Hailing from Japan, the Shiba Inu is the smallest of Japan's six native dogs. Though the Shiba Inu's form is compact, he boasts a lot of personality and agility that is sometimes compared to that of a feline. Originally bred for hunting birds and on occasion, even a wild boar, this dog is both intelligent and strong. Along with his intelligence comes a love of independence and doing things his own way, which can translate into one freethinking, stubborn canine.
Origins: Brushwood Dog
Shiba means "brushwood" in Japanese, while "Inu" means dog. The history of the Shiba Inu's name is theorized as coming from the color of the brushwood bushes in which he spent his days hunting -- either because this is where he liked to hang out or because his beautiful coat was a similar shade to the brushwood's leaves. The Shiba Inu was bred to be a hunting dog, gathering the small game and birds for hunters in Japan.
This cute little dog who may remind some of a fox is also possessive over his toys, treats and other goodies. What's his is his and he doesn't want anyone else to forget it. If a Shiba Inu is not socialized properly as a puppy, he may not play well with other dogs as an adult. Though this is a given for many dog breeds, it is in this situation where Shiba Inu's full-fledged possessiveness may surface.
Loyal and Loving
The sweet Shiba Inu is loyal and affectionate toward the members of his immediate family, but strangers will be watched with a reserved demeanor. Your Shiba Inu will be unlikely to go bounding up to a stranger at the door and welcoming him with wet, sloppy kisses. The Shiba Inu is attached to his family and will become sad if kept away from them for long hours. This is a dog who needs lots of love and quality time with his family.
Size and Coat
The Shiba Inu's double coat makes him appear similar to a cuddly teddy bear. The outercoat is coarse and straight, while the undercoat is soft and thick. He can be described as a compact dog because he is usually slightly longer than he is tall. Females tend to grow to be around 13.5 to 15.5 inches, weighing in at an average of 17 pounds. Males tend to grow to 14.5 to 16.5 inches and weigh approximately 23 pounds when they are fully grown.
Pamela Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for seven years. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication from MTSU.