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» Shiba Inu
As some may guess from the name, the Shiba Inu originated from Japan and is thought to be the country’s oldest dog breed. Old translations hint that “Shiba” means both “small” and “brushwood”, while “Inu” is “dog”. At first the dog was bred to hunt the likes of boar, bear and wild game although nowadays it has a host of other talents including hunting, acting as a watchdog and even guarding. The Shiba Inu is now one of the most popular breeds in Japan and having been introduced into the AKC in 1992, its popularity is slowly building in the US.
The Shiba Inu is a very small breed of dog although still looks sturdy at the same time. They stand between thirteen and sixteen inches tall with the weight varying between fifteen and twenty five pounds depending on the sex. One of the most noticeable features about the breed is the ears which stand tall and erect, making the breed look alert. Another aspect that makes the breed stand out is the tail, which is bushy and curls over the back of the dog. The Shiba Inu possesses a double coat which includes a soft undercoat and a stiffer outer coat. The coat can come in a variety of colors although nearly all of them include markings. Red, black, tan, grey, cream and sesame are all common and there is no particular one that the breed is known for.
In terms of temperament, there’s no doubt that the Shiba Inu requires plenty of training if they are to be the perfect pet. Their stubborn natures means that only those with good experience on dog handling are recommended as potential owners. In general, if the breed has been brought up with children, they will get along very well with them. However, they do not take kindly to rough handling and due to this, some think they are only suitable in families with older children. There can also be problems around dogs of the same sex and animals that are smaller. Potential owners should also be aware that this breed needs a fenced yard and should this not be provided, there is a very good chance they will escape. Similarly, while walking, the dog should always be kept on a leash. On the positive side, with the right training the Shiba Inu can become an ideal pet for some. They can be loyal, loving and possess all the qualities that a perfect pet should. However, any potential owner should be prepared to devote plenty of time and patience to this breed.
The Shiba Inu has great endurance yet still, it does not require too much exercise and a daily walk will suffice. The breed suffers from very few health issues with hip dysplasia, thyroid problems and luxating patellar being the most common. With that, it has a relatively good life expectancy with most living between twelve and fifteen years.
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