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                                 Shiba Inus
                                      
Author

   Jacey Holden. Copyright 1995 by Jacey Holden. Reproduced and posted to
   Usenet with permission. Contact Liz Kinoshita (lyzk@concentric.net)
   for details. The booklet is entitled Introduction to the Shiba Inu; it
   has been reformatted for electronic distribution.
   
Table of Contents

     * Introduction to the Shiba Inu
     * Temperament
     * Health
     * Where to Find a Shiba
     * Additional Information
     * Living With a Shiba
     * Food
     * Housing
     * Crate Training
     * Exercise
     * Play
     * Veterinarians & Vaccinations
     * Early Socialization
     * Training
     * Shibas and Children
     * Spay & Neuter
     * Coat
     * Fleas
     * Collars & Tattooing
     * How to Learn More
     * Standard for the Shiba Inu
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Introduction to the Shiba Inu

   If you are already this far, you have probably caught your first
   glimpse of a Shiba. It may have been at a dog show, walking in the
   park, or just a picture in a book. Cute, huh? The Shiba is probably
   one of the most universally appealing of all breeds. It has the look
   toy manufacturers try to capture in their favorite stuffed animals,
   the teddy bear. But the Shiba is not a toy. It is a very lively little
   dog with a unique set of characteristics. Each one is a individual
   with his/her own personality, but there are some traits that are
   considered typical of the breed. The first part of this booklet will
   attempt to describe those qualities as well as give you an overview of
   the breed as a whole. The second part will try to help the new Shiba
   owner adjust to his new dog so that the years they spend together will
   be ones of mutual enjoyment!
     _________________________________________________________________
   
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 US. There are more Shibas in Japan than
   any other breed.
   
   Around 7000 BC the ancestors of today`s Shibas 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 14.5 to 19.5 inch range.
   
   In the third century BC, a new group of immigrants brought their dogs
   to Japan These dogs then interbred with the decendants of the Jomonjin
   dogs, and produced canines known to have pointed, erect ears and curly
   or sickle tails. In the 7th century AD, the Yamato Court established a
   dogkeeper's office which helped maintain the Japanese native breeds as
   an integral part of Japanese culture. Although the country was closed
   to foreigners from the 17th through 18th centuries, some European dogs
   and a breed known as the Chinese Chin were imported and crossed with
   native dogs living in the more populated areas. Dogs in the
   countryside, however, remained relatively pure.
   
   Originally there were three main varieties of Shiba, each named for
   its region of origin: the Shinshu Shiba, from the Nagano Prefecture;
   the Mino Shiba, from the Gifu Prefecture; and the Sanin Shiba from the
   northeastern part of the mainland. Although similar, the Shibas from
   each area contributed to differences in breed type seen today.
   
   From the original Japanese native dogs, six distinct "breeds" in three
   different sizes developed. They are the Akita (large size); Kishu,
   Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kai (medium size); and the Shiba (small size). The
   small sized dog has been called the Shiba since ancient times, and
   there are several theories surrounding the development of that name.
   One popular explaination 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 conjec ture 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".
   
   World War II nearly spelled disaster for the Shiba, and most of the
   dogs that did not perish in bombing raids succumbed to distemper
   during the post-war years.
   
   While the Mino and Sanin Shibas became practically extinct, more of
   the Shinshu Shibas survived. After the war, Shibas were brought from
   the remote countryside and breeding programs were established. The
   remnants of the various bloodlines were combined to produce the breed
   as it is known today.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Physical Characteristics

   The Shiba is a very proportionate dog with a height to length ratio of
   10 to 11. Males run from 14.5 to 16.5 inches tall, with females
   ranging from 13.5 to 15.5 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 should be 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 & tan are preferred. White and cream shadings
   are present of the legs, belly, chest and part of the face and tail.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Temperament

   With 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 word is "kan-i" which is bravery and boldness combined with
   composure and mental strength. The opposite 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 "soboku" which is
   artlessness with a refined and open spirit. They combine to make a
   personality that Shiba owners can only describe as "irrisistable"!
   
   If a Shiba could 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 He doesn't want you to forget those
   wonderful things your mother taught you about generosity!
   
   If the bait is dangled when a potential Shiba owner sees adults at a
   dog show or pictures in a magazine, the hook is set when he encounters
   his first puppy! Exemplary examples of canine cuteness, fiery little
   fuzzballs-from-hell, no words can describe the appeal of the infant
   Shiba. A litter of Shibas is a Dakin convention and a school of
   pirahna; strutting, posturing little windup toys!
   
