It is Japan's smallest dog and oldest breed. Its look has not changed for 1800 years. It is called thicket dog because it was used for bird hunting. Today it is used more as a companion dog.
It is a small to medium-sized dog (Shiba Inu means small dog in Japanese), that looks like a fox, with a brawny, robust body. The head is proportional with the body. The forehead is broad with a moderate stop, the muzzle is conical, the jaws are strong and the nose is black. The eyes are small, oval and dark. The ears are small, wide apart, triangular and erect. The tail is of medium length, bushy and carried on the back. The fur is double-layered, with a thick, short, fluffy inner layer and an outer layer with short, rough, straight hair. The most common colours are: red, red with white areas, black, white, black with brown, salt and pepper.
It is an intelligent, curious, alert, lively, jolly, cheerful and alert dog. Sometimes independent, it likes to leave by itself. Affectionate and devoted to its master, it has no problems with children and it is slightly reserved with strangers. It gets along well with other dogs and other animals.
This dog's fur should be brushed occasionally and more often during the shedding period.
This dog is adaptable to both outdoors and indoors. It has medium level of activity, it will also adapt to a less active master. It likes long walks. It needs socialization and training.
Even if it has a particular predilection for independence, it is still an obedient and intelligent dog. A consistent, varied training, will ensure the dog not getting bored (it may alternate with play time), and good results being obtained.
It is used less for hunting small animals and more as a companion dog.