Tanpopo is a 7-year-old miniature dachshund girl living in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, right next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. She lives with her parents who are both veterinarians, and a cat.
1. You are my first Doxie from Japan. What is life like for dogs in Japan?
A. I think we have a lot in common with you nowadays. Many of the dogs are living inside the house with their family, and they are regarded as precious members of their family by the owners. I hope adopting instead of buying a dog will be a more common way of finding a dog in Japan too. It is still not as common as it should be.
2. How did you end up with a Daschund? Are they popular in Japan?
A. Dachshunds are one of the most popular breeds in Japan. Toy breeds are very popular here. Accomodation-wise, I think it is always easier for us to live with smaller dogs. The Japan Kennel Club announces the number of newly registered dogs (only purebred ones though) every year. Dachshunds used to be No.1 for a long time, but poodles (mostly toy poodles) have taken over. Poodles have been No.1 for the past 9 years, chihuahuas in 2nd, and dachshunds come in the 3rd place. In 2016, of all the newly registered dachshunds, 73656 were miniature, 5362 were kaninchen, and only 138 were standard. You can see smaller ones are more popular here.
Having lived in Germany for a couple of years, my father was a huge fan of German shepherds. So I grew up with German shepherds, and as I always loved dogs so much, I ended up becoming a veterinarian. I worked in an orthopaedics/neurology specialist’s practice after I finished my vet college, and there I met lots of dachushunds! Dachshunds were the most popular breed, and the number of IVDD patients was increasing, yet surgical treatment for IVDD was still new in Japan and there were not many veterinarians who could handle it at that time. So most of our patients were dachshunds. Working in the practice made me realise how cute they are, how bright they are and how stubborn they are! I just loved all those characters. During those years, my family met a rescued dachshund with Grade 5 IVDD and decided to adopt him. He was such a sweet and stubborn boy, and we all loved him so much. He died last year after fighting chronic renal failure for a long time.
3. If your pup could talk to you what do you think Tanpopo would say to you?
A. She is such an optimistic and happy girl, so there would not be much complaining, but two things! She would say my partner and I should come home earlier every night, and I am taking too many photos of her, ha ha!
4. What does Tanpopo mean? How did you come up with the name?
A. Tanpopo means dandelion in Japanese. We see dandelions everywhere, nothing special, but they are very cute but also tough. Our Tanpopo was a “left-over” from a pet shop, so we wanted her to become a sweet and tough girl. My partner thought this yellow little flower would be perfect for her. Plus, as our cat’s name is Tsukushi, meaning horsetail, we thought the two spring plants would be a good combination.
5. Can you share your favorite Tanpopo story with us?
A. Tanpopo grew up at a pet shop, she had never been to outside until she came to our home at the age of 7 months old. When we first took her outside the house, she just froze and could not move at all, she was too scared to walk. We took her out little by little, carrying her first, then just put her on the grass for a short time, then longer … And finally, after several weeks, she walked! She tried to follow us and started walking, like a robot! Can you imagine how happy we were? Our little girl walked outside! This is still our most favorite story.
Ellen wrote this blog for Dachshunds United. Follow Ellen and Trixie on Instagram at @trixiethedaschund. If you would like to participate in Five Questions email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.