   The adult Shiba is far from a toy. "Macho Stud Muffin" has been used
   to describe the male Shiba. The body may look "muffin", but the mind
   is all "macho stud". The Shiba takes the "spirited boldness" part of
   his temperament quite seriously. Early socialization, temperament
   testing, and careful conditi oning are mandatory for the young puppy.
   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 temper ament in order to enjoy the delightful ones. With
   "soboku", 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.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Health

   As a breed, Shibas can rightfully be described as sturdy, healthy
   little dogs, able to withstand the rigors of outdoor life as well as
   enjoying the comfort of indoor dwelling. They are easy keepers,
   requiring no special diet other than good comercial dog food, and they
   can run for miles with an athletic companion or take their exercise
   chasing a tennis ball around the backyard. Their catlike agility and
   resilience provide good resistance to injury, and the "natural" size
   and symmetrical proportions lessen susceptibility to conditions caused
   by structural imbalance. Despite these assets, Shibas do have some
   hereditary defects which all reli able breeders screen for in their
   breeding stock. Patellar luxation is common in toy breeds and
   sometimes appears in Shibas. It causes loose kneecaps and is usually
   not severe enough to be detrimental to a pet. An experienced
   veterinarian can detect this condition by palpation. Hip dysplasia
   occasionally occurs but it is not as serious in the Shiba as it is in
   large breeds of dogs. Mild dysplasia will not show any adverse
   clinical effects and the dog will lead a normal life. Good breeders
   will not breed any dog whose hips have not received a rating of "fair"
   or better from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Breeders are
   also checking their Shiba's eyes for hereditary eye defects. No breed
   of dog is totally free of hereditary eye defects. Few defects are
   severe enough to cause blindness or interfere with a dog's life, but
   dogs with eye defects that are potentially blinding should not be
   bred. A smattering of other defects have been reported, but none in
   numbers to cause concern at this time. Reputable breeders do all they
   can to screen for serious defects and will guarantee their puppies to
   be free of disabling heredi tary problems for the first few years of
   life.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Where to Find a Shiba

   If you have made it far enough to obtain this booklet, you have
   probably been admonished to buy from a reputable breeder. Where are
   they? You may look in the newspaper, but namy of the most reputable
   breeders use other methods of advertising. It is best to check with
   the National Shiba Club of America which is the National organization
   for the Shiba. If you call AKC, that organ ization will give you the
   number of the Secretary of the NSCA. Breeders are also listed in Dog
   World magazine and in publications geared for the Shiba breed. Check
   the next page of this booklet for names and addresses of these
   publications and the NSCA.
   
   Let your best instincts guide you when choosing a breeder. Don't pick
   a puppy because you feel sorry for it or want to "rescue" it. This is
   an animal that will be sharing your life and the life of your family
   for the next 12 years or so. Take your time. If it doesn't feel right,
   it probably isn't. Remember, people become stupid about their Shibas,
   so it`s best to become stupid about a nice one.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Additional Information

  Parent Club
  
   The addresses of the Parent Club, the National Shiba Club of America,
   may change annually. This organization has printed materials, a
   monthly news- letter and a Breeder Referral Service. The address of
   the NSCA Secretary can always be obtained from the American Kennel
   Club, 51 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10010 or 5580 Centerview Dr.
   Ste.200, Raleigh, NC 27606-3390. $4.50 (US) to the NSCA secretary will
   bring you an information packet and a Breeder Referral list. The club
   also has a web site at http://www.shibas.org/ with the current address
   of the secretary.
   
  Publications
  
   Shibas USA
   Debbie Meador, Editor
   5271 Hillside Dr
   Warrenton, VA 22186
   
     Shibas
     by Rick Tomita
     
     by Gretchen Haskett and Susan Houser
     Published by Alpine Publications
     ISBN: 09318669887.
     
