Shiba Inu

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sesame, black sesame, red sesame, black & tan, red
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The Shiba Inu is an exceptionally agile dog with lively character and small erect ears. It is the most revered dog in its native country Japan but in the recent years the breed is gaining more and more popularity in the United States. Bred for hunting on a small game centuries ago, it is also reckoned to be one of the oldest breeds.

The Shiba Inu arrived to Japan from China approximately two thousand year ago. Original dog which gave its genes to the Shiba Inu and other six distinct breeds most likely was the Chow Chow. The Shiba Inu was the smallest of them but despite of its size it was sometimes used for hunting on such big game like wild boars and bears. More habitual task for the dog was to flush out birds and other small game for hunter.

The history doesn’t reveal the exact etymology of the breed’s name. One theory claims that the word «shiba» designates «brushwood» and describes the kind of bushes in which it usually hunted. More romantic explanation proposes that the deep reddish coat of the Shiba Inu is identical in colour with brushwood in the fall. The last suggestion is that the word «shiba» can be translated as a «small» which relates to the dog’s size. The word «inu» refers to a dog.

The vast popularity of the Shiba Inu in Japan couldn’t protect it from almost extinction during the Second World War. The outburst of distemper in 1952 also impended the breed’s survival. In the subsequent years only three lines of the breed managed to outlast the war. To re-establish its former number and status, local breeders has resorted to breeding two separate types of the Shibas: one, a thickset and big-boned discovered in mountainous region and used for hunting purpose; other, a long-legged kind detected in other areas of Japan. One can notice those differences in the puppies of different litters even today.

Developed as a hunter, the Shiba Inu is now predominantly used as home pet both in its homeland and in America. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized this breed in 1993.
The Shiba Inu is a vivid replica of the primitive breed and has a strong and independent character. Its manners are very cat-like so the dog prefers to avert physical contacts and on the whole behaves somewhat restraint. Being affectionate and bold, this dog usually chooses one person as a master. The breed inherited from the wolf strong possessive instinct. Sharing is not for «greedy» this dog. Once it claims its right on something like spot on the sofa, food, mate, backyard it won’t hesitate to bite to defend it.

The Shiba Inu acts pretty aloof in the presence of strangers. The detachment can outgrow in outright aggression if the dog wasn’t appropriately socialized. The breed won’t tolerate an unknown person in its personal space and may bite even when he only tries to pet it. Vigilant Shiba Inu will make a wonderful watchdog though it lacks size and aggression to become a good guard dog.

It’s impossible to make any generalisations concerning the dog’s attitude towards kids. No matter how well trained, the Shiba Inu won’t put up with the violation of its private space or encroachment on its possession. Small children that are not yet able to understand the rules of handling the dogs are at a real danger of being bitten. So the breed is recommended for the households with the kids older than 8.

The Shiba Inu has oftentimes big issues with other animals. It gets along with other canine only if it included it in the pack in the wake of prolonged cohabitation. Dog aggression is inherent quality of this breed and is more displayed in females unlike with other breeds.

Hunting instinct is deeply imprinted in the Shiba Inu’s nature so it won’t live alongside with home cats without occasional attempts to kill it. Even joint up-bringing won’t ensure problem-free coexistence in maturity. Small pets most surely won’t survive near this dog, therefore one should be aware of it before adopting the Shiba Inu.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• patellar luxation;
• eye problems;
• von Willebrand’s disease;
• hypothyroidism;
• skin allergies;
• flea allergies.

The Shiba Inu doesn’t need significant coat maintenance. Brushing is required only once or twice a week. You should bathe your dog in case of absolute necessity so water won’t wash off natural oil that covers its skin. As a rule, the breed sheds moderately all the year around. When the season changes the Shiba Inu substitutes its coat completely what leads to heaps of dog’s hair on clothes, carpets and furniture.

The Shiba Inu has a mind of its own and is unbelievingly stubborn so training this breed can become a real challenge. The dog will obey only if it wants to and can turn out to be defiant refusing to learn new things.

When the Shiba Inu gets carried away by attractive smells nothing can draw its attention back to training. You are going to achieve much better results using tasty treats and praise. Critique, especially in a way of yelling, won’t work.

This breed won’ t follow commands of everyone. It only obeys the person whose alpha status it absolutely acknowledges. To be a leader for this dog means the permanent struggle to keep hard-won dominant position as it will use every opportunity to take over the control.

Socialization is of course essential ingredient of well-behaved and polite dog, but unfortunately it won’t eliminate all issues of the Shiba Inu with other animals.

The Shiba Inu isn’t so exigent when things concern exercise. It likes to roam around the house so the long walk will be enough to fulfil its daily exercise requirement. It’s crucial to provide the dog chances to release excess energy in a form of vigorous play or free run.

The Shiba Inu is a truly capable escaper so the leash or safely fenced area is a must for this breed. It’s amazing how such a small dog can be so athletic and tough, which makes it wonderful hiking partner as well as great companion for the fans of walking.