health issues have been discovered. The breed is a bit inbred and many lines have specific health issues that have only been discovered as early as the early 2010s.If you’re looking to get into the breed, just be aware that the breed is still very new outside of Japan and so there are always chances of issues. It is important to share and document all issues that pop up so we can continue to try and improve the health of the breed.As of right now, the most well known issues are seizures (which have popped up in specific lines), gangliosidosis/ataxia, joint pains, hip dysplasia & recently cystinuira type III was documented — which basically forms crystals in the urine similarly to a cat. It is extremely painful in males if affected.We will be working very hard to contribute all of our dogs’ DNA to research & test as much as possible so we can help the breed as best as we can. We will also try to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the health of our dogs.


Shikoku are very affectionate with their owners but, very wary and stand off-ish towards strangers. Not human aggressive but, very cautious. They are sensitive to their surroundings and more handler soft than Shiba. This is not a dog that can take harsh corrections, otherwise you will completely lose the trust of your dog. They will not forget.They are goofy clowns and love to push other dogs to their limit and further. It is important that a Shikoku's other dog companions (if any) can tolerate that type of behavior. Shikoku tend to play much nicer with their own kind since they will both have the same energy and be obnoxious to one another.Just like Shiba, I do not trust these dogs off-leash. They are also very prey driven dogs, coming from a hunting background. Also due to their medium-large size, they can also see some smaller dogs as prey and be driven by instinct.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

Shiba Inu


Male ♂

Puppy of Achievement
CH Kokuryuu's Seventh Swell TKP VSWB

AKC #: NP74486406
Color: Sesame (awat, Ee)
Date of Birth: January 3rd, 2022
Pedigree: Link
Eyes: Clear - Feb 2023
Hips: Pending
Patellas: Normal (May 2023)
GM1 (Gangliosidosis): Clear
Bred by: Pam Crowley and Leah Crowley
Owned by: Stephanie Koch, Pam Crowley and Leah Crowley


Female ♀

Bonsai Wolf Lotus Blossom at Tobitatsu TKN
AKC Major Pointed

AKC #: NP82455001
Color: Red (AyAy, EE)
Date of Birth: February 9th, 2023
Pedigree: Link
Eyes: Clear - Oct 2023
Hips: Too Young
Patellas: Too Young
GM1 (Gangliosidosis): --
Bred by: Michelle Mak
Owned by: Stephanie Koch


Female ♀

Kayobi's Vermilion Sparrow TKN
AKC Pointed

AKC #: NP71204301
Color: Red (Ayat, Ee)
Date of Birth: September 16th, 2021
Pedigree: Link
Eyes: Clear - Oct 2023
Hips: Good
Elbows: Normal
Patellas: Normal
GM1 (Gangliosidosis): Clear
Bred by: Marilyn Pikal
Owned by: Stephanie Koch & Marilyn Pikal

Shikoku Ken


Female ♀

Maeko Misou Fuurin Sou of Mistral's Kiss
Italian Import

AKC #: WS79667001
Color: Red/Red Sesame
Date of Birth: August 19th, 2021
Pedigree: Link
Eyes: Clear - Oct 2023
Elbows: Pending
Hips: Pending
Patellas: Normal
GM1 (Gangliosidosis): --
Cystinuria Type 3: --
Bred by: Emily Vignozzi
Owned by: Stephanie Koch

At this time, we have no plans to add a male Shikoku to our breeding program.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

Previous Dogs

♥ Sorely missed but, never forgotten. ♥


Toby was an altered pet I owned for 12 years & was loved greatly by his entire family. He was my first introduction to not only Shiba Inu but, the other Japanese breeds.Toby passed away in March 2020 after losing a battle against cancer.


AKC Pointed
Kayobi Tamashii Akami
Akami started developing cataracts at the age of 4 & was swiftly retired from our program.She had a wonderful time with us for two years. She is sorely missed! Best wishes for a happy life as a happy pet! She is now in her forever home!


Puppy of Achievement
Kokuryuu's Blessed Rain After the Drought
With a heavy heart, Tanjiro has been retired from our program. He is now living a happy life with his new mama in the Twin Cities, Minnesota!During his short show career, he earned Puppy of Achievement, one Owner Handled Group 3 placement, 40 NOHS points that got him onto the top rankings for Shiba Inu in 2021 and one point towards his Championship.


AKC Pointed
Kayobi Takaharu TKN
Haru was retired from our program after growing a little too tall for conformation shows and having a softer coat. He is now living locally in Minnesota with his new Dad!During his show career he earned 2 AKC Champion points, an Owner Handled Group 4 placement and 25 Owner Handled points.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.


Nothing available at this time, please see our litter plans below.
We will be opening up our waitlist this fall for the winter litter season. We will not know what will be available until we have confirmed pregnancies and puppies on the ground.

