While some breeds are well-known, there are other breeds that people generally know less about. This would certainly describe the Shiba Inu as it is a breed that is not well-known in many parts of the world. This ancient Japanese dog is popular in Asia, but is relatively new to many other countries, such as European countries and the United States, despite being an ancient breed. If you are one of those people who has not heard of this breed or who knows very little information about the Shiba Inu, then you might be interested to learn more about them. They have a long history and there are many interesting pieces of information relating to this particular dog breed. Here are 20 more cool facts that you probably didn’t know about the Shiba Inu.
The Shiba Inu was Originally Bred as a Hunting Dog
Like many dogs, the Shiba Inu was bred for a purpose and in the case of this breed, it was for hunting. The exact date on which Shiba Inus were first bred is not known, but it is believed that they could date back as far as 300 BC. Their initial purpose was to hunt in the mountainous regions of Japan and they have hunted for larger animals. However, they were later used to hunt for small game, such as rabbits and birds. However, most Shiba Inus are now kept as companion dogs. Despite their long history, the first Japanese breed standards for this dog, known as the Nippo Standard, was not introduced until 1934. The Shiba Inu is sometimes described as a basal breed. This is because it predates the modern breeds that have existed since the 19th century.
The Name of This Breed Has an Interesting Etymology
This breeds name has an interesting etymology. The name Shiba Inu has a meaning, although there is some discrepancy over the first part of this dog breed’s name. The ‘Inu’ part is perfectly clear as this is simply the Japanese word for dog. There are many Japanese dogs that have Inu as part of their name. It is the word ‘Shiba’ that causes the confusion. In Japanese, this word means ‘brushwood’. The term refers to a a type of shrub or tree that turns red during the months of fall. Therefore, some people believe that the dog is named after this shrub because they were once used for hunting in shrubland. Others think it is named after the shrub because the most common color of the Shiba Inu is similar to the shade of red that the shrubs become in fall. However, there is an alternative translation of the word ‘Shiba’. This comes from the old Nagano dialect and it translates as small. For this reason, there are those who believe the dog is so named because of its small stature. As a result of the conflicting translations, this dog is sometimes referred to as the ‘Little Brushwood Dog’. Other names by which it is known are the Japanese small size dog and Shiba Ken.
They Like to Keep Clean and Have Many Other Characteristics
Experts on this breed of dog describe the Shiba Inu as a proud dog and one indication of this is their cleanliness. A Shiba Inu will always make the effort to keep themselves clean. A Shiba Inu will often be seen cleaning itself by licking its paws and legs, just like a cat. Another way in which a Shiba Inu shows pride in itself is by housetraining itself. They are one of the easiest breeds to housetrain. In terms of their other attributes, they are usually independent n nature but can have a tendency to show aggression. A further characteristic of this breed is the Shiba Scream. This is a loud-pitched noise they make if they become distressed.
Shiba Inus Have a Well-Developed Frame
The appearance of a Shiba Inu is quite distinctive. Despite their small stature, they have well-developed muscles and are quite a substantial dog. The average height of an adult male dog at its withers is between 14 and 17 inches and females are 13 to 16 inches. It is preferable for a dog to measure at the midpoint of each of these height ranges. In terms of weight, the average weight of a healthy adult male is 22 pounds, while an average female weighs 18 pounds. This makes it the smallest of the native Japanese breeds of dog.
It is One of Nine Monument Breeds in Japan
The Shiba Inu is one of the nine monument breeds of Japan. These dogs are considered national treasures by the Japanese. The other eight monument breeds of Japan include the Akita, the Shikoku Inu, the Kai Ken, the Japanese Terrier, the Tosa Inu, the Japanese Spitz, and the Hokkaido. Each of these breeds has an important role in Japanese history and is well-known in this part of the world.
There Are Three Standard Colors of a Shiba Inu
There are three standard colors of the Shiba Inu that are internationally recognised and accepted. The most common color is red, but they also come in black and tan or sesame. The latter is red with black-tipped hairs. As this is a double-coated breed of dog, it has an undercoat that is either gray, buff, or cream. While the undercoat is very soft and thick, the outer coat is stiff and straight. On their ears, legs, and face, the fur is short and even. The fur on the withers and the tail is slightly longer. This breed also has white required markings called ‘Urajiro’. These appear on the muzzle, the cheeks, the underjaw, inside the ears, on the abdomen, and on the ventral side of the tail.
