Of the six domestic Japanese spitz-breeds, the Shiba is the smallest. It's better known and larger 'cousin' is the Akita and the other four are the medium sized Shikoku, Kishu, Hokkaido and Kai.
Shiba females have a height of 37 cm, the males 40 cm. The standard will allow a give or take of 1,5 cm. By far most Shibas are red. Then there is black & tan and the colour sesame occurs (sesame, red/sesame and black/sesame).
The coat is short with a thick woolly undercoat and a harsher, longer topcoat. Shibas can moult twice a year. They shed a tremendous amount of hair and one sometimes wonders where it all comes from! For anyone for an aversion to doghairs, we have the following advice: either stand ready with a vacuum cleaner during and after grooming time or don't get a Shiba.
The Shiba is a cheerful and playful dog with an appealing appearance. They are very intelligent, agile and extremely light-footed in it's movements. Characteristic is their inexhaustible curiosity, eagerness to learn, self-conceit and an unbelievable passion for hunting. Furthermore they are very independent. These are all wonderful characteristics, but also a given that one has to 'utilize' this type of primitive dog.
The rearing of a Shiba must be consistent, but not in a hard-handed way. On the contrary, with a lot of patience and affection one will achieve the best results. However, never be too lenient, and do not allow yourself to be distracted by his 'cute little foxy face'. A badly reared Shiba can be a disaster. Unfortunately one hears all too often from Shiba owners that they find it impossible to let their dog run freely in the woods, as they will not listen and are almost impossible to retrieve.
Generally speaking the Shiba is very friendly towards people and also extremely social in its behaviour towards other dogs; they enjoy living in a group. Coming home to your Shibas is always an overpowering and deafening experience. But having welcomed you or your guests, they usually settle down quickly to their normal activities.
At "Jaklho" in Dordrecht we have three males and three females, living in peaceful and perfect harmony.
We try at least to do a standard puppy class training with all our dogs, and with most of them we do follow-up agility or obedience courses. A sure sign of the Shiba's intelligence is its ability to learn very quickly and its inclination to get bored should a training session become too long or repetitive. To avoid this, and to hold the Shiba's attention and interest, we recommend keeping training sessions to under an hour.
Apart from the fact that it is simply great fun to do things on the training field with your Shiba, it does have other advantages. All our dogs get to roam freely in the woods or on the beach daily, which we feel is extremely important for their physical and psychological development. There are Shiba owners who would advice against this freedom, but we strongly recommend it.
Shibas are able to produce the most incredible sounds, one can't call it a yell or a scream – it's worse, it's very eerie! All Shiba owners know this ear-splitting sound; we only have to mention 'nail clipping' , and all hell breaks loose. We can offer you only one piece of advice here and that is:
"DON'T LET PUPPY WIN"
By clicking the next link one can see how well trained Shibas behave as their nails are being clipped.
To attain a cheerful, free-thinking dog, the breeder will have to invest a lot of time and effort during the pup's imprinting period. This is important with all dogs, but especially with Shibas, as they can be prone to shy or withdrawn behaviour, sometimes due to genetic factors. Also when the pup arrives at its new home, it is of great importance that the imprinting and socialization period continues. It should be introduced to all and everything that it is likely to encounter in later life, to assure a sociable and well adjusted Shiba.
Just look into the eyes of a Shiba and you will feel some of that 'eastern mysticism'. That inscrutable 'smile' and those penetrating eyes will let you know that they will always be just a little mysterious, but you will fall for that charm, not briefly, but for ever!
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GEERT JAN WAGEMANS & BAS DE BRUIN - Zeedijk 6 - 3329 LC Dordrecht - the Netherlands
Tel.: +31 (0)78 6164779 - Email: