If you want a dog who...
A Shiba Inu may be right for you...
If you don't want to deal with...
A Shiba Inu may not be right for you...
What is the Shiba temperament like?
With a black button nose, little pricked ears and a curly tail, the Shiba enters the world knowing he is a superior being. Whether with intrepid boldness, squinty-eyed cuteness or calm dignity, he is KING.
The Japanese have three words to describe the Shiba temperament. The first word is "kan-i" which is bravery and boldness combined with composure and mental strength. The opposite of "kan-i" is "ryosei" which means good nature with a gentle disposition. One cannot exist without the other. The charming side of the Shiba is "soboku" which is artlessness with a refined and open spirit. They combine to make a personality that Shiba owners can only describe as "irrisistable"!
If a Shiba could utter one word, it would probably be "mine". It is "mine" food, "mine" water, "mine" toys, "mine" sofa, "mine" crate, "mine" car, "mine" owner, and "mine" world. Sharing is a concept he feels others should practice He doesn't want you to forget those wonderful things your mother taught you about generosity!
If the bait is dangled when a potential Shiba owner sees adults at a dog show or pictures in a magazine, the hook is set when he encounters his first puppy! Exemplary examples of canine cuteness, fiery little fuzzballs-from-hell, no words can describe the appeal of the infant Shiba. A litter of Shibas is a Dakin convention and a school of pirahna; strutting, posturing little windup toys!
The adult Shiba is far from a toy. "Macho Stud Muffin" has been used to describe the male Shiba. The body may look "muffin", but the mind is all "macho stud". The Shiba takes the "spirited boldness" part of his temperament quite seriously. Early socialization, temperament testing, and careful conditi oning are mandatory for the young puppy. This fiery aspect of the Shiba nature cannot be taken lightly.
Most Shiba owners learn to deal with the difficult aspects of the dog's temper ament in order to enjoy the delightful ones. With "soboku", the Shiba sets his hook into the heart. This is "artlessness" with squinty-eyes, airplaned ears, and a vibrating tail. It is "charm" standing in your lap washing your ears, and "dignity" plus "refinement" born of the knowledge of superiority.
What are some common Shiba health problems?
What are some common Shiba health problems?
Do Shibas get along with children?
Interactable children should have animals made of plastic, or maybe cement. All dogs, and especially puppies, regard very small children as peers rather than superiors. Puppies will try to play with children as they would another puppy, particularly if the child falls on the floor or runs around making squealing noises. Nothing was more misleading than an advertisement aired on television a few years ago depicting a two year old child rolling around on the ground, laughing while being bombarded by about six small Labrador puppies What wasn`t shown were the tears that must have followed as the puppies sharp nails raked the child`s tender skin and the puppies pulled at his hair. The responsibility of how a puppy interacts with children falls on the parents. Most trainable children over six years of age should have no trouble adjusting to a Shiba puppy. Dog oriented people find it easy acclimating a Shiba to a household with children. People with little dog experience should visit several households with Shibas.
DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH A SHIBA AT A DOG SHOW AND IMMEDIATELY RUN OUT AND BUY ONE. Take time to visit the dogs in the home environment. See how they react to children and let your intuition be your best guide. When adults visit a home with Shiba puppies, they usually sit and wait for the puppies to come to them. Children tend to pursue the puppies. Shibas do not like to be continually restrained and manhandled. Although a well socialized puppy will tolerate some of this, too much will make him shy or irritated. It is absolutely necessary that a child learn to sit and let the puppy come to him. It is difficult to train a child who is used to running in and out of the house at will to close the door quickly and make sure the Shiba doesn't get out. It is even more difficult to train the child`s friends. Training the puppy and child when little can make the child aware of the necessity to use a double door system or exercising caution when going in and out, but it is up to the parent to watch when visitors come and to put the puppy out of harm`s way.
What should my Shiba eat?
Before bringing home your Shiba, it is best to have a supply of food on hand. Even though the Shiba would prefer to share your dinner, it is best to buy him a top quality dog food, one containing about 30% protein, and 15% to 18% fat. Do not think in terms of a human diet when feeding a puppy. An eight week old Shiba will eat approximately 1/3 cup of puppy food three times a day. He may be given this moistened in separate feedings, or, if he is not too greedy, he may have dry kibble available at all times. If he is being fed three times a day, gradually increase the food as he grows and his appetite increases. He may be cut to twice a day at about four months of age or if he looses interest in a meal. A healthy puppy is neither too fat nor too thin. You should be able to feel his ribs, backbone and hip bones, but not see them. An adult Shiba will eat from one to one and one half cups of kibble per day depending on his size and energy level. Spayed and neutered adults tend to put on extra weight. Besides giving them enough exercise, the quantity of food rather then the quality should be reduced. It is easier to prevent obesity than to correct it.
Housebreaking is easy and something that Shibas do naturally. If a puppy is taken out whenever he awakes from a nap or after a meal, he will almost never soil in the house and especially not in a restricted area such as a crate. A puppy as young as five weeks can hold his bowels all night, but not his bladder. He will want out or will wet on a blanket or paper in his exercise pen. As soon as the puppy figures where "out" is, he will try to go there to potty. This becomes easy when there is a door directly to a back yard. Leashbreaking is not as natural for the Shiba as housebreaking. It involves something they truly detest - restraint. It is best to put on a snug collar or soft nylon choke collar and let the puppy wear it around for a while. Attach a leash and let the puppy take you for a walk. You go where he goes. After a few times, you can suggest he follow you. He may pull back and scream a little, but that is natural.
Do Shibas shed?
Do Shibas get along with other pets, such as other dogs or cats?
The Shiba Inu was bred to hunt other animals. Many Shiba Inus are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
NO NO NO!! If you are looking for a dog that will be reliable off leash, don't even bother with Shibas. They are notorious for being one of the worst off-lead breeds in existence. They are wicked fast, small, and take a sort of perverse joy in watching you have a near panic attack as you try to shunt them away from high-traffic streets. Combine this with an animal who literally fears nothing, and its a recipe for disaster.
How much excercise does my Shiba require?
Shibas are an active breed, but don't need many acres on which to run. They can get adequate exercise banking off the couch and spinning brodies on the bed, but to get in good condition, they need additional activity. Dogs like to go for walks with their people, and for many Shibas it is more exciting than eating. A wheelchair-bound Shiba owner takes his two dogs for a "walk" every day around the streets of suburbia, and a competitive mountain bike rider has his Shiba run with him for miles as he trains for grueling competition. But, the majority of people snaps on the retractable lead and make a morning (or evening) tour of the neighborhood. It is good exercise for both man and beast and a great way to make friends. Not everyone is responsible enough to keep his dog on leash. Watch for loose dogs roaming the area. A dog fight is not the best way to become acquainted with the neighbors and many Shibas take umbrage at having their space invaded.