(aka: Japanese Shiba Inu, Shiba, Shiba Ken)
Shiba Inu Description
Although small, the Shiba Inu is a sturdy, well built, and agile dog. He always looks alert and keen. The coat of these dogs is straight and harsh to the touch, and coloring of the coat includes black sesame, red sesame, red, brindle, and black and tan. Some may also display white patches. The weight of the Shiba Inu is around 18-28 pounds, and the height is around 13-16 inches for females and around 15-17 inches for males.
An independent, strong minded, and hardworking dog, the Shiba Inu is a creature with plenty of spirit and courage. These are not clingy dogs and are not overly demanding, but he can be willful and stubborn, making him best suited to those with experience of dog ownership. The Shiba Inu is adept and digging and climbing, and is a confirmed pursuer of just about anything that crosses his path - it is essential that he is therefore in a safe and secured area whenever he is not on a leash. Very fast and agile, the Shiba Inu is an intelligent dog and thrives on interaction and mental stimulation. These dogs can be possessive and manipulative when given half the chance, and they will need to be trained with a firm yet positive method. Early socialization is recommended with the Shiba Inu to promote a more stable temperament.
When brought up with them the Shiba Inu tends to get along well with children, although he does not take well to be handled roughly or teased. They can be aggressive around same sex dogs, and their high prey drive means that they may chase smaller animals. The Shiba Inu is also very territorial and will be suspicious of strangers, which adds to his watchdog abilities. The bark of the Shiba Inu can sometimes resemble and yodel and in some cases even a shriek. They do need a fair amount of exercise, and when not on a leash this should be provided in a very safe, secure area to prevent him from escaping. With proper socialization and training the Shiba Inu can make a loyal, loving, and entertaining pet and companions, but is not for the weak willed or for those with little time to dedicate to a pet.
The Shiba Inu is a low maintenance dog, which is ideal if you have little time to dedicate to grooming. You can keep his coat in good condition through brushing on a weekly basis, although this will need to be increased during periods of heavier shedding. The Shiba Inu sheds more heavily on a seasonal basis, and may therefore not be best suited to those with allergies.
The Shiba have a long and interesting history. Shibas were originally bred to flush birds and small game. The breed was brought to Japan from China nearly two thousand year ago. The Shiba is the smallest of the six distinct breeds that were bred from the original dogs that were probably Chow Chow. It is interesting to note that some of the original six are now extinct.
While they were first used for hunting, they are now primarily kept as pets, both in Japan and the United States. It is interesting to note that there are more Shibas in Japan than any other breed.
In the 7th century AD, the Yamato Court established a dog keeper's office that was charged with maintaining the Japanese native breeds as an integral part of Japanese culture. This was a good idea that did not work. Even though the country was closed to foreigners from the 17th through 18th centuries, some European dogs were imported and bred with native dogs living in the more populated areas. Dogs in the countryside, however, remained relatively pure.
There were originally three main varieties of Shiba and each was named for its region of origin. It is because of these regional differences that we have the various breeds known today.
The Shiba is a trainable breed but it should be kept in mind that they are also a very independent type of dog. They are best trained when the training begins early. This is important especially if the home has children or other animals in the house.
One of the issues that owner's need to train the dog on concerns the Shiba's instinct to be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Neutering the dog will go a long way in taming this instinct but it will not completely remove it. For those Shiba's that are no neutered, owners must be on alert when the Shiba is in close proximity to other dogs.
Because the breed is very alert and very intelligent they are easy to train and easy to learn new things. This does not mean that they will be eager to obey at all time, but many owners find that independence to one of the charms of the breed.
This breed will do well in families with children if obedience training is conducted early on. Once they are trained, the Shiba can become very loyal and dedicated to the owner and the family.
Most of the training can be performed by the owner if desired. Professionals are also available for training. Because these dogs are very clean by nature, housebreaking them is easy.
There are a number of health problems to look out for with the Shiba Inu, and these include luxating patella, HD, thyroid problems, and allergies. Other than this the Shiba Inu appears to be a relatively health and hardy breed. The parents of the Shiba Inu puppy should have OFA certificates.