The Shiba Inu is quite possibly the oldest of the 6 Spitz breeds from ancient Japan. With a fascinating history and an adorable fox-like appearance, it’s no wonder this breed has become a treasured member of so many families.
In this article, we’ll discuss the unique details of the Shiba Inu, and dive into why they make such wonderful additions to any home.
History Of The Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is one of the few breeds that originated from Japan. The Shiba Inu was primarily bred as a hunting dog, where they were used to hunt small game and birds.
Though this breed was well-loved in Japan when they first gained popularity, they almost met their demise during World War 2.
Many dogs perished due to the nationwide bombings, while others were victim to infectious disease and distemper that spread across the country post-war.
It wasn’t until the war ended that the Shiba Inu presence began to grow again with breeding programs. The Shiba Inu we know today is a result of these breeding programs.
It’s believed that the Shiba Inu made its way to America through a service family in 1954. The progression of the Shiba Inu breed is a bit hazy until the 1990’s, when they were finally recognized by the AKC.
Today the Shiba Inu is found in homes across the world due to their small stature and unique personality.
Appearance Of The Shiba Inu
Though the Shiba Inu looks like a tiny teddy bear, this breed demands respect. Their small frame gives them the ability to hunt small game, and easily show off their agility.
Their thick double coat creates the ability to withstand any climate, and their plush undercoat helps them stand against cold winters.
Their comparison to the fox is often due to their pointy ears, and their coat colors that resemble common fox colors.
Shiba Inus are often tan, cream, tan and white, red, red and white, and sesame with black-tipped ears.
Their compact size makes them a perfect companion for home life, usually standing at a maximum of 16 inches in height. Depending on whether they are male or female, the Shiba Inu can weigh anywhere from 16-25 pounds.
Personality Of The Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is known for their fearless and bold attitude. They are confident, strong-willed, and often have their own ideas about things! Though this breed can be a bit stubborn, a well-raised Shiba Inu can be a treasure.
Since they were originally bred to hunt small game, this breed does have a high chase drive. Though they can mesh well with smaller pets when introduced at a young age, this breed is known for chasing down small animals.
Due to the Shiba Inu having their own ideas about things, it’s important to socialize them and train them from a young age.
This breed is known to be a bit territorial with their family and other treasured items (such as food and toys), so it’s important to teach them from the start that aggressive responses are not okay.
Although this breed can be a bit of a challenge, they can be wonderful pets when they are raised in an environment that addresses their challenging traits.
Overall Health Of The Shiba Inu
While the Shiba Inu can live a general life of up to 15 years on average, there are some medical conditions you should be aware of when bringing a Shiba Inu into your life.
1. Luxating Patellas
Luxating patella refers to the dislocation of the knee joint. This condition refers to the sliding of the knee joint, which often results in pain and possible lameness.
While most dogs can lead generally normal lives with this condition, it can lead to severe pain and lameness in some dogs. Due to the possibility of this condition, it’s best to keep your Shiba Inu at a healthy weight.
Allergies are quite common in the dog world, as they can be a result of their food, allergens in the environment around them, or due to an allergy to contact.
Allergies can lead to skin irritation, itchy skin, skin inflammation, secondary skin infections, and gastrointestinal upset if it’s diet-related.
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that leads to neurological behavior in dogs. While epilepsy can range in severity, it can cause seizures, twitching, abnormal behavior, and other neurological episodes.
Though epilepsy can be scary for a dog owner, this condition has a good prognosis when properly managed by a veterinarian. This condition is often treated by daily medication.
4. Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition that refers to the improper alignment of the hip joint. Since this condition is a result of breeding, there is no set time that a dog will begin to display symptoms.
Dogs with hip dysplasia can have pain, limping, difficulty getting up and down, slow down with time, experience lameness, and other pain-related symptoms.
Since this is a genetic condition, it’s important to have medical records on each parent when purchasing a Shiba Inu puppy.
Luckily this condition can be treated with the use of daily eye drops or surgical repair.
Though each breed can have a run-in with cancer, Shiba Inus are more prone to this deadly condition.
Make sure to keep up with your yearly veterinary exams to stay on top of any changes in your Shiba Inu’s health.
Training Your Shiba Inu
Training your Shiba Inu can be a bit of a challenge, so this breed is only recommended for dedicated dog owners. Due to their feisty personality and dislike of being on a leash, you will need to be committed to the cause!
The Shiba Inu is a free spirit that is often independent, so you will need to start this training process from the start. Group obedience classes are recommended for Shiba Inu puppies, as they can struggle a bit with socialization when not introduced to other dogs from the start. It’s important to start the socialization process from the second they enter your home, as this breed is known to be feisty with other dogs and strangers.
The Shiba Inu is actually quite smart and will pick up commands easily if your training method is effective and catches their attention. This breed thrives on positive reinforcement, so make sure to offer plenty of rewards during your training process.
Your training process is made easier the earlier you start, so make sure to start training and socializing from the second they enter your home.
Exercise And Your Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is considered an active breed and loves to go outside and explore their surroundings. Due to this factor alone, it’s recommended to have a Shiba Inu in a home with a yard.
When left alone, make sure that you provide enough toys and indoor entertainment on rainy days.
Since the Shiba Inu loves to explore, try your best to factor in at least 20-30 minutes out outdoor fun each day that weather permits.
The Shiba Inu typically requires 20-30 minutes of daily exercise and is less likely to turn to undesirable behavioral habits when their exercise needs are met.
Shiba Inu’s love to play fetch, loves to go on walks, love to accompany their owners on outdoor adventures, and love to spend their time sniffing around their yard.
Important Tips For Owning A Shiba Inu
If you are planning to bring a Shiba Inu into your home, make sure to remember these helpful tips!
- This breed is extremely independent.
- They are known to be feisty with other dogs and strangers, so it’s important to start the socialization process early.
- The Shiba Inu can shed a bit, but grooming needs are minimal.
- This breed has a high chase drive, so it’s important to introduce them to new pets carefully.
- This breed can be possessive with food and toys, so it’s important to watch this closely from the start.
- This breed loves to be outside and participate in outdoor adventures.
- This breed is prone to luxating patellas and hip dysplasia, so make sure to get medical records for each parent when purchasing a Shiba Inu.
- This breed learns quickly but requires an experienced dog owner due to their stubbornness.
Shiba Inu – Summary
The Shiba Inu is a unique breed that comes with their own set of quirks. As long as you are ready to work with their independent personality, a well trained Shiba Inu can be a wonderful companion.