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| Physical Characteristics:|
Weight: 15-24 lbs.
Energy Level: High
| The American Kennel Club recognizes the Shiba Inu in the following colors:|
White markings are common among these colors
| Health & Longevity: 12-15 years|
Breeders screen for the following conditions:
Epilepsy and cancer are also known in the breed, as are allergies. Some Shibas also exhibit tail chasing to an extent of being an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder condition; some believe this to be a form of seizure, and some dogs have responded well to treatment with phenobarbital.
Temperament & Train-ability
The Shiba Inu is an ancient and primitive breed; beautiful, confident and active. Despite their seemingly ideal size, this is not the breed for apartment or condo living. They require an experienced hand to manage their challenging behaviors. They are natural hunters and therefore have a very high prey drive. Go-getters by nature, they are athletic escape artists, and once out, they run like the wind. Their moderate size, beauty, and reputation for cleanliness attract many; however, this dog is not for the faint of heart. Even breed advocates warn that few people are able to handle this primitive breed. They can be prone to barking, and are independent, not seeking affection unless it suits them. If you are looking for a companion to cuddle with, this is not the dog for you. They have no particular use for children, other animals and strangers. This makes them good watchdogs, but not usually the best choice for family life. Simple handling such as petting, picking up or handling feet, mouth or ears can initiate a royal battle, even when well conditioned with positive training. Shibas are not shy about using their teeth to communicate their displeasure. Being a primitive-type breed, their ability to control themselves is far less than many breeds.
Because of their independent nature, Shibas accept some time alone. However, they are unsuitable for living alone much of the time, inside or outside. A Shiba left alone will most certainly seek ways to satisfy their need for activity and adventure. This can result in escaping, destruction beyond belief, and barking. Shibas are well known for their possessive qualities, which can apply to whatever they want ownership of in the moment, and will not think twice about using his teeth to communicate said ownership. Despite their size, Shibas are athletic ninjas, and can reach things on countertops and shred them to bits in record time. Shibas should never be taken off leash; they are hunters and will chase whatever catches their interest; getting them back is the tough part. They are often dog aggressive, so dog parks are a really bad idea.
Confident and strong willed, they are not the type of dog to do something just because you ask them to. Training a Shiba is not like training a Poodle or Golden Retriever. These are strong willed, confident and intelligent dogs with a dose of independence thrown in for good measure. You need to know what you’re doing, be confident, consistent, and unwavering when negotiating with a Shiba. Even then, know that you will not win every battle. If you are looking for an obedient dog that follows your every command, this is most definitely not the breed for you. Positive reinforcement training is absolutely recommended for training, but you will need to be skilled in these techniques in order to be effective, and the Shiba will still retain their independent nature, often choosing their own ideas over what you request. Housetraining is usually quite easy due to their naturally clean nature. Endless patience and a willingness to accept these dogs for what they are is needed. It is recommended that a good deal of training time is spent on husbandry behaviors, such as cleaning ears, handling feet, and brushing. Shibas can tolerate cold weather, but heat less so.
Successful Shiba owners have a large dose of willingness to live with many behaviors that most people find unacceptable. They are not offended at the Shiba’s indifference (or even intolerance) for affection. They are willing to manage their dogs every single day, from assuring an escape-proof yard to seeing that their dogs are always on leash, and carefully managing interactions with others. These people know what items their dogs are likely to guard, and are masters at avoiding conflict. In return, they are rewarded with a unique dog and beautiful animal that enjoys being the center of attention, clowning around and watching the universe revolve around them.
The dense double coat of the Shiba is certainly one of their finest features. Stiff, straight topcoat hairs top a thick dense undercoat. Easy to care for, the Shiba coat will shed moderately all year, with twice yearly massive coat blows. The normal weekly brushing will not be nearly enough during these times. When a Shiba is blowing coat, daily raking and brushing are needed to keep hair tufts from being everywhere.
Ears must be cleaned regularly, and toenails should be trimmed; even if your Shiba wears down their nails, you will want to maintain the habit of handling their feet. Teeth should also be checked and cleaned regularly.
Shibas will need about ½-1 cup of a good quality food daily. Some Shibas experience food-related allergies and sensitivities, which may necessitate some experimentation to find a food that works. A constant supply of fresh, clean water must always be available.
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Paws ‘N’ Pups Ranking
Paws ‘N’ Pups ranks every breed out of 4 with 1 being easiest to integrate into your life and 4 being the toughest – The lower the ranking the better.
Ranking takes into account a few basic factors such as cost, skill level needed, high vs. low maintenance, and how critical regular training is to success. The Shiba Inu rates a 4; they are very high maintenance dogs, and the skill level needed to live with one successfully is very high, as is the willingness to accept many primitive behaviors.
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