Shiba Inu

Type: Northern Breed

Height: 13.5 - 16.5 inches.

Weight: 18 - 25 lbs.

Life Span: 13 - 16 years. This is a generally long-lived breed.

Litter Size: 2 - 3 puppies.

Country of Origin: Japan

Activity: High. Their energy is abundant, but not hyperactive.

Watch-dog: High. Shiba Inus can be territorial.

Guard-dog: High. They are a big dog in a smaller body.

Description: The Shiba-Inu, with its outgoing personality, convenient size, and good nature has made it the most common pet in Japan. Growing in popularity worldwide, it has only been in recent years that they have been seen out of their native land. Though they may be difficult to train, if they are handled with consistent firm training they will respond well. Shiba-Inus are not a dog for the faint-hearted as they are a large animal in a small body. Shiba-Inus are loyal and posses a good sense of what you are feeling. They need to have human interaction and should not be left alone in the back yard. They have unique vocal sounds that sometimes may sound like a "yodel". They will usually only bark when they have a reason. The Shiba Inu's appearance attracts many a potential owner who may not realize the implications of keeping this breed. They are smaller dogs, with often a red or orange tint of fur over a background of white. They can also be other colors, however, such as salt and pepper, black, or black and tan or black and white. They have harsh, medium length, and thick fur which gives them the added foxy look. They have been bred down specifically for slanted eyes, a foxy expression and deep red color. Shibas also have a tail which curls over the back in the general spitz-type fashion. Do not be lured only by the Shiba Inu's looks alone, but first consider his loving yet stubborn personality as well.

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Other Names: Brushwood Dog (Shiba Inu in Japanese), Japanese Small-Size Dog, Shiba Ken

Colors: Red, salt and pepper, black, black and tan or white.

Coat: Harsh and straight.

Temperament: Shiba-Inus are independent, industrious and strong-willed. They are alert, curious, and intelligent. They can be strong willed, but can be trained. They have a fun-loving personality, and they are loyal to their owners. Shiba Inus are known to wander, as they like to explore. They should be kept on a leash outside of a fenced yard. They are affectionate, sensitive, and friendly dogs. Shiba Inus have been known to be somewhat scrappy with other dogs, however, and they are good as guard and watchdogs. One owner states that they

With Children: Yes, if they are raised with them.

With Pets: Same sex dog aggression is common, but they get along well with other pets.

Special Skills: Hunting dog and family pet.

Care and Training: Brush Shiba Inus with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary as they have a natural water-proof coat. Needs plenty of exercise by daily walks or space to run. Training should be understanding, not harsh physical training methods. It is recommended that you take young Shibas to obedience classes for socialization and training and to prevent aggression towards other dogs.

Learning Rate: Medium. Obedience - Medium. Shibas may display stubbornness at times. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Fenced yard, leash, socialization and training.

Living Environment: Shiba Inus enjoy a family environment with a fenced yard. They can live outdoors or indoors in both hot and cold conditions, but they prefer to be with their family. They do prefer colder weather, and do not like extreme heat. The best owner for this breed would be an active owner living in city, suburbs or a rural home. They are very adaptable to different places.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, eye problems, heart problems, patellar luxation, and they may retain their puppy teeth.

History: The oldest native dog of Japan, the Shiba-Inu dates back to the third century B.C. when they were used as a hunting dog. They hunted ground birds and small game, and occasionally went out for a wild boar. Their name means "brushwood dog" in Japanese. This may be because they would hunt near this type of brushwood shrub, or for the color of the plant relating to the deep red color of the breed. Shiba Inus were developed to have the shape of eyes they have today, love and affection for their master, and the deep red color they carry. Shiba Inus are thought to have come from the interbreeding of the Sanin, Mino, and Shinshu. The breed is and has been very popular in Japan for years. Bred for the outdoors, they naturally enjoy the cold weather and some Japanese owners used to put their dogs on ice and blow fans on them in a belief that it would grow a fine coat. They almost became extinct in 1952 due to an outbreak of distemper. Only in this century have they been introduced outside their native Japan. In 1954 the breed was introduced to America, and has become a much loved pet here as well. Today they are growing in popularity ranking 58th by the AKC in 1998. In Japan, the Shiba Inu has much cultural significance, and is considered a natural monument.

First Registered by the AKC: 1997

AKC Group: Non-Sporting

Class: Non-Sporting

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 5), KC(GB), UKC