     The Complete Shiba Inu
     by Maureen Atkinson, published by Howell
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Living With a Shiba

   If you are really considering taking the plunge, then the next section
   is for you. Don`t forget that Shiba people get really crazy about
   their dogs and owning a Shiba is not just owning a dog, but a way of
   life.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Food

   Before bringing home your Shiba it is best to have a supply of food on
   hand. Several boxes of granola, some oranges (for vitamin C) and a few
   sandwiches should give you enough energy to keep up with the little
   guy. Even though the Shiba would prefer to share your dinner, it is
   best to buy him a top quality dog food, one containing about 30%
   protein and 15 - 18% fat. Do not think in terms of a human diet when
   feeding a puppy. An 8 week old Shiba will eat approximately 1/3 Cup of
   puppy food three times daily. He may be given this moistened in
   separate feedings, or, if he is not too greedy, he may have dry kibble
   available at all times. If he is being fed three times a day,
   gradually increase the food as he grows and his appetite increases. He
   may be cut to twice a day at about 4 months of age or if he loses
   interest in a meal. A healthy puppy is neither too fat or too thin.
   
   You should be able to feel his ribs, backbone and hip bones, but not
   see them. An adult Shiba will eat from 1 to 1.5 cups of kibble per day
   depending on his size and energy level.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Housing

   A Shiba lives with the principle - su casa es mi casa. He will want to
   sleep on your bed, eat at your table and rest on your favorite chair.
   A puppy will also wish to dismantle your VCR wiring, chew the straps
   off your sandals, round the corners of your kitchen cabinets and, if
   not watched closely, will definately light up his life with the
   electrical cords. If any of these behaviors disturbs you, you may wish
   to invest in a crate and possibly an exercise pen.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Crate Training

   All puppies should be crate trained. It is the best way to housebreak
   a puppy and a safe refuge during the night and when he can't be
   watched.
   
   A size 200 airline crate will suit a Shiba for his entire life and
   will also fit on the back seat of almost any car. He can ride safely
   in a crate in the car, and with a little ingenuity, a crate can be
   seat belted or bungied into place. When you're not home, you will
   never wonder where your puppy is or what he is doing if he is in a
   crate or exercise pen.
   
   Keeping a puppy in a crate day and night is not good, and even though
   he may be exercised, it is akin to you staying in bed, going out
   jogging, and going back to bed again. While the puppy is small, an
   exercise pen set in the kitchen, garage or in any room of the house on
   top of a six foot by six foot piece of inexpensive linolium is an
   ideal place to leave the puppy while you're at work. This allows the
   puppy room to move around and play while keeping him safe and
   comfortable in the house.
   
   Later, when he is mature, he may be allowed free access to the house
   or yard. The Shiba is an excellent indoor/outdoor dog with a coat that
   will protect him from both heat and cold. He must have shelter from
   the sun in summer and storms in winter, but he can withstand a wide
   range of temperatures.
   
   Unless you plan to give your Shiba all his exercise on a leash, a
   fenced yard is mandatory. Nothing is more devastating than going out
   to find your beloved Shiba is a $600 carpet remnant on the street in
   front of your house. No amount of training will deter your little
   hunting dog from darting across the street to chase the neighbor's cat
   -- at just the wrong time. This is true of any breed of dog. Dogs also
   dig and some climb. Check frequently for possible escape routes. A
   Shiba is safest indoors or in an escape-proof run when you are away
   from home.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Exercise

   Shibas are an active breed, but don't need many acres on which to run.
   They can get adequate exercise banking off the couch and spinning
   brodies on the bed, but to get in good condition, they need additional
   exercise. On the 2,000 acre mountain ranch where Chris Ross lives, his
   Shibas are allowed to run free when he is home.
   
   With all this room, most seldom stray very far from the house until he
   goes on his daily "run". Dogs like to go for walks with their people,
   and for many it is more exciting than eating. A wheelchair-bound Shiba
   owner takes his two dogs for a four mile "walk" every day around the
   streets of suburbia. The majority of people snap on the retractible
   lead and make a morning(or evening) tour of the neighborhood.
   
   It is a good exercise for both man and beast and a great way to meet
   the neighbors!
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Play

   Given a choice, a Shiba puppy will usually choose human body parts as
   his favorite chew toys. Fingers and toes are preferred, especially if
   covered with socks or sandals. He will enjoy ankles, pantlegs and the
   ultimate - shoe laces on the shoes you are wearing. If you wish to
   expand his horizons and preserve your flesh, a visit to the pet supply
   store is a fine place to start. Hardware stores also carry a supply of
   delectable goodies such as the business end of a toilet plunger,
   handles for garden tools and rubber golashes. Around the house you may
   find old stuffed animals, socks that can be tied in knots, dirty
   sneakers, and tennis balls. A trip to the country can bring pine
   cones, sticks and oak galls which are excellent for dismembering
   outdoors. Shibas are not seriously destructive but puppies are
   puppies, and puppies chew! Even adults like to gnaw on something once
   in a while. If your puppy chews the straps off your favorite sandals
   it will make you very angry, but don`t take it out on the puppy for it
   was your fault for leaving them where the puppy could get them!
   
