The Japanese Shiba Inu
The little brushwood dog from Japan.
Shibas are the smallest of the six native breeds of Japanese
hunting dogs, all of whom were declared a National Treasure in Japan in 1937.
Called ‘the little brushwood dog’ because of it’s ability to
flush game from the most dense undergrowth, the shiba has retained it’s hunting
instincts. Even the most loyal family pet will happily flush and kill birds,
rabbits, rats etc if given the opportunity and for this reason, it is not
advisable to expect a shiba to live alongside small domestic animals such as
rabbits, hamsters or birds. Shibas can usually get along with cats, providing
they are introduced as small puppies and discouraged from playing chase.
Great care must be taken if you decide to allow this breed
off the lead in open spaces as they will quickly pick up the scent of something
interesting and be off like a rocket. At best they will return when they are
ready, maybe an hour or so later. At worst they will not return at all and,
barring traffic accidents, they will turn feral and survive quite happily
living off what they can catch. For this reason it is strongly recommended to
keep shibas on retractable leads when out in open spaces, unless very well
All shibas need the opportunity to let off steam on a daily
basis and if they do not have access to a well fenced, secure garden in which
to do this, they will just as likely end up racing around the house at top
speed. This activity is known worldwide as ‘The Shiba 500’. Thankfully, this
daily ritual only lasts a few minutes.