The breed’s Japanese name is a bit of a mystery. The Shiba Inu name probably translates to “brushwood dog.” It's believed that the name is from their tendency to run through brush or thick grass while hunting; others think it is because the dog and plant share the same fiery red color. Another theory is that Shiba actually means “small” instead of “brushwood.”
The Shiba is the smallest of the six original Japanese dogs, and they go way back: According to National Geographic, Shibas are the breed that’s most genetically similar to wolves, suggesting that it's among the oldest domesticated dog breeds. All of the ancient Japanese breeds were bred before the 19th century and are part of the spitz family; they exhibit pointy ears and a thick coat.
3) Loyal Dogs
Shiba Inus can be a little standoffish around strangers, but they are fiercely loyal to their families. There's no better example than Mari, a Shiba Inu who, after the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake, alternated between caring for her elderly owner, who was trapped in his home, and her newborn puppies. The man was eventually rescued by an airlift, but had to leave the dogs behind. Miraculously, they survived; when the man returned, he found the mother was gaunt, but her puppies were plump and healthy.
The Japanese have three words to describe the essence of a Shiba. Kan-i refers to the breed’s alertness and bravery; this awareness and confidence makes the Shiba a perfect watchdog. Ryosei means being good-natured, loyal, and obedient. Finally, soboku describes their easy, natural good looks.
5) Japans Favourite
Shiba Inus have more than just historical roots in Japan. According to the American Kennel Club, Shibas are the number one companion dog in the country. Their long lifespan and high energy make them a lovable and ideal addition to the family.
Shiba Inus are active go-getters who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored, which they usually express by destructive chewing. No breed should be left alone all day, but this breed is especially likely to make you aware of that fact!
Shibas need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds, so that their natural caution doesn't become suspiciousness. Shiba Inus like to approach people on their own terms. They don't like to be grabbed at, or held tightly, so I don't recommend them around young children.
8) Almost Extinct
During World War II, Japan’s focus wasn't on dog breeding, and as a result, the Shiba breed suffered. After nearly going extinct, Shibas were brought back using the only three remaining bloodlines: the San In Shiba, the Mino Shiba, and the Shiba Shu Shiba.
9) Shiba Scream
One of the most authentic characteristics of this breed is the so-called “Shiba scream“. This is a type of weird, high-pitched scream that is incredibly loud. A dog usually produces it when provoked, unhappy, mistreated, or just out of pure joy, especially when he meets his master after being separated for long. It can be scary or funny at times, depending on the situation.
The Shiba Inu sheds a little throughout the year and a LOT for three weeks during the spring and three weeks during the fall. Be sure that hair and fur on your clothing and furniture is okay with you.