Kinako, a Labrador Retriever in training to become a police dog, has become so popular for her less-than-stellar public performances and cheerful demeanor that she is now on tour promoting her own photobook to fans.
Born in May of 2003, Kinako belongs to a police dog training school in Marugame City, Kagawa Prefecture. Kinako, in training to become a police tracking dog, comes from a good bloodline—her grandmother was a national dog show champion. Kinako hasn’t been quite so successful, however; for the past three years she’s been trying—and failing—to pass the test to become a full-fledged police dog. Her trainer, 22-year-old Chisa Kawanishi, is herself a trainer-in-training, and has been working hard with Kinako to get her ready for police service.
Kinako’s rise to fame began in 2005 when a TV station ran a piece on Kinako’s clumsy performance in one of the school’s public displays. The somewhat chubby dog became an instant star for her cheerful but spectacularly bad performance on the obstacle course.
She became so famous, in fact, that she not only has her own dog blog (J), but just had a photobook published (Amazon Japan’s page, with a couple of sample images). Kinako hosted a “book signing” in Tokyo this May, where she posed for pictures with fans and “signed” copies of her book with an inked pawprint.
Here is a TV station’s lengthy report on her training, aired back in 2005, with subtitles:
And here’s a recent news piece from ANN on her book signing: