About Shiba Inu
Spirited - Bold - Graceful - Wise - Stunning - Good Natured
Shiba means "brushwood" and Inu means "dog". The Shiba is the #1 pet in Japan! The Shiba Inu is not for everyone. But for those who truly know a Shiba, they are a dog like no other. Of course there is so much more to a Shiba than described here, and I would not want to shy anyone away from loving this wonderful breed. However, a potential family must consider the nature of the breed.
Is the Shiba Inu Right for You?
Clean and tidy - a Shiba can potty train and crate train very easily, because they hate to be near their waste.
Rarely needs a bath - usually enjoys a good brush.
Incredibly intelligent - A Shiba is a problem solver, determined and calculating.
The classic "Shiba Smile" - Never mind the way other dogs look happy when they pant, a Shiba Inu can actually smile! Nothing warms my day more than to see a Shiba squint his eyes and curl up the corners of his mouth.
Hilarious! - a Shiba can possess a treasure chest of quirky behaviors that will keep you laughing.
Watch dog - very good at listening and watching for strange people or noticing when something is changing.
Hardy - few breed specific health problems. They are fat healthy puppies, solid muscular adults. The Shiba is a powerhouse packed in travel size, with unbelievable reflexes and graceful movement.
Loyal - though not the most cuddly of breeds, the Shiba will love you furiously and show it in his own ways.
Barking - As a rule Shiba Inu's are not barkers. If they bark it is rare and for a good reason.
Independent - Typically does not demand a lot of attention. A Shiba is a great friend but don't expect a lapdog.
Independent - If you want a lapdog, don't choose a Shiba. The word you hear thrown around the most when referring to the Shiba; very strong willed. Shibas are very intelligent and have a hard time believing you really know what you're doing, so they prefer their own way. Virtually all cons to this breed fall under the independence category. Many behaviors in this area include:
-Does not always respond to the word, "Come."
-May appear stand-offish toward strangers
-If your Shiba won't stop getting into the trash can, it's time to move the trash can
-Wandering off, leash rebellion, fits during bath or nail trimming (luckily they don't need many baths!)
-Can become bored and will find something to do, even if that involves your property
Shiba's need to be on-leash or in an enclosed pen. They are natural born predators and love to chase (not necessarily harm) anything that moves from falling leaves to that pesky squirrel. Once on the chase, the Shiba is not likely to respond to the word "come." Hence it is your job to keep your Shiba safe from running into traffic or other dangers.
Socialization is a MUST - an unsocialized Shiba can be rather unruly around strangers (NOT violent), just refusing to trust anyone but their family.
Health Concerns - Luxating Patella (see more below) and Hip Displaysia are the most common ailments Among Shiba Inu. Fortunately they do not weigh very much and mild to moderate conditions will still allow the Shiba to have a functional life.
Shedding - Double coat, sheds once a year in the spring to prepare for summer heat. Though you will usually have to sweep or vacuum a couple times a week, as the Shiba will drop a hair here and there all the time (don't they all?).
Important Tips for Loving a Shiba Inu:
-You must let your Shiba know that you are the alpha of the pack. Your family is your Shiba's dog pack. They need a leader to feel safe. If you are not willing to be the leader, your Shiba will assume the position for you. DOGS ARE HAPPIER WHEN THEY KNOW SOMEONE (dog or human) IS IN CHARGE AND KEEPING THE PACK SAFE. Common things to do to assert dominance:
*Frequently and consistently pick up your Shiba and hold him close. If he tries to wriggle and squirm, hold him until he stops. This lets him know that you are in charge.
*Turn him over on his back frequently. This lets him know you are dominant and he is to submit.
*Pet him firmly, rubbing all over his body - dogs play rough and often communicate or bond by tugging, licking and rough housing.
*Pet him on the top of the head, not under the chin. Touching on top of the head is a dominant move. Under the chin is submissive.
*Look him in the face when you are talking to him. TIP FOR ANY DOG: If your dog will not turn away from you after a few seconds of staring into the eyes, he may be challenging you.
*Do not allow your Shiba to pull you around on his lead. Make sure he stays close to you.
