Shiba Inu (That's a dog!)
Today we are going to become immersed in a little history and oriental culture touching upon Japan.
Our dog is a fluffy cuddly pup known as the Shiba Inu, a native dog of Japan.
The Shiba is a small dog (maximum weight 25 pounds) that has perky ears, slightly slanted eyes, a button for a nose and a fluffy curled tail.
This dog was bred as a sight and scent dog for hunting boar and other game in the mountains of Japan.
Actually, there are three slightly different breeds of Shiba due to the fact that the breed was developed in three different regions in Japan.
It took until 1936 for the Japanese to recognize the breed as a “Natural Monument,” this is a designation given to either an animal or plant to acknowledge the fact that they are of “true Japanese” origin
What is a Shiba Inu?
It is the smallest of the six native dogs bred in Japan, the Akita being the largest.
It is a small hunting dog that thinks it is a big dog and has the stamina and brain power to go with its thinking.
This is not a dog for the faint of heart.
The Shiba may look as cute as a stuffed animal and be equally as cuddly, but trust me, it is a samurai warrior with a little cat thrown in and has a disposition that can wear you down, if you are not strong enough.
The name Shiba is an ancient name with several meanings, but the one that has stuck is “brushwood” and the word “Inu” means dog in Japanese.
As a result this feisty dog is known as the “brushwood dog” due to its ability to maneuver in very dense brush, along with climbing steep and mountainous terrain.
World War II almost brought the end of this breed due to the destruction of Japan.
However, of the three types of Shibas, the Shinshu survived and slowly the breed was once again established.
An American service family in 1954 has been credited with bringing the first Shiba to the United States.
However, it wasn’t until the late 1970’s that more were imported to the states and in 1979 the first American litter was born.
Due to International red tape it wasn’t until 1993 that the Shiba was allowed to compete in AKC shows.
In order to consider this very cute dog as a welcome member of your family, there are several things you need to consider.
First of all, a Shiba is a hunting dog, it has very keen senses and has great stamina. Shiba’s can flush, run and hold game.
The Shiba was bred to hunt game larger than it is.
Today, the dogs are used to hunt grouse, rabbits and other smaller game.
Shibas are used to hunting all day long, they love the activity and can handle the stress.
In plain English, that means this is a dog that needs an active family.
The results of a boring day for this dog is something you would not want to see in your household.
A Shiba needs a family that is not only active, but has rules that have to be followed, if left to itself this dog will “rule” your household.
It has been said that this breed did not learn “sharing” in kindergarten.
What is “mine remains mine” in the mind of this dog.
It is almost like this breed is feral in its nature, as it is very protective of what it considers “its possessions.”
The intelligence of a Shiba makes teaching it obedience and commands almost a dream come true, as it will learn things only after a time or two.
However, on the other side of the coin, it has selective hearing and a stubborn streak and will obey only if it wants to.
It is very important that as a puppy the Shiba is exposed to all kinds of social environments.
It is equally important that the Shiba be introduced to all kinds of people and that it is exposed to other dogs.
Generally, a Shiba will get along with other pets, however there maybe some problems with small animals especially cats.
As small animals can bring out the hunting instinct.
Most male Shibas are not overly fond of other male dogs.
They are good with children, if brought up with them and the children are respectful.
Another important consideration is their “vocalizations,” Shibas are rather vocal.
A Shiba has what is called a “yodel” that they use when they feel they are being neglected.
If they feel that you are being too stern with them or you are demanding them to behave in a certain way, they have a wonderful “blood curdling scream “ that they will use to protest..
This high pitched sound is to make you think they are hurt and make you stop your demands.
It is rather like a screaming two year old and a tantrum
A Shiba also thinks it is a big dog and is fearless when it sees a “big dog” it doesn’t like. It is extremely important to keep a Shiba on a leash when out in public, as it will not respond to your call if it has other interests.
This dog also needs a big fenced in yard to run in.
Health-wise it is a relatively healthy breed with only few problems.
Hip dysplasia, a few eye problems and possibly some allergies comprise the top of the list of ailments.
By now you are probably thinking, why would anyone want this dog?
Well, the breed does have its good points.
They are loyal, they will love you and protect you, they seem to know when you are sad or need comforting and they are very clean
Shiba’s are almost cat like in their need to be clean, they will wash their feet and will avoid muddy places and puddles.
The coat of a Shiba is very dense with a thick double outside coat and a soft undercoat. Their coat sheds twice a year and can be messy, but with brushing and baths you can keep it under control. As a general rule, they are almost odor free.
By now you know that this is not the dog for every family.
A Shiba requires a strong owner who can deal with the dog using patience and positive training.
It is a brave, high- spirited, self-confident and good natured dog.
You in turn have to be equally high-spirited, self-confident, alpha in your thinking, patient and have a humorous nature.
All things considered this is an unique dog with lots of personality and I promise, you will not be bored if you have one.