The Shiba Inu

John K. Rosembert

The Shiba Inu dog breed was originally bred to flush birds and small game and was occasionally used to hunt wild boar. It is the smallest of the six original and distinct spitz breeds of dog native to Japan. the Shiba Inu dog almost died out entirely in the Second World War but the small number of dogs who had survived bombing raids and a distemper epidemic were bred to save the breed.

It is a small, compact dog, their head is in proportion with the body with a round muzzle that has a moderate stop and tapers slightly toward the nose. The tight lips and the nose are black. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The deep-set eyes are triangular in shape and dark in color.

The well-bred Shiba Inu is good-natured, alert, and bold. He is strong-willed and confident and often has his own ideas about things. He is loyal and affectionate with his family, though tends to be suspicious of strangers.

The Shiba Inu doesn’t share well. He tends to guard, sometimes aggressively, his food, toys, or territory. And he doesn’t always get along with other dogs, especially if he’s intact. He won’t hesitate to chase small animals that he considers prey.

This is a smart breed, but training a Shiba Inu isn’t like training a Golden Retriever. While a Golden is delighted to come when called, the Shiba Inu will come when he feels like it — or not. He’s been described as stubborn, but freethinking is probably a more positive way to characterize him.

Below we will discuss the most common health problems that Shiba Inu may encounter during his lifetime.

  1. Eye Problems: Not many things have as dramatic an impact on your dog’s quality of life as the proper functioning of his eyes. Unfortunately, Shiba Inus can inherit or develop several different eye conditions, some of which may cause blindness if not treated right away, and most of which can be extremely painful! We will evaluate his eyes at every examination to look for any signs of concern. Ex: Glaucoma, Cataracts, Distichiasis, Eyeballs.
  2. Pyometra: If a female Shiba Inu hasn’t been spayed, then they can experience pyometra during their heat cycle. It occurs when the growth of cells in the uterus is at its highest production rate (this happens during their heat cycle), in which bacteria can migrate into the area and cause a life-threatening infection. While this condition can occur to all-female canines, it seems to be a bit more prominent with Shibas, which only furthers the reason they should be spayed.
  3. Heart Disease: Some breeds like your Shiba can be born with a variety of heart defects. Most of these affect the structure of the heart’s dividing wall or the vessels. They can also cause problems with the electrical signals that control the heartbeat or with heart valve function.
  4. Allergies: In humans, an allergy to pollen, mold, or dust makes people sneeze and their eyes itch. In dogs, rather than sneeze, allergies make their skin itchy. We call this skin allergy “atopy”, and Shibas often have it. Commonly, the feet, belly, folds of the skin, and ears are most affected. Symptoms typically start between the ages of one and three and can get worse every year. Licking the paws, rubbing the face, and frequent ear infections are the most common signs. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for this condition.
  5. Seizures: Seizures in dogs aren’t exactly similar to what humans are used to. They can take shape as the Shiba Inu running around ceaselessly, hiding in corners in complete confusion, barking at nothing, and freezing up. While seizures are usually not life -threatening for dogs, they can also be indicative of a more serious problem.

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