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Shiba Inu are the most popular breed of dog in Japan.

Archaeological excavations show that about 7000BC the Jomonjin people had small dogs, but in the third century BC, a new group of immigrants brought their dogs to Japan and these dogs then interbred with the descendants of the Jornonjin dogs and produced dogs with pointed, erect ears and curly tails.

From the original Japanese native dogs, six distinct breeds in three different sizes developed - the Akita - the large sized dog; the medium size Hokkaido; and the small sized Shiba. Shiba measure 37 - 40 cm at the shoulder.

Inu is the Japanese word for 'dog'. A common explanation for the word 'Shiba' is that it means 'brushwood' and that the dog is named for the resemblance of its coat colour to the autumn colour of the brushwood leaves.

In the 7th century AD, the Yamato Court established a dogkeeper's office that maintained the Japanese native breeds as an integral part of Japanese culture.

Japan was closed to foreigners from the 17th through 18th centuries which helped ensure that the breeds remained relatively pure. However, between 1868-1912 when hunting became a sport in Japan, hunting breeds were imported from England and cross breeding of the Shiba with English breeds became prevalent and pure Shiba became exceedingly rare.

In 1928 Japan became concerned about the declining numbers of pure Shiba and the preservation of the limited number of pure strains began seriously. In 1937 the Shiba was declared a national monument.

However World War II again almost eliminated the Shiba, with many dogs perishing in bombing raids and many more dying of canine distemper during the post-war years. After the war, Shiba were brought from the remote countryside, and breeding programs were again established to preserve the breed..

The Shiba's originated in the mountainous area facing the Sea of Japan and they were bred to flush birds and small game and were occasionally used to hunt wild boar.

The Japanese describe the Shiba temperament. in three words "kan-i" which is bravery and boldness combined with composure and mental strength; "ryosei" which means good nature with a gentle disposition; "sobuku" which is artlessness with a refined and open spirit.

The "kan-i" and "sobuku" are strong traits in the breed and dictate careful consideration before purchasing a Shiba. Early socialisation and training are mandatory for the young puppy. Aggression to other dogs is a breed characteristic and the Shiba should always be kept on leash in public places. Most Shiba will fight with dogs which approach.

Shiba are quick to learn commands such as 'sit' and 'down' using motivational methods, but the Shiba is not a breed to reliably return to its owner when called. Responsible Shiba owners learn to manage this negative side of their dog's temperament while thoroughly enjoying the "ryosei".

The Shiba has an outer coat of harsh and straight hair with a soft and dense undercoat. In appearance it somewhat resembles a small Dingo.

The Shiba comes in several colours Red, black and tan, sesame (equal mixture of white and black hairs.), black sesame (more black than white hairs), red sesame (ground colour of hair red, with mixture of black hairs). All the above mentioned colours must have "Urajiro". - whitish coat on the sides of the muzzle and on the cheeks, on the underside of the jaw and neck, on the chest and stomach, on the underside of the tail, and on the inside of the legs.

Approximate Height: 37-40 cm

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 24/03/07 14:29 Views: 4314

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