shiba inu with pAt hAstings, cAroLyn herBeL, chris Levy, LAurA perkinson & diAnA smiLey CONTINUED FROM PAGE 230
“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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