There are breeds you can find anytime anywhere
but the Shiba is one who’s appearance is rare.

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The Shiba Inu is an uncommon breed and here at our Vallejo clinic we have three of them at once! From left to right they are Nori, Indy, and Hiro. The Shiba Inu is a special breed for several reasons: To begin with, we are lucky that the breed has even survived to the present because, although it is a very old breed and was the National Dog of Japan in the 1930s, it almost went extinct in its home country during WWII. The rescue of the breed was a very close call based on only three blood lines as described further below. The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the Shiba dogs and that unmistakable fox-like face is found only on this one breed . Based on the genetic evidence of their divergence from wolves, there are 16 breeds which are considered the world’s Basal Breeds. These Basal Breeds all predate the emergence of the modern breeds in the 18th and 19th century but are not necessarily all ancient breeds. The Shiba Inu is a Basal Breed which represents one of the earliest Spitz types and seems to date to about the 3rd century when they were first used for hunting hare and flushing birds. The three blood lines which lead to today’s dogs come from only 3 areas of Japan: Shinshu Shiba from Nagano, Mino Shiba from Mino, and Sanin Shiba from Shimane. In the early 20th century these breeds were combined into the one breed we know today as the Shiba Inu. The word ‘Shiba’ may refer to the small size and the often red color, while the word ‘Inu’ means ‘dog’ in Japanese. The Shiba is the smaller of the Japanese Spitz hunting dogs and exhibits a cold adapted heavy double coat, short ears and small eyes. The Shiba-Inu is typically alert, agile and loyal to its family but often reserved around strangers and potentially hostile to other dogs. There can be a variety of colors from red to cream to black/tan and there is always a display of white on the sides of the muzzle, under the jaw, on the breast and belly. All white is therefore not permitted in most kennels because it masks the required white accents. These healthy and long lived dogs are independent and still exhibit a strong prey drive. To work well with other pets and children the Shiba should be well socialized from an early age.

– Geoffrey Antipa


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