The Shiba Inu is a breed of hunting dog from Japan.
A small-to-medium breed is related to the other 5 native breeds of Japan: Akita Inu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, Kishu Ken, and Kai Ken.
Shiba is the smallest of the native Japanese breeds and all of these dog breeds belong to the spitz family.
The average lifespan of the Shiba Inu is about 12 to 16 years. The oldest known Shiba, Pusuke, died at age 26 in early December 2011.
A small, alert, and agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain and hiking trails, also loves the outdoors and cold weather.
It looks similar to and is often mistaken for other Japanese dog breeds such as the Akita Inu or Hokkaido, but the Shiba Inu is a different breed with a distinct blood line, temperament, and smaller size than other Japanese dog breeds.
A muscular dog, it stands 33–41 cm (13–16 inches) tall at the shoulders and weighs 9–14 kg (20–30 pounds).
The dog’s ears are medium-sized, triangular, and held erect, and its tail is plumed and tightly curled over its back.
Its coat is short, plush, and straight, with a harsh undercoat, and may be white mixed with either red, ginger, tan, or light black.
Males and females are distinctly different in appearance: males are masculine without coarseness, females are feminine without weakness of structure.
Dogs with a similar appearance to the Shiba Inu were represented in dogū made during the prehistoric Jōmon period (c. 14,000–300 BC) of Japanese history.
In dispute is whether the breed arrived in Japan from northern Asia or Korea, but most experts agree that the Shiba Inu descended from dogs that accompanied people who arrived in the first or second major migration to Japan – this means that the Shiba Inu has been present in Japan between 2,300 and 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest of all dog breeds.
According to National Geographic, Shibas are also the breed most genetically similar to wolves, further suggesting that it’s among the oldest domesticated dog breeds.
Originally, the Shiba Inu was bred to hunt and flush small game, such as birds and rabbit. Shiba lived in the mountainous areas of the Chūbu region.
The Shiba Inu has been identified as a basal breed that predates the emergence of the modern breeds in the 19th century.
During the Meiji Restoration, western dog breeds were imported and crosses between these and native Japanese breeds became popular.
From 1912 to 1926, almost no pure Shiba remained.
From around 1928, hunters and intellectuals began to show interest in the protection of the remaining pure Shiba – however, despite efforts to preserve the breed, the Shiba nearly became extinct during World War II due to a combination of food shortage and a post-war distemper epidemic.
All subsequent dogs were bred from the only three surviving bloodlines. These bloodlines were the Shinshu Shiba from Nagano Prefecture, the Mino Shiba from the former Mino Province in the south of present-day Gifu Prefecture, and the San’in Shiba from Tottori and Shimane Prefectures.
In 1954, an armed service family brought the first Shiba Inu to the United States.
In 1979, the first recorded litter was born in the United States.
The Shiba was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1992 and added to the AKC Non-Sporting Group in 1993.
It is now primarily kept as a pet both in Japan and abroad.
According to the American Kennel Club, the Shiba Inu is the number one companion dog in Japan.
Exercise, especially daily walks, is preferred for this breed to live a long and healthy life.
These dogs are very clean, so grooming needs will likely be minimal. They naturally tend to hate to be wet or bathed, thus, it is very important to start accustomed when they are young.
The cost of the Shiba Inu varies – on average, you can expect to pay between $1,200-$2,500 for this breed. The popularity of the Shiba Inu has risen dramatically over the past 15 years. Before, puppies cost no more than $1,000.
Shiba Inu (code: SHIB), also known as Shiba Token, is a decentralized cryptocurrency created in August 2020 by an anonymous person known as “Ryoshi”. Shiba Inu is an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, and is based on Dogecoin – it brands itself “the Dogecoin killer”.