Monday, December 15, 2008

Shiba Inu in the Media - good or bad?

Did you watch the now famous Shiba Inu puppy cam? Who didn't? Have you heard about the upcoming movie "Hachiko" which is about a loyal Akita, but Shiba Inu puppies were used in the movie. The Shiba Inu is getting more and more exposure, and I have to wonder if that is a good thing or not.

Yes, I loved watching the Shiba Inu puppy cam. I have a Shiba Inu, so re-living those cutesy puppy days was a lot of fun. I know many Shiba owners felt the same.

What concerns me are the people that enjoyed watching the puppy cam and now want a Shiba Inu based on the extreme cuteness. I guess it's just like when 101 Dalmatians became a movie, and the upcoming movie "Marley & Me" will probably have the same effect - it brings interest towards a specific breed and a lot of people/kids will want one.

The Shiba Inu is not for everyone. Sushi and I are still sorting each other out and it's been 5 yrs! Shibas are very intelligent and can continue to challenge you whenever they feel like it. They can be a lot of work. Yes, the learn quickly, but they can also be very stubborn.

So, for anyone out there considering adding a Shiba Inu to their family, Sushi and I beg that you do A LOT of research and be SURE that this is the breed for you (and that you are the right family for the Shiba!).

All that being said, here are some very important links to very important websites that really tell you what life is like with a Shiba Inu.



Consider adopting a Shiba, there are many looking for their forever home on PETFINDER


If you want to get a Shiba Inu from a breeder, again, do your research first. When you are ready to visit a breeder, read the following tips on how to identify a good dog breeder below:

When Can I Bring My Puppy home?

Not before the pup is 8-10 weeks old. If the pup is removed from it's Mom before 8 weeks, the pup could possibly end up with serious behavioural or health issues.

Choosing the Right Breeder

How to Identify a Good Dog Breeder - Tips from The Humane Society of the United States

Look for a breeder who at a minimum:

-Keeps her dogs in the home and as part of the family--not outside in kennel runs.
-Has dogs who appear happy and healthy, are excited to meet new people, and don't shy away from visitors.
-Shows you where the dogs spend most of their time--an area that is clean and well maintained.
-Encourages you to spend time with the puppy's parents--at a minimum, the pup's mother--when you visit.
-Breeds only one or two types of dogs, and is knowledgeable about what is called "breed standards" (the desired characteristics of the breed in areas such as size, proportion, coat, color and temperament).
-Has a strong relationship with a local veterinarian and shows you the records of veterinary visits for the puppies. Explains the puppies' medical history and what vaccinations your new puppy will need.
-Is well versed in the potential genetic problems inherent in the breed--there are specific genteic concerns for every breed--and explains to you what those concerns are. The breeder should have had the puppy's parents tested (and should have the results from the parents' parents) to ensure they are free of those defects, and she should be able to provide you with the documentation for all testing she has done through organizations such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals(OFA).
-Gives you guidance on caring and training for your puppy and is available for your assistance after you take your puppy home.
-Provides references of other families who have purchased puppies from her.
-Feeds high quality "premium" brand food.
-Doesn't always have puppies available but rather will keep a list of interested people for the next available litter.
-Actively competes with her dogs in conformation trials (which judge how closely dogs match their "breed standard"), obedience trials (which judge how well dogs perform specific sets of tasks on command), or tracking and agility trials. Good breeders will also work with local, state, and national clubs that specialize in their specific breeds.
-Encourages multiple visits and wants your entire family to meet the puppy before you take your puppy home.
-Provides you with a written contract and health guarantee and allows plenty of time for you to read it thoroughly. The breeder should not require that you use a specific veterinarian.

In addition to the above criteria, you'll want a breeder who requires some things of you, too. A reputable breeder doesn't just sell her puppies to the first interested buyer!

