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by JACEY HOLDEN THE SHIBA INU W hen Archer escaped from a backyard in Stockton, California, he didn’t resurface until a
Scientists analyzed the DNA of 85 dog breeds and found the Shiba’s genetic profile was the closest to that of the wolf and, not surprisingly, immediately fol- lowed by the Chow, Akita, Alaskan Mala- mute, Basenji, Shar Pei and Siberian Hus- ky. With their roots in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, this suggests that these are the oldest, yet most primitive-acting, domesticated breeds. This primal nature was allowed to flourish at the inception of the Japa- nese native dog. The breed’s history is explained in this excerpt taken from the Introduction To The Shiba Inu on the National Shiba Club of America website: “Originally, Shibas were bred to flush birds and small game and were occa- sionally used to hunt wild boar. Around 7,000 BC the ancestors of today’s Shiba may have accompanied the earliest immigrants to Japan. Archaeological excavations of the shell-mounds left by the Jomonjin, or Rope-Pattern People (a name derived from the pattern found on their earthenware), show that they had small dogs in the 14 ½ to 19 ½ inch range. In the third century BC, a new group of immigrants brought their dogs to Japan. These dogs then interbred with the descendants of the Jomonjin dogs and produced canines known to have pointed, erect ears and curly or sickle tails.
In the seventh century AD, the Yamato Court established a dogkeep- er’s office that helped maintain the Japanese native breeds as an integral part of Japanese culture. Originally there were three main varieties of Shiba; each named for its region of ori- gin. Although similar, the Shibas from each area contributed to differences in breed type seen today. From the origi- nal Japanese native dogs, six distinct “breeds,” in three different sizes and colors developed. They are: • Large Size – The Akita – any color • Medium Size – The Kishu – primarily white The Hokkaido – red, white, sesa- me, black & tan, brindle, black The Shikoku – primarily sesame The Kai – brindle • Small Size – The Shiba – red, sesame, black and tan, cream The small size dog has been called the Shiba since ancient times, with several theories surrounding the development of that name. One popu- lar explanation is that the word Shiba means “brushwood,” and the dogs were named for the brushwood bushes where they hunted. Another theory is that the fiery red color of the Shiba is the same as the autumn color of the brushwood leaves. A third conjecture
month later, 50 miles away and across three major rivers. Fortunately, sharp- eyed and caring Shiba lovers recog- nized him from his photo in the “lost dog” section of Craigslist and pulled him from the brink of euthanasia at a shelter. After much maneuvering, he was reunited with his young owner who had given up all hope of finding her beloved pet. Archer did not find his way through San Joaquin Delta by him- self. Someone drove him there and then lost him—again. The above story combines both the greatest positive and the greatest nega- tive of the delightful little Shiba Inu. Their universal appeal of small (but not tiny) size, charming fox-like appear- ance and friendly nature makes anyone finding such a dog reluctant to give it up, but the Shiba’s wanderlust makes it difficult to confine and even harder to retrieve once an escape is made. It is easy to understand the inde- pendent nature of this breed when the findings of the National Human Genome Research Institute and National Institutes of Health were reported in the February 2012 issue of National Geographic Magazine.
Early Japanese picture scroll
An early Shiba in modern Japan
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is related to an obsolete meaning of the word ‘shiba’ referring to its small size. These explanations are often combined and the Shiba is referred to as the ‘little brushwood dog.’ World War II nearly spelled disaster for the Shiba. After the war, Shibas were brought from the remote countryside, and breeding programs were estab- lished. The remnants of the various bloodlines were combined to produce the breed as it is known today.” In contrast to the independent nature is the delightful side of Shi- bas that makes them irresistible to so many people. The Japanese describe this personality with three words: “kan-i” which is bravery and boldness combined with composure and mental strength. The opposite side of “kan-i” is “ryosei” which means good nature with a gentle disposition. One cannot exist without the other. The charming side of the Shiba is “soboku” which is artless- ness with a refined and open spirit. This delightful personality, the easy- care coat and balanced 15 to 25 pound size, combine to make an almost ideal breed that is small enough to be picked
up yet rugged enough for outdoor liv- ing. Shibas are not plagued by condi- tions common to breeds of distorted proportions and extreme ranges in size. Responsible breeders screen their breeding stock for hip dysplasia, patel- lar luxation, heart murmurs and heri- table eye defects. The most common health problem in the breed is also the most common in other breeds as well as humans and that is allergies. Attempt- ing to find the causes of the allergies, treating the itching and scratching and not breeding affected animals are the only weapons against this universal problem. As Shibas have increased in popular- ity, breeders have been cognizant of the necessity for good temperaments and the nature of the breed has softened over the years, although some, espe- cially in-tact males, may not get along with all other dogs. Today’s Shibas have come to appreciate the comforts of a soft bed, a well-stocked kitchen and daily walks in the park. This is not to say that they wouldn’t give it all up for a taste of freedom if given the opportunity. With this in mind, careful
consideration must be given when con- sidering bringing a Shiba into a house- hold with small children who may not be good about keeping doors closed. With this surge in popularity has come the problem of an inadequate supply of quality dogs from responsible breeders and the rush to fill that gap by those seeking only to make a profit from the dogs and breeding large quantities of sub-standard Shibas. Good breeders, especially in heavy population centers, may receive more than a phone call or email every day from someone wanting a puppy. Since the average Shiba litter is only three pups, excellent breeders may have just a few pups a year and the impatient buyer has nowhere to turn but to the internet and the plethora of cute, but not necessarily good quality, puppies offered there. In the 24 years since the Shiba was recognized by the AKC, it has made excellent strides in quality, largely due to conscientious breeders and the judi- cious importation of good dogs from Japan. Some of the dogs that placed in group in the early years might have a difficult time finishing now. Prior to
“THE CHARMING SIDE OF THE SHIBA IS ‘SOBOKU’ WHICH IS ARTLESSNESS WITH A REFINED AND OPEN SPIRIT.”
Early Shibas in the US
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2018 • 259
AKC recognition, many breeders feared that the Shiba might go the way of the Akita which had become an entirely different breed here in the US, but the AKC and the Japan Kennel Club formed a reciprocal agreement in 1992 and the Shiba avoided that pitfall. Now the Shi- ba is a universal breed that can compete anywhere in the world. The disqualify- ing height range of 14 ½ '' to 16 ½ '' for males and 13 ½ '' to 15 ½ '' for females has kept the size uniform not allowing it to become a Toy dog or a miniature Akita. It has remained a moderate breed. For more information, see the illustrated standard at http://www.shibas.org/ judgesed/seminar/index.htm. Although Shiba temperaments have improved, the stigma of aggressiveness has followed them into the ring. Shi- bas often jerk their heads back when teeth are being examined. Early on, I had a young bitch do that and the judge jumped back like she had been bitten. Then she stood about four feet away and asked me to show the bite saying “I can see it from here.” Times have changed but Shibas still do their best to embarrass their han- dlers including screaming, bailing off the table and doing the “Shiba shake” several times during the out and back. The epitome of embarrassment was the
bitch that started a “humping” action when a judge went over her rear end and wouldn’t stop until put on the floor. Of course, much laughter ensued and there was always a crowd gathered when she was being shown as she often repeated the performance. Most judges were amused but a few were not. Although they prefer the company of their family and close friends, their devotion often extends primarily to whoever has the best bait-pocket. As purebred kitchen hounds, Shibas remain loyal to their one true love— food. They are best trained with rewards rather than punishment and compliance is not to be expected once they realize a reward will not be forth- coming. This lack of compliance also seems to extend to anytime there is an audience, a distraction and most cer- tainly, in the obedience ring. Even though Shibas frequently act- out in the conformation and obedience rings, many seem to enjoy Agility and especially, the new Barn Hunt event available to the breed. Event enthusiast Michelle Hacker states, “Called the new ‘It’ dog in Barn Hunt, the Shiba Inu is uniquely equipped for this sport with his strong prey drive and light, quick movements. They are very determined hunters that work the entire course,
leaving no hay untouched until they find their prey, a triple threat to the rats indeed!” Fast Cat was started in March of 2016 and has caught on with many fan- ciers who want to do something with their Shibas besides conformation. This seems to fit right with the Shiba prey drive, just like Barn Hunt. The prob- lem with either of those events is the frequent lack of secure fencing. The fear that the dog will just run off is always there. Scent work trials started just last October and some Shiba fanciers are interested as they may keep their dogs on leash. It will be interesting to see how they perform in the future. Like all breeds, Shibas have both positive and negative traits to be care- fully considered by those contemplating Shiba ownership. Much detailed infor- mation can be obtained by thoroughly reading the material on the Parent Club website at www.shibas.org which con- tains extensive breed information on health, care, temperament, activities, events, breeders and the entire National Shiba Club of America’s Judge’s Educa- tion seminar and handouts. Absorption of these materials should prepare most anyone for living with kan-i, ryosei and soboku.
“IT HAS REMAINED A MODERATE BREED.”
This group placing/top 10 Shiba in ‘93/94 was undersized and had a high white sock. He might not finish today.
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OfficialStandard for the SHIBA IN U COURTESY THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB
General Appearance: The Shiba is the smallest of the Japanese native breeds of dog and was originally devel- oped for hunting by sight and scent in the dense under- growth of Japan's mountainous areas. Alert and agile with keen senses, he is also an excellent watchdog and compan- ion. His frame is compact with well-developed muscles. Males and females are distinctly different in appearance: males are masculine without coarseness, females are femi- nine without weakness of structure. Size, Proportion, Substance: Males 1 4 ½ to 1 6 ½ inches at withers. Females 1 3 ½ to 1 5 ½ inches. The preferred size is the middle of the range for each sex. Average weight at preferred size is approximately 2 3 pounds for males, 1 7
carried over the back in a sickle or curled position. A loose single curl or sickle tail pointing vigorously toward the neck and nearly parallel to the back is preferred. A double curl or sickle tail pointing upward is acceptable. In length the tail reaches nearly to the hock joint when extended. Tail is set high. Forequarters: Shoulder blade and upper arm are moder- ately angulated and approximately equal in length. Elbows are set close to the body and turn neither in nor out. Forelegs and feet are moderately spaced, straight, and par- allel. Pasterns are slightly inclined. Removal of front dew- claws is optional. Feet are catlike with well-arched toes fit- ting tightly together. Pads are thick.