Cream is a Controversial Color
There is one more coat color amongst Shiba Inus and this is cream. However, cream is the most controversial color of Shiba Inu as this color is not accepted as a standard in some countries. The American Kennel Club regard this color as a major fault and state that this dog should not be deliberately bred for shows. The reason given for this is that the Urajiro are not visible if all the coat is cream. On the other hand, the British Kennel Club regard a cream coat as perfectly acceptable in accordance with their breed standard.
The Shiba Inu is Japan’s National Dog
The Shiba Inu has been considered a Natural Monument of Japan in the Cultural Properties Act since 1936. This made this breed the national dog of Japan. This was predominantly due to the efforts of Nippo (Nihon Ken Hozonka), which is the Association for the Preservation of the National Dog. As it is believed that the Shiba Inu is the oldest dog breed in Japan, it is certainly worthy of this honor. It is also the most popular pet dog in this country as it is ranked as the number one companion dog of all the breeds in Japan.
Many Celebrities Own a Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is a breed that is becoming more popular with the general public and has also attracted the attention of celebrities. There are now many examples of celebrities who own a dog of this breed. Some of the famous people who are the proud owners of a Shiba Inu include Kelly Osbourne, Daniel Dae Kim, and Roberta Flack. It has also been reported that Dustin Hoffman is seen regularly with a Shiba Inu, but some reports say the dog belongs to his son.
The Shiba Inu is Relatively New in the United States
While many breeds of dog have lived in the United States for centuries, the Shiba Inu is a relatively new dog in this country. In fact, this breed was not introduced to the United States until 1954 when a service family brought the first ever Shiba Inu back from Japan to the United States. It was quite a wait for the first officially recorded litter to be born in the United States, though, as this did not happen until 1979. It wasn’t until 1992 that this breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club and the following year they were added to the Non-Sporting Group.
The Classification of a Shiba Inu Depends on Country of Registration
Across the globe, dogs are classified into groups according to their size, type and history. In the case of many breeds, they internationally categorized into the same groups. This is not the case for the Shiba Inu as different organizations from around the globe have classified this breed differently. While the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club classify the Shiba Inu as a non-working breed, both the British Kennel Club and the Australian National Kennel Club classify this breed in their utility groups. The United Kennel Club classify them as a Northern Breed and the FCI classify them in the Asian Spitz and related breeds group.
The Shiba Inu is Growing in Popularity Internationally
Although this breed is fairly new in many countries, it is gradually becoming more popular in many countries around the world other than Japan, its country of origin. According to the American Kennel Club, the Shiba Inu is now the 44th most popular breed of dog in the United States. This shows a rise in its popularity as in 2012, the Shiba Inu was only ranked in 50th position. Therefore, it has risen six places in the rankings since that time. The Shiba Inu was the 136th breed of dog to register with the American Kennel Club. The popularity of this breed has also grown in European countries.
There Are Some Health Conditions to Which This Dog is Prone
On the whole, the Shibu Inu is healthier than many other breeds of dog and most will suffer from very few health problems throughout their life. However, like all dog breeds, there are some health conditions to which this breed is more prone to suffering. Some of these include glaucoma, allergies, cataracts, entropion, luxating patella, and hip dysplasia. It is recommended that a Shiba Inu is checked periodically by a veterinarian to ensure that no joint-related problems have developed. However, if there are no signs of any such conditions by the time the dog is two years of age, then they will not develop them later as the skeleton is already fully formed at that age. The Shiba Inu should also have regular eye checks performed so that any eye problems can be identified quickly. Eye conditions are something that can develop over time with this breed.
They Need Little Grooming but Shed a Lot
Despite having such a thick coat, a Shiba Inu needs very little grooming. This is an advantage that many pet owners find appealing as they do not need a great deal of special care. This makes them a good choice of pet for people that have busy lies and do not have a lot of time to spend on additional care routines with their pet. On the other hand, the Shiba Inu is prone to heavy shedding and this is something that many of their owners find tiresome as they need to clean more to rid their homes of dog hair. Although some owners are tempted, it is advised that they do not cut or shave the coat of their Shiba Inu. This is because it protects them from both hot and cold temperatures.
