Not a good pet choice for inexperienced handlers, the shiba inu is smart as a whip, loving and loyal -- yet independent, strong-willed and fond of his own opinions. Because he's so smart and tenacious, keep looking if you're in the market for a highly trainable canine. Similarly, resume your search if you prefer a non-shedding pet. Shibas shed lightly throughout the year, and heavily during spring and fall.
Hair of the Dog
The American Kennel Club calls for a straight, stiff outer coat of guard hairs with a thick, soft undercoat for this dog's body fur. The thick, dense double coat not only keeps the Shiba warm but actually repels dirt, helping to keep this fastidious dog clean. This reduces bathing frequency to whatever your nose can tolerate. Tail hairs are slightly longer and stand open, giving the appendage a brush-like appearance. The coat never requires trimming, which is a major no-no in the show ring.
Hairway to Heaven
Brush your Shiba with a slicker at least once weekly -- more is better -- throughout the year. Daily brushing is a must when he “blows coat,” or sheds heavily, for two or three weeks each spring and fall. During this time he'll probably look rather shabby, and you'll have wads of fur all over the place, which is normal unless bald patches appear on the dog. Accelerate the shed with a bath and blow dry, which helps pull dead hair loose.
A full-time writer since 2007, Axl J. Amistaadt is a DMS 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award recipient. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. Amistaadt has written book reviews for Work At Home Truth.