The Shiba Inu is the smallest and perhaps oldest of all indigenous Japanese breed that has existed in the Sanin region of Japan for centuries.
Bones dating back more than 2,500 years have been found at excavation sites. Of Spitz heritage, the Shiba was originally developed for hunting small game and boar.
Although the bombing raids of World War II and distemper nearly caused the breed to die out, bloodlines were interbred to produce the breed as it is known today.
At one time, tendency towards poorly developed adult teeth occurred, but this was corrected trough careful selective breeding.
The Shiba Inu is also increasing in numbers in Australia, Europe and North America. Like the Basenji, the Shiba Inu seldom barks, preferring to shriek in an extraordinary manner.
Robust and rather independent, this breed is a delightful choice for someone with patience and dog-handling experience. Alert watchdogs and adaptable companions, the Shiba Inu has established itself as the number-one companion dog in Japan.
Small to medium size; females 131⁄2 inches to 151⁄2 inches, males 141⁄2 inches to 161⁄2 inches; 18 to 25 pounds.
Color: Red, red sesame, black/tan, black sesame, and brindle; may have white markings.
They have bold, spirited and headstrong temperament. Adaptable and well mannered if properly exercised. Reserved with strangers; an excellent watchdog.
Best owner: Active owner in a rural or suburban home.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, fenced yard, early and continuing obedience training, socialization, brushing once a week.
Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years.