pounds for females. Males have a height to length ratio of 1 0 to 1 1 , females slightly longer. Bone is moderate. Disqualification - Males over 1 6 ½ inches and under 1 4 ½ inches. Females over 1 5 ½ inches and under 1 3 ½ inches. Head : Expression is good natured with a strong and confident gaze. Eyes are some- what triangular in shape, deep set, and upward slanting toward the outside base of the ear. Iris is dark brown. Eye rims are black. Ears are triangular in shape, firmly
Hind quarters: The angulation of the hindquarters is moderate and in balance with the angulation of the forequarters. Hind legs are strong with a wide natural stance. The hock joint is strong, turning neither in nor out. Upper thighs are long and the second thighs short but well devel- oped. No dewclaws. Feet as in forequar- ters. Coat: Double coated with the outer coat being stiff and straight and the undercoat
soft and thick. Fur is short and even on face, ears, and legs. Guard hairs stand off the body are about 1 ½ to 2 inches in length at the withers. Tail hair is slightly longer and stands open in a brush. It is preferred that the Shiba be presented in a natural state. Trimming of the coat must be severely penalized. Serious Fault - Long or woolly coat. Color: Coat color is as specified herein, with the three allowed colors given equal consideration. All colors are clear and intense. The undercoat is cream, buff or gray. Urajiro (cream to white ventral color) is required in the fol- lowing areas on all coat colors: on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the underjaw and upper throat inside of legs, on the abdomen, around the vent and the ventral side of the tail. On reds: commonly on the throat, forechest, and chest. On blacks and sesames: com- monly as a triangular mark on both sides of the forechest. White spots above the eyes permitted on all colors but not required. Bright orange-red with urajiro lending a foxlike appearance to dogs of this color. Clear red preferred but a very slight dash of black tipping is permitted on the back and tail. Black with tan points and urajiro. Black hairs have a brownish cast, not blue. The undercoat is buff or gray. The borderline between black and tan areas is clearly defined. Tan points are located as follows: two oval spots over the eyes: on the sides of the muzzle between the
pricked and small, but in proportion to head and body size. Ears are set well apart and tilt directly forward with the slant of the back of the ear following the arch of the neck. Skull size is moderate and in proportion to the body. Forehead is broad and flat with a slight furrow. Stop is moderate. Muzzle is firm, full, and round with a stronger lower jaw projecting from full cheeks. The bridge of the muzzle is straight. Muzzle tapers slightly from stop to nose tip. Muzzle length is 4 0 percent of the total head length from occiput to nose tip. It is preferred that whiskers remain intact. Lips are tight and black. Nose is black. Bite is scissors, with a full complement of strong, substantial, evenly aligned teeth. Serious Fault - Five or more missing teeth is a very serious fault and must be penalized. Disqualification - Overshot or undershot bite. Neck, Topline and Bod y: Neck is thick, sturdy, and of moderate length. Topline is straight and level to the base of the tail. Body is dry and well muscled without the appearance of sluggishness or coarseness. Forechest is well developed. Chest depth measured from the withers to the lowest point of the sternum is one-half or slightly less than the total height from withers to ground. Ribs are mod- erately sprung. Abdomen is firm and well tucked-up. Back is firm. Loins are strong. Tail is thick and powerful and is
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Official Standard for the SHIBA IN U CONTINUED
black bridge of the muzzle and the white cheeks; on the outside of the forelegs from the carpus, or a little above, downward to the toes; on the outside of the hind legs down the front of the stifle broadening from hock joint to toes, but not completely eliminating black from rear of pasterns. Black penciling on toes permitted. Tan hairs may also be found on the inside of the ear and on the underside of the tail. Sesame (black-tipped hairs on a rich red background) with urajiro. Tipping is light
are moderate and efficient. In the show ring, the Shiba is gaited on a loose lead at a brisk trot. Temperament: A spirited boldness, a good nature, and an unaffected forthright- ness, which together yield dignity and nat- ural beauty. The Shiba has an independent nature and can be reserved toward strangers but is loyal and affectionate to those who earn his respect. At times aggressive toward other dogs, the Shiba is
always under the control of his handler. Any aggression toward handler or judge or any overt shyness must be severely penalized. Summary: The foregoing is a description of the ideal Shiba. Any deviation from the above standard is to be con- sidered a fault and must be penalized. The severity of the fault is equal to the extent of the deviation. A harmonious balance of form, color, movement, and temperament is more critical than any one feature. Disqualifications: Males over 1 6 ½ and under 1 4 ½ inches. Females over 1 5 ½ and under 1 3 ½ inches. Overshot or undershot bite.
