Shiba Inu; As you would recognize by looking at its appearance, shibas are small, alert, agile fox-like or cat-like dogs having triangular ears that make them look like that of a fox.
While his short attractive eye, captivating snout gives him the bold, fiery look; his cute curly tail gives it the softer, compassionate look.
He uses its tail to snuggle or cover his face while sleeping.
There’s so much to learn about this bold yet lovely breed. Shiba is in itself a small package of the gift, anyone would love to have.
Especially breeders who love an alert dog-like “doge”.
So, let’s know more facts about him.
What’s in a name?
A name says a lot about someone or something. Be it history, origin, or meaning of the name.
The name Shiba Inu is a Japanese originated name. Three literal meanings can be drawn out from the word Shiba, while Inu means ‘dog’ in Japanese.
Now let’s see the meaning of the word Shiba –
1. The word Shiba in Japanese means ‘small size’. This name has been attributed due to the small size of this dog. It is the smallest of the six ancient breeds of Japan.
2. Shiba is the natural hunter, it used to hunt in the brushwood forests, hence the name ‘brushwood dog’. While brushwood is termed as Shiba in Japanese.
3. The coat color of Shiba matches that of the brushwood trees’ color, (i.e, red) hence the name.
● Japanese Shiba Inu
● Japanese Small Size Dog
● Japanese Brushwood Dog
● Japanese Turf Dog
● Shiba Ken
● Japanese hunting dog
● Brushwood dog
Remember this meme?
Yes, you have seen this right?
Recently this picture referred to as ‘doge meme’ has become an internet sensation overnight.
And why not? This truly is a cute yet funny dog anyone can relate to.
So, the dog you see in the above picture is none other than our heroic dog Shiba Inu.
It’s so interesting to know that It is the same dog that comes to your keypad suggestions when you type dog on your google keyboard..lol that was interesting!!
So now that you have come this far for knowing about this cute furball, let’s get to know more about it.
As u may have guessed from the appearance, Shiba is a Japanese dog. In fact, it is an ancient and one of the smallest breeds of dog, used for hunting in older times.
They were bred specially for hunting. These dogs used to hunt in brushwood forests, hence many of it’s hunting characters can still be seen presently.
The origin of the Shiba dates back to as early as 300 b.c. as a hunting dog in central Japan.
There are basically six ancient families of dog breeds in Japan, of which Shiba is one of the smallest survived breeds of ancient times.
It belongs to the spitz family of canine. There are Three main types existed and each was named for their area of origin:
● The Shinshu Shiba (from the Nagano Prefecture),
● The Mino Shiba (from the Gifu Prefecture), and
● The Sanin Shiba (from the northeast mainland).
After World War II, due to much destruction of livelihoods in Japan due to nuclear attack, the breed was nearly lost, and it came into light in 1952.
In an attempt to save the Shiba Inu, the different types were interbred, crossing the heavier-boned dogs from mountainous regions with the lighter-boned dogs from other regions.
As a result, the Shiba survived as one breed with some variation in bone substance. Since then, Shibas have achieved the vigor and their popularity continues to grow till now.
You may be surprised to know that this breed came into America just 60 years ago and was registered in the American kennel club in 1992.
American Kennel Club Registration Statistics ranked the breed in 44th place in 2016; a rise from 50th place in 2012.
Shiba Inu Appearance and features
1) Height :
Shiba Inu is basically a medium-sized dog. It is, however, one of the smallest breeds of Japan.
Male: 35 to 43 cm (14 to 17 in)
Female: 33 to 41 cm (13 to 16 in)
Generally, males are taller than females.
Male: 8–11 kg
Female: 6.8–9 kg
Generally, males are heavier than females.
● The Shiba has a double coat. The undercoat is soft and thick, the outer coat stiff and straight.
● It sheds moderately, the whole year. But sheds highly twice a year.
● A Shiba comes in 4 coat colors viz, Red, sesame, cream, black and tan.
4) Life Span:
Their average life expectancy is from 12 to 15 years. Exercise, especially daily walks, is preferred for this breed to live a long and healthy life. Shibas are the perfect companion dogs if taken well care of.
Health and diseases
Shiba Inus are basically healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions.
However, if regular walking or exercises are practiced then diseases will remain at bay. Shiba Inus will get any or all of these diseases, so it is very important if you are adopting it.
In Shiba Inus, below are the health conditions if seen you will need to visit a vet. hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease;
Tail chasing or spinning is an unusual problem that’s not well understood. It usually begins at 6 months of age. The dog is obsessed with his tail and may circle for hours.
He loses interest in food and water. All attempts to get the dog to stop the behavior fail. Sometimes the dog yelps while spinning and may attempt to bite. Research suggests that spinning may be a type of seizure.
Some dogs respond to treatment with phenobarbital either alone or in conjunction with other medications.
Allergies are common dogs, including the Shiba Inu.
There are three main types of allergies: food allergies, which are treated by elimination process of certain foods from the dog’s diet; contact allergies, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, mildew.
Treatment varies according to the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.
Chylothorax is a condition that causes an accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity. This is more like pneumonia.
This accumulation causes difficulty breathing, decreased appetite, coughing, and lethargy. Treatment includes removing fluid or in serious cases, surgery.
