Breed Group: Non-Sporting Group
Shoulder Height: 13-17 in.
Weight: 18-22 lb.
Life Span: 12-15 years
Colors: Black and tan, cream, red, red sesame, with or without white markings
- The Shiba Inu is one of six Spitz dog breeds to emerge from Japan.
- The breed was developed to hunt and flush small game, but now they're purely a companion breed.
- There are more Shibas kept in Japan than any other breed.
- The body shape often causes the Shiba Inu to be mistaken for an Akita, though both breeds come from distinct lines and the Shiba is considerably smaller than the Akita.
- They are one of the few ancient breeds still in existence today, originating at some point in the 3rd century B.C.
- They nearly became extinct in World War II due to bombing raids and an outbreak of distemper.
Though the Akita is the National Dog of Japan, their cousin, the Shiba Inu, is another Japanese breed that has grown in popularity around the world. Given the Akita's size and assertive personality, many pet parents are finding a tremendous amount of joy from the smaller Shiba with their confident and loyal nature.
They can potentially be strong willed and stubborn which means that they need training and socialization from a young age. Shiba Inus can get along well with cats if they are raised with a feline companion.
In truth, the Shiba Inu is similar to a cat in many ways. They have a long lifespan, even for a small non-sporting breed, and have an independent streak. Shibas are also known to keep themselves very clean; because of this, the breed has a marked propensity for understanding bathroom training much faster than other dogs. However, leash training can be more challenging due to their dislike of restraint.
The Shiba Inu is distinctive for one other thing: their vocalization. Shibas do not bark. Rather, they produce a loud and high-pitched noise referred to as the "Shiba scream." They do this when they are unhappy with something or extremely happy, so be prepared for a noisy home.
Grooming is quite simple due to the dog's shorter fur and their fastidious nature. However, they do shed. Exercise needs can be met with regular walks as they're an athletic breed. Mental exercise is necessary to keep the dog from becoming destructive.
Shiba Inus have a long lifespan, up to 15 years, and have few ailments.
- They may suffer from the eye disease glaucoma as they age.
- Luxating patellas, or dislocated kneecaps, can occur in the breed, as can hip dysplasia.
- Rarely, Shibas may have heart murmurs and epilepsy.
- The Shiba Inu has been featured in the popular Doge Internet meme.
- Pusuke was a Shiba Inu thought to be the oldest dog in the world until he died at the age of 26 in 2011. He is in fact recorded as the tenth-oldest dog in the world.
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