Shiba Inu facts for kids

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Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu.jpg
A red Shiba Inu
Other names Japanese Shiba Inu
Japanese Small Size Dog
Shiba Ken
Shibe
Doge
Nicknames Shiba
Country of origin Japan Japan

The Shiba Inu is a breed of dog from Japan. It looks like a smaller version of the Akita Inu, and was first bred for hunting. Shiba Inu is one of seven Japanese dog species recognised as natural symbols of the country.

There are two types of Shiba. Aka-Shiba has red hair, and Kuro-Shiba has black hair. Shiba is a popular among breeders in Japan.

Shiba inu are faithful to their owners and are wary of strangers. They are popular as guard dogs. They are also the subject of an internet meme called Doge.

Appearance

Shiba Inu cream
A "white" (also called "cream") Shiba Inu

The Shiba's frame is compact with well-developed muscles. Males are 35 to 43 cm (14 to 17 in) at the withers. Females are 33 to 41 cm (13 to 16 in). The preferred size is the middle of the range for each sex. Average weight at preferred size is approximately 10.5 kg (23 lb) for males, 8 kg (18 lb) for females. Bones are moderate.

The Shiba is double coated, with the outer coat being stiff and straight and the undercoat soft and thick. Fur is short and even on the fox-like face, ears, and legs. Guard hairs stand off the body and are about 4 to 5 cm (1 12 to 2 in) long at the withers. The purpose of the guard hairs is to protect their underlying skin and to repel rain or snow. Tail hair is slightly longer and stands open in a brush. Their tails are a defining characteristic and makes them stand apart from other dog breeds. Their tails help to protect them from the harsh winter weather. When they sleep, Shiba Inus curl up and use their tails to shield their face and nose in order to protect their sensitive areas from the cold. Shibas may be red, orange, yellow, black and tan, or sesame (red with black-tipped hairs), with a cream, buff, or grey undercoat. They may also be white (cream), though this color is considered a "major fault" by the American Kennel Club and should never be intentionally bred in a show dog, as the required markings known as "urajiro" (裏白) are not visible; "Urajiro" literally translates to "underside white". Conversely, a white (cream) coat is perfectly acceptable according to the British Kennel Club breed standard.

The urajiro (cream to white ventral color) is required in the following areas on all coat colors: on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the underjaw and upper throat inside of legs, on the abdomen, around the vent and the ventral side of the tail. On reds: commonly on the throat, forechest, and chest. On blacks and sesames: commonly as a triangular mark on both sides of the forechest.

Temperament

Shiba Inu 600
Sesame Shiba Inu

Shibas tend to exhibit an independent nature. From the Japanese breed standard:

A spirited boldness, a good nature, and an unaffected forthrightness, which together yield dignity and natural beauty. The Shiba has an independent nature and can be reserved toward strangers but is loyal and affectionate to those who earn his respect. They can be aggressive toward other dogs.

The terms "spirited boldness" (悍威 kan'i), "good nature" (良性 ryōsei), and "artlessness" (素朴 soboku) have subtle interpretations that have been the subject of much commentary.

The Shiba is a relatively fastidious breed and feels the need to maintain itself in a clean state. They can often be seen licking their paws and legs, much as cats do. They generally go out of their way to keep their coats clean. Because of their fastidious and proud nature, Shiba puppies are 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 scream. This can occur when attempting to handle the dog in a way that it deems unacceptable. The animal may also emit a very similar sound during periods of great joy, such as the return of the owner after an extended absence, or the arrival of a favored human guest.

History

Shiba inu blacktan
Black and tan Shiba Inu with urajiro

The Shiba Inu has been identified as a basal breed that predates the emergence of the modern breeds in the 19th Century.

Originally, the Shiba Inu was bred to hunt and flush small game, such as birds and rabbit. Shiba lived in the mountainous areas of the Chūbu region. During the Meiji Restoration, western dog breeds were imported and crosses between these and native Japanese breeds became popular. From 1912 to 1926, almost no pure Shiba remained. From around 1928, hunters and intellectuals began to show interest in the protection of the remaining pure Shiba; however, despite efforts to preserve the breed, the Shiba nearly became extinct during World War II due to a combination of food shortage and a post-war distemper epidemic. All subsequent dogs were bred from the only three surviving bloodlines. These bloodlines were the Shinshu Shiba from Nagano Prefecture, the Mino Shiba from the former Mino Province in the south of present-day Gifu Prefecture, and the San'in Shiba from Tottori and Shimane Prefectures. The Shinshu Shibas possessed a solid undercoat, with a dense layer of guard-hairs, and were small and red in color.

Fm shiba inu puppy
Shiba Inu puppy

The Mino Shibas tended to have thick, prick ears, and possessed a sickle tail, rather than the common curled tail found on most modern Shibas. The San'in Shibas were larger than most modern shibas, and tended to be black, without the common tan and white accents found on modern black-and-tan shibas. When the study of Japanese dogs was formalized in the early and mid-20th century, these three strains were combined into one overall breed, the Shiba Inu. The first Japanese breed standard for the Shiba, the Nippo Standard, was published in 1934. In December 1936, the Shiba Inu was recognized as a Natural Monument of Japan through the Cultural Properties Act, largely due to the efforts of Nippo (Nihon Ken Hozonkai), the Association for the Preservation of the Japanese Dog.

In 1954, an armed service family brought the first Shiba Inu to the United States. In 1979, the first recorded litter was born in the United States. The Shiba was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1992 and added to the AKC Non-Sporting Group in 1993. It is now primarily kept as a pet both in Japan and abroad. According to the American Kennel Club, the Shiba Inu is the number one companion dog in Japan. In the United States, the growing popularity of the Shiba Inu is evident as the American Kennel Club Registration Statistics ranked the breed in 44th place in 2016; a rise from 50th place in 2012.

Other Japanese dogs

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