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Meet Japan's most popular dog, the Shiba Inu. It doesn't get much cuter than this pup's smiley, foxlike face and curly tail. Yes, Shibas are completely adorable, as seen from the many popular social media accounts devoted to people's pet Shibas, but what's it like to own one of these distinctive dogs?
Shiba Inus are an ancient breed that originated in Japan as a hunting dog. Shibas have existed for centuries but are fairly new to Western dog lovers. The first Shiba was brought to the US around the 1950s, but the breed didn't receive official recognition from the American Kennel Club until the 1990s. Growing in popularity, the AKC reports that it is currently the 46th most popular dog breed in the US.
Shibas are cute, sturdy, medium-sized dogs. Their coat is plush but relatively low maintenance, and they are a generally healthy breed. Be warned, though, because their beautiful double coat actually sheds a lot, depending on the season.
But a Shiba Inu is not for everyone. They are strong-willed, confident, and independent, and new owners need to be prepared for serious obedience training and socialization, both in puppyhood and ongoing.
Shibas are known to be possessive of their things and a bit mouthy when young, so good training is important. They must also be leashed or in a securely fenced-in yard, as these little hunters may take off after the neighbor’s cat in a flash.
As always, socialization is also important. Ensure your pet can get used to human interaction early on to avoid aggression or fear issues. Introducing them to new environments and other animals (the latter being very important for multi-pet households).
Mental stimulation is also very necessary for the developing minds of these cute furballs. As such, investing in things like interactive toys and agility training can help keep their minds sharp and their energy high.
These pups are also very energetic and will need daily exercise to accompany their lifestyle. The good thing is that their unique and appealing look will get your much attention on your daily walks. Still, while Shibas love their families, they can be a little reserved with strangers.
They don’t particularly like being grabbed by young kids, and Shiba experts warn new owners with children to train them to sit and wait for the dog to approach them rather than go after the dog. It is hard to do because they are so cute but necessary.
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Although it may seem like it, dogs don't grin or smile in the same way that humans can. However, they can still show their happiness in the form of positive body language and even through their facial expressions.
Yes, just by reading your body language, dogs and other pets are susceptible to your emotions. This may have been brought on by their adapting to domestication from humans and can be considered a survival instinct.
It depends, but generally, buying from a reputable breeder should cost you upwards of $1500. Consider adopting one from a rescue organization such as the Shiba Inu Rescue Association.