and even on the body and head with no concentration of black in any area. Sesame areas appear at least one-half red. Sesame may end in a widow's peak on the forehead, leaving the bridge and sides of the muzzle red. Eye spots and lower legs are also red. Clearly delineated white mark- ings are permitted but not required on the tip of the tail and in the form of socks on the forelegs to the elbow joint, hind legs to the knee joint. A patch of blaze is permitted on the throat, forechest, or chest in addition to urajiro. Serious fault - Cream, white, pinto, or any other color or marking not specified is a very serious fault and must be penalized. Gait: Movement is nimble, light, and elastic. At the trot, the legs angle in towards a center line while the topline remains level and firm. forward reach and rear extension
Approved February 7, 1997 Effective March 31, 1997
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S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2018 • 265
JUDGING THE SHIBA INU
By Laura Payton
he Shiba Inu is one of the more primitive breeds in the AKC fam- ily of dogs. Japanese skeletal remains date the early ancestors of
the Shiba Inu at over 10,000 years old. e domestic dog is a descendant of the Asian Gray Wolf. A study of the DNA of 85 purebred dog breeds published in the March 2012 issue of the National Geo- graphic cites the Shiba Inu as the breed most closely aligned genetically with the Asian Gray Wolf. Th e Shiba has remained relatively unchanged and the primitive nature of the breed is an important ele- ment of understanding the breed. Th e Shiba Inu along with five other native Japanese breeds evolved over time from the original descendants of the Asian Gray Wolf. Most of the type characteristics are common among these six breeds with size and color as the primary traits that dis- tinguish the individual breeds. Th e Shiba is the smallest of the native Japanese breeds. Th e traits that define the Shiba are a combi- nation of form, function and temperament. Form Characteristics Th e three areas of form that receive the most attention from breeders are the head, size and coat color. Th ese traits are often the most di ffi cult to achieve and retain. Th e head combines the muzzle, the skull shape, the eye, the ear and cheeks. t ɨFNV[[MFJTmSNXJUIBSPVOEBQQFBS - ance viewed from the front. Th e full underjaw is the trait that contributes to the round appearance of the muzzle. Th e lip line is firm and straight and the pigment of the lips is black. t ɨF TIBQF PG UIF TLVMM JT EFmOFE CZ B moderate stop, a defined upward slop- ing back skull, and a broad flat fore- head that may contain a slight furrow. Th e muzzle is roughly 40% of the skull measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput.
t ɨF FZF JT EFFQMZ TFU BOE SJTFT VQXBSE toward the base of the ear. Th e upper lid is somewhat triangular in shape and the lower lid is slightly rounded. Th e eye color is deep brown and the pigment of the eye rim is black. t ɨFFBSTBSFXFMM TFUBQBSUBOE UJMU GPS - ward slightly flowing forward in the line formed by the arch of the neck. Th e ear is firmly pricked and triangular in shape. Viewed from the front, the pitch of the ear creates a somewhat triangular shape where the outer edge of the ear is slightly curved and the inner edge of the ears is straighter. t ɨF DIFFLT BSF GVMM BOE QSPQPSUJPOBM with the other components of the head. Balance is important when viewing the head as a whole. Th ere is room for variance
in the individual elements; however the overall impression of the head is one where all of the components are proportional, balanced and in harmony. Th e acceptable height range is impor- tant enough to merit disqualification. Th e Shiba Inu is not a toy dog and the undersize disqualification exists to empha- size the importance of the lower range of the acceptable height. Th e top end of the height range separates the Shiba Inu from the other native Japanese breeds identified as larger in size. Judges that question the height of a Shiba in the ring are encour- aged to use the wicket to determine if the exhibit is within acceptable limits. Th e three accepted colors of the Shiba Inu are: Red, Red Sesame and Black with Tan Points. Th e under coat is soft and
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dense and may be white, bu ff , cream, tan or gray in color. Urajiro is required for all colors and is white, cream or bu ff . Urajiro is required: on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the underjaw and upper throat, the inside of legs, on the abdomen, around the vent and the ventral side of the tail. Th e urajiro is distinct from the coat color with a graduated blending of the urajiro into the colored coat. Th e red is vibrant and closer to a vivid orange than red. Th e color is not muted appearing fawn or brownish red. Th e cor- rect red sesame is one of the hardest colors to obtain. Th e combination of black tipped hairs on vivid red background is distrib- uted evenly throughout the coat and does not appear in patches or patterned. Th is even distribution should be present on the head and may form a widow’s peak on the forehead. Th e black with tan points is comprised of black guard hair contain- ing brown or red tints. Th e black is not a blue black. Th e tan points are located as oval spots over the eyes; on the sides of the muzzle between the black bridge of the muzzle and the white cheeks; on the out- side of the forelegs from the carpus, or a little above, downward to the toes; on the outside of the hind legs down the front of the stifle broadening from hock joint to toes. Tan points may also be found on the inside of the ear and underside of the tail. While other colors or color patterns may occur within the breed, these repre- sent coloration patterns more appropriate to the other native Japanese breeds and are serious faults that must be penalized. In addition, the cream or white Shiba will not display the required contrast between coat color and the urajiro pattern required for all Shibas. Function Characteristics Th e Shiba has been utilized through- out its early history as a hunting dog. Th e Shiba travels a variety of terrain from high mountainous regions to open fields. Th e Shiba is sturdy without appearing heavy