   A very successful sled dog driver lived with 12 large Alaskan Huskies
   in his house. His home was not destroyed by the animals and everyone
   lived together amicably. This man handled his dogs by the philosophy
   that dogs do not make mistakes; people do.
   
   It's something to think about.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Veterinarians & Vaccinations

   Since Shibas are a healthy, hardy little breed, they seldom need trips
   to the vet except for routine vaccinations and an occasional teeth
   cleaning. Your new puppy should be taken to the vet of your choice
   within a few days of purchase. Most breeders require this as a
   condition of the puppy's health guarantee. The vet should check his
   overall condition, his heart for possible murmurs, and have you bring
   in a stool sample for a parasite examination. A puppy should already
   have had a least one vaccination from the breeder prior to his sale.
   You can set up a continued vaccination schedule with your vet during
   this first check-up.
   
   Puppies should have a complete set of vaccinations before exposing
   them to situations where many other dogs have been. These vaccinations
   are against distemper, hepatitis, kennel cough, parvovirus and
   coronavirus. Often the first shots do not contain a vaccine against
   letospirosis (lepto). Lepto has frequently been fingered as the "bad
   guy" in vaccine reaction and vaccine manufacturers had a difficult
   time combining it with coronavirus vaccine into a single injection.
   
   Since puppies are much more likely to be exposed to coronavirus than
   lepto, many breeders and veterinarians prefer to wait until the puppy
   is three to four months old before giving an injection with lepto.
   Several Shiba puppies have experienced anaphylactoid reactions to
   vaccine on their second injection even when it did not contain lepto.
   This is the same severe allergic reaction some people experience when
   stung by a bee. Epinepherine must be administered immediately, so a
   veterinarian should be warned of the possibility of a reaction. A
   puppy should remain in the waiting room of the vet's office for 15 to
   20 minutes after his injection to ensure there is no reaction. Rabies
   shots are given at four months of age.
   
   Rabies is the only vaccination required by law. All others are for the
   puppy's health.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Early Socialization

   A trip to the mall or neighborhood park will bring you all the
   attention you can handle. This may be wonderful for a young man
   looking for a date, but it can be deadly for a small puppy. Until a
   puppy is fully immunized against parvovirus, at about the age of 20
   weeks, it is not safe to take him to areas frequented by other dogs.
   Many people solve this problem by taking the dog to visit friends and
   relatives in "clean" environments and asking them to return the favor.
   Some Shibas may be shy of strangers while others are dog aggressive.
   Early socialization is mandatory to obtain the best possible
   temperament from a puppy.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Training

   It is well established that if you are not somewhat trainable and
   flexible, you will have a difficult time adjusting to a Shiba. Shibas
   want their owners to come when called, fetch when they want food, stay
   off the furniture they want for a nap and speak whenever someone wants
   to talk about Shibas. Owners too feel they should be able to make a
   few polite requests from their dogs Sometimes there is a small power
   struggle, but the owner must establish that he is in control.
   
   Housebreaking is easy and something that Shibas do naturally. If a
   puppy is taken out whenever he awakes from a nap or after a meal, he
   will almost never soil in the house and especially not in a restricted
   area such as a crate. A puppy as young as five weeks can hold his
   bowels all night, but not his bladder. He will want out or will wet on
   a blanket or paper in his exercise pen. As soon as the puppy figures
   where "out" is, he will try to go there to potty. This becomes easy
   when there is a door directly to a back yard. Leashbreaking is not as
   natural for the Shiba as housebreaking. It involves something they
   truly detest - restraint. It is best to put on a snug collar or soft
   nylon choke collar and let the puppy wear it around for a while.
   Attach a leash and let the puppy take you for a walk. You go where he
   goes. After a few times, you can suggest he follow you. He may pull
   back and scream a little, but that is natural.
   
   Encouragement and praise help, and soon he will be walking with you.
   Never leave a choke collar on an unattended puppy and never tie up a
   dog with a choke collar. A dog can easily hang himself by a choke
   collar just by getting tangled in something as simple as a bush. Some
   Shibas can carry around their distain for collar and leash all their
   lives. They do it in the form of the patented "Shiba Shake", where
   they cock their heads sideways as if something was in their ear then
   stop and shake violently. Amazingly, this "ear problem" goes away the
   minute the leash is removed, and returns the minute the dog is near
   the show ring.
   
