Breed Organization National Shiba Club of America Website: http://www.shibas.org Native Country Japan Other Names Japanese Shiba Inu, Japanese Small Size Dog, Shiba Dog, Shiba, Brushwood Dog Life Expectancy Approximately 12-15 Years Litter Size 2-3 Puppies Breed Group AKC Non-Sporting
Breed Appearance The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the six original and distinct
breeds of dog from Japan. A small, agile dog that copes very well
with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for
hunting. It is similar in appearance to the Akita, though much
smaller in stature. Inu is the Japanese word for dog, but the
"Shiba" prefix's origin are less clear. The word shiba usually
refers to a type of red shrub. This leads some to believe that the
Shiba was named with this in mind, either because the dogs were used
to hunt in wild shrubs, or because the most common color of the
Shiba Inu is a red color similar to that of the shrubs. However, in
old Japanese, the word shiba also had the meaning of "small", thus
this might be a reference to the dog's small size. Therefore, the
Shiba Inu is sometimes translated as "Little Brushwood Dog".
Shibas range in height from 14.5 to 16.5 inches (37 to 42 cm) at the
withers for males, and 13.5 to 15.5 inches (34 to 39 cm) for
females, with males weighing approximately 23 lb (10 kg), and
females approximately 17 lb (8 kg). Height or weight outside of this
range is a disqualifier in the show ring.
Shiba Inu have
double coats, with a straight outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat
that is blown generally two times a year, producing a relatively
large amount of fur given the size of the dog. Shedding normally
occurs at the beginning or end of each season. However, between
seasonal sheddings Shibas generally shed in smaller quantities and
require regular brushing.
Shiba may be red, black and tan, or sesame (red with black-tipped
hairs), with a cream, buff, or grey undercoat. They may also be
creamy white or pinto, though this color is not allowed in the show
ring as the markings known as "urajiro" are unable to be seen. The
urajiro markings are defined as a pattern of white in contrast to
the dog's primary coat color that exists on the underside of the
Breed Description Head: Foxlike. Broad skull. Distinct stop. Straight nose
bridge. Muzzle tapers to the nose. Full cheeks. Tight lips. Ears: Small, triangular. Held erect and slightly forward. Eyes: Fairly small, triangular. Dark brown color. Body: Straight back. Broad, muscular loin. Moderately short.
Thick neck. Deep chest. Ribs moderately sprung. Belly well tucked
up. Tail: Set high. Thick. Carried curled or curved in the shape of
a sickle. Hair: Short, hard, straight. Longer on the tail. Soft, dense
undercoat. Coat: Red, sesame (hint of black on rich, dark red background),
black sesame, red sesame, black and tan, brindle, white, light red,
light gray. All colors except whites must be urajiro (whitish hair
on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, under the jaw, on the
throat, forechest, underbody, bottom of the tail, and inside of the
legs). Size: Dog: 38 to 41 cm.Bitch: 35 to 38 cm. Weight: 6 to 12 kg.
History This ancient, indigenous breed developed on Honshu Island. The Shiba
Inu (Shiba meaning "small" and Inu meaning "dog"), thought to have
Chow and Kishu blood, was crossed with English setters and pointers
that had been imported to Japan. Therefore, by the early twentieth
century, pure Shiba Inus had become rare. Around 1928, measures were
taken to maintain pure blood lines. A standard was published in
1934, and the Shiba Inu was declared a "Natural Monument" in 1937.
The breed almost disappeared during World War II. Today, the Shiba
is one of the most popular breeds in Japan.
Behavior Shiba Inus are generally independent and intelligent dogs. Some owners
struggle with obedience training, but like many dogs, socialization
at a young age can greatly affect temperament. Traits such as
independence and intelligence are often associated with ancient dog
breeds, such as the Shiba Inu. Some shibas must always be on a
leash, but with the proper upbringing, a shiba's loyalty will keep
the dog with its owner for life.
The dog has a spirited
boldness and are fiercely proud with a good nature and a feeling of
artlessness. The Shiba is able to move quickly with nimble, elastic
steps. The Shiba Inu is a fastidious breed and feels the need to
maintain themselves in a clean state. They can often be seen licking
their paws and legs much like a cat. They generally go out of their
way to keep their coats clean, and while walking will avoid stepping
in puddles, mud and dirt. Because of their fastidious nature, the
Shiba puppy is easy to housebreak and in many cases will housebreak
themselves. Having their owner simply place them outside after meal
times and naps is generally enough to teach the Shiba the
appropriate method of toileting. A distinguishing characteristic of
the breed is the so-called "shiba scream". When sufficiently
provoked or unhappy, the dog will produce a loud, high pitched
Health Health conditions known to affect this breed are glaucoma,
cataracts, hip dysplasia, and luxating patella. Shibas are also
prone to food allergies. Epilepsy is also becoming common in several
bloodlines in Australia and the USA. Overall, however, they are of
great genetic soundness and few shibas are diagnosed with genetic
defects in comparison to other dog breeds.
Advice The Shiba Inu adapts well to life as a house pet. However, this is a
sporting breed, and therefore long, frequent walks are required.
Daily brushing is needed for this very clean dog.