It is considered as the smallest breed among the Spitz. It originates from Japan and is also known as Japanese Turf Dog, Shiba, Little Turf Dog or Little Brushwood. Its name translated from Japanese means ‘little dog’ that describes its characteristic features. They were bred mainly for hunting both large and small animals such as bears, rabbits, and otters. They almost came to a near extinction during the World War. Efforts to revive the breed were done on three particular bloodlines that are: Shinshu Shiba, Mino Shiba, and Sanin Shiba. They were all merged into one breed which is the present day Shiba Inu.
It is a small sized dog standing at 13 – 16 inches tall and weighing 15 – 25 pounds. Its frame is almost square with a short, thick neck that supports its proportional head. It has oval, brown and diagonally placed eyes with a black ring around them. They have a wedge-shaped muzzle with a black tipped nose. Its small ears stand erect on the top of its head, wide apart with a triangle shape. They have thick coat cover on their general body except the muzzle and legs. Its tail stands erect on its back with an inward curl.
They are watchful and brave dogs. They express great confidence in what they do particularly in guarding. They enjoy the company of their families and always want to be included in family activities. They tend to express aggression to strangers and other animals. They require plenty of vigorous exercise to stimulate them both mentally and physically. They may be difficult to train due to their dominant personality. They are very possessive about their food and toys.
They will require sufficient exercise and company otherwise they will become anxious and destructive. They need to be trained and socialized at an early age by a firm and consistent trainer otherwise, will grow with undesirable traits.
They are generally a healthy breed though like others they will do succumb to some common diseases such as: hip dysplasia, Eye Disease, Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy, and Glaucoma. They have a general life span of 12 – 15 years.
They should be fed on high-quality food rich in all necessary nutrients. Avoid sporadic feeding habits and establish consistent times of the day to feed the dog. The amount of food to give depends on its metabolic rate, age, and size.
Coat, Color and Grooming
They have a double coat that consists of a fluffy hard outer coat and a soft, thick inner coat. Their coat comes in a variety of colors which consists of mix of white and orange, red or a variation of brown. They are heavy shedders and will need regular grooming especially during the shedding season. Their teeth should be brushed to remove plaque on a weekly basis, and their nails should be trimmed to prevent them from overgrowing.
With family and other pets
They are great family dogs and socialize well with everyone. They are good with kids but not toddlers as they may get aggressive towards them when they interfere with their feeding time or toys. They also get aggressive towards other pets and will require good socializations.