The breeder should require you to:

-Explain why you want a dog.
-Tell her who in the family will be responsible for the pup's daily care, who will attend training classes, where the dog will spend most of her time, and what "rules" have been decided upon for the puppy--for example, will the dog be allowed on furniture?
-Provide a veterinary reference if you already have pets or, if you don't have other pets, she should ask which practices you are considering for your new puppy.
-Provide proof from your landlord or condominium board (if you rent or live in a condominium complex) that you are allowed to have companion animals.
-Sign a contract that you will spay or neuter the dog unless you will be actively involved in showing him or her (which applies to show-quality dogs only).
-Sign a contract stating that you will return the dog to the breeder should you be unable to keep the dog at any point in the dog's life.

(note from Bonnie: when visiting a breeder, ask to see the parent's pedigree before making a decision; take a good look at it; parents should not be from the same litter. Also, if a breeder refuses to show you all of their dogs or where they "live", etc...walk away right then and there.)

Bonnie & Sushi


Bravewolf, Shassi and Tierce said...

It's hard to post anything in addition to this; looks like you've hit things on the head.

Every day it seems that people admire Tierce, just as they admired Shassi back in the day, but most have NO CLUE about the work it took to get Tierce to the point that he's at. It was and still is a lot of work and responsibility.

Hana said...

My shiba, CC Lemon was a purebred who was put up for adoption at a local vet clinic where my sister volunteered at. My parents decided that 8 was a great age for a kid to get a dog, and did not do any back ground research... so CC came home to me- a 9 week old puppy with an 8 year old kid.
Needless to say, I spent age 8 to 12 teaching her commands, learning everything I could about shibas, and just basically working my butt off. She and I worked hard, and now I'm in college with my fantasic companion (I'm pursuing psychology and Japanese language and Literature and she's pursuing a degree in squirrel hunting and Literature but is being held back due to her tendancies to fall asleep on top of the books, rather than read them like she should).
I wonder if people knew the sheer amount of work that goes into a dog, specifically a primitive dog breed that will challenge you and make you alternatively cry and swell with pride, I don't think they would get a shiba. I'm worried about the sheer amount of coverage that will possibly result in puppy mills viewing shibas as a possible new source of destroy the intelligence, the courage, and "graceless grace" of the shiba would just be devestating.
...but at the same time I remember being 8 years old, and training CC to go down slides on my lap and how she was and is still my best friend and wonder if the media attention isn't truly too much of a bad thing... we'll see in the long run I guess!

Kura the Shiba Inu said...

hmmmm... i think my owners knew what they would be dealing with when they adopted me... ;)

Kat said...

Hello, I'm a first time reader and just wanted to say that you made some REALLY great points. I own (or am OWNED by) a red female shiba and I had even after MUCH research I STILL wasn't fully prepared for the antics of my new pup!

After brining the little bundle of fluff home I found a great site that is dedicated to Shiba Inu's. It's a wonderful forum filled with GREAT information. If you find a free moment and haven't already heard of it, check it out sometime! It's .

jg said...

I worry about this too. *sigh*

Here are a few other good Shiba resources.

BEST BOOK EVER about Shibas: The Total Shiba by Gretchen Haskett.

Oldest Shiba site online

National Shiba Club of America

Also, if someone is looking for a responsible Shiba breeder in the US, the best place to start is the list of NSCA breeders who have agreed to abide by the responsible breeder agreement.

And for rescue, in the US:

Jenny L. said...

To be honest, I'm actually a new Shiba Inu owner as well. But only because my parents and siblings grew up in Japan/worked in Japan. The reason we got our Shiba Inu was from looking after a Japanese family's Shiba. We all instantly fell in love with the dog, and it stayed on our minds for a while - but we didn't get a Shiba until 4 years later. Our old apartment was too small and restrictive for us to own one. But to be honest, I don't like the Shiba puppy cam. Since all puppies are cute, it only takes the cute side... nothing else. I prefer to choose a breed by looking at it when it grows older and reading on its temperament. I don't know, I just like reading about personalities in general, so I guess dog breeds, in a way, are somewhat similar. Thanks for a great post.