Monday, March 25, 2013

The Little Fox ~ The Shiba Inu

Hi Lil Dog Whisperer Readers ~
Recently, I got a request to feature this foxy little dog, the Shiba Inu.  I hope you enjoy this little dog as much as I did.

The Shiba Inu is a unique and beautiful breed.  They are intelligent, active and energetic.  They are famous for their spirited boldness, cat-like agility and independent nature.  The Shiba Inu approaches the world with a calm dignity that is uniquely his own, which is likely why he is also described as stubborn. 

Early obedience training is important, but even then they can be stubborn.  Off leash training is especially challenging and does not always stay with them, so keeping them on leash is always a better option.  They are escape artists and owners have to be careful every time they open a door because they will bolt and they are fast.  They have even been known to climb chain link fences. 

They are alert and high energy so they need regular exercise, but a spirited 30 to 45 minute walk every day should suffice.  However, for best results, running or jogging should be made a part of the daily routine

They are not great with other dogs, and because of their hunting nature, the Shiba dog was originally used for hunting, specifically large game. Due to their speed, small compact build and agility, they would flush game out of the brush and bushes, they are not great with small animals but can coexist peacefully with cats, but if a cat runs your Shiba Inu is likely to chase it.

They are good watchdogs and only bark when there is a reason.  Then tend to be reserved towards strangers.  Shiba’s will do well with older children, but some are afraid of young children and are alarmed by their squeals and quick movements.  Many Shibas will run and hide from toddlers.  If the toddler pursues the dog the Shiba is not one to stay calm.  The Shiba Inu guard his stuff, including toys, food and territory.  

Proper socialization helps minaimize this characteristic, but it's wise to put away his toys when other dogs and kids are around.   

They are not lapdogs and prefer to sit beside you, not on you. They are not particularly cuddly and don't really like to be held. They spend a lot of time on their own, enjoying some quiet solitude. Because they don't really like to be touched or handled, grooming can be a real challenge. They are generally quiet, but do possess the Shiba scream -- a high-pitched banshee call.  They can be a bit of a drama queen.

Shibas may be red, 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" 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.

These dogs are very clean, so grooming needs will likely be minimal. A Shiba Inu's coat is coarse; short to medium length with the outer coat being 1–114 inch long; and is naturally waterproof so there is little need for regular bathing. 

They also have a thick undercoat that can protect them from temperatures well below freezing. However, shedding, also known as blowing coat, can be a nuisance. Shedding is heaviest during the seasonal change and particularly during the summer season, but daily brushing can temper this problem.

The Shiba is the smallest of the Japanese native breeds, which include the Kai Inu, Hokkaido Inu, Kishu Inu, Shikoku Inu, Tosa Inu and the Akita Inu.  Despite their smaller size it was bred to hunt small wild game, boar, bear and to flush birds.  Their name Shiba means both, “small” and “Brushwood” in Japanese.   

At the close of World War II, Shiba's were close to extinction, but merging the three remaining primary blood lines save the Shiba Inu breed.

The first Shiba dog to enter the United States was documented in 1954 and the first documented litter here in the US was born in 1973.

The American Kennel Club recognized this unique dog breed in 1993.  Today these charming dogs are the #1 most popular dog breed in Japan.

The breed received a huge boost in popularity following the debut of the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam, which went viral in 2008. The website featured a live-streamed webcam trained on six newborn Shiba Inu dogs born on October 7, 2008. Within the first week, more than three million viewers had spent 1.2 million hours watching the puppies.
Several Shiba Inu puppies were also featured in the 2009 film Hachi: A Dog's Tale, portraying the young Hachikō (who was, in real life, an Akita Inu).


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