The Shiba Inu Puppy Cam Was an Internet Sensation
Shiba Inu puppies are absolutely adorable. It is little wonder that when someone set up a website about them it was a huge hit and they became an Internet sensation. The Shiba Inu Puppy Cam was launched in 2008 when a litter of six puppies was born on October 7. The website featured a live stream from a webcam that was trained on the puppy pen. It was set up on Ustream by the puppies’ owners, a couple from San Francisco, California. The stream features the puppies playing, sleeping and feeding from their mother, Kika. It went viral and had achieved over three million views within a week of its launch. These viewers accumulated a total viewing time of 1.2 million hours. By July 2012, the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam had received over 60 million views from 74 countries. Of course, as four years had passed since its launch, the webcam was not following the same litter of puppies. In fact, there have been five further litters of puppies streamed onto the Internet via webcam since the first litter became an Internet sensation. The first litter had consisted of three females and three male pups. They were called Autumn, Ayumi, Amaya, Aki, Akoni, and Ando. The litter became known as ‘The Shiba Six’. The couple who launched the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam kept only Ayumi and the other six puppies were adopted by new owners.
The Oldest Shiba Inu Lived to 26
The average Shiba Inu has a life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years. They are likely to live a long and healthy life if they are well cared for. This should include a nutritious diet and regular exercise, including daily walks. However, there are many examples of a Shiba Inu who has lived for much longer than the average life expectancy for the breed. In fact, there was even one who lived to the age of 26, an age significantly greater than what is usually expected from this breed. This dog was called Pusuke and he sadly passed away in December 2011. Not only was he the oldest known Shiba Inu, he was also the oldest dog alive at that time.
There is a Range of Toys Based on This Breed
The Shiba Inu is such a handsome looking dog that there is even a range of toys manufactured in Japan that are based on the features of this breed. This range of toys is called Mameshiba and it was created by Kim Sukwon, a Korean Japanese national copywriter. The characters in the collection are different beans ad legumes that have the facial features of a Shiba. The name for the brand comes from several different terms. The Japanese word for bean is ‘mame’ and the Japanese word for trivia is ‘mamechishiki’. This translates literally as beans of knowledge. Toy versions of the Shiba Inu are also referred to as mameshiba. Animated versions of the characters made this range of toys popular and they are also popular in France. They have also been released in the United States. There is a character for every variety of bean and legume, with some beans having a collection of characters to reflect the different varieties. For example, coffee bean has characters called Blue Mountain, Kilimanjaro, Brazil, Colombia, and Mocha. Similarly, Jelly Bean, which is clearly not a real legume, has characters for all the different flavors of jelly bean you may come across, such as melon, orange, and strawberry.
There is a National Shiba Club of America
The Shiba Inu has gained enough popularity now in the United States to have built up a fan base and there is even a National Shiba Club of America. This is an organization that promotes and standardizes the Shiba Inu. Although this club is based in California, it has representatives from across the United States and even has an American Kennel Club delegate. The club has an informative website to offer guidance to potential new owners of a Shiba Inu, and also hosts events across the United States for fans of this breed. They also host various activities in which Shiba Inus and their owners can participate. Owners of a Shiba Inu can become a member of this club.
They Nearly Went Extinct Following World War II
The Shiba Inu has faced highs and lows during its history and one of its lowest points was when it almost faced extinction. During the 1930s, this breed had been relatively popular and most of those shown were from the San’in and Yamanashi regions of Japan. However, numbers of this breed depleted significantly in Japan following World War II. In fact, the breed was close to extinction. The two main reasons for this were a food shortage in the country and the post-war distemper epidemic. These two factors contributed significantly to the huge drop in the numbers of the Shiba Inu in Japan. The Shiba Inus that were remained were from three different bloodlines; Shin Shu, Mino, and San’in. The Shin Shu Shiba Inu originates from Nagano Prefecture and were small red dogs with a solid undercoat. The Mino Shiba Inu is from the Gifu Prefecture and have thick, prick ears and a sickle tail. The San’in Shiba Inu is from the Tottori and Shimane Prefectures. This variation of the breed was larger and usually black. To ensure the continuation of this ancient breed and prevent them from facing extinction, all modern Shiba Inus were bred from these three bloodlines. A study from the mid-20th century shows that these three variations of the breed were combined to create one overall breed which is the Shiba Inu as it is known today.
Tail Chasing is a Common Problem with the Shiba Inu
Sometimes dogs will display unusual behavior and one of the most common behavioral traits of a Shiba Inu is that many will chase their own tail or simply spin around on the spot. There have been many studies into this behavior and there has been no definitive cause found. However, there is some evidence to suggest that it is actually a form of seizure. Dogs that display this behavior usually begin at around six months of age and they can become so obsessed with their tail chasing that it puts them off food and drink. It is often difficult for owners to get their dog to stop doing this. One form of help available comes in the form of a prescription for phenobarbital. Some dogs take this alone and others combined with other medications.