A Shiba inu is a loyal but independent hunting dog breed, which is one of the Japanese dog breeds. Here are some facts about this breed.
Did You Know?
The Shiba Inu dog breed nearly became extinct after World War II because it suffered from distemper (a fatal virus) and food shortage. The breed was later interbred in breeding programs.
The Shiba Inu is one of the six Japanese dog breeds and also the smallest of them. It is one of the most ancient dog breeds that exists. It was bred for hunting in the earlier times.
In Japanese, the word ‘shiba’ means brushwood and ‘inu’ means a dog. In an old Nagano dialect, ‘shiba’ means small and so is often called the “Little Brushwood Dog”. In Japan, this breed is described by 3 words: “kani-i” (spirited boldness), ryusei (good nature) and soboku (alertness). Overall, it is a physically strong, alert, loyal and an independent dog.
Average Height: Male: 14.5 – 16.5 inches | Female: 13.5 – 15.5 inches
Average Weight: Male: 23 pounds | Female: 17 pounds
According to the National Shiba Club of America, this breed has the following colors.
- It is available in red/sesame, white, black, and tan colors.
- It is a medium-sized, strong, and sturdy breed, with a foxy face, pricked ears, and a confident gaze.
- Eyes are a bit triangular, and the iris is dark brown or black.
- It has a double coat with the outer portion being stiff and straight; the undercoat is thick and soft. Trimming of the coat is severely penalized.
- There is short and even fur on the face, ears, and legs.
- The tail is thick and curled over the back.
- Shedding might be moderate or heavy twice a year.
- The average litter size of this breed is 2-3 puppies.
- The average lifespan is 12-15 years. But the oldest Shiba Inu that ever lived was 26 years old.
- The breed has a hunting history; hence, it has a very strong sense of sight and smell.
- It is very alert and so is an excellent watchdog.
- It is an independent thinker and can show dog aggression sometimes or might not listen to you at once.
- It has a very strong prey drive, so it might chase small animals, and it might result in jumping off fences; hence, always having leashed or fully fenced areas is advisable.
- It is challenging to train it, but obedience training from a young stage and early socializing helps.
- It is loyal to the family and might be aloof from strangers.
- It is not very advisable to keep it in homes with other pets or small children.
- It keeps itself clean by licking like a cat. But regular brushing is necessary for its coat.
Common Health Problems
- The Shiba Inu is a healthy breed, but might be prone to some health problems. It is important to be aware because precaution is better than cure.
- It can be affected by allergies, hip dysplasia, cataracts, glaucoma, entropion, and luxating patella.
- Eye tests should be done once a year because trouble with the eyes can happen anytime.
- Timely joint examinations should be done in its early stage of life.
- If it doesn’t suffer from any joint problems till it’s 2 years old, consider that it is free from the pain for the rest of its life because at this age, the complete bone structure is formed.
Things to Remember Before Getting One
- Understand the breed properly before getting one.
- Always buy a pup from a responsible breeder so that you can rest assured that it is free from genetic diseases. To help you, go through the list of authentic breeders. Also, remember that the breeder should show you health clearances for both the parents.
- This breed needs a confident pack leader, or it will think that it itself is the one. Timid owners or first-time owners may try to avoid it. (Anyway, proper training is needed!)
- Early socializing is a must!
- Leash training for this breed needs a lot of time and patience.
- It has a lot of energy, and it has to have regular exercises or walks.
- It needs to be brushed regularly.
- It is very possessive about its food and toys, so do not disturb it while it’s eating.
- It will attempt to escape; hence, keeping it tied to a leash or constructing big fenced yards is needed.
- Feeding your dog depends on its weight, height, exercise level, and metabolism.
Rescue or shelters are places where homeless dogs are taken care of. You can check rescue organizations in your area, and always think of adopting one and giving it the love it deserves.
This breed has been recognized by many clubs like the AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI, KC, among others.
Getting a dog in your life is a huge responsibility, so choose the one that suits your lifestyle. Get a Shiba Inu when you’re confident about it! This dog breed is a guaranteed bundle of joy for quite a few years!