Character dog from Japan
The fluffy coat and size make the Shiba Inu initially an attractive companion for many dog lovers. But living with the Japanese dog requires knowledge about dog education. You should also enjoy exercising with your dog.
Translated, “Shiba Inu” simply means “little dog”. The 13 kg Shiba Inu is indeed the smallest of the six Japanese dog breeds recognized by the FCI. Characteristic are the upright triangular ears that emphasize its attentive appearance.
The tail should be rolled up according to the standard and be close to the back. The short coat can be red, black and tan or sesame (a mix of red and black hair).
Each color must have “Urajiro” – this means white hair on the tail, throat, chest, belly and on the bottom of the tail and the inside of the legs. All in all, the appearance of this Japanese dog is very authentic . Red specimens in particular resemble a fox in appearance.
From the Japanese high mountains to all over the world
The breed’s roots lie in the mountainous regions of central Japan, where the Shiba Inu’s ancestors served for centuries as a watchdog and hunting dog for small game and birds such as pheasants.
The breed remained largely free of other influences during this period, as there were no other dogs to cross with. When the British brought other four-legged friends in the late 1800s, they were crossed with setters and pointers. Within a few decades, a purebred Shiba Inu became a rarity.
In 1928, enthusiasts of the breed began targeted breeding. A binding standard has been in place since 1934. Compared to its ancestors, the Shiba Inu today is a bit bigger and stronger.
In 1937 the breed was granted the status of a “national natural monument” in Japan, which benefited their spread. Besides the Akita Inu, he is now one of the most popular dogs in Japan, but is much less common outside his country of origin.
Strong character and smart
A Shiba Inu has a will of its own: the independent independent dog does not want to submit. In addition, the dog shows a strong territorial behavior. It is a passionate hunter who fundamentally mistrusts strangers – both humans and animals.
A Shiba Inu is a good watchdog, but does not tend to bark unnecessarily. If he is well socialized from an early age, he can also integrate well into a group later on.
Assuming early imprinting, the Shiba Inu gets along well with other pets. Anyone who has earned the friendship of a Shiba Inu has a loyal four-legged friend on his side who stands out for his vigilance and friendly nature. A balanced Shiba Inu is calm and attentive.
Education: knowledge required
Are you a leader? Only as a leader will you be able to successfully raise a dog of this breed, because the self-contained four-legged friend has almost no will-to-please and sees himself as the best pack leader – unless you can prove the contrary.
So education requires a lot of empathy, experience, loving consistency and, last but not least, patience. Uncertainties, inconsistencies or crude treatment – the Shiba Inu remembers everything and will not want to submit to such misplaced behavior.
Then the breed’s pronounced dominance behavior emerges. Those who meet the high standards and can clearly lead their Shiba Inu will hardly have any problems with education. For the breed, intensive imprinting and socialization during puppyhood and puberty is very important, so that they don’t become unruly towards other dogs later on.
Because of the strong hunting instinct, it is not always possible to run loose – you must be able to call the dog at all times, this requires training in this breed.
The enterprising dogs have hardly any genetic dispositions for certain diseases, provided there is no inbreeding. Of course, a very robust dog like the Shiba Inu can get hip dysplasia or gray / green cataracts, for example, but there is no increased risk – especially if you choose a Shiba Inu from a serious breeder.
Make sure that your dog is not overweight and provide animal-tailored food with a high meat content and sufficient exercise. A Shiba Inu in good health can live to be 15 years old. During the summer heat, you should avoid overly sporting activities with your fluffy companion because he has a warm coat and can’t shed his heat.
Balanced food for meat eaters
As with any other dog, Shiba Inu’s teeth and digestive tract clearly indicate that he is a meat eater. Whether you choose wet or dry food: make sure that meat is at the top of the list of ingredients and that the food contains as little grain as possible.
Dry food is relatively inexpensive and easy – make sure your dog drinks enough so that he gets enough moisture. Wet food consists of about 80 percent water and is often much more popular among dogs due to the intense smell.
Of course you can also offer alternating wet and dry food. If you choose BARF (stands for Biologicallly Appropriate Raw Food- “biologically suitable raw food”) and therefore for putting together dog meals yourself.
You must inform yourself well in advance to avoid malnutrition, because in addition to raw meat, your Shiba Inu also needs vegetables, oils, bones and herbs in appropriate quantities . You can also give your four-legged friend dry chews for dental cleaning.
If you are switching to a different food, it is best to do this slowly, because some dogs respond to sudden changes and may experience stomach upset or diarrhea.
Mix the new food into the familiar food for a few days and add a little more of the new food. Young dogs, in contrast to dogs that need two meals a day, need several servings a day. Depending on age, they need three to four servings a day.
