Specializing in translation and the export
of the native Japanese dog breeds

» Export and Import

mporting a dog from Japan can be a daunting endeavor. There is a language barrier, export/import restrictions, and a whole slew of shipping and scheduling details to work out.

The following is a basic run down of the regulations, costs involved, and other useful information.

To export a dog from Japan:

-The dog must be at least 8 weeks old
-The dog will need to be examined by a certified veterinarian in the week preceding its flight and have a health certificate issued.
-The dog will need to undergo an examination at Animal Quarantine Services at the airport on the day of departure, after which an export certificate will be issued. Examinations take place 3 hours before departure, and reservations for the exam should be made a week in advance.

The official site of Animal Quarantine Service Japan can be found here.


To import a dog:

Rabies vaccinations, combination vaccinations, micro chipping and other tests are necessary to import to many countries. Regulations vary by country, so contact your local authorities for canine import information.

Importing a dog to the United States:

In my experience, shipping to the United States is fairly straight forward. As long as the dog is over 2 months old and has the export certificate issued by AQS, it will be allowed into the country. Dogs not up to date on their vaccinations may need to be quarantined at home until they are vaccinated, and the owner may have to sign a confinement agreement to have the dog released to them at customs. Many airlines also have their own regulations regarding the international shipping of animals, so it is important to check with your airline when making plans to ship an animal. The USDA website can be found here.

Importing a dog to an EU country:

To bring a dog into an EU nation you will have to first microchip, and then vaccinate for rabies before the dog leaves Japan. 21 days must elapse after vaccination before the animal can enter the EU. Most rabies vaccination protocols call for the animal to be at least 3 months old (91 days) for a rabies vaccination to be valid. Some EU nations also require treatment for parasites.

Importing a dog to Australia:

As of February 2014, export to Australia involves a minimum 10 days of quarantine, and numerous tests on top of the usual vaccinations and micro chipping. Details can be found here.




A dog may travel accompanied (carry on or check in), or unaccompanied (freight). To take a dog with you on a flight it is necessary to contact the airline in advance and notify them of your plans. Most airlines require a minimum of 72 hours advance notice. Airlines have limited space to fly pets, so reserve space in advance. Another point to be aware of is that some airlines do not ship dogs. When you make the call to book your dog, the airline will ask for the dimensions of the crate, the size/breed/age of the dog, so have this information available. Airlines have regulations regarding the type of crates allowed, so be sure you inquire about this as well. For most airlines IATA certified dog crates are the standard. Your dog will need to be able to move around easily inside the crate, and its ears cannot touch the roof of the crate when it is sitting/standing inside.

To ship a dog as freight, arrangements will need to be made with a shipping company at least 10 days in advance. They will make the arrangements with the airline and handle all the quarantine/customs/shipping for a fee. Shipping as cargo is much more expensive than having a dog checked in.

Availability of pups to ship overseas:

The Nihon Ken are rare breeds even in Japan. The Shikoku has the fewest numbers registered per year at around 300. If  you are looking for a quality pup of a specific type/sex/color, expect a long wait. Most breeders in Japan do not ship overseas only because of the hassles involved with preparations. They are often open to the idea if they know they will not have to be responsible for the vet work, paper work, and shipping arrangements.

At Japan Dog Export we offer our experience and services in connecting you to the right breeder and the right pup. We handle communication, translation, negotiations, vet work, and all paperwork & shipping arrangements. The fee we charge for this varies entirely on how much of the preparation we have to do.

Read more about us, how we go about finding pups and why we do it, here, and take a look at my blog for information on available pups.