The Shiba Inu is a small, active Japanese breed dog. Shiba's are the smallest of the six original Japanese breeds. Shiba's are most similar in terms of appearance of the Akita, except quite a bit smaller. Originally, Shiba Inu's were bred for hunting purposes in the mountains of Japan. Shiba Inus have also been called the Shiba Ken. The word 'Shiba' means 'small' in Japanese, while 'Inu' simply means 'dog.' This is obviously testament to their size as Shibas range from just 14.5 to 16.5 inches in height for males and 13.5 to 15.5 inches for females. Males can weigh up to 23 lbs. and females usually weigh around 17 lbs. After nearly becoming instinct during the later stages of World War II, Shibas have become one of the more popular Asian dog breeds today.
Shibas have a double coat. The outer coat is made up of straight hair, while the undercoat is more of a soft, denser hair. The undercoat sheds about two to three times every year. They have a surprisingly large amount of fur for such a small breed. Shibas can be black and tan, red with black tipped hair and a cream undercoat, or just a light red. Shiba Inu puppies are very cute and fluffy until they reach their teens. At this point they are still cute, but the fluffiness begins to subside. Many Americans have recognized Shibas for their fox look.
Shiba Inus are very autonomous and smart dogs. They have a tendency to be unreceptive with people they are not familiar with. Their independent temperament can make them difficult to train. They are very alert dogs with the ability to move swiftly on nearly any terrain. Although they are generally very healthy dogs, Shibas have had a history of dealing with luxating patella, hip dysplasia, and cataracts. They certainly are not considered to have many health issues relative to other dogs.
Shiba Inu History and Breeder Information
by Lane Jordan