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About Shiba Inus

Breed Information

Another member of the Spitz family, the Shiba Inu is the oldest native Japanese dog. His history reportedly goes back to the third century B.C. The Shiba Inu is used to hunt small game although in the past he was bred for hunting large game. Today, his fox-like cunning, and alert, watchful attitude make him an effective guardian of home and family.

The Shiba Inu's name means 'Little Dog', or brush-wood dog. This breed stands just 16 inches tall at the shoulder, and averages about 25 pounds. The waterproof coat is short and straight. Twice a year a Shiba will blow its wooly undercoat. Generally, a good brush once a week is all the maintenance the coat requires until they blow their coat. Then once a day you will need to brush out your Shiba. The accepted colors are red, red sesame, and black and tan. Shibas also have a cream coat, but it is not universally accepted, according to the breed standard. A cream Shiba will still make an excellent, adorable pet. All colors except cream have "urajiro" which is a cream-colored marking around the face, chest, and underside of the body. With the Shiba's all-weather coat, they can withstand a wide range of temperatures. A Shiba will keep itself very clean and they have virtually no "doggy-odor": they are almost cat-like in their cleanliness. Although the Shiba does shed twice a year, people with allergies seem to do well with a Shiba, possibly because of their cleanliness and little dander. Like all members of the Spitz family, the Shiba carries its tail curled up over its back. 

One unusual characteristic of this dog is that it sometimes yodels or makes a howling scream called the "Shiba Scream" when it wants your attention. Generally, a Shiba is a quiet dog, barking an alarm only when something is amiss around your home.

The Shiba Inu has a confident, friendly, extroverted nature that has made him the most popular pet in Japan. Only recently seen outside his native country, the Shiba's popularity is on the rise. Loyal and strongly intuitive, he is a family dog who needs human companionship.

A Shiba may look more like a stuffed toy animal, but beware! Small he may be, but the Shiba Inu has a large dog personality in a small dog body! He is fiery, independent, strong-willed, and can be stubborn and territorial. As an owner, you must be in control. Training and socializing your Shiba must begin as a puppy. New places, new people, as well as other animals should be a prominent part of your new Shiba's upbringing. Be patient - consistent encouragement, praise and reward-based training are the most successful. Early socialization will help curb same sex dog aggression. Puppy school and beginner obedience is a must. With a medium activity level, the energetic and agile Shiba Inu will need moderate exercise and does well with a large, fenced yard. An apartment Shiba will need more regular walks. 

Please visit the National Shiba Club of America for more information about the breed.