Glaucoma is a disease that dogs and people. This is an eye disorder that may cause blindness.
It is increased pressure in the eye and can be found in two forms: primary, which is hereditary, and secondary, which is caused by decreased fluid in the eye due to other eye diseases.
Symptoms include vision loss and pain. Glaucoma is treated with eye drops or surgically.
Cancer is an abnormal increase in the number of cells in the body. This can be caused to anyone including humans and dogs.
Cancers are of two types – benign and malignant. Benign ones are less harmful and cause tumors that can be removed surgically. While malignant ones are much harmful.
The treatment isn’t successful as well. Symptoms that may indicate canine cancer include abnormal swelling of a sore or bump, sores that do not heal, bleeding from any body opening, and difficulty with breathing or elimination.
Cancer treatments include chemotherapy, surgery, and medications.
Epilepsy is a neural disorder. Epilepsy is often inherited and can cause mild or severe seizures.
Seizures may be exhibited by unusual behavior, such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding.
Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good.
It’s important to remember that seizures can be caused by many other things than idiopathic epilepsy, such as metabolic disorders, infectious diseases that affect the brain, tumors, exposure to poisons, severe head injuries, and more.
The patella is the kneecap. Luxation means dislocation of an anatomical part (as a bone at a joint). Patellar luxation is when the knee joint (often of a hind leg) slides in and out of place, causing pain.
This can be crippling, but many dogs lead relatively normal lives with this condition.
This is a disorder of the thyroid gland that’s thought to cause conditions such as epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, dark patches on the skin, and other skin conditions.
It’s treated with medication and diet.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):
PRA is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina.
Early in the disease, dogs become night-blind. As the disease progresses, they lose their daytime vision as well.
Many dogs adapt to limited or complete vision loss very well, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
Hip dysplasia is a heritable condition in which the thighbone or femur doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint.
Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. It is diagnosed with the help of X-ray screening for hip Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.
If you’re buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
Personality and behavior
As u all know Japanese had ever been fond of discipline. This is what they are famous for. And a similar trait appears in this little Japanese guy.
He’s bold, alert, well behaved, loves cleanliness as much as cats do. In all, we can conclude it is a well-disciplined breed.
When it comes to tolerance about when left alone at home. They win our hearts.
For the busy owners who work 9-5 and aren’t able to see their pet for long due to work might find this breed tolerating leaving alone, unlike other breeds who might go mad when left alone.
Shibas are alert, agile, and smart dogs. They tend to guard more. They are aggressive at times as well. They can make the intruder go away by frightening them.
Hence, has a perfect doggy trait. He may chase small animals at times like squirrels or rats considering them an intruder.
When it comes to sharing their stuff with others, like other sibling pets or children, they are seen to be reluctant.
They are highly possessive about their own stuff. They mark their territories as other wild animals do.
They don’t like it when any unknown gets into their territories and hence, attacks them.
When it comes to socialization with children or other animals, they are less communicative at first.
But when trained well or as time passes, they can turn into best buddies.
Care and grooming
● A balance shall be maintained between feeding and exercising your Shiba. Else it may lose or gain its weight.
● Every dog has a different metabolism, weight, size, activity levels. Therefore, feeding should be done according to the way which suits your dog.
● Recommended daily amount: 1/2 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. This includes standard dog foods such as pedigree, drools, etc.
● For making sure that your dog doesn’t carry any disease or keeping it at bay from diseases it is prone to, regular vaccination and regular visits to vet must be ensured.
As mentioned above Shiba is a well-disciplined and cleanliness loving dog. As a result Grooming, this dog becomes a super easy task.
However, there are some of the duties as a dog owner which are meant to perform for a healthy pet. These are-
● Brushing – Shiba has a double coat which may shed heavily twice a year. Therefore brushing regularly ensures he doesn’t shed its hair everywhere covering the whole of your room, making it messy.
● Trimming – Nails and hair should be trimmed regularly once they get too long, which may either irritate and harm you or to your dog.
Before trimming the nails, make sure it isn’t hurting the dog making it painful for him, otherwise, it won’t cooperate the next time.
Toenails have a rich blood supply, so make sure don’t make it bleed.
● Brushing teeth and bathing– Brushing teeth shall be done every 3-4 days a week or daily according to needs. This helps to get rid of plaque, tartar, and breath due to bacteria build-up.
Whereas while bathing, make sure you don’t bath it too often so that its coat dries up.
Shibas are very stubborn and reluctant to train. A trainer may find it very difficult to train this dog in the starting.
But as soon as the dog considers you as his boss, he’ll listen to your commands.
To make your dog listen to you, try looking into its eyes while ordering so that he understands who’s the boss.
Give him small rewards for every command he listens too and cooperate with you. Although this is not a breed to be trained for circus entertaining, it is a smart dog and can learn a few tricks and discipline easily.
This dog has been found to be home breakers mostly. So, you better not unleash it when out, else it will tend to run away from you or may get lost chasing anyone.
A leash and it’s controlling is very important at the start of Training.
Shiba Inu is smart, disciplined, alert, confident, loyal, faithful and a high standard dog.
It is a complete family companion dog. As well as an easy to breed dog.
For many dog lovers out there, this can prove to be the best pet you ever had.