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AKC Meet the Breeds: Shiba Inu

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

The smallest of the Japanese native breeds, the Shiba was originally developed for hunting in the dense undergrowth of Japan's mountainous areas. Alert and agile with keen senses, he is also an excellent watchdog and companion. His frame is compact with well-developed muscles and he possesses a double coat that can be black and tan, red, or red sesame.

A Look Back
Descended from the primitive dogs of the ancient people of Japan, the Shiba Inu was bred to hunt small wild game, boar and bear. The name Shiba in Japanese means brushwood, after the breed's hunting terrain or the color of brushwood leaves in the fall and Inu means dog. World War II nearly spelled disaster for the Shiba due to bombing raids and distemper, but after the war, bloodlines were combined to produce the breed as it is known today.

Right Breed for You?
The Shiba has an independent nature and can be reserved toward strangers but is loyal and affectionate to those who earn his respect. The Shiba adapts well to different living situations, but must be exercised regularly on leash or in a secure area. Early obedience training and regular brushing are musts.

  • Non-Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 1992.
  • Ranging in size from 13 1/2 to 16 1/2 inches tall at the shoulder and 17 to 23 pounds.
  • Bird/Small game hunter.

Copyright 2009 The American Kennel Club, Inc.