boned or refined. Th e Shiba is built to work tirelessly for extended periods with balanced structure critical to performance. Th e Shiba possesses e ff ortless movement allowing for bursts of speed and quick course corrections. Th e Shiba thrives in extreme ranges of temperature. A trait that allows the Shiba to function in extreme weather is the coat. Th e Shiba carries a double coat where the guard or outer coat is coarse, sti ff and straight and the undercoat is soft and dense. A long, wooly or soft coat is faulted and it is preferred that the Shiba is presented in a natural state. Trimming or sculpting of the coat must be severely penalized. Th ese carnivorous dogs easily adapted to the requirements of the Japanese hunt- er throughout early history. Full denti- tion and the alignment of the teeth is an important consideration for these hunting dogs. Th e Shiba throughout history has been utilized as a hunter of game ranging in size from small birds to boar. Th e job of the Shiba when hunting boar was to contain the boar until the hunter arrived with spears. Th e Shiba would circle the boar attacking from the rear at the ham- strings to slow down or immobilize. Th e full-compliment of correctly aligned teeth was critical to the Shiba’s survival. Several of the early Shibas in the foun- dation stock comprising the gene pool in the US had missing teeth. Th e version of the Standard adopted by AKC when the breed entered the Non-Sporting Group in June 1993 simply stated “full dentition preferred.” Unfortunately, several of the early AKC champions had missing teeth; some in significant numbers. Th e NSCA members understood the importance of honoring the judging requirements in the country of origin as well as the heritage of the breed and felt that dentition required emphasis from breeders and judges alike. Th e members of NSCA felt that breed- ers needed time to reduce the number of missing teeth and in 1997 the Standard was modified to specify that more than
4 missing teeth are a serious fault. In time the Standard may be revised in steps to specify more than two missing teeth as a serious fault, with the ultimate goal of full dentition as a requirement. Temperament Characteristics Th e Shiba Inu should carry himself with a “spirited boldness” and dignity. Th e Shiba Inu does not understand that he is not the biggest dog in the crowd and firm- ly believes that he is the most important dog in area where he is present. Th e quiet confidence of the Shiba is manifested by a dog that is secure in his environment and under the control of his owner or handler. While puppies may exhibit enthusiasm for greeting any stranger, adults are often more reserved and aloof. When greeting a stranger, the adult Shiba has yet to deter- mine if it is worth his while to expend any e ff ort on the newcomer to his world. Judges should not be expected to toler- ate aggressive behavior from a Shiba and AKC has procedures for dogs that display aggressive behavior in the ring. Shy dogs raise a bigger question and the key element in the Standard is the word overt. A Shiba may be unsure of herself the first few times she shows and will gain confidence with each show experience. However, the Shiba that displays overt shyness with behaviors such as trembling, cringing or low crawl- ing should be excused. Fear based aggres- sion may be a factor in the show ring more often than dominance aggression. Th e judge or the exhibitor should not push a Shiba into a fear aggression response. Th e National Shiba Club of America has developed a program for educating judges that places emphasis on judging the overall dog and discourages fault judging. Th e “perfect” Shiba does not exist and in most circumstances the strengths of the dog will o ff set any minor faults possessed by the dog. Th e Standard states “A harmo- nious balance of form, color, movement, and temperament is more critical than any one feature.”
“TRIMMING OR SCULPTING OF THE COAT MUST BE SEVERELY PENALIZED.”
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LIVING WITH SHIBAS
By Frederick Duane
hiba Inu is the smallest of the six related Nippon Inu (Japanese dogs) of which the shiba is the smallest and aki- ta is the largest. Th e ances- tors of these little treasures
are believed to be the oldest as skeletal remains have been found dating back to the Joman Era (8000 B.C. or earlier). Th e Shiba as well as all the Nippon Inus were originally bred for hunting. Th ey were used on small game and some shibas have been used to hunt boar, deer, and bear. Th ey are very popular dog in Japan shows, having as many as 800 in a Nippon show. Colors are red, sesame, black, tan & cream. Th ey stand 14-16 inches at the shoulder and weigh 18-23 pounds. Th eir natural stand up (slightly tilted forward) ears and curled tail along with their short double coat they make an all around beau- tiful, attractive little dog that can go any- where with you. Th is fox-like look, cat-like cleanliness, their courageous, dignified and obedient way are what endeared them to the Japa- nese all these years. Th ey are a real fam- ily house dog and a good kid’s dog. Shibas originate from land-locked mountainous parts of Japan where they thrive on cold weather. Th ey are very adaptable; we are in South Carolina and the heat doesn’t bother them, they race around when it is so hot you don’t want to move to do anything. Our line of Shibas don’t have canine health problems of a lot of other breeds. Also, they are not hyper like many of the small breeds. Th ey rarely bark unless it is for a good reason. Th ey are so intelligent you only have to show them
Ch Frerose Good Time Charlie—6 Months Old— with Frederick Duane and Diane Murphy.
“...THEIR COURAGEOUS, DIGNIFIED AND OBEDIENT WAY are what endeared them to the Japanese all these years.”
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once or twice what it is you want them to do and they obey. Shibas are easy to train if you do it all with positive training, praise and reward, firm but fair. I find them to be one of smartest and easiest of any breed I know. One of our people has two golden retrievers and she said her Shiba is by far a better retreiver than the Goldens!
All our dogs and our puppies start out as show dogs standing and baiting even at 6 weeks old. We have bred our dogs and kept the look and type we like with the showmanship bred in to them. As one judge said about a puppy that we had at a match show, “He was born on his feet in a show stack.”
This proud little dog is a joy to own and it is a dog anyone from children to senior citizens can handle. After breed- ing show dogs since the 60s and top quality Shibas for the last 33 years we still love them as we did on day one.