*If you play tug-o-war with your Shiba, do not let him "win" by taking the toy away from you. The game must only stop because you say so.
*If you are sharing special food with your dog, make sure he sees you eat it first (or at least pretend to) before you share. This helps establish a "pecking order".
*It is good to use a command like "sit" with your Shiba before you give him anything he seems to want, such as in or outside, feeding time, treats, etc.
-You must be consistent with your Shiba. Neglecting to train him will cause a lot of headache. Forgetting to reinforce and maintain good behaviors is like pushing a boulder up hill.
-Massage your Shiba's feet on a daily basis. This gets them used to having their feet touched and will make trimming their nails much easier! Do trim nails on a regular basis, so this is a familiar activity.
-The Shiba Inu is known for being a bit melodramatic. Learn the difference between cries of real pain and a hissy fit.
-He LOVES to learn. He yearns for activities, exercise, and work.
-Sit back, relax, and enjoy your Shiba Inu for all that he is.
Shiba Inu & Luxating Patella
Adult Shiba Inus with Luxating Patella, Hip Displaysia, or other issues are NOT TO BE BRED. Though, commonly, a few trick knees are present in the puppies, regardless of the parents. This is natural and typical of Shiba Inus. Rarely do Shiba puppies with symptoms of LP go on to have LP as adults. The Shiba is a resilient, hardy, lightweight breed that rarely actually suffers from LP symptoms as adults.
There are 4 stages of Luxating Patella (loose knee cap):
Grade 1: The patella can pop out of place, the dog is usually able to pop it back in on
their own (can look like a backward kick, like a horse). The vet is able to move it out of
place with some pressure.
Grade 2: The patella is more prone to popping out of place and assistance is needed
(sometimes) getting back in. The vet is able to move it out with little pressure.
Grade 3: The groove where the patella should sit is very shallow allowing the patella to
pop out more often than not. Possibly makes using the leg difficult.
Grade 4: The groove is almost nonexistent. The leg is unusable.
LP is common in the Shiba Inu. Loose knees (not full LP) and even Grade 1 can be improved by exercise and strengthening of tendons. G1 LP will not usually affect your Shiba's quality of life. G2 usually will not either, though the chances are greater of course, and the condition may be noticeable. ALL stages of LP have a CHANCE of causing your Shiba's knee to slip during heavy or
extreme exercises. Luxating Patella can be fixed with surgery, though it is not recommended to do so unless the problem seems to be really bothering your Shiba. Surgery can sometimes make the condition worse, and a surgery like this risks onset of early arthritis. Mild to moderate stages of LP can be treated with glucosimine supplements. Arthritis is the ultimate risk of LP as your Shiba ages.
Meet the Shiba Inu
If you are already this far, you have probably caught your first glimpse of a Shiba. It may have been at a dog show, walking in the park, or just a picture in a book. Cute, huh? The Shiba is probably one of the most universally appealing of all breeds. It has the look toy manufacturers try to capture in their favorite stuffed animals, the teddy bear. But the Shiba is not a toy. It is a very lively little dog with a unique set of characteristics. Each one is a individual with his/her own personality, but there are some traits that are considered typical of the breed. The first part will attempt to describe those qualities as well as give you an overview of the breed as a whole. The second part will try to help the new Shiba owner adjust to his new dog so that the years they spend together will be ones of mutual enjoyment!
