SHIBA DOG

A perfect miniature dog: the Japanese Shiba does not have a small dog appearance, but more like a large, muscular dog, perfectly scale made. However, it is a small dog (judging by its size, not its attitude) that stands only between 36 and 42 cm, the female 2.5 cm less. The head is snub wedge shaped with well developed cheekbones and defined stop; the muzzle is moderately thick; the nose is black; the lips tight, black; the eyes relatively small, triangular and dark brown colored; the ears are small, triangular, sloping forward and stiff and firm; the neck is medium lengthed; the back is straight and leveled; wide and muscular kidneys; deep chest; the tail high inserted, thick and carried curled or curved over the back. In proportion, it is longer than tall. The forelegs were straight; well muscled hinds with moderate angulations. The coat is double, red, sesame red and tan and fire and sesame black.
 
It carries more miles per gallon than any of its small Japanese competitors, the Shiba gains in personality, attitude and naivety. All grown up, this is the first Shiba of the author, Jacquet’s Tengu, bred by Rick Tomita. Tengu is smarter than any Shinto god, it doesn’t share its secrets, and refused to have his name published. 
 
WHO IS IT RIGHT FOR
Although its appearance is flashy and charming, the Shiba is not for everyone. This is a small, fast and nervous dog, with big ideas and as much energy and initiative as Japan itself. It is clean and catlike in its habits, it even tries to climb tables and windows. It loves the outdoors, but it is also comfortable inside the house, although it will run around the house if allowed. Without a question the Shiba knows it is special, and its owner should know it too. Education is a challenge, since the Shiba thinks it is smarter than you and sees no point in repeating things. Anyway it is hard to teach it things it is not convinced of wanting to do. The show puppy’s mouth should be inspected every day, since many Shibas are reluctant about allowing their mouths to be touched. The Shiba has a strong instinct to run out and follow a prey; it is fast on its feet and mind (although it probably hunts only for itself). If you like the Shiba, you will like it for only a second, of the opposite sex, of course.
 
“The prettiest girl in the world” is Mai-kohime of Akatani, known at the author’s home as “Kabuki”, a theatrical whirlwind of pranks and kisses. Kabuki never has a bad day; it always wakes up to have a fantastic day!
 
DEVELOPMENT
The Shiba puppies are very dark, almost black, and the adult color doesn’t emerge until after the fifth or sixth week. The ears will be raised by themselves between the eighth or ten week. The Shiba is such a natural breed, which doesn’t go through large changes. The puppies are individualists since they can stand. Early obedience training is essential. The Shiba doesn’t admit a leash if it hasn’t been introduced early. Never attempt to walk a Shiba unleashed. The Shiba can make a strange sound when excited, do not get alarmed.
 
The Shiba dances and celebrates its Japanese origin on its toes, as Kabuki effortlessly demonstrated. Honoring its name, Kabuki uses its dramatic soprano voice freely every time its freedom is endangered. 
 
HEALTH
Hair care is not excessive, but a weekly brushing will keep the coat clean and knot free. During shedding, twice per year, combing with a metallic brush will help removing the dead undercoat, as well as a tempered bath. Some specimens hate water, and do not get used to it. Be firm and keep the good mood, since the Shiba tempts you continuously. The Shiba is a very resistant dog, although some are more sensitive than others. Keep the ears and anal glands clean; control for fleas and claps between the hair. Hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy are not very frequent problems, although a checkup is advisable. Some lines are prone to suffering heart murmurs and thyroid deficiency. Some specimens can suffer from kneecap luxation. The Shiba lives from 12 to 16 years.
 
The Shiba mother is very serious in her role. The Shiba is a natural breed that suffers health problems. Puppies will be individualists, but should always be open to people. 
Don’t be convinced by the author’s partiality, or by these small rascals, the Shiba grows and turns into a set idea dog, many times unnecessarily creative, which requires an experienced owner, prepared, with a sense of humor. Like a cat, the Shiba is clean, tremendously intelligent and can learn a lot.