Shiba Inus


Shiba Inu

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Breed Notes

The Shiba Inu is considered Japan's most popular indigenous breed. His name means "little dog." He looks like a small version of the Akita. Bones of a Shiba-type dog have been discovered from c. 3000 B.C. Indigenous of the island of Honshu, the Shiba was used for fishing and hunting small game. In 1937, the Japanese Ministry of Education recognized the breed as a national monument. He was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1993.
The Shiba Inu possesses acute senses and is able to jump quite high. He seldom barks, preferring to shriek in an extraordinary manner. He is good natured and bold. He is loyal to his master but prefers to be the primary dog if other breeds exist in the household. He is catlike in his cleanliness.
The skull of the Shiba is broad with a well-defined drop off (stop) to the muzzle. Muzzle length is forty percent of the length of the head. The eyes are brown and almond-shaped, with the tips pointing upward. The ears are small, triangular, and held erect. The nose is black. The bite is scissors. The neck is thick and sturdy and of moderate length. The chest is deep. The back is strong. The legs are strong and straight. The tail is thick and firmly curled over the back. The coat is double with a soft, dense undercoat and a straight, hard outer coat. Coat colors include red, sesame, red sesame, black sesame, black and tan, white and light red. White markings on the muzzle are characteristic of the breed. Average height is between fourteen and sixteen inches. Average weight is between eighteen and twenty-two inches.


zorusie@aol.com of Glasgow, Scotland writes:

You never own a Shiba &shyp; they own you.
Like Dickens Tale of Two Cities: they are the best of breeds &shyp; they are the worst of breeds, but there is never a dull moment with a Shiba. You never fully own a Shiba; more like they own you. But once you have had a Shiba, if you are the right kind of person to own one, you will never have anything else. I saw my first Shiba when they first came into the UK but didn't get one then as I wanted to make sure I knew a bit about them first. I got my first dog in1997, followed by a bitch in 1998 and I have kept three of their pups, so life can get a bit hectic at times and the older male is very much an alpha dog so cannot get out with his sons as he would kill them if he could. But he is the nicest dog I know with HIS bitch and with people and especially children. It is very important with this breed that you get one from a genuine breeder or reliable rescue kennel as they are most definitely NOT for everyone.


Name withheld by request of Florida writes:

Independent, reserved, mischievous, lovable.
Our Shiba was given to us by a young couple who did have time for her. She is a red sesame color and her tail is more "sickle" like and does not completely curl. I grew up with Boston Terriers, and I must say that a Shiba is a world apart. She is a calm, quiet dog who loves to be petted, but she needs her space. She will not come on command and must be kept on a leash. We have invisible fencing and she has never left our yard. It took her some time to trust me, but you can tell that she is very happy now. She will even let me clip her nails (that took about six months to accomplish). She was never crate trained and has free roam in our home, but has never been destructive. She is a very clean dog who has no odor, but she does shed ... no she explodes! Her favorite toys are my feet. She also loves to play fetch. I love my "little fox."


Name withheld by request of Pennsylvania writes:

Highly refined, intelligent, and sensitive "catlike" dog.
If you're considering the Shiba as a prospective "pet dog," do your homework first. You must meet their needs. They have enormous character, are very loyal, highly independent with extraordinary instincts, character, alertness, and intelligence. They size people and situations up VERY quickly.
Our's is a rescued champion show/breeder sesame female, now eight years old. She was not socialized prior to family life but quickly took to excellent family behavior, albeit she was somewhat shy in the first few years. She is still shy in busy, man-made environments. Housebreaking was quick. She has allergies that can only be handled through an annual steroid injection (very cheap). Shibas are sensitive to junk food such as table scraps. We feed ours only fish and sweet potato dry kibble, topped with a teaspoon of fish oil supplement, and an occasional veggie treat. They must be allowed their space, exercise, and respect. Let them come to you, not you to them, unless necessary. They must be kept on leash at all times as they are excellent escape artists who love to hunt small game, and have no regard for motor vehicle traffic.
They will win your heart and respect in an instant, and, you'll lose theirs as quickly if you disrespect them. Children must be taught to respect these dogs as they are unlike any other. Overall, the Shiba is an extraordinary dimension in family pet experience.


keetax@aol.com of Tempe, AZ writes:

Great dog, but a little independent.
I have a year-and-one-half-old red female. She is getting to be a lot of fun, but it has taken almost a year for her to "let loose." She doesn't come when she's called, but she is the most fun to play with when she decides it's time to play. She also is entertaining to watch and some of her antics are hilarious. All in all I love this breed. I had Akitas before, but due to a move, we cannot have the larger breeds in our area; too confined of a space.


bette.trenam@mail.sprint.com of Dallas, TX writes on 1/8/01:

A loving dog that tries very hard to please.
I believe my Shiba was beaten when he was a puppy. I got him when he was11/2 years old. He was afraid of everything and dug himself a backyard burrow to live in (in the Dallas summer). I have had him 1 1/2 years and he is still a little skittish, but he trusts that I will never hit him or yell at him. He hunts and kills (in cooperation with my Chow) birds, rats, lizards. When he first saw small children he believed they were dangerous little animals, but he now goes to little people to be petted. He is stubborn and is not absolutely reliable about coming when called. He blows his coat twice a year. When he is really serious about being brave and guarding the house, he screams a high pitched scream rather than barking.


ziffy09@hotmail.com of New Hampshire writes on 5/9/00:

Best in the world.
Shibas listen, are playful, intelegent and beautiful! I love these dogs because they are there when you wan't them but not when you don't.


Name withheld by request of Remsen, IA writes on 4/4/00:

Independant, high energy, aloof with strangers, double coated, playful, exciting breed of dog.
Shiba Inus are fairly new to the AKC. There are some genetic problems as well as health problems just as you find with any dog. I have raised Shibas for 10 years now and have had many learning experiences. The right owner for a Shiba is one that has alot of patience. Shibas are a very intelligent breed, however, they will choose not to learn your way if you have not alot of experience with dogs. They as a whole are a very clean breed, very cat like in their agility as well as their cleanliness. They will often hunt around the yard for various prey; sometimes not distinguishing a neighbors cat or pet rabbit as being "pets" and not interesting prey to kill. This does not mean that they cannot get along with other animals, it depends on how they are introduced. Shibas can make wonderful companions and enjoy their friendship with their owners and will respect their owners and be very loyal if you train early. The Shiba coat has a dense undercoat that "blows out" two times per year. The shedding time usually lasts about a week and they will loose coats in big areas. A bath and a good raking with a undercoat rake usually does the trick. Their high cleanliness helps them keep their coat in soft neat and clean appearance.


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