A Brief History of the Shiba Inu
Originally, Shibas were bred to flush birds and small game and were occasionally used to hunt wild boar. Now they are primarily kept as pets, both in Japan and the US. There are more Shibas in Japan than any other breed. Around 7000 BC the ancestors of today’s Shibas may have accompanied the earliest immigrants to Japan. Archaeological excavations of the shell-mounds left by the Jomonjin, or Rope-Pattern People (a name derived from the pattern found on their earthenware), show that they had small dogs in the 14.5 to 19.5 inch range. In the third century BC, a new group of immigrants brought their dogs to Japan These dogs then interbred with the descendants of the Jomonjin dogs, and produced canines known to have pointed, erect ears and curly or sickle tails. In the 7th century AD, the Yamato Court established a dog keeper’s office, which helped maintain the Japanese native breeds as an integral part of Japanese culture. Although the country was closed to foreigners from the 17th through 18th centuries, some European dogs and a breed known as the Chinese Chin were imported and crossed with native dogs living in the more populated areas. Dogs in the countryside, however, remained relatively pure. Originally there were three main varieties of Shiba, each named for its region of origin: the Shinshu Shiba, from the Nagano Prefecture; the Mino Shiba, from the Gifu Prefecture; and the Sanin Shiba from the northeastern part of the mainland. Although similar, the Shibas from each area contributed to differences in breed type seen today. From the original Japanese native dogs, six distinct "breeds" in three different sizes developed. They are the Akita (large size); Kishu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kai (medium size); and the Shiba (small size). The small sized dog has been called the Shiba since ancient times, and there are several theories surrounding the development of that name. One popular explanation is that the word Shiba means "brushwood", and the dogs were named for the brushwood bushes where they hunted. Another theory is that the fiery red color of the Shiba is the same as the autumn color of the brushwood leaves. A third conjecture is related to an obsolete meaning of the word shiba, referring to its small size. These explanations are often combined and the Shiba is referred to as the "little brushwood dog". World War II nearly spelled disaster for the Shiba, and most of the dogs that did not perish in bombing raids succumbed to distemper during the post-war years. While the Mino and Sanin Shibas became practically extinct, more of the Shinshu Shibas survived. After the war, Shibas were brought from the remote countryside and breeding programs were established. The remnants of the various bloodlines were combined to produce the breed, as it is known today.
The Shiba is a very proportionate dog with a height to length ratio of 10 to 11. Males run from 14.5 to 16.5 inches tall, with females ranging from 13.5 to 15.5 inches. Height over the upper limits is a disqualification. The weight varies according to height up to about 25 pounds. It is a medium boned, moderately compact and well-muscled dog with a generally spritz-like appearance. Because of its hunting heritage, it should be quick, agile and able to turn on a yen. It has a dense double coat similar to that of a husky. Although all colors are acceptable in the Shiba standard, red, red sesame (sable) and black & tan are preferred. White and cream shadings are present of the legs, belly, chest and part of the face and tail.
With black button nose, little pricked ears and a curly tail, the Shiba enters the world knowing he is a superior being. Whether with intrepid boldness, squinty-eyed cuteness or calm dignity, he is KING. The Japanese have three words to describe the Shiba temperament. The first word is "kan-i" which is bravery and boldness combined with composure and mental strength. The opposite of "kan-i" is "ryosei" which means good nature with a gentle disposition. One cannot exist without the other. The charming side of the Shiba is "soboku" which is artlessness with a refined and open spirit. They combine to make a personality that Shiba owners can only describe as "irresistible"! If a Shiba could utter one word, it would probably be "mine". It is "mine" food, "mine" water, "mine" toys, "mine" sofa, "mine" crate, "mine" car, "mine" owner, and "mine" world. Sharing is a concept he feels others should practice He doesn't want you to forget those wonderful things your mother taught you about generosity! If the bait is dangled when a potential Shiba owner sees adults at a dog show or pictures in a magazine, the hook is set when he encounters his first puppy! Exemplary examples of canine cuteness, fiery little fuzz balls-from-hell, no words can describe the appeal of the infant Shiba. A litter of Shibas is a Dakin convention and a school of piranha; strutting, posturing little windup toys! The adult Shiba is far from a toy. "Macho Stud Muffin" has been used to describe the male Shiba. The body may look "muffin", but the mind is all "macho stud". The Shiba takes the "spirited boldness" part of his temperament quite seriously. Early socialization, temperament testing, and careful conditioning are mandatory for the young puppy. This fiery aspect of the Shiba nature cannot be taken lightly. Most Shiba owners learn to deal with the difficult aspects of the dogs temperament in order to enjoy the delightful ones. With "soboku", the Shiba sets his hook into the heart. This is "artlessness" with squinty-eyes, airplane ears, and a vibrating tail. It is "charm" standing in your lap washing your ears, and "dignity" plus "refinement" born of the knowledge of superiority.
