Small Preservation Kennel
in Southwest Minnesota

Working to support and preserve the Shiba Inu 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, 2020-2024. 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 Shiba Inu.Tobitatsu Sou is a passion project. I've been involved in Nihon Ken (Japanese Dogs) for over 17 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 Suzy, the mother of our first litter. Marilyn is also who we do a lot of shows with! Leah and Pam have also allowed me to co-own my beautiful male Renton, which I finished as an AKC Champion in 2023. Both Leah and Pam have also helped me out tremendously with improving my handling.All of my mentors have been a huge help in my journey and I am so appreciative of their time and efforts.

In Loving Memory

Our kennel name was also chosen since it includes 'Tobi' in it, which references my first Shiba Inu, Toby. He 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, also sparked my interest and passion in the other Japanese breeds.Toby passed away in March 2020 after losing a battle against cancer.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2024. 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 of Japan in 1936 and are treasured in their country of origin. They are one of six spitz breeds that originate from Japan. Shiba 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 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. This does not mean they're not cuddly at all though, every line is different & there is variations to the breed. Some Shiba lines do have a more cuddly/sweet 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.

Colors of the Shiba Inu

Sesame Shiba

There are multiple genes responsible for Sesame in Shiba Inu. 'Aw' is the Wild Agouti gene and produces a black ticking that covers the entire red parts of the body - including the face. 'Ays' is a newly discovered gene but, it has always historically been in Shiba. Both genes are dominant but, the Red 'Ay' gene is dominant over these two genes. It produces a black ticking that covers most of the red parts of the body, other than around the eyes. It almost always creates a widow's peak type of pattern above the eyes.Both colors are visually similar other than the differences between the face. The darkness of the black ticking and the amount of ticking is also determined by what other genes the dog is carrying. Cream carriers (Ee) will have stronger urajiro and Black and Tan carriers (at) will have slightly more black ticking.

Red Shiba

The only gene responsible for Red Shiba Inu is 'Ay'. It is a dominant gene and can express with 1 copy. This is the typical color expected of a Shiba. The color can be changed in multiple ways depending on which genes are also behind the dominant Ay gene.A red 'Ay' dog can have the sesame genes (Aw or Ays) and the black and tan gene (at) behind it. All of these genes create varying degrees of black ticking on a red dog.The strength of the Urajiro (white underside) of the Shiba is determined by multiple genes but, as of right now we only know of the cream gene (E/e) affecting it. Cream carriers (Ee) usually have brighter white urajiro and white eyebrow dots above the eyes. Non cream carriers (ee) do not often have the white eyebrow dots - as shown in my photo example.

Black and Tan Shiba

The only gene responsible for Black and Tan Shiba Inu is 'at'. This is a recessive gene so both parents need to have a copy of the gene to express this color.The Black and Tan color has the same overlay of color as a Sesame, except a much stronger concentration of black color. There should always be the characteristic chest markings in the shape of a bird & the two markings above. The tan eyebrow points should be the size of a thumb print.The most ideal Black and Tan is one that has a visibly red undercoat and doesn't have a blue tint to the color. When you pull back the guard hairs to look at the undercoat, you should be able to see a red/buff undercoat.

Cream Shiba

The Cream Shiba Inu is a product of two parents having at least one cream gene (E/e). It is a recessive gene and can only be expressed with two copies of the gene.While this color is undesirable in the show ring, they can still make fantastic companions.

Other Colors

Any other variations beyond the colors/examples shown above are not standard colors. The Shiba Inu only comes in three colors that are showable and should be bred from.Pinto, Creeping Tan (Red Headed Black & Tans) and Shiba with spotting on their legs are NOT breed standard and should never be bred from & those breeders should not be supported.

Order of Gene Dominance

On the A Locus, the genes' order of dominance is as follows:Ay (Red) > Aw (Wild Agouti Sesame) > Ays (Red Sesame) > at (Black & Tan)Due to this dominance, it is possible for the other genes to pass through multiple generations before ever being expressed. Since Ays is the least dominant gene of the 3 dominant A Locus genes (and because it is not detectable on most DNA tests), it gets hidden the most through breeding. But, thanks to advances in DNA testing, we are able to use labs like UC Davis to find this gene in our dogs!