“Shibas are easy to train if you do it all with positive training, praise and reward, firm but fair. I FIND THEM TO BE ONE OF SMARTEST AND EASIEST OF ANY BREED I KNOW.”
T his is Little Red Bear; he is a sei- zure alert dog. Kay Murphree did not get Bear until he was almost 6 months old. Right away he attached him- self to Kay. She had him less than 2 weeks and her husband was going to take him out to potty and he just ran over and sat by Kay and within a few minutes she had a seizure. Th is is what Kay wrote to us: “Just wanted you both to know… Bear is still doing an excellent job for me… infact he just gets better and better… Jae- mar Trainers have worked diligently with the both of us on a weekly basis..he has achieved his canine good citizen award… and is doing advanced training in obe- dience. Bear and I have been contacted from newspapers and people all over the country to give information on seizure alert/response dogs. Honestly he is quite a little celebrity and enjoys all the adula- tion. Bear and I are now involved in the therapy dog program and visit the local nursing homes and hospitals where he is quite the hit. Everyone wants to pet Little Red Bear. I could never express how very much this little guy means to me and my family. He is so diligently and lovingly responded in each and every instance. What loyal, obedient and loving compan- ions Shiba Inus are. God bless you both and all your little Shibas.” Namaste, Kay Murphree & Bear
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A Breed in review SHIBA INU:
PAT HASTINGS I live in Aloha, OR and have a fairly full life inside of dogs. With writing, semi- nars, judging and litter evaluation, dogs keep me pretty busy. But I do love garden- ing, movies and spending as much time as possible with my friends and family. I got my first dog, a Toy Poodle, in 1958; which was also the first dog I showed. (I received a ribbon and got hooked for life.) I have been very involved ever since. I was very active in club work, had a 4-H Dog Group for years, breeder/owner/handler for years and became a professional handler when I married Bob in 1977. I retired from all of that in 1990 and started judg- ing and I currently judge 4 groups. CAROLYN HERBEL
a year when we got our first two dogs—a German Shorthair for a hunting dog and a Miniature Schnauzer—and we started showing shortly thereafter. We got our first Shiba in 1988 and I’ve been judging them since 1998. I’ve been judging since 1994 and have the Terrier and Non-Sporting groups; I’m now learning and judging some Sporting breeds in addition to the GSPs which I’ve judged since the beginning. I’ve been JEC for the National Shiba Club of America and was Vice President. I developed their educational PowerPoint in addition to the one for the Hungarian Pumi Club of America, and an educational website on CD for the American Miniature Schnauzer Club. LAURA PERKINSON
I live in Oakville, Washington State. I am retired. I showed my first dog, a GSD, in 1958. I judged from 2004 to 2013. I had Chow Chows for over 20 years and was in Japan showing a Chow in the 90s when I saw my first Shiba. I asked my friend what it was and five months later he sent me one. I never looked back. I love this breed to distraction and with the help of oth-
I live in Oklahoma. Outside of dogs… I do very little, because as a retiree I am indulging myself mostly in many dog- related activities. I’ve been in the dog world since buying our first AKC regis- tered dog in 1956. I entered her in Obe- dience in 1959, at the St. Joseph KC. I’ve been judging since 1983.
© Lynda Beam
ers worked to get it accepted by AKC. I have bred over 55 Shiba Champions as well as a World winner and Champions in Europe, a BOB National Specialty winner and just this last year, showed my Veteran to Select dog at the National under the very respected breed expert Pat Hastings. I judged two AKC Shiba Nationals and one Canadian Shiba Nationals— those truly were the highlights of my judging career as these assignments came from member votes. I retired from judging due to a back injury, but have since found a way to return to the ring to show my dogs. DIANA SMILEY I live in Santa Rosa, CA. I am retired for the last 10 years and I breed and raise and show Shiba Inus. I have a suc- cessful line of dogs called Copperdots Shibas. I have been breeding and showing for 40 years. I started judging about 12 years ago. I judge eight breeds, including a breeder/judge for the Rottweiler, the Akita and the Shiba Inu. I am also a
My husband and I live in Salem, OR. The dogs are our life. We retired a few years ago and I’m enjoying every aspect of dogs, including dog club work, judg- ing (and learning new breeds), showing (we’re getting ready to show our Pumik as a full status breed this July) and per- formance: herding, nose work, obedi- ence and coursing. I’m still trying to get back to my artwork, but not finding the time. This will be our 45th year show- ing dogs. We’d only been married about
A Japanese dog that is one of my ideals and exhibits that “own the ground
you stand on” temperament.
