General Info of the Shiba Inu
A Brief History of the Shiba Inu
  Originally, Shibas were bred to flush birds and small game and were occasionally used to hunt wild boar. Now they are primarily kept as pets, both in Japan and the United States. There are more Shibas in Japan than any other breed.
Around 7000 BC the ancestors of today's Shiba may have accompanied the earliest immigrants to Japan. Archaeological excavations of the shell-mounds left by the Jomonjin, or Rope-Pattern People (a name derived from the pattern found on their earthenware), show that they had small dogs in the 14 1/2 to 19 1/2 inch range.
From the original Japanese native dogs, six distinct "breeds," in three different sizes developed. They are:
*Large Size The Akita
*Medium Size The Kishu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, & Kai
*Small Size The Shiba
The small size dog has been called the Shiba since ancient times, with several theories surrounding the development of that name. One popular explanation is that the word Shiba means "brushwood," and the dogs were named for the brushwood bushes where they hunted. Another theory is that the fiery red color of the Shiba is the same as the autumn color of the brushwood leaves. A third conjecture 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."
  Physical Characteristics  
  The Shiba is a very proportionate dog with a height to length ratio of 10 to 11. Males run from 14 1/2 to 16 1/2 inches tall, with females ranging from 13 1/2 to 15 1/2 inches. Height over the upper limits is a disqualification. The weight varies according to height up to about 25 pounds. It is a medium boned, moderately compact and well muscled dog with a generally spitz-like appearance. Because of its hunting heritage, it is quick, agile and able to turn on a yen. It has a dense double coat similar to that of a husky. Although all colors are acceptable in the Shiba standard, red, red sesame (sable) and black and tan are preferred. White and cream shadings (urajiro) are present in the legs, belly, chest and part of the face and tail.  
  With a black button nose, little pricked ears and a curly tail, the Shiba enters the world knowing he is a superior being. Whether with intrepid boldness, squinty-eyed cuteness or calm dignity, he is king.
The Japanese have three words to describe the Shiba temperament. The first is "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 "sobuku" which is artlessness with a refined and open spirit. They combine to make a personality that Shiba owners can only describe as "irresistible."
If a Shiba could only utter one word, it would probably be "mine." It is "mine" food, "mine" water, "mine" toys, "mine" sofa, "mine" crate, "mine" car, "mine" owner, and "mine" world. Sharing is a concept he feels others should practice.  Early socialization, temperament testing, and careful conditioning are mandatory for the young puppy. Dog aggression, especially in the un-neutered male, is a breed characteristic. This fiery aspect of the Shiba nature cannot be taken lightly.
Most Shiba owners learn to deal with the difficult aspects of the dog's temperament to enjoy the delightful ones. With "sobuku" the Shiba sets his hook into the heart. This is "artlessness" with
squinty eyes, airplaned ears, and a vibrating tail. It is "charm" standing in your lap, washing your ears, and "dignity" plus "refinement" born of the knowledge of superiority.