Breed Highlight: Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a compact, agile and strong breed that serves as an excellent watchdog or for those looking for an active outdoors type of dog. We will discuss this breed to help you determine if it is ideal for you and your family.

The Shiba Inu

Vital Stats of the Shiba Inu

  • Dog breed group: Non-Sporting
  • Height: 13.5 to 16.5 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 17 to 23 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

Physical Characteristics of the Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

The Shibu Inu consists of typical traits of dogs of northern origin, such as small erect ears, powerful body thick (red) fur and a curled tail. This breed has a moderately compact and slightly long body. He also has a good-natured, bold and spirited expression.

The dog also has an effortless and smooth stride and its gait is agile, light and quick. The double coat of this breed comprises a straight, strong outer coat and a soft undercoat, which provides good insulation. Originally, all of these traits allowed the Shiba to hunt small animals in dense areas.

Care for the Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu outdoors

This breed requires a daily workout in the form of a long walk, a spirited game in the yard or a good run in an enclosed area. Addititionally, it necessary to occasionally brush the coat every week and more frequently when shedding.

Shibas can live outside in cool and temperate climates if given warm shelter. However, it is at its best when it can spend an equal amount of time indoors and outdoors.

Health of the Shiba Inu

Similar to any other breed, the Shiba Inu is prone to specific health problems. Minor health concerns that are common with the Shiba Inu include the following:

  • allergies
  • cataract

Patella luxation is a major issue in this breed. Canine hip dysplasia, persistent pupillary membranes (PPM), distichiasis and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are also occassionally seen in the Shiba Inu.

History of the Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu with tennis ball

The Shiba Inu has existed in Japan for centuries. The breed was originally a hunting dog on large game. The name “Shiba” began in the 1920s and was declared in 1936 to be a precious natural product of Japan.

The value of this breed to the nation couldn’t save him from near-extinction during World Ware II. After the war, there were only three remaining lines of Shibas. This breed was threatened by the outbreak of distemper in 1952 as well. A breeding program was begun to save the dogs that combined two different types of Shibas: one, a stocky, heavier boned dog common in mountainous areas and used for hunting and a leggier type common in other parts of Japan. Occasionally, these differences are still noticeable in litters today.

In 1954 the breed was first imported into the United States. However, there was no serious importation for breeding or showing until the late 1970s. The first litter was born in 1979. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1993.

For more information on the Shiba Inu or other dog breeds, don’t hesitate to contact us here at All Pets Veterinary Medical Center with the link below!

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