With fox-like features and pointed ears, Shibas are one of the most adorable and beloved dogs around the world. Remember Hachiko? They are relatively new in the United States, making their appearance in 1954. The Shiba Inu breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1992.
Here are 7 interesting facts about the Shiba Inu you didn’t know –
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#7 Shibas are an ancient breed
The current Shiba Inu breed is a mix of Jomon-jin people’s dogs and the new immigrants who came in 300 B.C. Jomon-jin people lived in Japan from 14,500 B.C to 300 A.D. Several archaeologists have found remains of ‘Shiba-sized’ dogs in places where Jomon-jin people once lived.
#6 Shibas were originally hunting dogs
Originally the Shibas were used for hunting large animals but now they are used only on smaller game. They are excellent hunting dogs having the survival DNA of thousand years in the rugged mountains of Japan.
#5 Most popular breed in Japan
The Shiba Inu is the #1 companion dog in Japan. They are considered the oldest and smallest of Japan’s dogs. They were even declared as one of Japan’s national treasures. You can see many Japanese Shibas in social media sites such as YouTube and Instagram.
#4 Shibas have a mysterious name
The word ‘Inu’ means ‘dog’ in Japanese and ‘Shiba’ means ‘brushwood’ – a type of tree that turns red in autumn. It’s widely believed that Shiba was named after the tree, as the most common type of Shiba Inu is reddish in color. However, in the old Nagato dialect ‘Shiba’ can also mean ‘small’, referring to the dog’s small nature. Thus Shiba Inu is sometimes called ‘Small Brushwood Dog’.
#3 There were 3 varieties of Shibas
There used to be 3 types of Shiba before World War II – the Mino, the San’in and the Shinshu. Due to food shortage and post-war epidemics the Shibas nearly became extinct. The Shiba Inu you see today is similar to Shinshu, but all three dog-strains were combined to make the overall breed.
#2 Once A Shiba saved her family from an Earthquake
A Shiba Inu named ‘Mari’ saved her puppies and her elderly owner from an earthquake in 2004. When the house collapsed, Mari bolted to save the owner who was trapped under a fallen cabinet. He was later evacuated by helicopter but was forced to leave Mari and her puppies in Yamakoshi. If you want to see their reunion – check out the Japanese movie ‘A Tale of Mari and Her Three Puppies’.
#1 Shibas have cat-like qualities
The Shiba Inu has many qualities similar to cats. They are very independent and bold and can be difficult to train. They also keep themselves very clean and spend a lot of time grooming themselves.