As a breed, Shibas can rightfully be described as sturdy, healthy little dogs, able to withstand the rigors of outdoor life as well as enjoying the comfort of indoor dwelling. They are easy keepers, requiring no special diet other than good commercial dog food, and they can run for miles with an athletic companion or take their exercise chasing a tennis ball around the backyard. Their catlike agility and resilience provide good resistance to injury, and the "natural" size and symmetrical proportions lessen susceptibility to conditions caused by structural imbalance. Despite these assets, Shibas do have some hereditary defects which all-reliable breeders screen for in there breeding stock. Patellar luxation is common in toy breeds and sometimes appears in Shibas. It causes loose kneecaps and is usually not severe enough to be detrimental to a pet. An experienced veterinarian can detect this condition by palpation. Hip dysphasia occasionally occurs but it is not as serious in the Shiba as it is in large breeds of dogs. Mild dysphasia will not show any adverse clinical effects and the dog will lead a normal life. Good breeders will not breed any dog whose hips have not received a rating of "fair" or better from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Breeders are also checking their Shiba's eyes for hereditary eye defects. No breed of dog is totally free of hereditary eye defects.Few defects are severe enough to cause blindness or interfere with a dog's life, but dogs with eye defects that are potentially blinding should not be bred. A smattering of other defects has been reported, but none in numbers to cause concern at this time. Reputable breeders do all they can to screen for serious defects and will guarantee their puppies to be free of disabling hereditary problems for the first few years of life.
Living With a Shiba
If you are really considering taking the plunge, then the next section is for you. Don’t forget that Shiba people get really crazy about their dogs and owning a Shiba is not just owning a dog, but a way of life.
Before bringing home your Shiba it is best to have a supply of food on hand. Several boxes of granola, some oranges (for vitamin C) and a few sandwiches should give you enough energy to keep up with the little guy. Even though the Shiba would prefer to share your dinner, it is best to buy him a top quality dog food, one containing about 30% protein and 15 - 18% fat. Do not think in terms of a human diet when feeding a puppy. An 8-week-old Shiba will eat approximately 1/3 Cup of puppy food three times daily. He may be given this moistened in separate feedings, or, if he is not too greedy, he may have dry kibble available at all times. If he is being fed three times a day, gradually increase the food as he grows and his appetite increases. He may be cut to twice a day at about 4 months of age or if he loses interest in a meal. A healthy puppy is neither too fat nor too thin. You should be able to feel his ribs, backbone and hipbones, but not see them. An adult Shiba will eat from 1 to 1.5 cups of kibble per day depending on his size and energy level.
A Shiba lives with the principle - su casa es mi casa. He will want to sleep on your bed, eat at your table and rest on your favorite chair. A puppy will also wish to dismantle your VCR wiring, chew the straps off your sandals, round the corners of your kitchen cabinets and, if not watched closely, will definitely light up his life with the electrical cords, which would cost you several thousand dollars in vet bills. It is best to cover all electrical cords and/or make sure that the puppy can not reach them. If any of these behaviors disturbs you, you may wish to invest in a crate and possibly an exercise pen.
All puppies should be crate trained. It is the best way to housebreak a puppy and a safe refuge during the night and when he can't be watched. A size 200-airline crate will suit a Shiba for his entire life and will also fit on the back seat of almost any car. He can ride safely in a crate in the car, and with a little ingenuity, a crate can be seat belted or bungied into place. When you're not home, you will never wonder where your puppy is or what he is doing if he is in a crate or exercise pen. Keeping a puppy in a crate day and night is not good, and even though he may be exercised, it is akin to you staying in bed, going out jogging, and going back to bed again. While the puppy is small, an exercise pen set in the kitchen, garage or in any room of the house on top of a six-foot by six foot piece of inexpensive linoleum is an ideal place to leave the puppy while you're at work. This allows the puppy room to move around and play while keeping him safe and comfortable in the house. Later, when he is mature, he may be allowed free access to the house or yard. The Shiba is an excellent indoor/outdoor dog with a coat that will protect him from both heat and cold. He must have shelter from the sun in summer and storms in winter, but he can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Unless you plan to give your Shiba all his exercise on a leash, a fenced yard is mandatory. Nothing is more devastating than going out to find your beloved Shiba is a $600 carpet remnant on the street in front of your house. No amount of training will deter your little hunting dog from darting across the street to chase the neighbor's cat -- at just the wrong time. This is true of any breed of dog. Dogs also dig and some climb. Check frequently for possible escape routes. A Shiba is safest indoors or in an escape-proof run when you are away from home.