   The fiery aspect of the Shiba temperament is apparent at an early age.
   Even as puppies they stage mock battles and make much noise as they
   vie for top honors. With people they are all kissy-face, but with
   other dogs, and especially other Shibas, they are macho little
   muffins. There is a wide range of variation in this aspect of a young
   Shibas temperament and difficulties should be discussed with the
   breeder. Many Shiba puppies are just playful and not quarrelsome, but
   others are more serious. All like to play with other dogs once they
   are acquainted. Just as there are hundreds of books on child rearing,
   there are as many theories on how to deal with canine temperament.
   
   Dog trainers who are not familiar with the Shiba temperament may only
   make the problem worse. Shibas seem to work well with the reward
   system. They easily learn commands like sit, and down, and such parlor
   tricks as roll over, speak and sit up. Obedience work done on lead is
   readily acquired, but a Shiba who reliably "comes" on command is any
   situation is rare indeed. There are a few who learn boundaries, come
   when called, even when chasing a cat, and can wander loose in any
   situation. These are exceptional and usually a combination of an
   extremely responsive temperament plus diligent training. It is
   realistic to expect that the average owner with the average Shiba will
   not have that situation. Most Shibas will not wander miles from home,
   but will want to investigate every nook and cranny within a larger
   radius than the owner is comfortable. Expect your Shiba to be an "on
   leash" breed and if he proves otherwise, then you are amoung the
   fortunate.
   
   Do not feel your Shiba is untrainable, for he is is not. Shibas love
   "agility" training as it is a natural for their athletic ability. They
   are smart and enjoy activities that challenge their mind and body. If
   you work with the Shiba nature rather than against it, training will
   be fun for both.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Shibas and Children

   The responsible Shiba owner asks himself, what type of child would he
   like for his favorite dog. It would be a child with a good nature and
   stable temperament, one that was gentle and most of all, easy to
   train. A child of an extremely energetic nature or whose hearing is
   too selective may be better suited to a larger, more docile breed.
   
   Interactable children should have animals made of plastic, or maybe
   cement. All dogs, and especially puppies, regard very small children
   as peers rather than superiors. Puppies will try to play with children
   as they would another puppy, particularly if the child falls on the
   floor or runs around making squealing noises. Nothing was more
   misleading than an advertisement aired on television a few years ago
   depicting a two year old child rolling around on the ground, laughing
   while being bombarded by about six small Labrador puppies What wasn`t
   shown were the tears that must have followed as the puppies sharp
   nails raked the child`s tender skin and the puppies pulled at his
   hair. The responsibility of how a puppy interacts with children falls
   on the parents. Most trainable children over six years of age should
   have no trouble adjusting to a Shiba puppy. Dog oriented people find
   it easy acclimating a Shiba to a household with children. People with
   little dog experience should visit several households with Shibas.
   
   DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH A SHIBA AT A DOG SHOW AND IMMEDIATELY RUN OUT
   AND BUY ONE. Take time to visit the dogs in the home environment. See
   how they react to children and let your intuition be your best guide.
   When adults visit a home with Shiba puppies, they usually sit and wait
   for the puppies to come to them. Children tend to pursue the puppies.
   Shibas do not like to be continually restrained and manhandled.
   Although a well socialized puppy will tolerate some of this, too much
   will make him shy or irritated. It is absolutely necessary that a
   child learn to sit and let the puppy come to him. It is difficult to
   train a child who is used to running in and out of the house at will
   to close the door quickly and make sure the Shiba doesn't get out. It
   is even more difficult to train the child`s friends. Training the
   puppy and child when little can make the child aware of the necessity
   to use a double door system or exercising caution when going in and
   out, but it is up to the parent to watch when visitors come and to put
   the puppy out of harm`s way.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Spay & Neuter

   For many people, the decision to neuter a male dog is somehow tied
   into their own sexuality. Maybe it should be, for the amourous
   intentions of the stimulated male Shiba are only rivaled by those of
   Geraldo Rivera and Wilt Chamberlain. Many people would rather have a
   female as a pet. They see the female having a gentler nature and not
   having the desire to continually mark territory. Spaying a female does
   little to change her basic temperament, just as a hysterectomy does
   little to change a woman. It just prevents pregnancy. On the other
   hand, neutering a male dog has a great effect on the male temperament,
   just as castration would have on a man.
   
