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.
262 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2018
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