Get to know the Shiba Inu
All you need to know about the breed
Only recently introduced to the West in the middle of last century, Shibas have quickly become a favoured companion. Often taken for foxes thanks to their agile gait, triangular, pointed ears and alertness, Shiba Inus ooze confidence through their steady, placid gaze.
Once used to flush out game in the mountains of their native Japan, Shiba Inus are a small, well-proportioned, all terrain breed that also happens to enjoy the indoor life. Still, they need a good romp outdoors, and, because they have a strong prey instinct, it is highly recommended they be kept on a lead. These little Houdinis can find their way out of most situations – and once they’re off, they’re well and truly off!
Shiba Inus express themselves in a variety of behaviours including intriguing, if not double-take inducing “vocalisations” that have been compared to yodeling. The takeaway: with Shibas, there’s rarely a dull moment.
Because they are strong-willed and clever, early training and socialisation are key in successfully raising this confident breed. Naturally territorial, a Shiba quickly appropriates things and people. They should be taught to share from the earliest age. With the right training, Shiba Inus grow up to be devoted to and protective of their humans.
2 facts about Shiba Inus
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Shiba Inu
Allergies aren’t just a human issue
Shiba Inus can suffer from allergies, which fall into three main categories: food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies. Be on the lookout for signs of the latter, which can include itching, redness and/ or hair loss. Should you notice any of these, it’s best to head to your vet as soon as possible so you can find a suitable treatment.
Seek out qualified breeders for healthy hips
It is not uncommon for the Shiba Inu to develop hip dysplasia, an inherited skeletal condition that causes significant pain and / or lameness in the hind legs. Because hip dysplasia is genetically transmitted, it’s vital to find a reputable breeder that can provide you with the necessary health clearances for your puppy’s mom and dad. A physical exam at your Shiba’s regular check-ups, and a radiography or X-ray can deliver a definitive diagnosis that will enable your vet to chart a course of action.
Smaller dogs can have kneecap issues
Patellar luxation is a condition wherein the patella, or kneecap, slides in and out of place, and is a common cause of discomfort and lameness, particularly in small dogs. Be on the lookout for “skipping”, a movement wherein your Shiba carries the affected limb for several steps, sometimes shaking it out before resuming use of it. Your vet can diagnose patellar luxation and recommend the best treatment to help keep your Shiba in great shape.