   Neutering a male before the age of six months will usually prevent
   marking and other "big guy" ideas. Females should be spayed at about 5
   months of age, before they have their first heat cycle. This makes it
   easier on the little girl as the uterus is small and the female lean.
   Recovery is quick and after a few days, you won't know anything has
   been done. Sometimes it takes up to eight months or more for a Shiba
   male`s testicles to drop into the scrotum. They seldom fail to arrive,
   and if the vet can locate them at all, he can perform the castration.
   DON'T POSTPONE IT!
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Coat

   Shibas SHED. You would too if you were wearing a wool coat in summer.
   All dogs with double coats shed, even Dobermans, Labradors, and
   Whippets. Those breeds with single coats that don`t shed, such as
   poodles and terriers, need clipping or constant brushing to keep their
   coats from matting. You have a choice - clip, brush or vacuum. A Shiba
   could go his whole life without ever experiencing a brush, comb or
   bath and be just as happy. Shibas have little odor to their fur unless
   they have rolled in something pungent. Show dogs are often bathed
   weekly while pets are occasionally shampooed at the owners whim. All
   seem to have healthy coats.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Fleas

   Fleas are the scourge of pet ownership. The flea most commonly found
   on the dog is the cat flea. Cats are flea farmers and outdoor cats
   spread fleas from yard to yard to yard like dandelion seeds. Methods
   for treatment are so varied and controversial that they are a book in
   themselves. If fleas are eradicated from the environment, they will
   soon vanish from the dog. Fleas like warm, moist, sheltered
   environments and do not tolerate direct sun, dryness or extreme cold.
   Fleas do not survive outdoors in arid environments, but thrive in the
   warm, damp summers of the majority of the US. The indoor environment
   can be treated with desiccating powders and many professionals such as
   "Flea Busters" use these products with much success. It takes about
   six weeks for them to work. Avon "Skin So Soft" bath oil does help
   repel fleas. A small amount rubbed through the coat leaves an aromatic
   residue that is distasteful to fleas (and some humans). It's only
   drawback is the oily residue it leaves on the hair that works like a
   "dust magnet". Most commercial flea products are toxic. How else could
   they kill the fleas? Start slow and work your way up the the "hard
   stuff". If a flea allergy develops it is often less harmful to the dog
   to get an occasional cortizone injection or a few pills to stop the
   itching than it is to saturate the environment with poison to
   eradicate every flea - an almost impossible task.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Collars & Tattooing

   It is a good idea for a Shiba to wear a collar with identification
   tags or plates attached. Some collar distributors will print the
   owner's phone number in large letters that can be seen without
   touching the dog. Unfortunately, many Shibas that end up in the pound
   have lost their collars. Show dogs can`t wear collars because it
   leaves an ugly ring around the neck.
   
   Tattooing is an additional method of identification. It is usually
   placed on the inside of the dog`s thigh. Although it is permanently
   attached to the dog, a person finding a lost dog may not look on the
   dog`s leg for a tattoo, and if he does look, may not know what to do
   about it. Hopefully, most animal shelter personnel will look and know
   who to contact. The AKC is strongly encouraging all dog owners to
   tattoo their dogs for two reasons. One is the hope that a lost or
   stolen dog can be returned to its owner, and the other is for the
   definitive identification. The AKC wants it to be possible for any
   stranger to go into a household and identify the dogs. If the dogs are
   tattooed with the AKC registration number, the dogs can be identified
   with the registration papers or the records at the AKC. This would
   also assist in the dispute over ownership of a dog. The AKC
   registration number is like the dog's Social Security number; it's his
   identification for life.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
How to Learn More

   The best place to learn about Shibas is from other Shiba owners. The
   breeder of your puppy should be your primary source of information.
   Sometimes this is difficult as the breeder may live far away or be
   extremely difficult to contact. Ask the breeder for names of other
   Shiba owners in your area and feel free to contact them. People love
   to talk about their dogs. Organize a gathering of Shiba owners in your
   area and have a potluck. It's a Shiba owners support group!
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Standard for the Shiba Inu

   The AKC Standard for this breed may be found at
   http://www.akc.org/shibainu.htm.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
    Shiba Inu FAQ
    Jacey Holden
    
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