Everything you need to know, from the human of an especially peculiar Shiba Inu.
Shiba Inus are already a favorite breed in their home country of Japan, but they’ve been gaining popularity in the United Sates since their introduction to the country about 60 years ago. The first documented Shiba to enter the United States was imported by a military family in 1954!
They are the cats of the dog world:
If you’re looking for an independent dog, then a Shiba is the breed for you! Shiba Inus spend a large amount of time grooming themselves, and even licking their paws like cats. This innate cleanliness makes them pretty easy to potty train. Shiba’s are just as aloof as cats, and aren’t in the business of seeking out human affection. Personally, my family has a Shiba Inu named Miya who’s been known to get up and walk away when she’s decided she’s been pet enough.
They are better than an alarm system:
Shiba Inus are not generally noisy dogs. However, should your Shiba notice someone strange walk past (or even worse, up to) your house, they’re going to make sure you know about it. Shiba Inus are also equipped with very impressive memories. To demonstrate how these two characteristics tie into one another, I’ll tell you a little about my Shiba and the exterminator. My family as both a Shiba Inu, and an exterminator. The exterminator comes to our home once a month, and somehow, Miya has learned that she can expect to see him the second Wednesday of each month. I have no idea how she does it, but from the morning before he shows up, until the afternoon when he leaves, she’s barking and guarding her home and her humans.
That whole yelling thing:
Shiba Inus are the drama-queens of the dog world. If they are unhappy about something, they’re going to let you know about it, and they just might do that through the infamous “Shiba-Scream.” Yes, scream. This particular vocal styling sounds a lot like a wailing human; it is high pitched, and powerful. The most common cause for this kind of reaction would be a source of stress. My family was blissfully unaware of this trait until we gave Miya her very first bath. This was the bath heard ‘round the neighborhood. Needless to say, we just take her to the groomer now!
They are escape geniuses:
Remember how I said Shiba Inus are the cats of the dog world? Well, just like cats, if your Shiba can fit its head through a space, they are going to try their absolute hardest to squeeze their bodies through. When my Miya was a puppy, she got out through the fence surrounding our patio. Once she was loose, she was gone. It took a while to find her in the neighborhood, but luckily we found her. She wasn’t allowed back onto the patio until she got a little bigger, and even then, we once found her with her head stuck in the fence.
Everything in Between!
They are beautiful little creatures:
You will be stopped and complimented on your dog. Shiba Inu’s have very foxlike features, and are often (in my own experience) mistaken for baby Huskies. Miya is twelve now, and still, every time someone new crosses paths with her, she gets told how pretty she is. Since she thinks she’s Dog Royalty and her ego couldn’t possibly get any bigger, she tends to brush off these comments, but I always like them.
They have GIANT personalities:
While their bodies may be small, a Shiba Inu is packed full of personality. To really mesh well with a Shiba, you have to have a sense of humor. They’re stubborn, and they get bored easily, so you can imagine they’ll find ways to entertain themselves! (Hopefully in a way that also entertains you.) Miya has adopted this new habit of going into our pantry and sticking her head into the treat bag, until she’s had what she feels to be a sufficient amount. She also will not let us leave the house without giving her a biscuit first. You’d be surprised how demanding a 25lb dog can be.
Thanks for reading, hopefully you’ve learned something about Japan’s favorite dog! (On top of learning that my Shiba Inu is spoiled rotten.) See you next time!
Meghan Croce, for Bonilla Pet Photography