Hiking & Trail Running with a Border Terrier in Japan

 

 

 

Border Terriers in Japan


Border Terriers are an ideal breed for taking into the hills. Weighing around 5-7kg, BTs are light to carry on the trains, and not an intimidating monster on the trail. 

But they're a rare breed here, with just 30 JKC registrations a year, compared with around 8,000 in the UK The main website for BT owners is here.

Hana (Hannah) came from Plushcourt in the UK.

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Travel


We're lucky with Hana. She doesn't get sick in the car, on the train, or even on the boat, but she's not too happy on a plane.

- On the train, the dog must be in a carrier, hard or soft. Theoretically, there is a charge of Yen 210 per animal. This bag from www.sturdiproducts.com weighs about 1 kg, and packs down into a small rucksack. There is nothing like it in Japan.

- On the plane, within Japan ANA charges around Yen 4,000 per flight, and will provide a hard case for free if required.

- On ferries, the dog usually has to stay in the car.

- With rented cars, some sales branches have dogs-allowed cars, but you can just show up with the dog already in a crate, and you will probably be allowed to rent (especially if the dog is out of sight...)

- Bicycle is not easy. A BT is just too big for a sling bag, but Hana enjoys the trailer behind the tandem.

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Hiking in the hills


She hates wearing the reflective yellow jacket, but it makes her easier to spot, both for me and other hikers.

The vast majority of other hikers seem to be delighted to see Hana on the trail. However, very occasionally I have received complaints. I believe a simple "Sumimasen" or "Arigato gozaimashita" defuses the situation.

There is no law banning dogs in the mountains per se. In summary, the only regulation is that dogs must not be released (ie must be kept on a lead) in ʕیn, which actually occupy only 13% of National Parks nationwide.

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Distance in the hills?


"As happy going for 5 km as 50 km" was the accurate summary in a guide to breeds. BTs were bred in the UK to keep up with the horses, then go down the foxhole. 

BTs don't complain, so there is a risk of pushing them too far when too young (less than 1 year?) Hana is happy to run 100-300 km per month, and has never staged a lie-down during a run. She has comfortably run/walked for 20 hours. 

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Health


From spring until late autumn, the dog easily picks up ticks from the undergrowth, which can be minimized with an anti-tick powder beforehand. 

On rougher ground, there is a risk of the paw pads being worn down. After 5 hours around Shiroma-dake here, Hana's paws were sore.

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