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Japanese Shiba Inu

History

Usually simply called the Shiba Inu, this dog has its origins in Japan where it was used as a hunting dog to flush out small game for hunters. They nearly faced extinction during the Second World War due to an outbreak of distemper. A few years after the war, Shiba Inu were found living in the countryside and a breeding program was started. The breed was registered with the Japanese Kennel Club in the late 1940’s.

In Japanese the word “shiba” means brushwood as the dog’s coat resembles the autumn brushwood. They are very popular in Japan and also have been gaining popularity in the USA. They are the smallest of all the Japanese Spitzes.

Behaviour

Shiba Inus are a bold, confident and alert breed. Seemingly always ready for action. They are loyal and affectionate towards those around them. They work well in a family setting and get along well with other pets and respectful children.

Rather than stubborn, Shiba Inus are seen as “free thinkers” and can be funny about sharing food, territory and toys. Teaching them by taking away food and toys at a young age will curb this problem. It is best to hide away any toys when children are around to prevent any problems.

Training these dogs can take a while, this is due to their nature. They are intelligent and will learn, just at their own pace. Patience will be needed. They quickly form a close bond with their owners and are very playful, so using games to train them is very effective. They still need to be shown who’s boss or they’ll try and take the role for themselves. A few minutes of training each day during a walk will reinforce their position and make a well rounded dog. This form of training should continue throughout their entire lives.

They have a very strong chase instinct, making recall almost non-existent. They will run after squirrels and cats, meaning that is best to walk them either on a leash or in a secure area. Shibas aren’t a demanding dog but will require at least one walk a day to keep them fit and healthy, both mentally and physically. They are active and will need a long walk each day for them to be content. They make great hiking partners.

The Shiba is a very clean breed and generally avoids getting too dirty. They need regular brushing to remove dead hair, but bathing is not usually needed; plus it removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. When moulting they lose a lot of fur.

As a breed, they can be prone to Canine Hip Dysplasia and Patellar Luxation.

Temperament

Shiba Inus have a bold and headsting temperament. They aren’t good dogs for the inexperienced. Their high prey drive paired with their nimble agility can make them a handful for many owners. They need someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to properly train this dog. They can be noisy, but this inturn makes them good guard dogs.

Health Problems

Shiba Inus may be prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), luxating patella (dislocation of the kneecap), elbow dysplasia, Legg Calvé Perthes disease (deformation of the femoral head which can cause lameness and joint swelling), cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness), allergies, and heart disease.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 years
  • Weight: 15 - 25 lbs
  • Height: 13 - 16"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Short - Double
  • Grooming Requirements: Once a week
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Companion Dog
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

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