Shibas are an active breed, but don't need many acres on which to run. They can get adequate exercise banking off the couch and spinning brodies on the bed, but to get in good condition, they need additional exercise. On the 2,000-acre mountain ranch where Chris Ross lives, his Shibas are allowed to run free when he is home. With all this room, most seldom stray very far from the house until he goes on his daily "run". Dogs like to go for walks with their people, and for many it is more exciting than eating. A wheelchair-bound Shiba owner takes his two dogs for a four-mile "walk" every day around the streets of suburbia. The majority of people snaps on the retractable leads and make a morning (or evening) tour of the neighborhood. It is a good exercise for both man and beast and a great way to meet the neighbors!
Given a choice, a Shiba puppy will usually choose human body parts as his favorite chew toys. Fingers and toes are preferred, especially if covered with socks or sandals. He will enjoy ankles; pant legs and the ultimate - shoelaces on the shoes you are wearing. If you wish to expand his horizons and preserve your flesh, a visit to the pet supply store is a fine place to start. Hardware stores also carry a supply of delectable goodies such as the business end of a toilet plunger, handles for garden tools and rubber goulashes. Around the house you may find old stuffed animals, socks that can be tied in knots, dirty sneakers , and tennis balls. A trip to the country can bring pinecones, sticks and oak galls which are excellent for dismembering outdoors. Shibas are not seriously destructive but puppies are puppies, and puppies chew! Even adults like to gnaw on something once in a while. If your puppy chews the straps off your favorite sandals it will make you very angry, but don’t take it out on the puppy for it was your fault for leaving them where the puppy could get them! A very successful sled dog driver lived with 12 large Alaskan Huskies in his house. The animals did not destroy his home and everyone lived together amicably. This man handled his dogs by the philosophy that dogs do not make mistakes; people do. It's something to think about.
Veterinarians & Vaccinations
Since Shibas are a healthy, hardy little breed, they seldom need trips to the vet except for routine vaccinations and an occasional teeth cleaning. Your new puppy should be taken to the vet of your choice within a few days of purchase. Most breeders require this as a condition of the puppy's health guarantee. The vet should check his overall condition, his heart for possible murmurs, and have you bring in a stool sample for a parasite examination. A puppy should already have had a least one vaccination from the breeder prior to his sale. You can set up a continued vaccination schedule with your vet during this first check-up. Puppies should have a complete set of vaccinations before exposing them to situations where many other dogs have been. These vaccinations are against distemper, hepatitis, kennel cough, parvovirus and coronavirus. Often the first shots do not contain a vaccine against letospirosis (lepto). Lepto has frequently been fingered as the "bad guy" in vaccine reaction and vaccine manufacturers had a difficult time combining it with coronavirus vaccine into a single injection. Since puppies are much more likely to be exposed to coronavirus than lepto, many breeders and veterinarians prefer to wait until the puppy is three to four months old before giving an injection with lepto. Several Shiba puppies have experienced anaphylactoid reactions to vaccine on their second injection even when it did not contain lepto. This is the same severe allergic reaction some people experience when stung by a bee. Epinepherine must be administered immediately, so a veterinarian should be warned of the possibility of a reaction. A puppy should remain in the waiting room of the vet's office for 15 to 20 minutes after his injection to ensure there is no reaction. Rabies shots are given at four months of age. Rabies is the only vaccination required by law. All others are for the puppy's health.
A trip to the mall or neighborhood park will bring you all the attention you can handle. This may be wonderful for a young man looking for a date, but it can be deadly for a small puppy. Until a puppy is fully immunized against parvovirus, at about the age of 20 weeks, it is not safe to take him to areas frequented by other dogs. Many people solve this problem by taking the dog to visit friends and relatives in "clean" environments and asking them to return the favor. Some Shibas may be shy of strangers while others are dog aggressive. Early socialization is mandatory to obtain the best possible temperament from a puppy.