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3. Do you get to see all coat colors in the ring or is one color predominant in the average entry? Which, if any, would you like to see more often? PH: Shibas come in three colors and all are equally accept- able according to the standard, but reds dominate the show ring. For some reason it has always been very difficult to breed a great black & tan, but there are sure some good ones out there currently. My BOS at the National last fall was a black & tan that was fabulous and is a great example of what the color should be. The sesame appears to be the hardest color to breed, even though you see a lot of quality in the color. A sesame should have black tipping, lightly and evenly spread over the entire body, but the average sesame in the ring has very little tipping. It is a thrill to see one that is proper of this color. CH: At most shows red is most seen, next black & tans and sesames least of all colors. I would love to see correct sesames more often. CL: The majority of Shibas are red as it’s genetically the dom- inant color. I love to see an evenly-colored dark red dog with good urajiro. It’s very difficult to get a well-marked black & tan, and I think you don’t see as many of them because of that and that it’s recessive. Lately there have been some outstanding black & tans shown. I think the most difficult color to get right is Sesame, because they need to have an even sprinkling of black-tipped hairs all over the colored portions of the dog. The black-tipped hairs seem to localize on the torso, which is not correct. I’d love to see more Black and Tans and Sesames shown. LP: I come from Chow Chow and fought to have the colors separated so judges could learn and see the correct b&t color instead to disregarding them due to not understand- ing them. Red is of course the dominant color not only here, but in Japan as well. DS: We have three recognized coat colors for the show ring—red, sesame and the black & tan. The reds are the most popular color that we see. I myself am a huge fan of the orange reds, not the blond reds, but a correctly marked black & tan is nice to see. I would say the essence of this breed is the stand out double coat, the required urajiro/cream color on all the undersides of every color.
National-recognized mentor for the Shiba Inu. I try to mentor new people coming into the breed.
1. What about the Shiba Inu makes it a standout show dog? PH: I actually have been very disappointed in the Shiba as a show dog. I have been involved with the breed since the mid 80s, way before they came into AKC and I really thought they would be a top contender at every level. When most new breeds join AKC, the majority of the people involved are novice, but Shibas have had a lot of very good dog people since the beginning but it did not appear to make a difference. I really do not know why. CH: Its beautiful colors, urajiro markings, exotic expression and its confident attitude. CL: The Shiba should naturally stack all by itself, and that’s an important aspect of the breed, especially when they’re shown in Japan at Nippo shows (the Japanese native breeds registry). The Shiba must own the ground it stands on and look like everything else is beneath them. I love to see Shibas shown just standing on their own. LP: This is a beautiful breed. They stand out due to the unique coloration on their faces and the almost wild expression. DS: The Shiba is an all-natural dog and is ring-ready quite easily. Although called an aloof dog in the standard, it should have a strong character.
2. Which of its characteristics make it a great companion?
PH: Shibas are the most unique breed I have ever lived with. They are about as feral-like as I have ever seen in a canine. A lot of people feel they are cat-like, but I do not see that at all. Basenjis are cat-like, Shibas are feral. They are not for everyone but if you love a challenge, enjoy a dog that will make you laugh every day and have the patience to work with them instead of trying to make them like other breeds, then this is a perfect dog for you. CH: This breed is a great companion only to those individu- als whom understand the independent nature of Asiatic canines. CL: While a Shiba is very independent, they do love their people on their terms. And they love to entertain their people. It’s a bit like living with a comical cat. LP: I love that they are calm and quite after the initial hello. I can have five or six loose in the living room and you would almost not know I had any dogs in the house. DS: If socialized when young, it makes a good companion because of its size and its extreme cleanliness. Also, it is very healthy with just a good diet.
4. Describe the breed in three words. PH: Alert, agile and keen.
CH: Exotic, independent and spitz. CL: Proud, aloof and light-footed. LP: Beautiful, clean and feral. DS: The correct shaped eyes, never round. Without these three things the type will be missing.
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“i BeLieve our good dogs todAy ARE AS NICE AS THE BEST JAPANESE DOGS.”
5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? PH: Of course, they must have the required urajiro mark- ings, which are unique to this breed; also, to be abso- lutely fearless, and structurally sound enough to do their job which is both to flush birds and small game and to hunt wild boar. That takes a totally alert, agile, keen and fearless dog. I have actually seen a Shiba flush a bird and catch it before it takes flight. CH: Triangular, obliquely set eyes; chubby cheeks; correctly set ears following curve of neck; urajiro; correct color. CL: While not technically a “head breed,” the head defines a Shiba and constitutes the majority (though not all) of the breed’s type. There are so many aspects of the Shiba head that are difficult to get and keep, and I reward that in my judging. Having the proper triangular eye shape and slant to the eye is critical to the haughty look, along with the proper ear shape (curving on the outside and straight on the inside), full cheeks (especially in males), complete den- tition and frosted with correct urajiro coloring (not going over the top of the muzzle), just makes this breed. And for structure, they must move with moderate reach and drive. This is not a breed that should fly around the ring. LP: Urajiro, balance, clear color. DS: We only have two basic DQs in the breed—teeth and height. I really wish the judges could have the wicket at the ring at all times because I see them not being mea- sured because of the time it takes to get the wicket. What I also see being missed is the length of legs. It should be as close as possible to 50 percent of the height. It is also a must that the hair is only tipped with the color of the dog, when the hair is swept back, there should be lighter hair down to the skin. This seems to be a problem more with the black & tan color not having the lighter under- coats and not the required urajiro/cream color on all the ventral/underside areas. 6. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? PH: You see very little exaggeration in this breed. However, breeders really need to pay attention to not losing the small tilted ear, the triangular slanted eye and the proper make and shape of the breed. This is not a square or compact breed, it is slightly off square with plenty of leg which is allowed to be more than 50%. That aids in its agility and quickness.
