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. Th 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 ɨFTIBQFPGUIFTLVMMJTEFmOFECZB 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 ɨFFZFJTEFFQMZTFUBOESJTFTVQXBSE 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 ɨFFBSTBSFXFMMTFUBQBSUBOEUJMUGPS - 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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