It is well established that if you are not somewhat trainable and flexible, you will have a difficult time adjusting to a Shiba. Shibas want their owners to come when called, fetch when they want food, stay off the furniture they want for a nap and speak whenever someone wants to talk about Shibas. Owners too feel they should be able to make a few polite requests from their dogs Sometimes there is a small power struggle, but the owner must establish that he is in control. Housebreaking is easy and something that Shibas do naturally. If a puppy is taken out whenever he awakes from a nap or after a meal, he will almost never soil in the house and especially not in a restricted area such as a crate. A puppy as young as five weeks can hold his bowels all night, but not his bladder. He will want out or will wet on a blanket or paper in his exercise pen. As soon as the puppy figures where "out" is, he will try to go there to potty. This becomes easy when there is a door directly to a back yard. Leash breaking is not as natural for the Shiba as housebreaking. It involves something they truly detest - restraint. It is best to put on a snug collar or soft nylon choke collar and let the puppy wear it around for a while. Attach a leash and let the puppy take you for a walk. You go where he goes. After a few times, you can suggest he follow you. He may pull back and scream a little, but that is natural. Encouragement and praise help, and soon he will be walking with you. Never leave a choke collar on an unattended puppy and never tie up a dog with a choke collar. A dog can easily hang himself by a choke collar just by getting tangled in something as simple as a bush. Some Shibas can carry around their distain for collar and leash all their lives. They do it in the form of the patented "Shiba Shake", where they cock their heads sideways as if something was in their ear then stop and shake violently. Amazingly, this "ear problem"goes away the minute the leash is removed, and returns the minute the dog is near the show ring. The fiery aspect of the Shiba temperament is apparent at an early age. Even as puppies they stage mock battles and make much noise as they vie for top honors. With people they are all kissy-face, but with other dogs, and especially other Shibas, they are macho little muffins. There is a wide range of variation in this aspect of a young Shibas temperament and difficulties should be discussed with the breeder. Many Shiba puppies are just playful and not quarrelsome, but others are more serious. All like to play with other dogs once they are acquainted. Just as there are hundreds of books on child rearing; there are as many theories on how to deal with canine temperament. Dog trainers who are not familiar with the Shiba temperament may only make the problem worse. Shibas seem to work well with the reward system. They easily learn commands like sit, and down, and such parlor tricks as roll over, speak and sit up. Obedience work done on lead is readily acquired, but a Shiba who reliably "comes" on command is any situation is rare indeed. There are a few who learn boundaries, come when called, even when chasing a cat, and can wander loose in any situation. These are exceptional and usually a combination of an extremely responsive temperament plus diligent training. It is realistic to expect that the average owner with the average Shiba will not have that situation. Most Shibas will not wander miles from home, but will want to investigate every nook and cranny within a larger radius than the owner is comfortable. Expect your Shiba to be an "on leash" breed and if he proves otherwise, then you are among the fortunate. Do not feel your Shiba is unattainable, for he is not. Shibas love "agility" training, as it is a natural for their athletic ability. They are smart and enjoy activities that challenge their mind and body. If you work with the Shiba nature rather than against it, training will be fun for both.