CH: No, if anything they are losing the exaggeration of correct eyes as too many have round eyes that are not obliquely set and the set of the muzzle on the skull that results in the full cheeks. Too many have a rather com- mon wedge-shaped muzzle/head articulation. CL: I don’t think we have much exaggeration at this point, unless it’s the tendency for too much body, or dogs that are too big. The majority of dogs should fall into the middle of the height range, not the top. Judges should measure! LP: For the most part, no. Sometimes we see Shibas that are too short in back; while some judges think this is great, it actually is very incorrect. DS: This is a natural breed and I see more and more trim- ming to the point of sculpting. They should be penalized for this. The problem I do see is now that professional handlers are being hired for this breed, they try to run them too fast and hard around the ring to the point of them pounding. The Shiba gait is supposed to be light and elastic, shown on a loose lead at a brisk trot! Not racing! 7. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are bet- ter now than they were when you first started judg- ing? Why or why not? PH: I think the temperament has greatly improved over the years. You seldom see (or hear) the “Shiba Scream” that used to be a common occurrence at shows. But I think the heads, ears, eyes and proportions were much better when you saw the good imports from Japan. But that said, the bitch that won the Breed at the National was the best Shiba I have ever seen anywhere in the world. (And she was a daughter of the BOS), so the breeders are doing a great job. CH: I think the number of really good, correct Shibas is about the same, but there are more of the plainer, common-looking spitz. I think this is due to more empha- sis on generic show ring gait and not so much on the important type traits winning. CL: Absolutely, they are unbelievably better than they were when we started and also when they went into regular AKC status. In the 1980s, the AKC and the JKC didn’t have a cooperative agreement and it was extremely difficult to import dogs and get them registered. Once the agreement was in place, then it was too expensive to
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CH: When you look into the correct Shiba’s face, you should feel like you have never seen another dog with this expression, for there is no other AKC dog that looks like a Shiba, when seen face-on. It’s the combination of eyes shaped and set correctly; the properly shaped and set ears; the correctly placed urajiro; the shape and length of the whiskered muzzle with its black nose, tight lips and its set into the full cheeks. The rest of the Shiba is normal double-coated canine, moderately angulated with tail set high and carried over the back; cat feet and appearing rather up on leg, not short legged and long in body. This is a breed that is wonderful if you want a partner that lives with you, not for you. They meet you on equal terms, but are not submissive by nature and because of their adventuresome, indepen- dent character will keep their owners alert to their desires. LP: Yes, coats. This breed can have a short, dense coat or a thick coat. In each case, they must not be trimmed. A Shiba with every hair the same length all over the body may be trimmed, please check. 10. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? PH: Every show has something but I will always remember the very nice Shiba that was in horrible coat. It looked like moths had gotten to it as it had holes and torn spots throughout. When I said something to the handler, he, with a totally straight face said, “The last bitch that came to him liked rough sex.” It took everything I had not to crack up in the ring. CH: In reviewing your questions while flying to a judging assignment shortly after receiving your request, I thought this was perhaps the hardest question I would have to answer. However, while judging this weekend an exhibi- tor who was taking their dog down and back stopped short in the middle of coming back to me, looked at me with a horrified expression and said, “My pants are around my ankles,” and swiftly pulled them up. I hadn’t even noticed, but apparently when one is hobbled it stops them immediately. Although re-reading this it does not seem so funny, but at the time I was quite amused, especially when I asked have you been on a diet and the affirmative answer was yes, so I guess a shopping spree was in the future of this exhibitor because of the successful diet. LP: A friend had a St. Bernard in the ring that suddenly had diarrhea. It turned so fast that it lost control, and it went in my friend’s shoes! She turned and stepped out of her shoes and over the rope and walked to the bathroom after handing her dog off. Her footprints went all the way to the bathroom! I know it was not funny to her, but if you had seen the prints, you would have laughed!
purchase one, plus you had to establish a long-term rela- tionship with a Japanese breeder in order to get a decent dog. Even between Japanese breeders, dogs could sell for tens of thousands of dollars, which was another impedi- ment. But finally some really nice dogs were imported into this country and it’s made all the difference. I believe our good dogs today are as nice as the best Japanese dogs. LP: Yes, in many way. This last National I saw some of the best Shibas I have ever seen at a National. In almost all instanc- es those Shibas could have competed in Nippo National in Japan—better balance, better eyes, better color. DS: I do think the breed has improved from 10 years ago, as they are getting more consistent in type (i.e. correct eye shape and ear carriage). 8. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? PH: I think it is hard to appreciate the uniqueness of this breed if you have never lived with them or had the opportunity to spend time with them. When they have the necessary attributes called for in the standard, par- ticularly the proper temperament and presence, they are hard to deny. This is not a warm and fuzzy kind of a dog, but if you respect them, they respect you. CH: Again, too much on showmanship; fast generic gait before the special type traits that make the Shiba differ- ent than so many other spitz type dogs. LP: Color, almost always when new judges judge this breed, we see the lack of understanding color—urajiro is what makes this breed. Or balance and movement; they almost always miss that. 9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. PH: I would love to see one of the really good ones of this breed set the show world on fire so people could see and appreciate what they are really like. “...you shouLd feeL Like you hAve never seen Another dog with this expression, FOR THERE IS NO OTHER AKC DOG THAT LOOKS LIKE A SHIBA...”
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