Do not always feed both the young and the dog at exactly the same time so that they do not get used to it and then bark in the kitchen because they want to eat. Give the meals in a fixed quiet place that you can easily clean. After his meal, you should rest Shiba Inu.
Care: lots of hair !?
The Shiba Inu’s fluffy coat consists of top coat and a very fine undercoat. Occasional brushing is sufficient in terms of coat care because the short coat of this breed does not tangle quickly.
During the six-monthly moult, however, the coat should be brushed thoroughly more often: the four-legged friends shed heavily for two to four weeks. Fortunately, the dog hairs come off easily and do not stick to your furniture and clothing.
An advantage for dog lovers with a sensitive nose: the Shiba Inu gives off almost no typical doggy odor even when wet. A tip for healthy teeth: in addition to giving dry chew products, you can contribute to better oral hygiene for your four-legged friend with regular brushing. Let your dog get used to brushing from a puppy with a toothbrush and dog toothpaste.
Plenty of time outdoors
Outside in any weather – long walks are the Japanese dog’s favorite activity. Even when it rains the dogs like to go outside.
Also go jogging or cycling with you: build up the condition of your four-legged friend slowly and pay attention to his hunting instinct. A Shiba Inu would like to receive assignments that are useful in his eyes.
Fetching is therefore less popular with him. Some representatives of the breed like dog sports like Agility, others don’t – test it out with your four-legged friend and see if you enjoy it together.
Is a Shiba Inu right for me?
Anyone considering sharing their life with a Shiba Inu should already have some experience with dogs, as the breed is not suitable for beginners. For education as an owner you need a lot of time, patience and good nerves.
Moreover, as a Shiba-Inu enthusiast, you should like to go out the door in all weathers.If you can offer the four-legged friend a professional education and enough challenge, he is also suitable for apartment life – assuming the landlord allows dogs.
All family members must agree to a new resident’s residence and not have allergies. The Japanese dog is not a dog for people who value a clean house or fans of black velvet pants because the dog loses a lot of hair especially during the moult.
The breed gets along well with older children if they give the dog room to retreat. The Shiba Inu will only accept other pets if it is well socialized as a puppy.
Make sure you have childcare in case you go on vacation or get sick. Nowadays you can take well-behaved animals to many holiday destinations because there are many hotels that welcome four-legged friends.
It is better to avoid hot holiday destinations with your Shiba Inu because it could get bothered by the heat. If someone takes care of the dog at home, it must be someone with dog experience so that your Shiba Inu has not learned annoying behavior after the trip that is also difficult to unlearn.
Also consider the costs. In addition to the one-off costs at the start (the price of the dog itself and the basic supplies such as food bowls , blanket, dog bed, leash , harness, collar, brushes, car items and toys), there are monthly costs for dog food , dog insurance and regular vet visits that can be high in case of illness.
Where can I find my dream Shiba-Inu?
If you have fallen in love with this Japanese breed and you meet all the requirements to keep the dog properly, you can look for a breeder. Do not accept offers that offer a dog without a pedigree because you can only be sure with a pedigree that it is a pure breed dog.
Make sure that the breeder is a member of an association. That is the least that a responsible breeder must meet. Here the parents must meet certain health and character traits before they can be bred. The breeder must also give you the opportunity to visit the puppies and the parents at his home.
All animals should make a balanced, cheerful impression on you during the visit. With a Shiba Inu, the imprinting during puppyhood is very important – the breeder should attach great importance to it so that the puppies are integrated into everyday life as quickly as possible and learn a lot.
Those who want to keep their dog with cats would ideally find a breeder who also has cats at home. You can take the dog with you at the earliest when he is five weeks old. The puppy is then dewormed, has a pedigree, an EU passport and a chip.
You often also get small things so that the dog can get used to his new environment more easily, such as a blanket and his familiar food. Even after the purchase, a responsible breeder remains a point of contact where you can go with specific questions about the development and health of the four-legged friend.
If you are not looking for a puppy, but want to give an dog a new home, you have several options. In the shelter the chance of a pure breed dog is small because the breed is rare. But there are enough Shiba Inus on the internet who have lost their former family for various reasons.
Some were issued because the owners underestimated the breed’s dominant behavior and overestimated their own parenting skills. Such dogs, who have often had poor education and socialization, are best off in the hands of professionals or people who want to seek professional support with their new four-legged friend, for example, at a dog school.
Well-behaved representatives of the breed can of course also be found in the shelter and at associations. Through an intensive conversation you can work with the association or shelter to find out if you fit the dog. It is best if you can get to know the dog extensively. In any case, it can be an enriching experience to share your life with a “second hand dog”.
We wish you a lot of fun with your Shiba Inu!