Showsight Presents the Shiba Inu

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.”

Soboku

Early Shibas in the US

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2018 • 259

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