The Shiba Inu is a furry, agile, medium boned, muscular, compact little dog that is often mistaken for a miniature Akita because they look very similar. It has a broad forehead, distinctive small pointed face, and pricked triangular ears. The Shiba has a dark reddish brown nose, dark small eyes, teeth that form a scissor bite, and a strong, curving Spitz-like tail carried in either a sickle curve or ring. They stand from thirteen to sixteen inches high at the shoulder and weigh from eighteen to thirty pounds.
The double coat of the Shiba Inu is straight and stiff while the undercoat is thick and soft. The fur on their legs, ears, and face is short. Although all coat colors on Shiba are acceptable, the most common colors are black with tan markings, red with a small black overlay, or red. The Shiba Inu should also have cream or white markings on its chest, underside, cheeks, throat and muzzle.
An ancient Asian dog breed with Kyushu and Chow Chow blood, the Shiba Inu arrived in Japan over two thousand years ago from China. The Shiba is the littlest of six different dog breeds including the Akita that developed from the original breed. They originally used Shiba Inu to hunt small game and flush birds. Today the Shiba Inu are kept mainly as pets and are the most popular breed of dog in Japan. They are continuously gaining popularity as a companion dog in the United States. Some of the Shiba Inu’s skills include agility, guarding, tracking, performing tricks, and hunting.
Bold, lively, independent, alert, good-natured small dogs that are also affectionate, Shiba Inu are loyal, loving family dogs. A strong willed, curious, fearless dog, they can be stubborn but are certainly trainable. The Shiba are charming, playful dogs that bond closely and are extremely loyal to their owner and family. They get along well with children and other pets, especially when raised together, but may be aggressive with same sex dogs. These small dogs like to explore and do have a tendency to wander, so keep them in a safe, fenced yard or on a leash. Socialization and obedience training is very important because Shiba Inu can be spirited, aggressive and a little fiery at times. Treated properly these wonderful dogs are great companions for the whole family.
Although the Shiba Inu are generally a healthy, hardy breed with few hereditary issues, like all dog breeds there are some health conditions to watch for including:
[-]Allergies – The most common dog allergy ailments are inhalant allergies, contact allergies, and food allergies. If you suspect an allergy, take your Shiba to the veterinarian to have this checked out. [/-]
[-]Patellar Luxation – This is an ailment resulting in a loose or slipped kneecap, which the vet can correct surgically.[/-]
[-]Hip Dysplasia – The thighbone does not fit tightly into the dog’s hip joint. [/-]
[-]Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA is an eye disease where the retina gradually deteriorates.[/-]
It is important when getting a Shiba Inu to make sure you purchase it from a reputable breeder that has health clearance certificates for the Shiba puppy’s parent dogs.
The Shiba Inu has an outer coat that is straight, stiff, coarse, and short while the dog’s undercoat is thick and soft. Their naturally waterproof, double coat is easy to groom using a firm bristle brush to remove the loose and dead hair on these seasonally heavy shedders. Only bathe a Shiba when necessary as this removes the natural oils that keeps their fur waterproof. Brush the dog’s teeth a minimum of three or four times weekly using a toothbrush and flavored toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Brushing helps remove plaque from their teeth. Keep the dogs nails trimmed and ears clean. When brushing your dog, watch for any signs of fleas, cuts, infection, or other problems. Always check their mouth, eyes, ears, and feet weekly for problems.
The Shiba Inu are energetic but not hyperactive and require low to a medium amount of exercise. Moderately active indoors, they adapt to their owners energy level and know how to exercise themselves so make a great dog for people that are not able to walk their dog often. A moderately sized, secure yard is an excellent way for the Shiba to enjoy being outdoors. Keep the Shiba Inu on a leash when going for a walk, as they will take off after something interesting.
The Shiba Inu is an excellent family dog that gets along well with older children that understand how to treat the dog properly. Socialization and training should start at a very early age helping the Shiba learn to get along with other animals and prevent aggressiveness towards same sex dogs. Some Shiba Inu are aggressive while others are shy, so exposing your Shiba Inu to new sights, sounds, people, animals, dogs, environments, and experiences helps them grow into confident, even-tempered, happy adult dogs that understand how to behave in certain situations. It is important to use only positive training methods such as praise, food treats and patience and always keep the sessions fun, short, and interesting so your Shiba Inu does not lose interest.
Shiba are very intelligent, learn quickly, and enjoy spending time bonding with their owner but there will be times when their independence shows a little. This is part of the charm of a Shiba Inu. Once trained and socialized, these wonderful dogs make a loyal, dedicated, charming addition to any family.