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2024. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

Our Current Shiba Inu


Male ♂

Puppy of Achievement
CH Kokuryuu's Seventh Swell TKP VSWB FITB

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 ♀

AKC Major Pointed
Bonsai Wolf Lotus Blossom at Tobitatsu TKN FITB

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 ♀

AKC Pointed
Kayobi's Vermilion Sparrow TKN

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

Show Hopefuls

Puppies we are currently growing out for our breeding program for show! See us in the show ring in late 2024.


Female ♀

Tobitatsu If I Could Fly

AKC #: NP90009102
Color: Red Sesame
Date of Birth: February 5th, 2024
Pedigree: Link out of Suzy x Senzo
Eyes: n/a
Hips: n/a
Elbows: n/a
Patellas: n/a
GM1 (Gangliosidosis): n/a
Bred by: Stephanie Koch & Marilyn Pikal
Owned by: Stephanie Koch


Female ♀

Tobitatsu Walking in the Wind

AKC #: NP90009101
Color: Red
Date of Birth: February 5th, 2024
Pedigree: Link out of Suzy x Senzo
Eyes: n/a
Hips: n/a
Elbows: n/a
Patellas: n/a
GM1 (Gangliosidosis): n/a
Bred by: Stephanie Koch & Marilyn Pikal
Owned by: Stephanie Koch

What do the acronyms mean?

In the American Kennel Club (AKC), we have Championship titles but, also sport and family dog titles as well. Each title has a shorter abbreviated version that goes onto the dog's registered name. Here is a list of the titles we have earned and what they stand for. While no titles are required for breeding, it is important to value what breeders are putting into their dogs and shows their versatility as an individual. A dog that is getting advanced titles in something other than conformation means that you may also end up with a pet puppy out of that dog that is also motivated and trainable as well!


CH = AKC Champion
AKC Major Pointed = This dog has earned at least 1 out of 2 majors required for their AKC Championship
AKC Pointed = This dog has earned points towards their AKC Championship
Puppy of Achievement = This dog earned 10 PoA points from the puppy classes before the age of 1 year old

Trick Dog

TKN = Trick Dog Novice
TKI = Trick Dog Intermediate
TKA = Trick Dog Advanced
TKP = Trick Dog Performer

Family Dog/Other

FITB = Fit Dog Bronze
VSWB = Virtual Scent Work Beginner
VHMP = Virtual Home Manners Puppy

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2024. Do not use any content or images without my permission.


We have no puppies available at this time. Please check our litter plans below to see what we are planning for next!Our puppies are $2850, including tax.
If you're interested in joining our waiting list, our application can be found here: Application Form
I may be slow to respond to emails or applications until the beginning of May, this is a busy time of year for me.

Litter Plans

Tentatively Planned for Fall 2024
Suzy (Kayobi's Vermilion Sparrow TKN) x Chester (CH Kayobi Cheshire Kat) Pedigree
Red and Black & Tan possible.
Tentatively Planned for Early 2025
Hana (Bonsai Wolf Lotus Blossom at Tobitatsu TKN FITB) x TBA (potentially Renton)
Red possible.
Tentatively Planned for Late 2025
Hana (Bonsai Wolf Lotus Blossom at Tobitatsu TKN FITB) x TBA (Outside stud possibly, will update once I decide)

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.- All puppies are started on their puppy shots (1-2 rounds) & a deworming, as well as vet records for each of their visits.- A bag of their current food, AKC folder & a puppy pack.- 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.- 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.

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2024. 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.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, 2020-2024. Do not use any content or images without my permission.

Previous Litters

Suzy x Senzo

Kayobi's Vermilion Sparrow TKN x AKC CH Rankyu go Hidden Cascade

Born February 5th, 2024
3 Girls, 1 Boy

"Byakko" Tobitatsu Walking in the Wind - Staying at Tobitatsu Shiba!"Seiryu" Tobitatsu If I Could Fly - Staying at Tobitatsu Shiba!"Bodi" Tobitatsu Still the One - Went to a family in Illinois! You can follow him on Instagram: @boditheshiba"Suki" Tobitatsu Midnight Memories - Went to a family in Minnesota!

Website (c) Tobitatsu Shiba, 2020-2024. Do not use any content or images without my permission.