With his bright eyes, plush coat, and boldly curling tail, the Shiba Inu is an official Japanese national treasure. In the United States, he's a small – under 25 pounds – companion dog with a big attitude. He's charming and affectionate, with a sense of humor about life and also about those odd verbalizations humans call "commands."
They are relatively new in the United States, making their appearance in 1954. The Shiba Inu breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1992.
Originally the Shibas were used for hunting large animals but now they are used only onsmaller game. They are excellent hunting dogs having the survival DNA of thousand years in the rugged mountains of Japan.
This is a dog that is very attached to his human family and can't stand being isolated from them. Don't even think of keeping your Shiba in the backyard or garage; that bold, bright nature will be channeled into noise and destructiveness.
While they're active dogs that love to hike, walk, and run with their human family members, Shibas are happy with a few romps a week once out of puppyhood. They're noted escape artists, so provide a Shiba with a securely fenced yard and check it regularly for potential escape routes. Supervise children and workmen to make sure that gates are always latched and doors closed. The Shiba will bolt if given half a chance.
There used to be 3 types of Shiba before World War II – the Mino, the San’in and the Shinshu. Due to food shortage and post-war epidemics the Shibas nearly became extinct. The Shiba Inu you see today is similar to Shinshu, but all three dog-strains were combined to make the overall breed.
The Shiba Inu has many qualities similar to cats. They are very independent and bold and can be difficult to train. They also keep themselves very clean and spend a lot of time grooming themselves.