Litter Plans

We are beginning to start planning our future litters. We will be holding back puppies from these litters as well as fulfilling co-owner contracts. So there may or may not be puppies available. And of course, any and all plans can be canceled based on the health testing results of our up and coming dogs.We expect Shikoku Ken puppies to be available when we do decide to have Maeko's first litter, due to the size litter she came from. She may very well have a similar sized litter.

Shiba Inu

Tentatively Planned for Winter 2023
(Kayobi's Vermilion Sparrow TKN) x (CH Rankyu go Hidden Cascade) Pedigree
We will be potentially filling a puppy back from this litter. There may or may not be availability.
Only Red Puppies possible.
Tentatively Planned for Summer/Fall 2024
(Kayobi's Vermilion Sparrow TKN) x (CH Kobushi Fire Storm or CH Kayobi Live at Budokan, TBD)
Red, Black & Tan and Cream possible, depending on stud.
Tentatively Planned for Early 2025
(Bonsai Wolf Lotus Blossom at Tobitatsu) x (TBA, potentially Renton)
Red possible.

Shikoku Ken

Tentatively Planned for Late 2024
(Maeko Misou Fuurin Sou of Mistral's Kiss) x (Potentially Togo Go Hinotori) Pedigree
Still deciding which male we will go with for this litter. In talks of possibly using Togo if all health tests are cleared. Ideally, we are working towards a slightly softer temperament with this pairing.

We do not ship puppies. If you would like a puppy from us then you will need to pick up your puppy in Minnesota. It is a great way for us to meet you in person. For multiple safety reasons, we may not allow you into our personal home or to view our parent dogs. We will do our best to provide the best experience to watch the puppies grow online. If you are ever interested in meeting us, please let us know and try to stop by at a local dog show! We frequent the upper Midwest (ND, SD, MN, IA, WI) show area.We are ~3 hours from Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, MN and a little under 2 hours away from Sioux Falls Regional Airport in Sioux Falls, SD.

What do you get for choosing Tobitatsu Sou?
- A lifetime of support -- we want to know how your puppy is growing and developing every step of the way. Through the good and the bad.
- Limited AKC Registration, your puppy cannot be shown in conformation but, they can participate in any other AKC event like agility and other sports. Later down the road, we may offer co-ownerships for those who want to show. At the current moment, that is not available.
- Embark Breeder Kit DNA Testing, this shows all of the coat/color traits your puppy carries as well as whether or not your puppy expresses any detectable illness at the genetic level.
- Entered into the Shiba Inu and Nihon Ken pedigree databases, all our dogs are logged through these pedigree databases so you can see every dog we've produced as well as what testing has been done for each dog.
- More to come soon, I am still compiling this list! Thank you.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.


National Shiba Club of America - Link - The main parent club for Shiba Inu for the American Kennel Club, has a host of useful information and a breeder directory of members of the club.North American Shikoku Club - Link - The main parent club for Shikoku Ken in the United States.Kayobi Shibas - Link - One of my mentors & the breeder I am currently working with on a co-own for Suzy, our little red Shiba girl. So very thankful for being given a chance to own her dogs and include her lines in my program!Kokuryuu Shibas - Link - Another fantastic kennel to check out, I am working with them on our co-owned sesame Shiba boy — Renton. Both Pam & Leah have been an amazing support team for me as mentors & friends. So thankful for their advice in showing and other aspects of Shiba Inu.Bonsai Wolf Japanese Dogs - Link - A newer breeder that we closely collaborate with. They are located in central California. We co-own our Shikoku Ken, Maeko with them. And we also have a Shiba puppy from one of their breedings -- Hana. If you are looking for a breeder in California and the west coast area, I high recommend checking out their program!Orthopedic Foundation for Animals - Link - The main body for health testing in the United States and beyond. You can check dogs by their registered name or number to find out if they're listed on OFA. Dogs above 2 years of age should have all of their health testing credentials listed on this website prior to breeding OR be able to provide you with proof.

Contact Form

Please use this contact form to get in contact with me. It goes directly to my email!
If you see a dog you're interested in on my 'Available' page, please use this to let me know!
At this time, my waitlist is not yet available. But, I am happy to answer any questions you may have about my dogs, breeds or program. I am not able to give a price on puppies at the moment, due to not having any litters until the beginning of 2024.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

Trick Dog

During 2022, we decided to step up our game and try to learn a new skill. We started off with AKC Trick Dog! Here is just a small selection of some of our training sessions throughout the past year! If you want to see more of our training content, there is a link to our TikTok on the home page.

All of the AKC Trick Titles we have worked on from July 2022 to January 2023!

A short showcase of training segments for a number of our dogs.

Introducing Renton to the Jump Bar.

Basic trick training with Akami.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

Tobitatsu Blog

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2023. Do not use any content or images without my permission.