AKC Dog Breeds: Shiba Inu

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Non Sporting Group
Height:13-16 inches   Weight: 19-30 pounds  Color: black and tan, red or red sesame

The smallest of the Japanese native breeds, the Shiba was originally developed for hunting in the dense undergrowth of Japan's mountainous areas. Alert and agile with keen senses, he is also an excellent watchdog and companion. Descended from the primitive dogs of the ancient people of Japan, the Shiba Inu was bred to hunt small wild game, boar and bear. The name Shiba in Japanese means brushwood, after the breed's hunting terrain or the color of brushwood leaves in the fall and Inu means dog. World War II nearly spelled disaster for the Shiba due to bombing raids and distemper, but after the war, bloodlines were combined to produce the breed as it is known today. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1997.

General Appearance
The Shiba is a small, compact, agile furry dog that looks like a miniature Akita. It has a pointed face, broad forehead and triangular prick ears. The eyes are small and dark. The teeth should form a scissors bite. The nose is dark. The Spitz-like tail is thick and strong curling over the back and carried either in a ring or with a sickle curve. Though all colors are acceptable, the plush double coat most often comes in red, or red with a little black overlay, or black with tan markings. The dog should have white or cream-colored markings on the cheeks and sides of the muzzle, throat, underside and chest. White is also permitted on the legs, tail tip and above the eyes.

An independent, strong minded, and hardworking dog, the Shiba Inu is a creature with plenty of spirit and courage. These are not clingy dogs and are not overly demanding, but he can be willful and stubborn, making him best suited to those with experience of dog ownership. The Shiba Inu is adept and digging and climbing, and is a confirmed pursuer of just about anything that crosses his path - it is essential that he is therefore in a safe and secured area whenever he is not on a leash. Very fast and agile, the Shiba Inu is an intelligent dog and thrives on interaction and mental stimulation. These dogs can be possessive and manipulative when given half the chance, and they will need to be trained with a firm yet positive method. When brought up with them the Shiba Inu tends to get along well with children, although he does not take well to be handled roughly or teased. They can be aggressive around same sex dogs, and their high prey drive means that they may chase smaller animals. The Shiba Inu is also very territorial and will be suspicious of strangers, which adds to his watchdog abilities. The bark of the Shiba Inu can sometimes resemble and yodel and in some cases even a shriek


The Shiba Inu has a coat that is fairly easy to groom. Rubber brushing does well with the coat of this dog to remove dead and loose hair. Seasonally a heavy shedder, many owners rely on regular professional grooming to keep shedding to a minimum. Do not bathe this dog regularly as it will remove the waterproofing this breed retains.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Shibas can have some hereditary defects, for which all reputable breeders screen their breeding stock. patellar luxation will sometimes appear in Shibas. This ailment causes loose kneecaps and is usually not severe enough to be detrimental to a pet. An experienced veterinarian can detect this condition early on. Something that many new owners do not know is that the Shiba can be prone to allergies. If you suspect allergies, you should take the animal to the vet as soon as possible as the symptoms can range from mild to very severe. The Shiba may also suffer from glaucoma. This can be detected early on through regular visits to the vet. As with many dogs, eye problems can present problems and owners are encouraged to have their dogs eyes checked regularly.  The life expectancy for Shibas is 12-15 years.

Activity Level

The Shiba Inu is an undemanding dog that will adapt to your circumstances, so long as it gets a daily walk. It is a very active dog and will be healthier and happier with regular exercise. This breed can walk for hours on end as it has tremendous endurance.


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