Shibas and Children
The responsible Shiba owner asks himself, what type of child would he like for his favorite dog? It would be a child with a good nature and stable temperament, one that was gentle and most of all, easy to train. A child of an extremely energetic nature or whose hearing is too selective may be better suited to a larger, more docile breed. Intractable children should have animals made of plastic, or maybe cement. All dogs, and especially puppies, regard very small children as peers rather than superiors. Puppies will try to play with children as they would another puppy, particularly if the child falls on the floor or runs around making squealing noises. Nothing was more misleading than an advertisement aired on television a few years ago depicting a two year old child rolling around on the ground, laughing while being bombarded by about six small Labrador puppies What wasn’t shown were the tears that must have followed as the puppies sharp nails raked the child’s tender skin and the puppies pulled at his hair. The responsibility of how a puppy interacts with children falls on the parents. Most trainable children over six years of age should have no trouble adjusting to a Shiba puppy. Dog-oriented people find it easy acclimating a Shiba to a household with children. People with little dog experience should visit several households with Shibas. DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH A SHIBA AT A DOG SHOW AND IMMEDIATELY RUN OUT AND BUY ONE. Take time to visit the dogs in the home environment. See how they react to children and let your intuition be your best guide. When adults visit a home with Shiba puppies, they usually sit and wait for the puppies to come to them. Children tend to pursue the puppies. Shibas do not like to be continually restrained and manhandled. Although a well-socialized puppy will tolerate some of this, too much will make him shy or irritated. It is absolutely necessary that a child learn to sit and let the puppy come to him. It is difficult to train a child who is used to running in and out of the house at will to close the door quickly and make sure the Shiba doesn't get out. It is even more difficult to train the child’s friends. Training the puppy and child when little can make the child aware of the necessity to use a double door system or exercising caution when going in and out, but it is up to the parent to watch when visitors come and to put the puppy out of harm’s way.
Spay & Neuter
For many people, the decision to neuter a male dog is somehow tied into his own sexuality. Maybe it should be, for the amorous intentions of the stimulated male Shiba are only rivaled by those of Geraldo Rivera and Wilt Chamberlain. Many people would rather have a female as a pet. They see the female having a gentler nature and not having the desire to continually mark territory. Spaying a female does little to change her basic temperament, just as a hysterectomy does little to change a woman. It just prevents pregnancy. On the other hand, neutering a male dog has a great effect on the male temperament, just as castration would have on a man. Neutering a male before the age of six months will usually prevent marking and other "big guy" ideas. Females should be spayed at about 5 months of age, before they have their first heat cycle. This makes it easier on the little girl as the uterus is small and the female lean. Recovery is quick and after a few days, you won't know anything has been done. Sometimes it takes up to eight months or more for a Shiba male’s testicles to drop into the scrotum. They seldom fail to arrive, and if the vet can locate them at all, he can perform the castration. DON'T POSTPONE IT!
Shibas SHED. You would too if you were wearing a wool coat in summer. All dogs with double coats shed, even Dobermans, Labradors, and Whippets. Those breeds with single coats that don’t shed, such as poodles and terriers, need clipping or constant brushing to keep their coats from matting. You have a choice - clip, brush or vacuum. A Shiba could go his whole life without ever experiencing a brush, comb or bath and be just as happy. Shibas have little odor to their fur unless they have rolled in something pungent. Show dogs are often bathed weekly while pets are occasionallyshampooed at the owner’s whim. All seem to have healthy coats.
Fleas are the scourges of pet ownership. The flea most commonly found on the dog is the cat flea. Cats are flea farmers and outdoor cats spread fleasfrom yard to yard to yard like dandelion seeds. Methods for treatment are so varied and controversial that they are a book in themselves. If fleas are eradicated from the environment, they will soon vanish from the dog. Fleas like warm, moist, sheltered environments and do not tolerate direct sun, dryness or extreme cold. Fleas do not survive outdoors in arid environments, but thrive in the warm, damp summers of the majority of the US. The indoor environment can be treated with desiccating powders and many professionals such as "Flea Busters" use these products with much success. It takes about six weeks for them to work. Avon "Skin So Soft" bath oil does help repel fleas. A small amount rubbed through the coat leaves an aromatic residue that is distasteful to fleas (and some humans). Its only drawback is the oily residue it leaves on the hair that works like a "dustmagnet". Most commercial flea products are toxic. How else could they kill the fleas? Start slow and work your way up the "hard stuff". If a flea allergy develops it is often less harmful to the dog to get an occasional cortisone injection or a few pills to stop the itching than it is to saturate the environment with poison to eradicate every flea - an almost impossible task.
Standard for the Shiba Inu
The AKC Standard for this breed may be found at
Shiba Inu FAQ
For More Complete Shiba Guidance
We strongly recommend these books.
Real Food For Healthy Dogs & Cats Simple homemade food by Dr. Karen Becker DVM
Dr. Kidds"s Guide to Herbal Dog Care by Randy Kidd, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Shiba Inus: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual by Laura Payton.
Short, informative, affordable.